Steffan Aquarone

Steff is a film producer and technology entrepreneur who speaks internationally on innovation, entrepreneurship and digital marketing

TEN KILLER QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF before you set up a business:

I’m about to have a conference call with two excellent chaps who are starting out in business. They’ve asked me to be a business mentor to them, which I’ve agreed to do in principle, but what I’m interested in finding out is what they’re looking to achieve and how I can help them.

I’ve made a few notes for myself before the conversation which I thought might be useful general questions for anyone about to set up a business to ask themselves – and perhaps their support group too (the first bit is of course about what they’re looking for from me).

– What are you looking for from me? My experience is:
– Marketing, especially digital
– Company secretarial – compliance, tax, legal
– Leadership
– Strategy, growth, business planning, performance measurement
– Financial – investment, forecasting, financing

1. What is your vision in setting up the business?
– What do you want it to achieve in your market?
– What do you want it to achieve for yourself – financial / other?
– Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

2. What makes you different?

3. Why do your customers like you?

4. What does your brand say and do, and why would anyone care?

5. Is the business (or idea) profitable, scalable, saleable, sustainable? Which of these matters to you?

6. What happens if it goes really well?

7. What happens if it goes really badly?

8. How will you know?

9. What are you going to do next?

10. Whose needs to know about this in order to support you in these crucial early stages?

Filed under: successful businesses, , , , , , , , , ,

Just tell me what you do!

Is it me, or do marketers seem to have dropped the clanger of yesteryear that is “professional, high quality, cost-effective solution” in favour of excessive wording and jargon?

I’m sure we’ve all used verbosity to sound convincing, or to confuse the person we’re talking to. But do people actually buy it?

If I need “innovative ad products, custom media solutions, research and insight, and guaranteed brand safety – to make the digital medium more engaging, accountable and scalable” I’ll go and research corporate video production companies.

Same as when I need a sub-aquatic ceramic anti-carbonic-coagulant solution for my ceramic receptacles I’ll buy some toilet cleaner…

Buyers: don’t be fooled. Anyone with half a brain and a dictionary can sound like they know what they’re talking about. If you want to know if someone’s good at what they say they do, ask for the evidence.

Filed under: selling creative, , , ,

What is the internet?

Staggeringly, this is a genuine question I was asked by a well-spoken if borderline elderly gentleman in a hotel lobby last week. It struck me how staggeringly insignificant the contents of the web are to so many people – something that needs to be taken very seriously indeed by marketeers, opinion-seekers and those promoting the web’s meritocracy and democratic access. Granted, very few people in the UK are probably asking what the word “internet” means – but something like the web is certainly not democratic if access to it is restricted so massively by disposable income and/or access to public services, or on bandwidth which is an issue close to home even in rural parts of the UK.

Even though internet penetration is growing by double-figured percentages, access in the developing world remains crushingly low: 31.9% in Latin America/Caribbean, 20.1% in Asia and just 8.7% in Africa.

The net-doubters’ claim was once that internet penetration would be restricted by age: only when the 20-somethings of today become the power-holders will the internet really be relevant. But this isn’t born out in the stats. The biggest determining factor appears to be wealth.

Filed under: future of capitalism, , , , ,

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