The economy for small business has changed. You can't count on: a job, an income, a loan, the government. Resources are limited. Things no longer always go up. Society has changed. It is cycling away from big: big companies and big retail. Geographic advantage is shrinking, and competition is everywhere.
In order to thrive under these conditions, it is essential that every business build a community. Businesses are increasingly using social media to build their reputation and market their business. Companies spend their marketing dollars to find and participate in online communities based on a specific interest. In fact, social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are frequently compared to the old time country store, where everyone knew everyone, and friendly conversations lead to doing business together.
Small town entrepreneurs have been building communities to grow their businesses for hundreds of years. We will unlock the secrets of rural entrepreneurs that can now be used to help anyone build a business regardless of where you are located.
Why small town entrepreneurs?
If every customer can talk to every other customer now, is there anyone who knows how to do business this way? Small town businesses.
If building community is the new way of marketing, who is still living by community and can teach us? Small towns. If the old country store is the model for social media, where do we find them? Small towns.
by Jason Cohen
After starting three companies, I've found that some widely accepted advice lead me to failure while trusting my (inexperienced) gut lead to success. So many business philosophies profess they're the One True Way, yet different business face different hurdles. With stories, six actionable lessons, and a workshopping of 37signals' philosophy, you'll learn when to follow the rules and when to go your own way.
Programs like Y Combinator have garnered much attention in the media. Many of the startups are highlighted and critiqued upon launch, but how do these programs fare over time? What lessons have graduates of Y Combinator learned in a post-Y Combinator world? How do they turn ideas into real businesses?
Ever wonder what keeps so many people from launching a new endeavor or scaling a creative venture into something exponentially more impactful? More often than not, the answer isn't a lack of ideas, money, a team or a plan...it's far more primal. The answer is fear. Instead of brainstorming new ideas, in this session you will discover how to move from ideation to action, overcome the three greatest fears that hold creatives, artists and entrepreneurs back, and find a more stable path to success.
Former entrepreneur, current investor and innovation community leader Charlie O'Donnell will discuss five different patterns of failure often seen in startups that don't make it. It will cover how entrepreneurs can derisk their ideas, maintain momentum, and take advantage of opportunities early on in a company's life cycle. Patterns of failure include: 1) Failure to zero in on a sector's most pressing pain point. 2) Not leaving enough time or financing to iterate on an idea. 3) Failure to create short term milestones that create value. 4) Failure to capture industry attention and mindshare. - 5) Failure to build a realistic customer acquisition engine.
In a highly-anticipated return to SXSW, an all-star lineup of designers, programmers, and entrepreneurs compete to pitch their worst startup ideas in short lightning rounds. Winner gets funded by a real VC.
NOTE: By popular demand, there will be a second performance of this session on Monday 5pm in Hilton Salon C.
The regular Thursday noon Innochat has become hugely popular on Twitter. As founder of Innochat, I propose a live session with a mixed panel of innovation experts and entrepreneurs in which we'll discuss business model theory and business model innovation and design as they pertain to specific start-ups and established companies. We will gather volunteers beforehand, entrepreneurs and representatives from existing companies who are willing to discuss their process of business model innovation and eager to get advice from the panel of Innochat experts.
Business model innovation is a hot topic currently because entrepreneurs are discovering that without a clear picture of their business model success remains elusive. And established businesses facing threats are discovering that redesigning their business models may be the only thing that will save them. This topic is of particular interest at SXSW because many attendees are either startups or come from companies threatened by the rise of digital publishing of all kinds -- the music industry, print media, the film industry, and the software industry, in particular -- companies that critically need new business models to survive.
Japan remains a big question mark. Sometimes qualified as strange, sometimes thought as very innovative, often unknown to many. Can you name one Japanese startup? Can you name one Japanese web service that you use? Do you know Facebook is almost inexistent there? With the recent successes of Twitter (almost 20% of worldwide tweets are in Japanese), the iPhone (shaking a very insular mobile market), is Japan opening up to the US and the world? Similarly, with Rakuten, the Japanese eBay, acquiring Buy.com & opening offices in the US, but also entering China and elsewhere, are we witnessing a new era of Japanese companies' expansion? Japan remains a land of opportunities. A country where innovative models are popping up every day. Let's learn about Japan.
11th–15th March 2011