Wannabe Entrepreneurs - How/when/where to get started!

CEans,

I know - there is an entrepreneur in each one of us. The world is full of wannabe entrepreneurs. The engineers have been the greatest entrepreneurs: Mr. Edison, to quote an example.

I know, most of you; either working or students; dream about having your own thing one day, but don't know how to start, where to start, when to start etc.

So, let's try to answer these questions in this discussion. I'll wait for your posts before posting my own thoughts. Let's get started!
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
You really love Mr Edison eh? 😛

A friend of mine is hatching a plan (he's an inactive CEan here 😛) with me to start a small engineering business either right after graduation or some time after. What we plan to do is:

1. Research background on the product/service
2. Research the existing local market for these
3. Research the process needed to start partnership (application for business licenses, SME funds, etc)
4. Prepare business plan

Notice that product research is before market research. Usually you'd try finding a market gap first right? Well, we've already honed in on an area thats relatively new in engineering that me and my friend already share an interest in, so needs a lot of research on this aspect. We have already started the research.

Would really appreciate some additional pointers! 😀
Prasad Ajinkya

Prasad Ajinkya

Branch Unspecified
Ash,

If your idea is simple enough, then the best rule you can use is "Screw it, Let's do it" ... pardon my french! Let me tell you something about business plans ... they are needed for convincing others 😀

If you are convinced, and if the idea needs small capex, then you can start right away!!
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
True that 😛

But I think its a little more technical. Perhaps its probably an engineering plan for us two rather than a business one.

But, I think we'd need a proper Business plan to convince those folks who holds those "technopreneur funds" for tech start ups. Maybe they want to make sure our business actually works. There has been cases where start ups just fizzle, and burn away those limited and precious funds 😔 Oh well.. I suppose we wont really spend TOO much time on it.
ash
True that 😛

But I think its a little more technical. Perhaps its probably an engineering plan for us two rather than a business one.

But, I think we'd need a proper Business plan to convince those folks who holds those "technopreneur funds" for tech start ups. Maybe they want to make sure our business actually works. There has been cases where start ups just fizzle, and burn away those limited and precious funds 😔 Oh well.. I suppose we wont really spend TOO much time on it.
May I chip in my $0.02 [I mean, advice 😀 ]

Here's an excerpt from our Small Talk with Guy Kawasaki

CE: We thank you for taking out time to talk to CrazyEngineers. What is your message to the CEans?
Guy: Engineers, not marketers, are the core of enterpreneurship--and I am a marketer saying this. I believe in supply-side entrepreneurship: Build something good enough, and "they will come." Engineering is hard--marketing is easy.
While you will want VCs to chase you; you must build something that is 'Gold'. Initially, focus on building a great product/service and while you're ready with some of it, start studying about writing business plans, funding etc.

The 'business' side of entrepreneurship scares many engineers. Don't let that happen to you [​IMG] !
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
Thanks, thats inspiring indeed 😛

Now I guess the focus is on building a great product/concept!
mayurpathak

mayurpathak

Branch Unspecified
Well... few tips from me too. I started my consulting business without a business plan or a capex. Yet, I could generate some money for me. But there are still few important things to look at while preparing a business plan to launch a product-
  1. You need to show a full conceptual view of your product. I mean people should think beyond the usability of it. Highlight on why did you decide to build this particular product and what are the benefits of it. Also what are the possible innovations.
  2. Next, add a section full of only technical information. Load it with unheard jargons and specifications. People should know you have done extreme hard work. Add the number of people you will need for a minimum to keep your design and production unit running.
  3. Keep your marketing plan ready, including how many number of people you will need, at what stages and what locations. Give a resource ramp up strategy for an year at least.
  4. Show a 5 years revenue growth and expense/investment plan. Assuming you have mentioned the price and cost of the product, do not fail to add a note on why are you charging that much. Keep a buffer aside for R&D.
  5. If approaching VCs, tell them where all the money you borrow will be put. If you are asking money from a Bank, give a time line as to when will you need the disbursements (monthly, or quarterly...Bank works that way). Show the break even as per an assumed growth rate. Also add a note on how much time do you need to to agree to the SLAs (for services) and productivity matrices. (The Bank will ask this)
  6. Finally, speak about assured commitments, if any and share allotment to the Bank/VC.
  7. Add an executive summary of all the above in the beginning.
I hope this helps. If you need assistance for preparing a Biz Plan, let me know. I'll charge on $000.0000 for you 😀
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
Wow, great advice! 😀

*scribbles on notepad*
mayurpathak

mayurpathak

Branch Unspecified
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! *comfortably assumes ash's post was for me* 😁
Good stuff @ Mayur! 😀

Oh yes, and one must not forget the Richard Branson's "Screw it, Let's do it" attitude.

It helps, trust me 😁
Here's a long post on why this young engineer's startup failed :-

On Startup Failure : Why my software startup failed and How I went bankrupt? |Technology and Business Startups in India

Its worth a read, I guess.
mayurpathak

mayurpathak

Branch Unspecified
Hmmm... no negativity here. I'm sure Ash will succeed in his venture. Hey by the way what's the latest update? Do you have a concrete plan? I will be your local partner in India... what say 😁
mayurpathak
Hmmm... no negativity here. I'm sure Ash will succeed in his venture. Hey by the way what's the latest update? Do you have a concrete plan? I will be your local partner in India... what say 😁
Ah, don't get me wrong, please! That link is not at all related to discourage anyone.

Its just there so that wannabe entrepreneurs learn from that article and do the right thing at the right time ! [​IMG]
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
Nah, it was an inspiring read. Thanks biggie!

Here's the thing that seems quite useful:
I can also do attitude - Gates did it ,Ambani did it,Steve did it , Larry and Sergey did it, Dell did it, Ellision and so on did it so I can also do it.It is good to get inspired from great people live’s but what we are missing here is that whether you are doing it with a passion or a desire?.If you have a passion then you will build something first then start a company. I had only a desire to be entrepreneur lacking a real passion to drive me ahead ,I didn’t quit my job because may be I am scared or afraid of failure ,see I didn’t made myself clear before starting a company.

This attitude screwed my ass and made me bankrupt. Before you plan a startup company ask yourself a thousand more times whether you are really prepared or not?.Even if you have a .001 percent doubt somewhere in your heart , don’t start a company unless you are crystal clear about your decision.
Its the passion and attitude, folks 😉

[EDIT]
@ mayur
No updates as of yet.. still lots of researching 😉 Highly technical and theoretical stuff.. a little boring I suppose, haha. We both are in the midst of other assignments and projects.. so process is painfully slow. But we've got lots of time left 😀
mayurpathak

mayurpathak

Branch Unspecified
The_Big_K
Ah, don't get me wrong, please! That link is not at all related to discourage anyone.

Its just there so that wannabe entrepreneurs learn from that article and do the right thing at the right time ! [​IMG]
No I'm not saying you were negative. Just that such articles can inspire you both ways. Of course doing some thing on your own is a risk, but what is not risky these days? They have found 18 live bombs inside a city in 24hrs here. Is going out of your house not risky these days?

Its just the matter of right attitude and taking decisions at the right time. If you have taken right decisions and persist long enough, you shall not fail.

Quoting Ralph Wado Emerson here... "That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved."
👍
Ankita Katdare

Ankita Katdare

Computer Science
I wish we have more threads like this in this section. There's so much to discuss in this area.

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