Diary of an Economic Crisis Survivor

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

Tag: startupper

31. The Gateway

January 23, 2015, HOURS 19:47
DAY 342

diary of a crisis survivor dynamic environment

Caught.
The Great C found us.
Despite our efforts to optimize resources and reduce costs, our budget forecasts resulted worse than expected. Both capital and especially resources. We can’t afford to buy new services, but we need them.
Therefore, while Italian politicians continue to not care about what happens outside the “Important Halls” talking and pretending to quarrel about the Electoral Law and about the new Head of Italian Republic, the Great C kindly knocked on our door and forced us to do the only thing we could do:

leave Italy (CLUE Ranked # 9).

After the initial panic, we used the plan B (you must always have a Plan B)and we found a place to stay, a dynamic environment, where we can take advantage of the large number of personalities and professionals to  grow.

It is an essential thing: working in a dynamic environment where you can learn and share. In Italy we could not find it: I think in Italy we have lost that sense of “social aggregation” replacing it with an uncontrolled individualism” (perhaps for pure spirit of survival?).

The really negative side is that we are losing pieces. Here we are just 5: Pigna (the CFO), the “Nerd per caso” (two developers), D (our designer) and me. Luca & The Wolf just gave up: they will remain in Italy, change profession, adapt to the system and they will find a random job(no offense to those who have a random job, but these guys had dreams).

We searched a new start.
And until the Great C will fail to find us, we will work here.
But in Italy will be back soon (I hope as winners).

dynamic environment

27. Don’t be afraid about The Great C, use it.

NOVEMBER 24, 2014, HOURS 13:31
DAY 282

diary of a crisis survivor 27 use the great c

Finds.
Finds of men who, in other times, fought and defeated the Great C.
I wrote the text of the find in the large blackboard of our office, now all team members of Victory, our startup, can read it. I will write it here, so that you can begin to see the light, in this dark period.
I don’t know if the “crisis” of the author is  our Great C. I just know that these are dark times, we don’t give up and we will use The Great C.
 

“Do not pretend that things will change if we always do the same.
The crisis is the best blessing that can happen to people and countries, because the crisis brings progress.
Creativity is born from the distress, as the day is born from the dark night.
It is in crisis that invention, discovery and large strategies are born.
Who ever overcomes crisis, outdoes himself without being overcome.
Who attributes their failures to the crisis and neglects, violent his own talent and gives most respect to the problems rather than solutions.The real crisis is the crisis of incompetence.
The drawback of people and countries is laziness to find solutions to their problems.
Without crisis there are no challenges, without challenges life is a routine, a slow agony. 
Without crisis there is no merit.
It is in the crisis where the best of each other rise up, without crises any wind is caress. Talk of crisis is to promote it, and silent in the crisis is to exalt conformity.
Instead of that, work hard.
Get it over with the only crises threatening, that is the tragedy of not wanting to fight for it.
He was Albert Einstein.
I’m Vittorio.
And I will use the Great C like an opportunity.

diary of a crisis surviror 27 einstein

25. Looking for the Early Adopters

NOVEMBER 3, 2014, HOURS 15:19
DAY 261

diary of a crisis survivor early adopt

Clashes in the streets.
Protests.
Italians don’t  know what to do to fight The Great C.
Italy is a country in crisis that, with difficulty, is looking for the right way to start, the right way to exploit its potential and the right way to not waste the opportunities.
I don’t agree with the “political” protests: people should, in a virtual “square”, meet other people to find solutions, not just complain.

Even our startup, Victoria, has its major problems.
The market doesn’t seem to have understood our offer, or perhaps we are not good enough in terms of trade, we need to check  our strategies.
Maybe I know where is the mistake: we have not correctly identified our ideal customer like we said(Do you know what is the ideal customer of your startup?). Maybe the identified target is too large and the analysis carried out hasn’t gone deep.

We have been afraid to point to an “audience” too small and we have set a strategy unsuitable for product policies, communication and maybe even prices strategies.

I figure that it is much easier to start from a small part of customers, to be loved to madness by these few (but good) clients, and later try to differentiate the offerings to be loved by other part of customersrather than be appreciated in a discrete manner by offering a service to a larger part of customers and in a second moment try to be truly loved by them.

We are looking for our early adopters. Those fools who are willing to stand with us in our battles against the Great  C.
Virtual “square” or not we are here, with Victory, to wait for somebody that, like us, is looking for the the right way to re-start.

early adopters diary of a crisis survivor

23. Fall in love with your Startup(but not too much)

30 SEPTEMBER, 2014, HOURS 15:21
DAY 227

Survivors.
Also this week, even today.

survivors diary of a crisis survivor

 

Saved by the bell.
The Great C was about to crush us like a flooding river, in a  rainy day.
In this rainy day, when the world seems to ignore the condition of a country which is wasting its assets and its “best youth“, we were about to make a wrong choice.
One of those choices that can make you fall.
And just because we were too in love with our business idea.

I don’t know the mistake that we made​​: I don’t really know.
Arrogance?
Carelessness?
Basically we were going to make a strategic choice that would have meant that our product couldn’t be used in easy way by our potential customers. We’re talking about small sliding doors that will change your life. And in our case, Victory would lose a lot of users: the only reason is that the use wouldn’t have been quite as intuitive, we hope it will be.

sliding doors diary of a crisis survivor

We became aware of the problem only through a “friend tester” that just asked us: “Why would I do such a thing?”.

It was not easy to make sure that the entire team was aware of the mistake. Including myself. We were too much in love with the initial setup.
It’s easier to change than stay in love with your business idea: the change is inevitable, so you have to predict it, control it and adapt to it.

Maybe we, young Italian startuppers,  will have to learn  something from the word of Eric Ries  in his “The Lean Startup“: “A startup is a human institution, created to give life to a new product, in conditions of extreme uncertainty“, and just because we are in this situation of extreme uncertainty, we need to be aware that the products / services created is such an experiments.  For this reason this product should be designed in a precise methodological synthesis of Creation -> Measurement -> Learning. Eric Ries docet.

the lean startup diary of a crisis survivor

Making mistakes is not wrong .. just be humble and brave to solve the problem on time:
Do not fall in love too much with your Startup. Make sure that your customers fall in love with her.

mistakes diary of a crisis survivor

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

18. I’m staying in Italy. For the moment. To Build my Startup

July 29, 2014, HOURS 10:37

DAY 164

Made in italy diary of a crisis survivor

I’m staying in Italy.

For the moment.

The Great C failed to get me.

The offer by the German multinational was not enticing enough.

The trade-off is in favour of Victory, my startup.

 And now?

We continue planning: at the moment we have just completed an intense brainstorming phase and now we are starting with the preparation of the Business Plan.

Accordingly, the form and the information of a Business Plan change depending on the goals (and hence on the receiver): our business plan will be basically divided in  two main sections:

– A qualitative part;

– A quantitative part.

The first part contains all the elements that constitute the concrete analysis of the inside and outside environment of the startup. Specifically, the qualitative part of the Business Plan of Victory, first analyzes the competitive arena and the strategies to create a competitive advantage over the competitors; later, we will analyze our business system, in its various components. The quantitative part aggregates a set of relevant data, including  forecasts and economic and financial analysis. On this point, we are lacking (for now). But two young professionals will help us.

 

Last but not least, the Executive Summary, which summarizes in a few lines the entire contents of the Business Plan.

Efficiency, Objectivity, Madness and Online Services (CLUE n. 6).

 Here we are, here is Victory, the one who will defeat the Great C.

The Great Economic Crisis, diary of a crisis survivor

17. One way ticket to hell

July 22, 2014, HOURS 13:52

DAY 157

dIARY OF A CRISIS SURVIVOR BUSINESS PLAN

Tim has gone.

The Great C has won: it took him.

Northern Ireland, one-way ticket. A well-paid job and the opportunity to grow professionally.

An opportunity that you can’t waste. In Italy. In 2014.

We have lost our all-rounder. Victory, our startup, has lost an important part of its team, that, like many other young italian people, was forced to leave the country.

And now?

We continue planning, and today we began to draw up the business plan.

I read  percentages: on average only 27% of the entrepreneurs of small and medium-sized enterprises have created ​​a business plan (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/61220876159478523/).

Perhaps it’s caused by their lack of entrepreneurial culture, or simply luckily they were so good that they don’t need to do it.

In fact, the motivations to create a Business Plan are different:

1 – Put in writing business ideas: this allows the entrepreneur to “grow”, identifying the problem (if supported by the right consultants), make certain remedial actions, and set the appropriate strategies;

2 – Look for Investors;

3 – Participate in Startup Competition / Calls for Startup (and here comes into play the Pitch).

 

Consequently, the shape of a Business Plan should depend on the goal: it must be communicatively effective according to the needs. Last but not least, the structure of the Business Plan: about this point I will talk about it in another post, now I have to leave the blog. I have a skype-call with a multinational company based in Germany.

Yes, it is, The Great C is trying to take me too, and bring me out of Italy.

Will it make it?

%d bloggers like this: