Diary of an Economic Crisis Survivor

Life, Death and Miracles of a Startup, in the Italy of the Economic Crisis

Tag: be positive

22. 10 behavioral tips to survive the Great C

September 22, 2014, HOURS 22:00

DAY 219

This is another Monday of survival.

As expected, The Great C didn’t stop its advance, and Italy, despite the proclamations of the Premier Renzi, continues with false starts.
This story about Victory, my startup, has been created to try to make partakers about the incredible difficulty in setting up a business in Italy, not only the aspiring startuppers, , but also  the people who need to be encouraged. The moment is difficult for everyone.
So today I decided to play down and give you 10  behavioral tips that can help you to survive the Great C:

1) Be Watchful: 
Either because the opportunities are often before our eyes and we don’t realize them, or because  in this country, it’s always better to be careful,  you don’t know if someone will steal your business idea;

diary of a crisis survivor stay watchful

2) Be Positive:
No matter if you can’t improve the results of your business, no matter if you’re in trouble.
Tomorrow is a new day, and in an indefinite future Italy will have to get up and, to do so, will have to implement the reforms pro work, business and startup. Like your startup.

diary of a crisis survivor be positive

 

3) Stay Hungry …:
In Steve Jobs’ words  you have to be hungry: don’t get into the spiral of negativity that reigns in the streets of Italian cities, but always look for new challenges, new business adventures.

diary of a crisis survivor stay hungry

4) … Stay Foolish:
And it’s true. Only those who risk, achieve the results. As I said call me the Astronaut, for my ability to roam with the thinking and strategies in a concrete way.

diary of a crisis survivor astronaut madness

5) Be Maniac:
organizing your time, your work,  and constantly control the feedbacks and results.
You must  try always to find a way to objectively measure your results.
If you do it, your startup will be constantly improved and will be closer to defeat the Great C.

diary of a crisis survivor be maniac

6) Surround yourself with the right team:
And be available for them, so that they will solve your problems when you can’t do it and together, when you’ll be properly setup, you will form a winning team.

diary of a crisis survivor teamwork

7) Be Humble:
You are always head-on, but being in a country for old men, keep in mind that you don’t  hold the whip by the hand:
for this reason, and because “humility makes a great man” keep a low profile until the right moment.

diary of a crisis survivor be humble

8) Be Patient:
..wait for the right time. Italy will not start for at least another year. Until then try to stay on the crest of the wave, float and survive with your startup, but never stop trying.

diario-di-un-sopravvissuto-alla-crisis-startup-strategia-differenziazione-bassi-costi

9) Be curious:
Keep reading, testing, experimenting. In 2014 you have to be able to know how to create a website, managing a social network, but also you need to understand why your startup doesn’t  achieve the desired results …. and don’t forget to look at successful models abroad and try to apply them in your reality.

diary of a crisis survivor be curious

10) “Be Ready..
Because You don’t know when the right moment will arrive “you don’t know the moment when the Great C will knock at your door.
And in that moment, you have to know how to save your startup.

diary of a crisis survivor be ready

21. Born of a Startup: building a company in Italy.

SEPTEMBER 8, 2014, HOURS 21:56

DAY 204

diary of a crisis survivor 21 key door

The time has come.

We have made the most important step.

We officially created our company.

Victory is officially a  “Società a responsabilità Limitata” (the equivalent of the English limited company(CLUE N.7).

 

After so many months, we have arrived where so many of us didn’t think to arrive.

It was not easy of course, and everything will be much harder from now on.

But our time has come.

 

The first question we asked ourselves was: “What is the best type of company to build our startup?”

The first choice was to set up a company where the responsibility is only of the company and not of the partners.

The second choice was to choose the type of company. We opted for a private limited company, that, in Italy, is a company where the human element is stronger than the interests of the shareholder.

Finally, it will be important to be able to be recognized as an “Innovative Startup“, a new and unique type of Limited Company, which can be exploited in Italy for two years now.

 

I will speak about it in the next post, now I’m going to celebrate Victory with the team.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I see that The Great C is escaping.

diary of a crisis survivor 21 The great c is escaping

20. Start up Competition: a way to grow

SEPTEMBER 1, 2014, HOURS 13:20

DAY 197

diary of a crisis survivor startup competition win

We fight the Great C.

Now officially.

While the wars rage in the world, while Italy continues risking sinking (inaction is not usefull) and the Great C is looking for another victim, we face an important moment in the life of a startup.

 

Thanks to writing a Business Plan we are able to sign up to the Startup Competition that we have identified.

It will be an important step, because we will face the public for the first time.

The goal is plural:

  1. Finding financiers or “companions” that can help us on the journey;
  2. Giving visibility to our idea.

For this reason, we are motivated.

Obviously we don’t know yet if we can.

However, being able to “compete officially” gives us a lot of enthusiasm.

We decided to take this step because the first feedback (with friends, family and experts) has been extremely positive.

I’ll leave you, now is the time.

With my click we will be officially in the race.

I’m going to click on (and begin to think that, this time seriously and concretely this time, we will win our battle with the Great C).

diary of a crisis survivor startup competition

19. No Country for Young Men.

Agoust 6, 2014, HOURS 22:31

DAY 171. diary of a crisis survivor recession

Recession. GDP -0.2%.

The worst for 14 years.

“Recession is back in Italy”

No. The Great C is back. Rather. It was never gone. And we knew it, I always repeat it in this blog: the inaction of the country is evident, and the cultural, economic, structural gap with other European countries is widening. “The Italian growth will come between 10 years.”  The voice of the people…10 years because they realize that the job is so much to do that it will be a long path.

The problem is the lack of  trust and opportunities for the young men. We need to have our chanche to play, we are too brilliant to be wasted. Victory is the startup of my dreams. For her, I fight every day to overcome the obstacles that sometimes seems to be insurmountable.

I can’t continue to be an “aspiring old  in a country for old men,” in Italy I can’t afford to invest my few money in a startup(although it is my startup and my dream). The risk is too high. Am I a gambler? Perhaps. Maybe the solution is in another country…. I’ll propose this idea to Victory’s team.

How many startup will die before the end of The Great C?

How many entrepreneurs will waste their projects?

How many young man will leave the country?

Maybe there is no hope Italy. No country for young men.

diary of a crisis survivor No Country for Young Men

10. Misinformation

May 26, 2014, h. 16:16

DAY 100

Disinformation.

The reason of the failure of so many good projects.

Startup or Politicians.

Disinformation is also the word emblem of the last European elections, in my opinion.

diary of a crisis survivor disinformation

Most of the Italian citizens couldn’t benefit from a proper system of information by the media and political parties, because last week, the three “Big Boss“(Renzi , Grillo and Berlusconi) thought only to insult between them. And the citizens didn’t even know how to vote.

It matters little that won the Partito Democratico.. ’cause now, in Italy the only loser is the citizen…who knows little of what actually happens in the politic’s palaces and who daily must survive the Great C.

Aware of the importance of communication I have raised the issue to the team of my startup, and from a couple of weeks to now, we are organizing a Marketing Plan, at a strategic level and at a operational level. Probably I’ll tell you in the future.

Meanwhile, we are stuck in the critical step of identifying the target customer of  our startup(step number 1 in a definition of Marketing Strategy): market analysis and subsequent viability and sustainability of the idea. There is so much to do. Because the later stages will be to work closely with our designers D and with “I Nerd per caso“, which respectively  will deal with the graphics and development.

But in the meantime we will do everything possible to inform “our target customers ” of what we do, how we do it and, especially, why we do it.

The disinformation is nothing more than a helper of Great C.

We will fight it, even for you.

9. I quit work for my Startup

May 15, 2014

DAY 89

diario-di-un-sopravvissuto-alla-crisi-startup-licenziarsi-per-la-propria-startup

It ‘s almost happened.

The Great C was going to enlist in its ranks. Bringing my startup.

Everything happened in a short, very short time, and it lasted a few days.

The Great C has knocked on my door and quickly I had to make the best decision: quit my job.

 

I’m unemployed, like many young people in Italy at the moment.

But I came out head-up, and above all, in spite of the Great C finding me, flushing me, chasing me and “dressing to kill” .. I managed to escape: I leave a consulting job in a multinational company after a few(perhaps too many few years), but in my small baggage I have the right elements to continue / start my journey.

Compared to two years ago, I have a bit of extra money, experience and above all my startup. In fact, they  required me to take a cut in my salary, increase my working hours(from 40 to 45), so to have the “safe” possibility to have a career.

Do you believe? I don’t. and then I quit.

But I feel I made the right step. At least for now. Leave a stable job and “career opportunities”, to give birth to my startup, I’m motivated and careful.

Because the Great C never.

The Great C will never have me.

8. Save or Quality? The choice of the Competitive Strategy

MAY 8, 2014, h.12:26

DAY 82

diario-di-un-sopravvissuto-alla-crisis-startup-strategia-differenziazione-bassi-costi
I’m tired
. Tired of a sick system, in a country that tries to get up but has no strength in its legs .

And I feel people’s depression. The Great C is enlarging its ranks: everyday there are more victims. From the ” real victims “( those who really don’t make it), to those who, being too depressed, don’t do anything to survive, and, in this way, they enlarge the ranks of The Great C, abandoning wonderful work projects , including startup projects.

In this environment it’s very hard to work on a startup. Last night, infact, during our weekly meeting of the startup, there was a dispute. The reason ? The choice of the strategic competitive advantage to pursue.

Savings or quality, how many times I have heard this phrase.

On TV, in commercials. Theoretically , knowingly or unknowingly, when you start your own business, you make a strategic choice of competitive advantage: focus on the quality of your product, and then point to the fact that customers are willing to pay a premium price for that “plus”, or supporting low-cost and offer the product to the market at a more competitive price than competitors ?

To these two basic competitive strategies, Michael Porter (in his “4 competitive strategies“) has added another variable: the choice of the range, how many customers compose your target? the entire market , a niche or even a niche within a niche?

To make you understand better, a few examples for the different competitive strategies :

Differentiation strategy (quality, entire market): Apple with its iPhones ;

Strategy of cost leadership (savings, entire market): Ikea;

Strategy of focusing on differentiation (quality, niche): Ferrari;

Strategy of focusing on cost leadership (savings, niche): (the begin) of McDonalds.

In fact there are those who say that the choice of a competitive advantage is not an important thing , and that, it consequently, it does not pay to be consistent.

Which is the best choice for a startup? You can’t answer this, the answer will vary from case to case, it is a very relative thing.

I believe that the future of our startup is a choice of competitive advantage – focusing on cost leadership (CLUE N.4), Tim thinks like me. The others don’t. And from here the fight. Unsolved.

Although there are those, like Instagram, who do not make a choice( before a certain determined time), and it’s successful.

It’s important not to stay in the middle of the road too long, because it is like being on one of those frail bridges in the Andes, suspended over a deep ravine, with the possibility to go from one part(quality) or the other (savings) .. but if you stay in the middle of the path too long, the ropes will be broken and the company goes bust.

And the same thing for Italy, a country that for history and capacity should strongly focus on quality, it is getting enchanted by the sirens of the low costs, and thus remains on the middle of the bridge, with the risk of falling.

While The Great C, at the foot of the ravine, waits. And every day there is, at least, one more victim.

7. Plan to Survive

APRIL 28, 2014, h.19:26

DAY 72

Tomorrow we go on a mission.

I’ll go out there and I’ll be alone, disoriented and frightened: I expect a major test for my career .

diario-di-un-sopravvissuto-alla-crisi-startup-team-programmazione-crisis-survivor-performance-strategia

Tomorrow I’ll find out if I’m really good at work or if mine were just words.

In short . While Italy dreams of defeating once and for all the Great C, guided by the strategies of the new commander Renzi, I ‘ll be engaged in a “boss morning”. This practice, that maybe exists only in  the consultant company where I work, consists in the evaluation of the employees by specific tests, presentations and achievements, all in the same morning.

There are 3 of us. The best gets to move to a higher category. And then also an increase. And then even more money.                     And then even more funds for my startup .

This career move could mean a lot for me. To face the test, I started to prepare myself six months ago. And the most important thing I’ve done during this time was to plan what I needed to do. Seriously it was not easy to reconcile work (Priority 1), my startup(Priority 2) and the test (Priority 3). Even the Italian government has scheduled its performance, strategically placing a reform per month.

The plan was also done for my startup of course:

Putting in order tasks to accomplish, establishing priorities for action, but also setting deadlines and milestones (and respecting them) and dividing responsibilities. Tim, our handyman, is a valuable element in the economy of the plan of our startup ,because he performs many actions, only that, if he didn’t have a battle plan, he wouldn’t survive. Thus, the plan of the performance of a startup turns out to be another important element in the creation of the same.

Because planning, and then knowing what we face everyday, makes us ready and stronger.

It makes us believe to be able to survive the Great C, in this country where merit has lost life and people smile little, we young startuppers:

keep calm,

believe in ourselves,

and don’t give up.

6. We need a bit of madness to create a startup

diary of a crisis survivor astronaut madness

MARCH 09, 2014, h.19.00

DAY 22

It is said that Robert Smith, leader of The Cure, after writing his masterpiece  Friday I’m in love, couldn’t  believe that he had written such a perfect melody( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v mGgMZpGYiy8 = & feature = kp) .

He went from relatives to friends to ask if they had ever heard that melody, it was impossible that no one had thought of it before. The melody was so perfect  that even its creator could not comprehend what he had been able to compose .

 

The same thing happened with my startup.

Pigna and I have been dreaming of doing something great together for ages. When we were young we were in the front row at events and protest, when we grew up a little, we always had the desire to enter politics without ever finding a party that did the job.

Then we realized that we could only count on ourselves, and we had the desire to create a business, but the idea was always lacking.

Then startups were born.

Then came The Great C.

At first the area of infection seemed just closed up between the USA and England. Then came the turn of Europe.

And we all have in mind what has happened since the advent of The Great C in Greece today.

Unemployment, low wages and competitiveness. And so on.

 

But here we are left to try to survive The Great C and trying to do something great together.

Although used and abused, we have always enjoyed but never completely  understood, Steve Jobs’s phrase ” Stay Hungry , Stay Foolish.”

Until that rainy night.

During a Crazy Brainstorming sessionwhen Francis had also joined us(one of two of “I Nerd per caso” ),         I came up with the idea. Bring the idea that we wanted to create “physically”, on the worldwideweb(CLUE No.3).

A startup, in our opinion, to be one in a million. As Friday I’m in Love.

That ‘s what we, young Italians and the world, should do when we try to create a startup: act rationally with a bit of madness. That bit of insanity is what it takes to break the patterns. Patterns that we have created ourselves, try to simplify reality. But schemes in which we are continually brought to error by stereotypes , ignorance and anchors. So when you think of creating a startup it is essential to use proper programming of work and responsibility, but do not forget to dream a little, to travel with the mind to escape from our patterns .

 

Now you know why they call me the Astronaut.

5. Business Model in a time of crisis

MARCH 5, 2014, h.14:13

DAY 18

Yesterday was a good day. For me. For others,  I don’t know.

BUSINESS MODEL

In Eastern Europe the situation doesn’t seem to be good. How is it possible to risk this kind of escalation, in 2014? Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to sit down and discuss it?

On the one hand, Russia is right, because there are the inhabitants of the Crimea claiming a different country(and according to Wikipedia, since 1992 they have been actually been an autonomous republic within Ukraine); on the other hand , there are disproportionate economic interests. On February 19, 1954, Crimea was given by the Soviet leader Khrushchev to the Ukraine, but only since 1989, Russia (URSS no longer) could no longer benefit from the powerful harbour on the Black Sea. Consequently Russia is looking for a way to resume earning from that region.

Strange but true my startup has the same goal: to figure out how to earn.

In a few words, set the business model to implement the business idea: we’re talking about a myriad of variables to bind together with consistency, from the procurement of customers, purchasing real product / service , through the use of forms of sponsorship or B2B . Without this step, any startup is doomed.

We don’t want to work for glory nor charity.

In my short career as a consultant, I’ve heard of entrepreneurs with great business ideas but who are dying from the lack of an effective business model.

To create our model D, our designer, bought a board, one of those with n-sheets.

Since yesterday the magic board is in Nerd per Caso’s home(now it’s not a house anymore, because it has become our startup’s office), and so yesterday we started to design our business model to understand how we can monetize. Simply be able to explain with a drawing, a diagram or a table model, gave us the opportunity to reflect . It’ssomething that I highly recommend to aspiring startuppers like us.

For now, we still see a little darkness, most likely we will try to differentiate the forms of income(although it can be a risky move), but definitely a source of income will be made by Pay Per Click (CLUE No.2).

The point is that:

  • Italy is not Silicon Valley, the home of the successful startup, where the business model works (probably it’s also a matter of entrepreneurial culture and openness to change);
  • Silicon Valley has apparently found a way to fight and defeat the Great C, Italy on the other hand is still in the process of evaluating how to survive the Great C;

 

By the way, the need to monetize it is among the top reasons why you create a startup, so it is an important step that we face; infact only in this way we can continue to have big dreams with our startup( in spite of the Great C).

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