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Entrepreneurs on SF?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Anyone here start their own company, or help start one? What type of business was it, how did you get it started, how it is currently doing? I've always wanted to start my own company, but could never really figure out a direction to go in. Now that i'm starting to see a good opportunity, i'm curious to hear how others got their start.
post #2 of 5
A friend and I started a biomedical engineering company, which promptly failed. It is what sent me to business school though because nerds and geeks aren't necessarily good at business shit.

In our case, I saw a direction to go due to the science I was doing at the time. We started forming the company, designing a prototype, etc and then came the bad part. I had to start hitting the phones with a vengeance.

Market demand just wasn't there and coupled with the FDA crap we were never going to make money on the project. So we scrapped it.
post #3 of 5
I have never started a business, but have quite a few family members that have (including my father, 3 times over) and have spoken to many serial entrepreneurs and the one thing they always tell me is before starting a business, or investing money in one, you should always due your due diligence. Failure to do due diligence is one of the primary reasons start-ups fail.
post #4 of 5
I was banking several thousand every summer from 4th through 6th with a pet sitting gig that I did. It was really simple and took about 15 hours a week. My father owns three companies, my mother owned one, they were and are all incredibly successful with the exception of one, which has just stopped losing money. My grandfather owns one that it probably far more indicative of how a business normally ends up. He lives a middle of the road middle class life, and probably puts in 60 hours a week minimum. My mother and father put in 50-80 for years, even when they hit it big.

I'm not going to go in to details on the companies, but starting a company is not for the faint of heart under most circumstances. Owning and running one aren't either.

Here are some things to keep in mind:
-Don't start a restaurant or club unless you are a masochist (and a rich one at that)
-Don't start a company because it's glamorous- ferrari dealership, motorcycle dealership, take your pick, etc. They're money pits.
-Don't go in to business with a friend
-Expect to work harder than your employees
-The money and life that people think of when they think of company owners happens after you sell that bitch. You won't be taking many vacations.
-Multi-millionaire is meaningless when you aren't watching your expenses.
-The above people make for cheap and profitable acquisitions
-Learn basic accounting and get good at finding patterns. Gut instinct on accounting because something didn't look quite right at first glance has saved us millions.

For starting up you're going to be more successful if you're fairly personable. Start networking like a motherfucker. Word of mouth and favors are generally required for a company to make it the first couple of years. Also make sure that you patent everything. If you live big right now, I'd move to a smaller place and start pocketing emergency money. Expect to spend out of pocket on your company, and make sure that you're passionate about it- the strain on your marriage, parent/child relationships, friendships, etc. won't be worth it otherwise. Also know that you're doing something that 90% of the children of business owners would never do.

Good luck.
post #5 of 5
Originally Posted by HgaleK View Post
-Learn basic accounting and get good at finding patterns. Gut instinct on accounting because something didn't look quite right at first glance has saved us millions.

Great advice, I would add that learning finance as well is very important, since cash flow problems also tend to kill start-up companies. Also, be able to do all the math by hand if you need to, don't just rely on software programs.
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