A quick hop to Manila with Launch48

I meant to write this up ages ago but alas, things have been busier than ever here in London with ParkatmyHouse.com appearing across all the TV channels and national press as a result of a great common sense statement by Eric Pickles, MP. But I’ll come back to that later.

It started when Simon McCann from Launch48 emailed me to see if I wanted to mentor at their first ever Launch48 in Manila.

Since I have a habit of saying yes. And since Simon is a particularly good chap. And since Launch48 has a special place in my heart –  it was how I first got my job at ParkatmyHouse.com – there wasn’t too much to think about.

50 hours there and back on red eyes for a weekend of intensive mentoring. Awesome.

Before I knew it, I was at Heathrow. Then Abu Dhabi at 4am. Then eating a plate of strangely glowing noodles with a chocolate donut in a large conference room with a few hundred Philippino entrepreneurs. Some were very successful in their own right, others were just starting out. And everyone was up for a fun weekend of chucking around ideas in 80% humidity. Glad to say, that’s just what we had.

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I helped out in some practical sessions and gave a talk on sales and online partnerships. At some point, it’ll be up on Slideshare. Until then, I told the audience that in startups (as in all business) you’re always selling.

Whoever you’re talking you, they’re a potential customer or evangelist or perhaps investor or partner or employee. You get it. So 100% of your team need to be articulate, passionate salespeople, even if they’re more used to programming languages than English.

We also talked about thinking big when it comes to online partnerships. Since they can have a habit of taking longer and bringing less benefit than both parties’ set out hoping, only partnering with known scale gives you margin for error.

As in life, you’ll going to have to learn to stand on your own 2 feet.

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I also chatted about monetization. Though trotting off with no clear monetization strategy can be a recipe for disaster in a bootstrapped startup, a useful opening brainstorm can be thinking about how can you can help this customer/segment/company/organization – it can be a more useful, less intimidating way of asking that classic startup question – what problem cam I solving?

If you can simply help – and there’s enough people that need that help – then you have the potential to scale and the right business model is out there.

ps special thanks to Henry Ong for being a great host and Eduardo Canela for being inspiring. You can heckle me any time.

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