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#LCA2011 – Thinking of starting a small business? Check out these principles

Arjen Lentz is currently giving a talk at Linux.conf.au entitled “Creating the Business you want.”

Lentz has been involved and interested in business models and strategy for a long time, and many of his ideas revolve around Open Source.

His current main business is OpenQuery, a MySQL support company based in Brisbane.

As an aside, Lentz founded Upstarta.biz, which is aimed at helping new business owners and entrepreneurs with business strategies, providing advice and support to help them get started.

At the beginning of his talk he handed out a sheet of A4 with the title Upstarta Principles.

They list 10 principles Lentz believes small companies should stick to when starting out, and might be an interesting reference for anyone interested in venturing into a small company.

Upstarta Principles

  1. Neither a borrower nor a lender be (ref:Polonius): no credit or external funding.
  2. Work on the basis of a 0 budget.
  3. Have a flexible business plan designed to explore, learn and adapt.
  4. Pragmatic on Intellectual Property (IP): speed-to-market over protection. Share information. No software patents.
  5. Put profitability before growth.
  6. Set sensible and reasonable prices, not try to extract maximum $ per customer.
  7. Be different, disruptive, extraordinary: it makes no sense to sell the same as everyone else.
  8. Eliminate/minimise impact to environment.
  9. Focus on people (internal and external), prevent stress.
  10. No spam. Not if you call it “email blast” either. Newsletter for clients is fine.