Friday, July 5, 2013

Look What Followed Me Home!

Okay, not really.

I flew halfway across the country just about a month ago to attend a seminar and bounce an idea off a friend of mine. I came home with a tech company as a souvenir. No kidding.

I had had ideas for software for a long time, and with the gift of an iPad from a longtime friend, I thought that these ideas would make great mobile applications, too. So I started my new company, Upstart Technology, with what amounted to the change in my couch cushions. That is, $16 for a DBA, $5 to open a business savings account at the Credit Union, and $10 each for a couple of domain names. $41 in total. I hired the same friend who gave me the iPad to write the programs for a share of the profits.

Unfortunately, starting a business isn't all like this . . .
Buy at
Woman with champagne in her 'in' box,...
Richard Cline
Starting up a business correctly is far more work than anyone realizes, except the people who have correctly started businesses before. Business plans, trademarks, patents, business structures, contracts, and many, many other decisions have to be made before you ever see your first dollar of return. I've been working on this about thirty hours per week, in addition to running my three part-time businesses, and so I've not had that much time (or news) to post until now.

One of the best decisions I've made so far is to split my company into divisions. I got this idea after watching many, many episodes of Shark Tank, which is a real business education in itself. (Entrepreneurs are too emotionally invested in their companies; they don't have business plans to allow for growth; they don't want to give up enough control to the investors--because, after all, you want the investors to have a large enough stake in the company that they care about the company's success; they don't have a clear idea of where their business is going; they can't clearly explain their product; and many more errors.)

The reason for splitting the company into divisions is clear. By having separate divisions, if someday I decide to divest that part of the company, it's easy to specify what is for sale. If I want investors for just one division, again, I can simply specify that division. I can keep our products separate so it doesn't just look like a disorganized mishmash of stuff, and we can have separate logos for each division, which means that our promotional products can be specialized easily and promote each division, rather than trying to find that one promotional product that somehow symbolizes a company with diverse products. And finally, it's easier to see which division is making the most profit, so that I can continue to invest my time, money, and energy most profitably.

Watch here for further updates!