So here we are a good week and a half into this little project and I think it’s a good time to take a few moments to reflect on the feedback I have been receiving from so many of you and to give some guidance on where we are heading as there has been so much positive feedback & suggestions on ways to generate even more value from this series. I have about 1 week left of this series so it’s also a good time to talk about what to expect in the coming posts.
I have decided to quote something someone sent me in an email today as it seemed like a really great way to explain what one of the goals was: “Fantastically illustrative of the organic, unstructured ‘sometimes it’s only passion that keep you going’ insight into starting a venture” (Thanks Dean!)
I also think it’s a good time to chat about the startup ecosystem we have here in Australia and who this exercise is meant to be helping.
There are many different ways of defining entrepreneurs, and the stages of Entrepreneurship and business in general. A lot of articles also delve into defining the personality types of entrepreneurs. The Next Web founder @Boris defines what he sees as the 7 stereotypes of Entrepreneurs which I quite like: http://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2011/05/24/7-types-of-entrepreneurs-which-one-are-you/. I also agree with StartupGuru who refers to the types in a more of a matrix fashion that ranges between the head & the heart.
If you love the detail & the data the GEM (Global Entrepreneur Monitor) report gives a fantastic outline of the types, stages, ages and impact of the different global entrepreneur types : http://www.gemconsortium.org/download/1319535701510/GEM%20GLOBAL%20REPORT%202010rev.pdf
Then there is the one that I find the most aligned to the stages I see (and especially like because it quotes Notorious BIG song lyrics to make a point): http://www.greenhornconnect.com/node/3655 where Entrepreneurs range from The Awestruck Amateur through to the Wise Sage. I tend to see a close alignment to these types in the startup ecosystem here in Australia, particularly in the members I tend to come across most regularly in BizSpark:
Cowboys/Cowgirls: Students with nothing to lose, no cash & a crazy idea – one of the main goal is to learn from the experience. We have a rapidly developing entrepreneur ecosystem here in Australian Universities and it is driving both innovation & changes to the university curriculum to support this growing trend. Often these ideas come about as a result of a competition such as Startup Weekend, Launch48, Imagine Cup & the like.
Idealist: Developer/hobbiest with a great idea but no experience in bringing an idea to fruition as a profit making business. This type has more skills to bring to the project and maybe even a little cash, but everything is still highly boot strapped. Often the idea is fleshed out during the moonlight hours as the developer still keeps their focus on their “day job”.
Deliverators: Business/Marketing person with a great ability to support an idea & get it to market. They occasionally have the business idea themselves but will tend to outsource development or find a technical co-founder to work with. There is fundamentally more background in building a marketing strategy & business model to support an idea & get it to market as an ongoing business.
Addicts: The serial entrepreneur who works in on and around entrepreneurs and startups as a day to day “job”. They have worked on many startups, and not all have been successful – but that’s just increased their experience and value for the Entrepreneur community. These type are often mentors and in NSW, and starting to spread to VIC & QLD many are easy to find as they are registered as PushStart mentors. Some have even contributed to this series already – sending big thanks to them!
Everyone Else: There are of course the government initiatives, venture capitalists, angel investors, incubators and the whole realm of supporters we are fortunate to have here in Australia that encourage the growth of our startup economy. And I think it is fair to mention as many of the above articles do – that there is often Entrepreneurs that cross all groups in different roles they play or as they take their crazy boot strapped idea into a life in entrepreneurialism.
(NOTE: Disagree with these types? Let me know in the comments!)
I want to be clear that this series is very much targeting the Cowboys/Cowgirls – and perhaps a little of the Idealists group as well. This series is only for the cash strapped entrepreneurs who have an idea and want to test out the viability of it. The Addicts (or Wise Sage's) have a great deal more value to offer in the Business mentoring role that I would never dream or attempt to under value. We have many great Business advisors in the BizSpark Program as Network partners and many offer business mentoring to startups that are looking for that support - I strongly suggest you reach out to them, especially once you have validated your idea & start to look for funding & growing your idea into a business.
What I would really like to see in this series is representatives of all of the ecosystem (whatever "type" system you subscribe to) to share what they think are the best practices and take the opportunity to help others going through the same process/stage. Think you have something you could share on your own blogs or on the BizSpark_au blog then this is your call to action! Share your experience to help others benefit. I have been overwhelmed by the feedback I have received on this series so far and can only see extra value in building this resource to help the Australian Ecosystem continue to grow by others sharing their stories as well.
In order to keep you updated with the upcoming planned posts from the business side with guest contributions for each post, we will be covering topics around:
- things to keep in mind when creating a saleable data resource as a by-product of your idea (data marketplace & legal PII concerns),
- How to build a marketing plan and utilise (hopefully free – or low cost) PR,
- IP & legal protection of your idea
- Grants & commercialisation offers for technology startups
- Monetisation models
- Pitching for funding? Tips on how to best pitch your idea
- The next steps – so you have tested the idea, where to from here….
(BTW if any of these are your area of expertise let me know as any additional suggestions/tips add to the helpfulness of these posts)
Meanwhile…. I have spent the last 2 days re-architecting the Azure backend to use Spatial data in SqlAzure rather than table storage in Azure, the Data Researcher finished their work and the iPhone developer is progressing well with their app - but a post on that all later 🙂