The Startup Recipe — An inspired introduction
This my first post on Medium. I have been blogging in the past about a plethora of things (including my romantic encounters, ages ago, I was 19 or something back then), and I had a couple of business blogs, but never on Medium.
Despite reading it assiduously since the very beginning, I am a (very) late adopter when it comes to publish content on this platform .
Well, here’s me writing content.
Before introducing myself, I’ll start by introducing the idea behind “The Startup Recipe”.
“The Startup Recipe”, the magic mixture of powerful ingredients to create a successful startup, the one formula that will guarantee your product (or service)’s success is NOT what this series will be about.
Well, if you got to this point without flagging me as a “stupid”, you probably might have thought that “there is no such thing as a Startup Recipe”.
My friend (too soon?), I share your concerns. High Five! (maybe just leave me a clap or 20 at the bottom of this article, ^_^).
The reason why I came up with this title, is that I don’t personally think that there is a set of strategies that can work for every business, but at the same time, I think that entrepreneurship and in general building a successful business is a little bit like cooking.
And nope, my core business has nothing to do with the restaurant industry (even tho I am in love with cooking).
You start out following a recipe from famous books (or successful entrepreneurs), then you realize that you and your guests (clients?) prefer certain types of ingredients rather than others and instead of using butter, as the book would suggest, you try to substitute it with olive oil, and it tastes much better to your and your guests palate.
The more you continue experimenting with different ingredients and recipes, the more you realize that you are constantly improving, and you do that thanks to the feedback you receive when your guests try out your dishes or the proud comments from your mother as well as other friends that like you are passionate about cooking (business).
One day, a friend of yours, that works for “BreadCrunch”, writes about your fabulous Risotto and cites you as the “subject matter expert” for anything in relation to “Risotto al Barolo”.
An important Editor reads the article on “BreadCrunch” and asks you to write a new book of recipes, paying you 9.99$ in Royalties for every copy sold. They sell 100.000 copies in the first year.
You suddenly start to receive hundreds of mail from both people that would like to taste your now world famous “Risotto al Barolo”, as well as chefs that would like you to mentor them, and also a few very angry characters that are jealous of your success.
The story continues, and your now sustainable business keeps growing and guarantees you financial success.
If you had made the wrong decisions (even tho you made some mistakes initially, and you didn’t avoid to mention in your book the countless number of times in which you put too much salt in the risotto, or burned the whole thing because you were distracted, etc) the story would have taken a different direction.
If you ignored your guests’ feedback or avoided continuous learning and experimentation, the “BreadCrunch” article would have not existed or would have been about the horrible way you treat your guests and friends by telling them that they have no idea of what a good meal is, despite the bad taste of your “not-so-good-risotto”.
It’s easier to ignore your mistakes than collecting constructive feedback and work hard to avoid such mistakes in the future.
Ok, you get the idea.
As you probably already know, there are many strategies available in different forms when it comes to business, and there’s not a specific recipe for success.
I have read (and keep reading) tons of books, interviews, articles, and content about how to launch a successful startup/business, how to create a “Purple Cow”, create traction, scale-up, and so on and so forth.
Moreover, I watch countless videos from experts and I have been doing all of those things for many years.
All of those resources are great, and I treasure every single advice from people that have been building successful businesses, no matter how small those are.
I am literally obsessed with reading. My 2018 development plan demands me to read at least 100 book pages per week.
All great recipes. All great chefs. All great entrepreneurs/companies.
But, the thing that the majority of those contents have in common, is that those have been written by widely recognized entrepreneurs, marketers, influencers and successful people in general.
Don’t get me wrong, these people always make sure to mention how they started, the struggles they went through, etc.
But there’s sometimes a lack of contextual information.
I often end up wondering things like “Ok, I must focus on selling my services to the right audience, and create amazing lead magnets to acquire high paying customers. All in 10 days. What’s a lead magnet again? How can I do it if I cannot afford yet a marketing or sales team? Can you give me an example that does not involve Coca Cola or Walmart or 100.000$ budget?”.
Basically, I think that sometimes is better to focus on how to build success, rather than look at already successful ventures (which is still very useful).
What I am planning to do with this series is to write about startups, tech, and business in general, from the “inside”.
I want to discuss and share those ingredients with other chefs that are trying to build their own successful dishes.
I will definitely talk about ingredients I already know to have a great chance to work out well, given I have been working in the tech industry for a while (15+ years?).
I want to share the struggle while I am currently facing it, and share the different approaches I am taking to address the issues I am facing.
If I test a new ingredient today, I will post about the effect the ingredient had on my recipe straight after trying it (well, when the dish is cooked and ready to be served aka when the ingredient takes effect).
I want to provide a full set of resources, information, comments, strategies on how to face the day-to-day issues a startup faces.
Specifically, I want to talk to online businesses similar to mine.
Abandoning the “cooking” metaphor, the Goal of the “Startup Recipe” is to create a set of valuable resources for those who are actually “starting up” as well as people running their businesses from years, and make sure to provide relevant information as a result of actual direct experience.
I would love to look back at this series in a few years time and be able to tell that it was a series of horrible ingredients that lead to a catastrophe, or a set of great guidelines to follow for my next venture. At least it will be of some use, one way or the other.
Again, I have no idea if my ventures will turn into highly profitable businesses or will end in the “Startup Graveyard” catalog.
Many times in my business I had to face (and I still have) questions on topics I knew nothing about before.
“Who should I hire first”?
“How do I become more productive”?
“How do I make sure to write engaging content for The Startup Recipe?” No idea, really.
“How should I price my SaaS products”?
“Am I wasting time on the wrong things”?
“How do I create a Business Plan? Do I even need a business plan?”
“Is my cashflow consistent? Why did I have 30.000$ in the company bank account and now I only have $100?”
“Did I forget to buy garlic”? → whoops this shouldn’t have been here ^_^.
“Should I bootstrap my company or get funding”?
“Should I build this project with React or Angular”? pun intended.
“How do I build different sources of income”?
“How do I make sure that my content goes viral”?
“Should I buy Bitcoins? Learn Blockchain? Invest in Stock Market? Buy treasury bonds? What the hell are treasury bonds by the way?”
This covers around 0.01% of the questions that I am facing every day, and I am sure you are too. Let’s try to address this and many, many other questions together.
Oh, I have completely forgotten to introduce myself.
I am Alessandro (Alex) Russo, a Tech Entrepreneur with around 15 years experience in Software Engineering. I have had the amazing chance to work with Fortune 100 companies as well as very small startups. I have done work for Fashion, Media, TLC, Insurance, Cloud Computing and Financial companies.
I am the founder of WebYourMind Limited, a Small Software Consultancy company based In Ireland and with customers all over the world. Trying to make my business sustainable (even tho revenue in 2016/17 has been quite satisfying), more on the story of WYM in future articles.
I am about to launch saascriptions.io, a product to control SaaS spending.
I have published a few online courses, and I provide onsite training as well.
I am in love with traveling, and I am a location independent entrepreneur (I was born and raised in Italy, lived 5 years in Dublin, and moved to Sesimbra, Portugal in 2018).
I’ll tell you more about me in future posts.
If you got to this point, you are my hero. If you liked the post, please leave 1, 2, 200, 0 or 42 claps below, so that more people will read this post.
I would love to connect with you. You might follow “The Startup Recipe” on Facebook (here’s the link) and see what I will do there as well.
I have a few other social media accounts (for WebYourMind, remember?) but it would be overwhelming and very salesy to share them all in one post ^_^.
I hope you will enjoy the upcoming content and that we’ll be able to shape our perfect recipe.