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O.T. need help/advise/constacts for new company startup

Old 03-18-2002, 09:06 AM
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Default O.T. need help/advice/contacts for new company startup

This site is such a great resource for making connections/ getting advice!!

My partner and I are preparing our small company startup for a product that will hopefully be used by many here on the board. We are pulling a tax ID on April 1. We need help. We are both engineers but have a lot to learn about starting up and properly running a small company.

I am looking for advice/contacts in the following areas.

1)web site design for retail purchase of our product, including secure ordering with credit card

2) inexpensive help on a logo/ graphic

3) insite into the automotive aftemarket industry( jobber pricing structure, how does it work, can you sell your own retail through your own site also, etc.

4) good aftermarket distributors/catalogs/ web site distributors

5) other usefull info (do this... don't do that.... etc)

thanks for you're experience/advice and insite

Once our patent submission is in. We will be unveiling our product and soliciting a few of you to use/test/ give input on the product performance. More to come..... Waterfoul has already spoken for the first prototype.

please respond here or email me directly..... Thanks for the help

Last edited by Rambunctious; 08-23-2002 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 03-18-2002, 12:18 PM
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Where to start... where to start?

You ask good questions. Here are some more, and a few answers:

Patent protection only gives you the right to pay for a lengthy legal battle when your idea is directly and all most exactly copied.

Do you have a realistic business plan with both financial projections AND cash flow projections? Not a pretty little document that you do to satisfy someone else, but a thoughtful analysis of what your business will require to be successful. Writing this down helps focus the founders on the ugly boring stuff that otherwise is lost in the glammer of a startup.

For most small businesses, QuickBooks is the most common accounting package, but it is weak for manufacturers trying to cost and track WIP. I know of no good, inexpensive package for very small businesses like yours. So use QuickBooks, but be aware of its limitations.

Have you thought of the human side of the business? You and a partner sharing the work. Who is responsibile for what? will you both hold other jobs too? what are you inidividual strengths and weaknesses? What additional people are needed, how will you pay them before sales happen, what personality traits does each job require? Who will manage them?

How do you know customers will like your product? (Don't expect others to share your personal likes.) What kind of market research have you done?

What is the structure of your business, and why?

That should be enough for right now. Good luck.

Last edited by Chart; 03-18-2002 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 03-18-2002, 01:08 PM
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Hey Rob, I don't know much about starting a business but I do know how to run one. If I can help, let me know. I could maybe share in the profit or something simple like that. No, really, let me know if you need anything. I am off for Hawaii in 10 hours so I will touch base when I get back. Good luck.
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Old 03-18-2002, 03:31 PM
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hi guys SO waterfoul told you about the site huh????

Post Whore #1!

I tired to e-mail you but your blocked. So email me at [email protected] I can help you out in the web/graphic design area and can even help out with some of the marketing stuff. Best off I work inexpensively (my company is just me) and I'm still sort fo in college (I say sort of becasue the business seems to be pushing school to the backburner)

OR feel free to give me ring 516-759-6309
Pardon me, while I whip this out!
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Old 03-18-2002, 04:08 PM
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I could address your logo / graphics / Printed materials needs.
I have access to some very talented designers who are affordable.

Let me know

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Old 03-18-2002, 04:23 PM
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Default May be able to help...

I would be interested in learning more about your company and see if we might be able to help you out. We are a full service marketing communications company and do lots of work in the marine industry. We also have lots of experience with start-ups doing everything from logo/ identity design to all of the supporting marketing materials. Web sites, brochures, etc. Take a look some of our recent work. Josh 216.233.8474
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Old 03-18-2002, 05:07 PM
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Email me any questions at [email protected].

I think I can help you Spent 10 years in the AA industry and currently own an e- business. We can exchange phone #'s and I can get you lots of info. Specifically I can give you insite on the industry. I think I can be a huge help and even put you in contact with people that can help you sell. Plus I can tell you my experiences on starting a business from scratch. All in 30 seconds or less. LOL! Not really, but if we exchange numbers maybe I can touch base with you when I get "off work".

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Old 03-18-2002, 08:56 PM
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I can steer you to a good accounting firm over your way that we use. They handle payroll and our pension plan for us. If you would like their contact info feel free to PM me.

Good fortunes to you and your partner!!
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Old 03-19-2002, 09:03 AM
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Thank you for all the replies, keep them coming.

Chart: We plan to file a provisional, allows patent pending for a year to scare off copycats, then with some revenue we can pay to complete the filing if we choose. just want the patent pending.....

Partner and I spent the whole day Monday on our way to the (exciting) manufacturing expo in Chicago. discussed partnership agreement, and roles/responsibilities. just starting the business plan stuff this week. Need some data from SEMA and the like to get to these numbers.

thanks Puder - STAY IN SCHOOL. the credentials will allow a better fee for your service in the future!! I'll send out some ideas for our logo

We plan to join SEMA, and will be attending (not exhibiting) their new show in Chicago the end of April. Goal is to exhibit our product in Vegas in November ( a stretch goal)

I'm on this board everyday, I'm addicted. Great discussions and great people!! I am excited about the opportunity to utilize some of you for market research and durability testing. I cannot disclose the product idea quite yet because that would void any possibility for patent protection. so that is on the top of our list.

Mitch- does that mean you will share in the first two years of losses too? See ya at the reception.

Thanks in2deep - been thinking about the logo. got a name for the company, thinking about the product name. I'll follow up

Josh. i'll check out your work!!

32fever. I will call you. I'm hoping you can help us with this Jobber stuff..... and distribution. It will be great to discuss the AA with someone with experience!!!

Playn. I will keep your name. right now my partners mom is a CPA and is real cheap . but we have growth plans!! thanks

Keep them coming... a few more questions:

1) when you purchase equipment, can you treat that whole cost as an expense for the year you bought it, or do you HAVE to depreciate over time. this is basic accounting I know (I'm only an engineer)

2) how do others write off their garage / outbuildings for taxes. I heard it can bite you down the road when selling your house, paying cap gains on the portion you "rented to yourself"
thanks for all the help
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Old 03-19-2002, 09:22 AM
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First off good luck as some one that is also self employeed I know the excitement that you can have when doing something like this. Also be aware that it is hard work. Lots of rejection when you are first starting out and failure. However once you break through and things start to role there is NOTHING more rewarding then doing something for yourself. One warning for you in regards to your partnership. Be very prepaired that this will change your relationship with your friend. I lost a very good friend with my company when I found out he was trying to start up a new business behind my back and steel employees!!!! As I do not know what your product is yet it is hard to advise on some of your quesions as every product requires some different aproaches.

As far as sales: Contact Nickslick at Website monster. Not only does he seem to have a comprehensive one stop plan to web sales but he is available to answer your calls. I have seen him at work when I have been out in Cali and he is really good at his job. Yes you can sell to the public on line retail and also sell to wholesalers. Just make sure that your prices are not so low that you do not leave the retailer room for profit. Bose Speakers does this very succesfully. (oh man did I just say Bose does something good? May God strike me down with lightning!!!!)

Your accounting should be done by an accountant!!! He will tell you the best way to write off your stuff. You can rent back your garage to yourself but he will be able to explaine the good and the bad about doing this. As far as depreciation it all depends on the size of the equipment that you are trying to write off, and its expected life.

I will say this in close. DO NOT be afraid to ask for help. You may get some one that will say I can help you and I think I can make this fly but I was 50% of the sales. This may be better if they truely can make your product fly. Remember 50% of something is better then 100% of nothing.

Good luck man I always pull for the little guys like ourselves. You will love working for yourself

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