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Could We Create a Business Together?



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    SecondHandRoseSecondHandRose subscriber Posts: 3
    Hello Jeff,         & amp; nbsp;         & amp; nbsp;         & amp; nbsp;         & amp; nbsp;         & amp; nbsp;         & amp; nbsp;         & amp; nbsp;      Yes that is a wonderful idea. Everyone in this community has their own special gift to contribute. Or else we wouldn`t be here.(those are my feelings) Wouldn`t it be beautiful if we can agree beside`s what business also what charity can used funding. For example: The GAP pledges 50% of there profits for AIDS in Africa. My heart is in American`s with Disabilities. The rate that it is increasing is now one out of every five American`s that is a huge amount of people. The age group that it is specially increasing is in the "Baby Boomers". Besides helping the charity we are also helping the Social Security Budget that maybe it can be around for our children. Just an idea. Jeff, remember my small amount of fame last year when you read my e-mail about goals on the radio. I will never forget that. When nobody is there for support and  a ex-husband that sounds like a parrot, you are never going to be a success, well to you!                                      Yours Truly,                                                                           Rose M. Palinkas                                                              http://secondhandroseboutique.com</A>SecondHandRose2006-11-22 16:53:18
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    NYC696NYC696 subscriber Posts: 0
    This is my first post- I was tempted to distraction many times as I worked my way through 47 (!) pages of history, but resisted out of respect. Finally, I`d like to offer a couple of observations and offer a restatement of what I think is the most promising business.

    1. My hat is off to the community in general and a few folk in particular for
    a) the quality of the contributions;

    b) the confidence (optimism) evidenced by the willingness to contribute; and

    c) the tenacity demonstrated by going as long and as far as you have.

    2. The premise of this project suggests similarities with the open-source community:
    a) many individuals voluntarily organizing to contribute to a whole that is greater than that which could be achieved separately.

    b) disparate levels of contribution (quantity, quality, kind) are not just possible but are actually beneficial.

    BUT - one characteristic of the OS community that may be problematic in this context is that community-generated work does not yield community-wide revenue. Typically most casual contributors get no new revenue; some few core contributors derive revenue by providing relevant services based on expertise and reputation earned through contributing.

    3. SuN owns the infrastructure in which this community flourishes, thus they have first rights and opportunity to monetize the various incarnations of the community per se. The notion of an online mall (I loved that someone named it a Business Park - not so retail-centric) is an example that`s already been shown. Other examples include books / magazines / media that essentially capture the freely offered wisdom of the community. Note that this includes all of our posts in this and other forums - ultimately including the story about and process for creating an online community-based business

    (Editorializing once more- this is as it should be. They built it with their capital. We came because it was free.)

    4. What SUN cannot own is what a member or group of members offers in terms of products or service. (Unless, of course, they wish to invest!) Ultimately, any business about whom the owners care must be seperable from the SUN infrastructure if circumstances warrant.

    `Tiger Teams` here suggests very small, very capable teams created on an as-needed basis to address a specific problem domain where results are needed within a specific period of time. Target market is any business owner or exec facing a problem (aka oppty) for which the does not have the in-house capacity to address does not exist.
    a) The Big Four (anyone else remember when it was The Big Eight) own this space at the top of the Fortune 500. So far as I know, no one serves the small to large business market with similar breadth in terms of geography and scope.

    b) The allusion to The Big Four may suggest a model for structuring equity when that becomes an appropriate discussion.

    c) The scope of problem domains we could conceivably address far exceed what those big guys address. For reputation and revenue maximization, they have to be focused on `The Big Picture` problems- ones that make or break the futures of billion dollar industries. Certainly we`re likely to have within our midst folks who have such expertise, but we`re just as likely to be able to solve a host of more mundane problems keeping a business from getting to the next level. One example from close to home:

    a life insurance brokerage firm in NYC needs to profile a host of current advisors to get a handle on who has what kind of practise with what kind of production. The process is unclear but would seem to call for the expertise to define the process, make the calls, synthesize the results.

    d) The business value is not the services provided, it is the repeatable process that allows a prospect with a need to be matched with the resources that solve the problem.


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    rexiedexierexiedexie subscriber Posts: 97 Silver Level Member
    I have been brainstorming with myself.
    I asked myself;  Looking at the big picture. Where would I start..
    If it were totally up to me to lay down the whole group concept as a business plan, the whole blueprint in which the group would evolve and work, the foundations of the group, how would I do this?
    I think everyone could play with this idea an exercise. Among the many views on this or a combination of the many different views; The answer will eventually evolve. I do not see any need to rush, this is an evolutionary process.
    When building anything the plans come first then they have to be submitted and approved.
    We are moving ahead, We have elected the Point Leader. Projects are being considered in order for us to formulate what expertise are needed to help us elect the first board.
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    stevesteve subscriber Posts: 14
    I`m sorry  I found My Mistake here.
    I thought this was going to be a Members Business.  A business
    in which the members organize, develope and benefit from, yes  sun
    will receive huge benefits from it, if not simply from the traffic we
    drive to the site.  
    SO I propose my new question to all...
    Is this a SuN business or is this our  business?
    because if this is our business I don`t know why there is any
    discussion at all about SuN doing this  or doing that.  If it
    is a SuN business I completely understand.  
    There is another option, maybe some of us don`t have the confidense that we can do this on our own.
    MikeGo back to page 10,
    the last post on that page answers this question. Jeff reveals more
    about his intentions on that page than at any other point in this
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    EricEric subscriber Posts: 8
    Go back to page 10, the last post on that page answers this question. Jeff reveals more about his intentions on that page than at any other point in this thread.
    Steve, Thanks for taking the time to go back and bring Jeff`s string of posts back to our attention.  I think that it again puts much of this into perspective.
    What I`ve taken from it is this:
    Jeff clearly states that he does not see a business built and operated by 800 people with 800 people profiting. He sees many profitable businesses built by smaller teams using the SuN infrastructure as a tool to facilitate the process.
    He also acknowledges that the method to accomplish this has yet to be developed. The growing pains we see before us are undoubtedly just a sampling of this development. 
    Though caught in the heat at times, I`ve abandoned all hand-wringing anxiety many pages back. I see that progress being made, however syncopated the rhythm, and I`m able to enjoy this transformation. I hope that others are still doing what they can to make sure that they are doing what they can to have fun with this and enjoy the journey or the very least take from this a real learning experience.
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    rexiedexierexiedexie subscriber Posts: 97 Silver Level Member
    I agree with you. We are a group and are trying to start a business together.
    Jeff and Rich Sloan and Startup Nation have their own projects and it seem to me that they are very involved in their own projects,  too involved to be doing all the support and hard work for us.
    Jeff and Rich have been supportive of our endeavors to start a business together, but we must do this ourselves and not rely on them. 
    My opinion is we should endeavors do all this ourselves; provide owe own hosting, owe own security, owe own secure internal communications etc.
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    NYC696NYC696 subscriber Posts: 0

    Before registering my vote for 3 items, I`d like to share my thinking behind my implied vote against #7 and parts of #1 and #6.

    For #7, I admit to having no clue as to what`s being suggested. I tried to find a bit of background in prior posts, but my command of the forum tools is still a bit limited so I came up empty.

    For #1 and #6:

    I believe we`ve reached consensus that the business(es) we propose to create should not assume integration with StartupNation. Going a step further, I submit that it would be both poor form and poor prospects to create a business that overlaps substantially with what SuN is about- to wit: providing expert advice on all aspects of starting and growing a business.

    To the extent that these ideas incorporate the notion of delivering (free or for a fee) educational content targeted to entrepreneurs, we should be very careful.

    1) Our hosts might take exception to our aspiring to build a business around one of the core offerings that makes their community attractive to their target market.

    2) Offering to sell what SuN gives away requires some pretty high-level execution in terms of differentiation- a level of execution that seems (to me) improbable in most start-ups.

    One clarification- though I am not in favor of building a business whose purpose it is (in part) to create and deliver educational content, I could be in favor of building a business whose purpose it is to create such content and make it for sale (license to) businesses who see the value in providing such content to their customers. (Prospective customers would include, but not be limited to, SuN.) Such a business would
    1) Provide a guided process by which "every-day entrepreneurs" could become "subject matter experts" within their industry by developing one or more educational "pieces".
    2) Provide contributing entrepreneurs with a framework for making the most of the business-building potential of having been "published".
    3) Provide a structure by which most participants can come or go (as contributors), with a relatively small "home office" group required to run things operationally.

    Thanks for bearing with me,

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    NYC696NYC696 subscriber Posts: 0
    Okay, here is my vote for the three ideas I support and why:

    Window Washing System to franchise
    I`m not sure I`m onboard with the `franchise` part, but a business built around selling a specific manufactured product has a couple of things going for it:
    -- Will call for a fairly wide variety of roles / expertise (sales, marketing, marketing analysis, manufacturing, etc) which means potential room for a fairly large number of forum participants.
    -- One way to participate would be in selling the actual product, which could provide some aspiring entrepreneurs a way to generate revenue for themselves while in transition.
    -- A tangible product is somewhat easier to wrap a story around for the purposes of generating publicity and making sales.

    Develop a high quality gluten-free baked food product line that can be branded and sold through a network of regional and eventually national brokers and distributors.
    -- same comments as above for a manufactured product.

    Tiger Teams for Business
    -- I have to support this because I suggested it.

    Just kidding. I like this approach because I like working in a business-to-business consultative role. Additionally:
    -- The proposed structure allows a wide variety of members to participate as particular skillsets are called for to address particular problem domains.
    -- The proposed structure allows members to participate even while continuing their own business building.
    -- The proposed structure seeks to address two complementary needs: a) a small-business owner needs to find someone who can solve a problem without making a long-term commitment, and b) a professional service provider needs to fill a pipeline while still providing billable service to current clients.

    We`re cooking here, folks. Keep it up!

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    BurkeBurke subscriber Posts: 0
    My vote, Denise, would be for the "Tiger Teams," for the simple reason that I, personally, have a dread for brick and mortar, too mnay expenses for setup and maintenance. The Tiger suggestion would be something that could be spread out around the country and utilize SUN people depending on knowledge and geographic availability.
    God Job!
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    stevesteve subscriber Posts: 14
    I`m not sure how many people are familiar with my business and where this suggestion is coming from.

    I have started a gluten-free food company and
    things are going very well. I have a 10,000 square foot building with a
    semi-truck loading dock and fork-lift, a mixer that can handle
    500 pounds of dough and a 50 foot long tunnel oven
    with a continuous
    steel belt for baking. This type of oven allows us to produce a
    continuous stream of product with much less labor than would be needed
    if we were loading cookie sheets into a standard oven.

    Our bakery is located in a rural community where there
    are many people who desire to work for reasonable wages.

    The market for gluten-free
    products is significant and growing rapidly. If any of you seek
    evidence of this, I encourage you to go to the largest health food
    store in your area and ask to see the gluten-free section. Gluten-free
    is not just a fad diet. For many people it is a medical necessity. It
    is a wave that is growing and we have the opportunity to get on it in a
    big way.

    My proposal to the group is that we
    develop a high quality gluten-free baked food product line that can be
    branded and sold through a network of regional and eventually national
    brokers and distributors. This business would require product
    formulation, package design, test marketing and promotion in addition
    to the actual food production and packaging. I believe all of this is
    within the capability of the StartupNation community. Depending on how
    quickly we move through product development and testing it`s possible
    to see revenue in a matter of months.

    I am offering my facility and services
    as a contract manufacturer to produce the products we develop at a competitive
    rate with a reasonable contract commitment period.

    Steve2006-11-27 18:19:27
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    NYC696NYC696 subscriber Posts: 0
    Are you willing to lead the business development team for your tiger team idea? Have you done any in-depth research regarding the market? Would teams always work virtually or would some teams be required to be in close proximity to a client for one reason or another?

    Until someone more qualified is required, I am willing to lead such a team.

    I`ve not done any research regarding the market, in-depth or otherwise. However, if someone were able to give me some minimal guidance as to how to define and attack the problem, I`d give it a go.

    It seems to me that both could be appropriate, or necessary, in various circumstances. Best bet would be to plan to accomodate both models from a conceptual standpoint.

    StevenNYC6962006-11-27 19:33:0
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    stevesteve subscriber Posts: 14

    How much of the development of this business can be done
    virtually?  Would you be willing to oversee any portions of the
    development which need to be done on-site?  What is your knowledge
    on the cost of developing such a product to fruition?

    Here are some basic steps I see and how they can or must be done (not necessarily in this order):

    Identify Product Niche - individual research leading to group brainstorming sessions
    Identify Broker Candidates - one or more people doing online and
    phone research / talking (or meeting) with candidates; group selects
    Develop Product Formula - can hire a pro or can be an individual
    with culinary skills working in their own kitchen; submit samples to
    group members for internal taste tests
    Develop Brand Identity - creatives working virtually and with broker; pitch ideas to group
    Identify Packaging Supplier - one or more people doing online and phone research; group reviews pricing and samples
    Develop Package Design - creatives working virtually with broker and packaging supplier; pitch ideas to group
    Determine Product Costs - one or more people compile numbers for group review
    Establish Product Pricing - with input from broker based on
    competitive research and desired retail/distributor/broker margins - do
    numbers work?
    Production Test Run - must be done in dedicated gluten-free licensed bakery in order to sell or give product to public
    Test Marketing - group members in different regions place product in selected stores; do sampling to get feedback
    Obtain Nutritional Data - Must be done before packaging is produced
    Obtain UPC Barcodes - Must be done before packaging is produced
    Develop Promotional Material - creatives working virtually and with broker; pitch ideas to group - contract to print
    Line-up Distribution - one or more people working with broker
    Begin Production - at bakery
    Distribute Product - store completed product at bakery and ship to distributors
    Repeat - develop additional products/variations to fill out the line

    Pretty much everything except the actual baking can be done virtually.
    I see a fair number of conference calls to discuss options and make

    I realize my position as a member of this group business (I hope) as
    well as a supplier to the business may be a little unusual (maybe not
    depending on how other aspects are contracted out). For that reason I
    purposely did not offer to do the baking for free or even at cost, but
    at a competitive rate. I have a partner who I have to be fair with not
    to mention my own suppliers and lessors who want to be paid. That said,
    I am willing to oversee all the baking and will pull my weight as a
    member of the group. This is my first venture into private label
    contract manufacturing. I ask that the group be patient as I learn.

    The cost of bringing our first product to market depends on how fancy
    we want it to be. I did it on a shoe-string budget and my packaging
    looks like it. But as simple as it is, it`s selling out in stores. I
    plan to upgrade packaging as profits increase. This market wants good
    products so much it`s willing to overlook simple packaging and give
    start-ups a chance.

    I really can`t say what it would cost to develop first class packaging
    and marketing collateral material. We can base our spending on
    available funds and build from profits. Personally, I`d like to see us
    do this without outside investment. That`s the beauty of having a
    bakery available ready to begin production. We can be on the market in
    a couple of months. It`s really up to us to decide how much we want to
    spend, which determines what per capita investment is needed to join.

    For the sake of full disclosure, I must say that my packaging right now
    is all by hand (weigh product, bag and seal). That`s not all bad
    because it gives us flexibility until we finalize product lines,
    however I plan to invest in packaging technology as the business grows.
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    stevesteve subscriber Posts: 14
    To give you an idea of how receptive the market is for high quality
    gluten free food, here`s an e-mail I just received tonight. Feedback
    like this makes me happy to be in business producing a product people
    need, want and appreciate.

    thought I would send you a note to tell you My daughter (19 months
    old), just recently diagnosed with celiac, loves your vanilla wafers.
    Mike T. got us some from you guys. What we are finding out is that
    gluten free items can be a hit or miss with her. Some food I have
    tasted was so bad I actually think food we ate in Symkent Kazakhstan
    where we adopted her from tasted better.

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    stevesteve subscriber Posts: 14
    I could see that alot of it could be done
    virtually except for acturally sampling the cookies.Our choice
    of products is not limited to cookies. The possibilities are almost
    endless. We must be careful not to limit or constrain our thinking this
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    NYC696NYC696 subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi, folks!

    A while back in this forum, we had one of the participants (I`m sorry I don`t remember the name) offer licenses of his product, SCATE Ignite, in support of a common busines venture. The product is a tool to create web-deliverable tutorials. I just participated in the webex demo, and I think the product is worth a look by a lot of business owners- it`s clean, it`s easy, and it`s cheap.

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