start-up

ˈstär ˌdəp/

noun

noun: startup

  1. the action or process of setting something in motion.
  2. “the start-up of marketing in Canada”
    • a newly established business.
    • plural noun: start-ups; plural noun: startups
    • “problems facing start-ups and small firms in rural areas”

 

Start ups are hard. In every way imaginable, they can crash and burn before they even take off. And even if they do gain some traction and make it out the gate there’s still the constant up hill battle and struggle to be not only relevant but be a valid product in your respective market.  I don’t think there is a single person who got it 100% right the very first time. And if they did this blog isn’t for you.

Taking on a role of starting a making a start up is not for the faint of heart. It takes hard work, perseverance, vision and patience. 

 

Challenges ;

Leave a job, make a job.

If you’re going to start a startup you’re going to need time. Let’s face it if you’re serious about starting your own business you’re most likely going to have to leave the business you’re currently  working at. You may get by with doing nights and weekends at the infancy stage, but once it starts growing you’ll probably have to make a choice. Steady employment or follow your dreams, with the chance of being  as broke as MC Hammer.

 

Money money moneyyyyyy

Just like that old proverb, Money makes the world go round unfortunately the same is very much true in the startup world. Networking is a huge way to invest in yourself and your company. It definitely pays off to network, go through all your  funding options and try to secure the best fit for your startup.

 

 

The start up song

Let’s be honest a good start up is like a great band. It can be the best, ahead of it’s time with extremely talented individuals. But if you all hate each other and have different agendas you can end up the same way as Van Halen. It can be tough if you’ve never had to manage people.  When it comes to hiring a person, you also need to consider their cost to the business, their culture fit and how they’ll work as part of your overall team.  

Keep up

Companies copy companies. If you have a great idea be prepared to have a response if a competitor copies it. They may have more money, better UI, and more man power. Stay ahead and try to think of ways that you can stay on top. Despite the media making it glamorous and making your own hours, while being a boss. You probably won’t have any free time until you retire. If you want a successful business.

-Apple reimbursed Tim Cook $56,923 in 2014 for unused time off.

-Walter Robb  of Wholefoods has accumulated 2,703 benefit hours since he joined Whole Foods in 1991, reports Bloomberg. That’s $613,824 he could cash in, according to his 2014 pay rate of $227.09 per hour, should he choose to actually redeem years of unused vacation days.

 

Make a plan

Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.  -Mike Tyson

I love that quote. And while a lil crude it is very true in the startup world. Make a plan, a backup plan and a back up back up plan. Try to deal with the unknowns, will I be able to draw a paycheck, will customers like/need my product. Do I have an exit strategy, how long will I be in buisness for, how long till I see a profit. They really don’t have an immediate right answer, but being able to have some way to deal with them when they arise can definitely help.

 

Everyone Wants to be a boss

It’s fun to be the boss until you have to enforce something. Sooner or later, you’ll have to come up with the rules your business follows, from how many vacation days your workers get to what the proper protocol is when filing a complaint about a coworker. These details aren’t fun to create, and they aren’t fun to think about, but they are necessary for every business.

 

Where we’re at

These concepts are only some of the things we’ve talked about and tackled  at UIT.  We’ve discussed ideas about being relevant in industry trends. That we need to be new and be relevant  and grow not only in our local markets in Atlantic Canada, but across the globe.

The tech education scene is growing. I’ve only lived here a few months and I see more and more fellow nerds the closer I look around. I’ve found myself seeing more and more people in the same boat that i was in before UIT. Passionate about tech, and no where to go. The tech industry and education is growing here. You may not see it clearly on the surface. But if you dig a little bit you will find startups like Bid Squid, or click to order are right around the corner. The biggest challenge in the tech and econdev agencies is that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. There’s too many hands in the pot and the message becomes blurred. If I wasn’t attending UIT i’d have no idea about half the sandbox programs, incubators, YMCA, and other government programs available. The federal government wants to see growth. WE want to see growth, a lot of these programs are pretty much begging you to take the money, or just apply and check things out. The public just needs a bit more transparency. 

UIT can only do so much to grow the base here. It will take everyday people to go ahead and take a step forward. There’s no clear answer and or clear message. I think like a startup, it will take time. We won’t see change for a few years or maybe even a decade. But whether we want it to happen or not the markets will change locally and globally. And many of us are already starting to see that change.

 

1 thought on “Stop Or Start (S.O.S)”

Great points Bobby. I’d like to play devil’s advocate on some of the topics you touched on, just to keep things interesting.

Leave a job, make a job: Sometimes your day job will be a hindrance, other times, a potential asset. Depending on how different your 9 to 5 is from your startup, it could give you access to people and resources you wouldn’t have on your own. Don’t try and sneak startup work into your regular job, but don’t jump ship before you’ve extracted maximum value from your current job. Most importantly: don’t burn bridges.

Money, money, money: You have to spend money to make money, but make sure the ROI isn’t a roll of the dice. Conferences and face to face can have the most impact, but Twitter and other low cost channels have their place too. The web and software sector are extremely lucky in the relatively low overhead compared to building other types of products. The best funding isn’t necessarily the largest amount, but the smartest planned allocations.

Keep up: The first person to invent the wheel probably had to beat their fellow cave dwellers over the head with it until it caught on. At the very least, a copied idea is it’s own validation. When it comes to devoting your time to the company, don’t equate long hours with productivity. There is a time for crunch, a time for rest, and a burnt out boss (or employee) can actually apply a negative productivity multiplier through mistakes or bugs as a result of mental fatigue.

Make a plan: Conviction in your choices, and being ready to do a 180 when the numbers say otherwise. Strategy, not sequential steps. Chaos can be a crucible, as long as you don’t get lost in the tempest.

Everyone wants to be a boss: Before the rules get written, there’s a good chance that the startups internal culture will have shaped the direction of things to come. Make sure everyone is clear to both the letter of the law, and spirit of the law. Reasonable flexibility, but flexible within reason.

Where were at: identify the difference between trends, hype, and lasting market adjustments. The new and shiny can attract eyeballs, but will it retain users? Facebook is built on PHP, and iOS has bits of NeXTSTEP remnants going back to the 80s. The innovation isn’t just the technology used, but how it’s applied to solve the problem. New ideas, old technology. Old ideas, new technology. There’s a lot of room for creativity.

Keep making Cape Breton innovative!


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