Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Startup 101

So last night I went to another cocktail party. Well specifically I went to an event called Startup 101... This time in Bellevue Washington, at a wine bar. About fifty to a hundred people.

The event was straightforward, first there was a sign up area, then a speech from someone who was a successful entrepreneur, hor d'oeuvres were set up, a lot of nice cheeses, followed by a meet and greet. it was clear that it was a mix of people like me, First timers with no idea what they were doing, and old timers that had a clear agenda.

I discovered a lot of things.

First, yeah, I have no business plan... what I have is a vision. I know what I want.

They want to know what it costs, how long it will take, what the initial layout is going to be, what revenue streams are coming back, and how many customers will I have before money starts coming in before going out. As I talked to people, I watched their faces fall when they realized how green I really am at this. I was talking “How cool would it be” and they were talking “How much will it cost.”

If I wrote a program that counted words being spoken in that room and made it into a word cloud... Money would be the largest, and dead set in the center. And rightly so... THIS is the environment where people with money make decisions on where to spend it. And people without money give their pitches to them.

I now know I’m not ready for this. I need to write up some solid proposals, flesh out some real costs, work out a real business plan. I need to know how much approximately my equipment is going to cost, how large a space I’m going to need, what my weekly expenses will be and how the hell I make those expenses dwindle while the profits come in.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up going non-profit on the tech shop... but even so, I’m gonna need those numbers.

Second, I can’t take the environment very long. At least in a shop, nobody minds if you wear noise canceling headphones.