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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Notes from the blogosphere

There were three mention worthy posts from A Smart Bear and Adam McFarland's blogs this past week:

From "Adam McFarland":

Funding your first business - This was a neat take on what path to take to your first business. The path to the corporate world is really well worn (go to school, get a job, work for 30 years, retire). Adam proposes a neat path to the entrepreneurship world, starting with a "non-career job," providing a service, then finally getting to the point of starting a business. It's really close to a Corporatepreneur path. Maybe the subject of another post!

From idea to cashflow - Adam responds to a request I had to describe how he went from getting an idea to getting cashflow. In the corporate world, we're given ideas and told to execute them using their systems. How do we go from idea to cashflow on our own? Good post, I'm hoping that he talks a little bit more on the nuts and bolts to starting a business, i.e. how the heck do you get to be a distributor? Do you just call someone up?

From "A Smart Bear":

Sacrifice your health for a startup - Here's Jason being all contrarian again. :) In this post, he feels like you need to work really hard to the point of sacrificing your health and friends/family in order for a startup to be successful. I don't have that kind of drive, so am I doomed to start? Can I be an 80 for 20 type person and still be successful?



Adam said...

Dale - thanks for the mention. I will try to get more into the nuts and bolts with exactly how I/we do things.

In terms of distributing a product, you're basically right. We just call or email. In the beginning though, you have to put a little more effort into it. The easiest way is to already have a professional looking site up and running...even if the store part isn't launched (you could have a blog or forum up). In the beginning you also are at their mercy in terms of how you pay (many will only take credit cards or upfront payment) and exactly who you buy from (you may be referred to a "middle man" distributor like us to start). You're definitely on a short leash at first so you have to prove that you're a capable distributor and that you abide by their rules.

Good news is that over time, as you show sales volume, those things change and you're able to buy directly from the manufacturer and pay on terms (30 - 60 days before payment is required). We're getting to the point now where we buy in high enough volume with many of our vendors that we get to negotiate pricing, which is where you want to be.

For the most part though, it's just what you said: pick up the phone and call. Most companies don't like to refuse business :)


Jason Cohen said...

Thanks for the mention! Dunno about 80/20 though. :-( Can do that later, but at the start?

Word of caution about starting with consulting and moving to product: Yes it means you can self-fund, but can you make the leap from consulting to product?

Almost all consulting firms I know of intend to make a product. Almost none do.

Yes I know, 37signals and Fogcreek. Can you name 8 others? The fact that you can point to only a few proves the point.

Dale said...


About 80/20... I guess we'll see if it works. In fact, in order for me to be successful, it'll have to. I'm sure there are plenty of others who have gotten it done that way, but it depends on what the situation is. I'm in a situation where I have a day job. Also the work I'm doing is a little more high level and doesn't require the attention to detail that programming might.

Dale said...


Great insights on how to become a distributor... those are the little mysteries that we don't know about!

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