New #startup book #Names about choosing a venture name

NamesFrontCover2
This week, I self published my 3rd book about Startups called “Names”.  Names is about how to come up with a name or brand for your startup venture, my theories on why this name or that name works, and specific guidelines on what to do and what not to do.  There are 4 key measures of a great name.  Those measures are Memorability, Familiarity, Personality and Does It Say What It Is.  If you score high on all 4 you have a great name.  But a great name simply has one higher measure and that is can people remember it a minute, a day, a month or a year later and recall the name.  This trumps all other measures.  If they can, you have a winner.  To buy Names, you can find it on either Gumroad, CreateSpace.com or Amazon.com as a physical book or eBook.

To buy the book Names as a PDF on Gumroad, click here:

https://gum.co/nameventures

or buy it right here:

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To buy the physical book Names on CreateSpace, click here:

https://www.createspace.com/5145820

You can also find it on Amazon.com for print and eBook:

Buy the book on Amazon.com for Kindle or Print

Thank you and for all who have supported me in the past.  Have a great day and keep on reading.

Dan Gudema

 

Startups: Less Talking, More Walking

When it comes to startups there is a ton of talking.  This simply means that people like to talk a lot and do very little.

It’s easy to talk.

I like to talk.

And talking is important.  Startup co-founders need to get together and talk about what they are doing and creating.  They need to spend time figuring out what is important and why they are going to do it.

There is a limit to how much talking and thinking you do.  You need to be out there doing something to even start to think about succeeding.

Most startups don’t get started because they think they need to raise capital.

Most likely you don’t.

Many startups are not able to even get a web page up and running.

Why?

Because many do not have not developed the skills to create a web page.

Many startup co-founders think that creating a simple website that states what they are going to be doing and how to get in contact with the startup is work for a professional!

It’s not.

I have virtually never seen a successful tech startup (web based) where one of the co-founders did not create the first web page (I am not going as far as a whole website).

So, instead of telling me what your startup is going to be about, why don’t you take some time to learn how to create a simple WordPress site and get it up and running yourself.  Trust me, it is not hard.  Watch a couple Youtube videos and you got it!

You can do it right now on WordPress.com and not have your own hosting. Send me your website link and that will tell me what you do.  I think this is as good or better than a pitch deck. A pitch deck is important, but that just tells me you know PowerPoint. The website will tell us you cared enough and are able to figure something out that is really not that complicated.

You see, that is the difference between success and failure for startups.  Success simply means taking action.  Each action is a small success.  You have to start somewhere!

You get a bigger success each time you grow the business or idea.  And that is how you get started.  Hiding the idea away, working in secret initially works for some seasoned pros, but if this is your first idea, then you are not hiding anything from anybody.

And if your website needs to change because you changed the business around this week.  Go back and change it!

It’s not a big deal.  Practically nobody is critical of your startup.  Most people want you to personally succeed.  So just doing something, is the hardest part.

On April 20th, 2016, at 5:30 pm in Deerfield Beach, Florida (not far from I95 and Hillsboro Blvd.) we are running our 14th Tech Startup Pitch Event at SeedTronic.   We are expecting about 50 attendees and there will be panel of investors as well as up to 10 startups pitching. I will see some of you there!
Click here to learn more information about attending this event.

And have a great day.

Dan

Skill-Based Economy Vs. Startup Economy

While there has been a lot of interest in startups, we still see more and more of the IT Tech workforce focus on what I describe as a skill-based economy.

This means that most jobs now revolve around a particular application skill or specialized knowledge, a programming language knowledge or hardware knowledge.  This is different than a startup based economy, where workers learn a variety of business skills. There is also a management economy, where broad knowledge is paid for and engineers and graduates are expected to be able to handle any language or system under any situation and skills are softer running corporations.

The US is about to undergo a major shift towards a startup economy and I think that it will never look back.  A major factor is crowd-funding, but out-sourcing is also a factor.  There are just not going to be that many jobs in the future, because it is so much cheaper to outsource work and things will eventually get very automated to the point where programming is needed less or is worth less!

Most funded startups are in Silicon Valley and NYC. But startups are coming to every town in America if they are not there already.  The 99% of America that is not in Silicon Valley and NYC has to rely on starting up by bootstrapping with our own hands and own funds most of the time.  In fact, from my perspective most startups never get funding till the deal is so good that you don’t need the capital.

There is a big difference preparing for a career in a startup economy vs. a skills based economy.  For one, you need broad knowledge to be a startup vs. you need specialized knowledge to be skilled.  You need to open up your mind to the possibilities to be a startup.

In the traditional skills based economy you need to focus in even deeper and study even harder to be niche and more specialized at what you do.  The problem is skills based training, while amazingly pays the bills, does not lead you ultimately to leading or being in a startup, if that is your personal goal!  This is the lament of many tech people who ask me how to transition from tech guy to startup guy.  Trust me it is not easy and very painful and it is a doorway you can not often go back through.  Though some of you reading this have gone back and forth like me.  That is even more painful. Either way you need to start one day if that is your passion and quite often today is that day…  Sometimes when you get severance and are laid-off you get the chance.  But you needed to have trained your mind years prior!

About a year ago I noticed that a very focused MySQL expert, highly skilled at just this area was able to command as much as $200,000 in yearly salary in South Florida.  That sounds great for an MySQL expert if that is your background, because that is a ton of pay for MySQL, as high or higher than some CIOs and CEOs. We have seen this happen with a dozen other IT areas from SAP to Cold Fusion to Oracle to Java at one time.  I remember a developer who worked at $400 an hour 25 years ago at the phone company.  These high salaries are based on supply and demand.

So, what does this mean?

The emphasis on becoming an expert at these specific skill sets has caused a ton of code schools and DevOp training schools to crop up to train people.  Still doesn’t seem like a bad thing, right?  It creates a new crop of IT pros who just know one specialized area. And that is great and they get jobs. The problem is what happens when that specific tech skill is not needed anymore or once again the engineer wants to be an entrepreneur!

So What’s The Problem With Skill-Based Economies?

Well, if 90% of these people entering these skill areas are just trained in the one discipline, they are facing certain obsolescence and can’t really change their career within the current job.  They need to constantly go for training.  And what happens on the next tech era/iteration is they are often in the pool of applicants who just got trained on the new skill-set.

So what I am saying is in a skill-set driven economy eventually as you get older, you end up retraining over and over and are right along side of people with only 5 years experience when you have 25. You are starting your career from scratch every couple years!

And often the newly skilled professionals jumped into the skill without finishing their undergrad degrees.

At some point, as more and more outsourcing occurs, the job market could become a dog-eat-dog world driving salaries down, not up! While you have created this amazingly specialized skill set, you realize, that you have not developed the startup skills that you will need to create a business in your near future.  We met a bunch of tech people like this at our StartupPOP tech startup pitch event yesterday, Feb 2nd, 2016 at 6pm at The Greenhouse in Boca Raton, Florida: http://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/events/227700750/

Tons of people and experts are telling interested techies to just quit school which is expensive and get a job programming.  In fact, they often find themselves making good money early and later on find out that they probably should have finished their degree or started their own tech firm or startup early on.

I hear people in Silicon Valley complaining that they don’t have enough of these highly skilled people.  What they are really saying is we prefer more and more single skill, highly focused people, not people who can run a business or manage people.

Businesses more and more just need specialized workers. Why? Because they don’t need people who can migrate to management, product or other areas of the business.  And they don’t need people who are skilled at Startups… Actually I think they do. but that is another blog post.  Businesses say they need programmers who can deliver exactly what they want today.  Once again that is ok and a great entry point for people. Employers want workers they can plug and play, and they don’t care how they got the skill as well.  They just want that skill.  This is how I got my first job, plugging together PCs and writing C programs to download telecom switch data.  So good entry point for us all.

And more than ever, they don’t want or need these skill based workers on a permanent basis. Eventually you move on or employers let you go when they need new skills.

They are calling this the part-time economy, where every job is a  part-time job and skill-sets that are bought and sold literally on a part-time contract basis.

Not all IT professionals want to be an expert at one thing or can handle being a one language developer for years and years.  I have done it.  You can do it for a couple years, even a decade or two, but eventually you wind up having to completely relearn an entire programming skill set or new tech paradigm and at least I had to move on to other areas like marketing, business dev (sales), architecture, project management, e-commerce and of course executive management.  Besides everything gets old and boring and humans need variety in what we do for a living or we go insane!

And most important, these skill set driven jobs often hit a financial ceiling.  I have had many programmers tell me that they can’t seem to make over a certain amount without some type of career change, whether its management or product.  So that is where you end up, stuck in a rut, not being able to climb up the ladder and not having enough broad skill knowledge to change.  So having an undergrad, MS, MBA or PHD at that point is great!  You can do other jobs!

I use the words Startup Economy or Management skills loosely.  They are two different directions.  Managers are quite skilled at project management, meetings and working with and managing large teams and organizations.  Startups tend to require all kinds of skills from low level tech skills and high level thinking and everything in between.

Building up a skill-set in one discipline does not require skills like being a serial entrepreneur/tech startup person or being able to write a pitch deck or business plan.  Those skills are not part of working in a skills-based economy. To be a startup guy or gal it requires studying everything you can get your hands on about startups, going back to school, working a startup as their second job, reading 100 startup books by Guy Kawasaki or learning the hard way or on the job.

Either way, it is a tough road.  There never seems to be enough to know in order to make a startup work, so you are often winging it.  But to leave the skill based economy and join the startup economy you need to start today!

Please join our email list on http://startuppop.com and identify if you are an entrepreneur, investors or other type in this new startup economy. Also, by joining our email list, you will find out about my next two books when they are published.  They are called “Names” and “Roadmap”… Both will be published as print and ebooks/Kindle in 2016.  Have a great day and keep on thinking of your own startup… Never give that up.

Finally, we are looking for startup entrepreneurs, mentors and event planners who want to run our pitch event in your city.  You would be part of a global group of people running pitch events under one single company.  We are open-minded to running this pitch event in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia in addition to 120 US and Canadian cities.  (Think like Avon!) StartupPOP is recruiting people to run local startup pitch events and we supply the tech, promotion tools. You secure the venue and run the event. Please contact me at dan@startuppop.com if you would like more information about running this event!

Have a great day!

#StartupPOP 13th #Tech #Startup #Pitch #Event In #BocaRaton On Feb 2nd, 2016

StartupPOP LLC is running its 13th Startup Pitch Event in Boca Raton at The Greenhouse on Tuesday, Feb 2nd, 2016 at 6pm.  The event includes Networking followed by 5 to 10 tech startups pitching for 3 minutes in front of a panel of investors and experts. This event is for startups, investors, mentors, sponsors, service providers like lawyers and accounts as well as interested parties.  We have had between 50 and 120 attendees to StartupPOP events over the past 2 years.  This event will include StartupPOP Grand Prix, which is a way for the audience to vote for each startup interactively.

Click Here To RSVP For This Event: http://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/events/227700750/

If you are a startup and would like to pitch this Tuesday night, we have room for at least one more startup. Please contact us at dan@startuppop.com if you would like more information about pitching.  We would also like to thank our sponsors for making this event possible, including The Greenhouse.

4 criteria for choosing a #startup name

If you are about to create a new startup this is just some food for thought in choosing a name.  This article was published in Linkedin.  But curiously, I was checking on the google search engine and noticed it was not indexed.  So, I am going to write a series of articles about how social media technically functions.  This article is not just about names, it is a test of social media.

If you are creating and consulting to startups then I would recommend my book when it comes out.  To get on the list to receive the email about my book being released, simply go to StartupPOP.com and get on my email list.

So here is what I cover in the book from a very high level perspective.  I have come up with 4 criteria that let you know a name is below average, average, great or amazing.  If you only hit 2 of the 4 don’t despair, you can make the world love your name anyway, if you have enough money!

1. Memorability

If you tell somebody the name of your startup and 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 weeks, 6 weeks or even a year later people remember the name, that means it is memorable.  There is no exact science to this. Some names are just more memorable than others.  You will have to read my book for examples.

2. Familiarity

If you tell people the name of your startup and they say they have heard of it or that it sounds familiar, you have accomplished the second criteria.  I will give you a hint.  If your name sounds like something already, it helps.

3. Personality

Does the name evoke emotion, humor or seems to have a personality to it, then that is the fourth criteria.  Names with no personality are not as easy to remember.

4. Says What It Does

This is the old standby, does the name clearly indicate what the business is about.  This can be simply the name says it or it alludes to what it is about.  Not having anything about what it is about is ok, it just means you did not hit this criteria.

Get all 4 name criteria in a name and you have a Yahtzee of a name. It is not easy.  Most people settle for average product names that only do one of this 4 criteria.  That’s ok for average products…  Stand by and buy my book about names when it is released by the end of the year.  Once again come to StartupPOP.com and sign up to get on my mailing list so you can find out when the book will be released.

If you would like to read more writings or comment on this article, best to do it on Linkedin here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4-criteria-choosing-startup-name-dan-gudema?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish

By the way, if you are in South Florida, we are running a Tech Startup Pitch Event on Tuesday, December 8 at 6pm.  We currently have over 110 RSVPs and growing. This is a link to that event: http://www.meetup.com/Boca-Raton-Tech-Start-ups-Meetup/events/226038039/ if want more information.  If you sign up before December 4th, the event is only $5.

Have a great day.

Dan Gudema
dan@startuppop.com
http://startuppop.com

StartupPOP Roadmap Book

In 2014 I wrote a book that is on Amazon called “Thinking Like a Start-Up”.  In 2015 I wrote a second short book on “How to give an elevator pitch for Tech Startups”.   I recently finished my third book, which I have not yet published about coming up with names for your startup venture.  As soon as this book is finished, I will let the tech community know about it.

Now I am starting to write a book about the Startup Roadmap.  I refer to a road map as a way to plan out your startup venture.  For startups, especially first timers, this is a critical planning task.  If you are interested in learning more about this book, following StartupPOP in general or want to know when this book is finally available.  Would love to find out from people if I should release chapters along the way on Medium and Pheed, independent publishing platforms.  If you think so, then let me know at dan@startuppop.com.  These chapters will be rough draft copies and will not be the exact final book chapters.

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Dan+Gudema&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Dan+Gudema&sort=relevancerank

Publishing Your Own Book For Free (For Real This Time)

This morning I published my book Thinking Like A Start-Up!  It is available in paperback form for $19.95 before a discount and for the Kindle for $9.95.  The book is about 214 pages and has a lot of thoughts about start-ups.  It is meant for start-ups but also corporate IT and product management professionals.   You can click this link to go buy my book on Amazon.com.  I promote you to do it.  I also promote you to write up a bang up review and give me 5 stars on Amazon.com.  Now if you are my relative or a good friend, this is a given.  If you are just by chance reading my blog because you randomly found it, then please read my book and give it whatever review you want.  I am just happy you have heard about my book.

I think it is a pretty good book.  You can beg to differ.  Does matter much to me.  Most important to me is getting a few sales and getting the book out there!

On October 21, 2014 I wrote a blog article about how to publish your own book for free.  In that article I mentioned a website called Createspace.com, which is a subsidiary of Amazon.com, where you can publish your book. I have heard of a dozen of these sites out there, but if you are going to do it, Amazon.com sounds pretty good to me.   This article will show how I went ahead with publishing my book, despite a bunch of negatives.  And at this point, my Amazon.com book is now available, as of this morning, and I actually saw 5 sales in the royalty report.  I am actually making $67.25!  I am ecstatic.

When They Say Something Is Free, You Know There Is Always A Catch!

What I did notice along the way is you can pay for expertise and services.  I just decided to skip these add-ons.  Createspace.com has a service where they will make a cover for you for, for example.  They have paid services where they will edit your book, carry out design services, publicize and market your book and various other services.  I would believe these services are excellent.  But I was determined to publish my book for free!

The Negatives

I would say the biggest negative is my book is pretty plain and simple.  If you look at comparable books, they have nicer covers.  The other books have cooler graphics.  They probably have much better, nicely edited writing.  I did my own editing and proofing.  So it may be ugly in parts. But the biggest issue I ran into is I did not pay for Kindle conversion services.  So, when I looked over what happened in moving over the documents to the Kindle version is the book is pretty unreadable.  This was mainly because I did not put in the time to do the Kindle conversion properly myself.  I just took the print version in a word .doc form and jammed it into the Amazon Kindle site.   I also realized late in the process that I probably should have printed the book under my corporate name, not my name personally.  So, you will notice when you buy my book, I, Dan Gudema, is the publisher.  This may seem a little unprofessional.

You Pay For Professionalism

Another issue I ran into is I decided late in the game to add these quotes and quips to each chapter. When I showed this to my cartoonist friend, he wanted to create graphics for the book.  A week later, I called him and he confirmed that it would take him at least a month or 2 to create these graphics.  Even he said, well why don’t you just publish you book today and we will add the graphics later on. Sorry about that.  My first version of Thinking Like A Start-Up will not be that nice…. but there is always going to be a nicer edition 2 out.  Finally, another weird issue I found out about at the last minute is Createspace.com will not publish your ebook or Kindle version.  I had to go to http://Kdp.amazon.com and it almost felt I like was starting over with the process, which did not make a lot of sense to me.  I may be adding another article covering exactly step by step what to do with the Kindle version, because it was a bit rough, and what came out of it was rough.  So, if you can afford it, pay a publisher to do it right.  If you are cheap like me, then do it yourself!

What I Learned From This Experience?

Well, first off it has come to the point where anybody can create a book and do it for free.  My point in this blog article is I just feel sometimes you just have to stop talking and do something.  I needed closure.  I realize there may be a spelling issue here or there.  I also realized there may be some run-on sentences, sentence structure problems or wording issues. There are definitely some minor glitches in the book.  but you know, that’s life when you are self-publishing.  The point is, sometimes you just need to go for it, whatever it is and find out what happens.

Publishing Disintermediation

As far as the overall view here. What I am seeing is the removal of the middle man.  If we can all publish books on what we want to pontificate on, and we are able to get people to actually buy our stuff, we are seriously removing the agent and publisher from the process.  Now, in my case Amazon.com is taking a hefty fee, like 55% of the sale, but who cares, I was able to publish my book!

Dr. Frankenstein The Writer

So, I experimented and made $67.25.  Not sure if I will make a dime more.  At least I am hoping to double that, as long as family and relatives feel obligated to buy my book. I also put 100 names of family, friends and colleagues that I acknowledge in the book (to get them to buy the book)!  This is a silly practice, but maybe it will get me an additional 3 sales.  I would like my publishing experiment to be a money making venture.  However, for now that will have to wait.  I am about 75% complete with my next mini book, which is going to be the first in a series on the tools that tech start-ups to get started, get presentable to investors and generally figure things out.

 

 

Startup Business Models (for thought)

In really thinking through a start-up, and I have had this conversation about a dozen times in the past year, you have to make a specific choice as to what your business model will be.

Sounds simple… Well, if you have read through some of my other blog posts about start-ups, there is a bit of a gotcha that a lot of entrepreneurs run into. That gotcha, that wall, is common knowledge. Sometimes common knowledge is not that common. Because Zuckerberg did it with Facebook or Gates did it with Microsoft or your buddy down the street did it, doesn’t mean you can do it, at least the same way. What worked for one person, may not work for another. Get this in your head before making a business model decision!

Just when it seems like you know something, because you read something, does not mean you really understand the economics of why something is working or not working.

Ok, so you are thinking of starting a website… Actually almost 1 in 10 people (especially young people) have the ultimate or their idea of a website that they would create and a start-up business. I was walking through the mall the other day, stopped and chatted with a guy selling phones in one of those kiosks and he and I got to the point where he was telling he, his buddies are going to be creating a website startup. Ah-ha.

Let’s start by looking at these models based on risk vs. reward. Well, let’s start by identifying the business models (The ones I know of):

1. Advertising – You make money by visitors clicking on links.
No explanation needed. Google, Yahoo, lots out there, few successful.

2. Product/Service Sales – You sell products and deliver physically or virtually.
No explanation needed. Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, abc distributing.

2. Membership – You make money (every month) by people joining your site.
You know, pay for monthly services to use,view your site.

3. Commission Exchange – You make money whenever a person trades, sells, works, with another person. Ebay, LogoTournament, lots of others.

4. Sponsorship – Basically a twist on advertising, but more than advertising, you get paid no matter what the traffic, so non-click based advertising.

5. Virtual Business To Business Services – You sell backend services to other business. Good examples are Constant Contact, iContact, hosting, chat, etc…

6. Lead Generation
You collect the leads and sell them to a third party. In fact, you control the information flow somehow and set the information price… Good examples are World Avenue, Autobytel, etc.

Risk vs. Reward

I am sure there are about 10 other business models out there (that are real clever), but this list is pretty much the ones that make sense on the web. And when it comes to risk and reward you have to weigh the chances of your success versus the reward. Remember, not everybody is going to make a billion dollars on their first venture. I say be happy with a million. In fact be happy with quarter of a million… I say just be happy with success, meaning staying in business.

So, as you set out to create your new web business, even a new business model, you have to weigh your chances of survival. How to you weigh your chances of survival:

1. Your Track Record
If this is your first time, then reduce the risk by succeeding in ways others are not…

2. Your Capitalization
Often website developing is not about revenue, but about staying in business. Having the resources to do it, is critical. By resources this is man-power really in the end. Everything else, including hosting is dirt cheap now.

3. Your Talents
If you are not a programming, your chances of making a successful run at a web business model that is not retail are remote…unless you are fully capitalized. Being a programmer you have an advantage, saving thousands on programming.

4. Your Ability To Schmooz
Getting others to work for nothing is a talent. Getting partnerships in place to make it happen is a talent. Having an ability to convince others to give you money is a raw talent. A god given sales talent, but quite dangerous as well… I will give some reasons why this is a negative as well in another post.

5. Your Tenaciousness
This may be a moot point if you don’t have any of the other things above. Since if you are broke, not a programmer, not a great networker/presenter and haven’t done this before, your tenaciousness may seem more like agressiveness. So back-off and make a small success first before lighting the world on fire.

The Personal Analysis

So, you need to look in the mirror and take your idea and go through an analysis. Typically new, unique ideas start with the entrepreneur saying I am going to create this really cool site, like for instance a good example would be a local news blog site… And I am going to make money by advertising sales… Well, good luck. In fact I tell entrepreneurs, the quickest way to fail is relying solely on advertising sales. I believe that you will have to generate a million visitors a month to make something like $50,000 a year on the click through dollars… Remember most click-throughs are paying GOOGLE the money, not you. You get a percentage of clicks, and you are not in control of the ad networks, Commision Junction, Google, Yahoo, AOL and others have a heavy hand in control already. So get it out of your head that the ad model is your model! Ad models on the other hand like Facebook and others are high reward if you make it big. Chances of that happening are like 10 million to 1…

So, then you say, well my local blog can be a membership… Sounds good, and in fact if you can find a way to get people to pay, you are going to be in the money. Not a lot of members per month paying to make a million dollar a year site in revenue. I think if you had 10,000 members paying $9 a month you are a million revenue site. So this is more of what you need to be thinking about. I give you a 1 in a 1000 chance of surviving with a membership model… If you do, you will profit nicely.

There there is the back-end model. If you get it rolling, you will get hopefully month or period payments, so it is a very similar model to membership. I will give you a 1 in 25 chance of survival in this model, because it is business to business and businesses need help online!

The exchange commission model is really dependent on your technical know-how and luck. Choose the right model and you could hit it big like eBay. My odds of success are 1 in 100,000. So not so good, but who knows, it is a big payoff model like advertising, so you are either out of business or a billionaire.

Finally retail online model is a medium reward and lower risk. You can make it well enough if you have the talent. If you don’t and are new you still have a chance, but it is risky as well. Knowing your product is everything and if you do know a product well, you may be in luck. I think the prospects of becoming a billionaire are low, but my odds are about 1 in 10 will make some money.

Lead Generation if you pursue this money is about a 1 in 30 chance in my mind of making it. It is possibly a good pay off as well. Every store, sales rep in the world needs leads, so this is a great place to start as well.

Hopefully you get my point in this blog post about web business models and risk and reward.

A Summer Of Web Discontent Or Bliss

Just when it appears that the economy is failing, the stock market is chaotic, housing prices are down, and it looks like the future is bleak, there are always people who are succeeding and working. So, I am not so sure about this horrible future.

While those of us in our 40s and 50s or older freak out as we get let go from jobs with corporations that we have been with for 5, 10 or 15 years, there is another group of workers who are working through the night on their own businesses.

This group is a variety of people. They are 21 year college kids who see that this is by far the best time to ever start a business online, with unlimited access to millions on the web with just an idea and a keyboard. Never has there been that much opportunity to do something different, get access to the world, use the tools that are out there, often free, and just do it. These young people and others (not so sure if I am one of them) are regrouping themselves for a new career after figuring out there is none out there. There are those who have been working the part-time thing on their own thing for quite a while are getting ready to launch.

Getting Ready To Launch

It seems like this new hard core group, and they may be 15, or 75, I might add, are gearing up for their big launch. I am doing it too, as we get Take It National, Inc. ready for market. This is the same conversation I have with Don from Austin, who is building a new kind of online business generator, or Jeromi from California, who has a new kind of dental floss, he is getting ready to launch. And then there is the lady we met who is starting a business of sending out young cute female models to boxing matches, wrestling, auto shows…

I guess if you don’t have the patience to go through the process of starting your own business and want a job, then follow some of these people around and when they grow their business big enough you will get a job from them, someday soon.

Where Do They Hang Out?

Now, not that I am a joiner, and even if I do join, it is only as an experiment typically for me, but my business partner and I have been hanging out at CEOSPACE. Got nothing bad to say about them, especially now that I am a member. They take in the wide-eyed, wondering if they can do it on their own crowd, entrepreneurs to be, and give them an street smart MBA like education in a weeks time. I think from our recent experience, that CEOSPACE is for the serious entrepreneur with the serious idea… My business partner has a similar type of training system for the every man called StartupBusinessBootCamp.com. This one is for the masses and it can handle any idea. Startup Business Boot Camp is running these weekend boot camp events around the country. If you are in south florida I would check it out.

Real MBAs

Finally there are those like myself, who suffer through the full MBA curriculum. In fact, I did it twice, once at Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ, where I did not finish my MBA. I finished my second at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL in 2006. Either way, this is a little more than a week, 2 weeks or a weekend. It is a serious academic exercise whether you go to Harvard or FAU. You do this for you mind and not for the paper, because the paper will do a little for you in a practical sense. You still have to sell yourself to make it work for you. In fact these other boot camp and CEOSPACE types of education I am finding more practical and more geared towards startups. Sorry about that, but I am yet to find an MBA with entrepreneuralism that is honest and direct. They are more like outings for professors.

Where Do The Hungry Hang Out?

Well, if you haven’t already put the words “Startup YOUR TOWN” or “Business Group YOUR TOWN” or “Entreprenurship YOUR TOWN” into google, you will find a mixed bag of groups in every town out there. There is BarCamp, an Internet Social Media Startup Group, which is for the youngest and boldest of entrepreneurs starting out mixed in with bloggers. BarCamp is in most big towns out there along with WordCamp (A WordPress Conference That Runs In Most Large Towns). I would provide a link here, but BarCamp is always so disorganized an event, I can’t find one single national link…

There are also a dozen civic, technology, marketing, social media, internet or other related startup groups in every town. Just look around and attend and maybe you can find some bliss.

Reading The Startup Tea Leaves

As I slowly (I mean slowly) move into my new startup venture called Take It National, I have been thinking about a series of events that have happened over the past year. Its these series of events that have lead me to this startup. So, I tell people that this startup was not our choice, but rather like a car broadsiding us as we were just sailing along.

What does “Reading The Startup Tea Leaves” Mean?

I have to say that there really is a pattern to startups in terms of success and/or failure and this is all in the data… You have to look through the real information, not the ones in your mind that can confuse you because you love an idea to death and are willing to go down with the ship on it, but rather the ideas that bring on real customers, real growth and real income.

How Do We Get There?

So, like a person who can read tea leaves, you have to sift through your tests and find out if there really is a market for your product or service. For a direct selling service like creating a gas station, there is no question of success, especially if there is a gas station across the street or 2 or 3 gas stations. This is an early sign of success, even if you have not taken action.

Other Signs Of Possible Success

So our current startup comes from tests we were not even aware of. In fact, until we had a company say to us, hey how are you doing this, taking your event businesses national? We really did not know there was a product there. First they asked, and then we presented. When we started presenting, we got lots of feedback about wanting our service in their backend. So, from this we began the process of producing a product. No hocus pocus or risk taking involved. This was simply listening and sorting through the info and taking a risk.

Astrologers Are Not Right, Most Of The Time

So, how do you get it right? It is not easy, because just one customer can say that there is a problem. Is that enough to start a business? Not really. You need more customers, more analysis, more pro formas and a complete analysis of branding and the market to really understand the opportunity. Finally you take a chance, but at this point you have done your homework, have a few potential customers and are ready to go.

Testing Is Everything

You can get lucky. But you can also just work hard and learn. No need to throw away everything with a potential loss. Early on test, test in ways you have not thought of. Call customers, ask their opinion. Seek more advice from them. Get things started and get your product out there. I have been through this a dozen times and have made my mistakes, but I think eventually I will get it right.