Author Topic: Always Wanted to Start a Business  (Read 1074 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline longh

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 34
  • Country: us
Always Wanted to Start a Business
« on: September 13, 2022, 10:21:29 pm »
Hey guys, I've always wanted to start a business, but not sure how to start. For the first part of my career I did a lot of mixed signal PCB design/layout. Now I mainly write software/help with hardware bring up for satellites. I'm not sure if I have ADHD or something, but I was great in school and often have trouble focusing at each of my jobs. I get enough done to keep people happy, but I feel like I would have less trouble focusing if I worked for myself, but who knows. I feel like I am interested in too many things all at once :)

Probably the coolest thing I've designed was a data acquisition/power supply that worked with a beagle bone black to power preamps and collect radiometer data from a drone. I designed the entire thing myself, did the layout, and the initial software. At my last company a guy wrote some really cool Python code to control the DAQ over a web interface.

My current plan is to apply for a small business innovation research (SBIR) grant to get started, but the business part scares me more than the technical part.

Thanks,
-Hunter
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. -Proverbs 14:23
 

Offline Ed.Kloonk

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3624
  • Country: au
  • Cat video aficionado
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2022, 01:14:28 am »
Rule of thumb every hour spent on your work, you need another hour doing business admin. Though these days that figure could be even higher.
 
Traditionally in the past you would have a spouse 'pick up the slack' so to speak. Failing that, find a book keeper. There's only one million of them in the phonebook. Pick one that is prepared to sit down with you regularly and get the job done. Avoid letting them do things remotely.
iratus parum formica
 
The following users thanked this post: David Aurora

Offline fourfathom

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1553
  • Country: us
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2022, 02:25:16 am »
I apologize if this just seems like negativity, but "I like to design cool stuff" is not usually a viable business plan.  You need to design stuff that your customers think is cool enough that they will buy it, and you need enough customers to make it all pay.  You need to focus on a product or service that will sell, you have to complete it 100%, and you have to spend a lot of time marketing and selling it.  And then you have to support it.  And you have to prepare for the competition to undercut you.

It's not easy.  But sometimes it pays off in a big way.
We'll search out every place a sick, twisted, solitary misfit might run to! -- I'll start with Radio Shack.
 
The following users thanked this post: David Aurora

Offline mag_therm

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 605
  • Country: us
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2022, 03:37:30 am »
Are you P.E. in your state ?
If not, I suggest do it as priority.
 

Offline David Aurora

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 254
  • Country: au
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2022, 05:01:18 am »
Rule of thumb every hour spent on your work, you need another hour doing business admin. Though these days that figure could be even higher.
 
Traditionally in the past you would have a spouse 'pick up the slack' so to speak. Failing that, find a book keeper. There's only one million of them in the phonebook. Pick one that is prepared to sit down with you regularly and get the job done. Avoid letting them do things remotely.

This is ridiculously true in my experience. The longer I've been in business, the clearer it is that hours and billable hours are VERY different as a small business owner.

And even further, all it takes is a phone/internet meltdown, or vital work equipment to keel over mid job, or a few particularly chatty customers to produce a 60 hour work week that you only billed 10 hours for.
 

Online jonpaul

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2100
  • Country: fr
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2022, 05:18:47 am »
95% of all small business startup fail   the first five years

Your personal perception of the market may be erroneous, do much deeper search for similar existing products especially cheap Chinese  alibaba.....

Nowadays taxes, regulatory compliance, shipping, payment, fraudulent customers, and freight costs make any small business shipping hardware less and less feasible.

Do not let my note discourage, I am an optimist, EE and inventor.

 I  owned and ran a consulting and then manufacturing small business since 1970s, I am now retired

Go for it, but never depend on the startup for income.

Bon courage


Jon :rant:
Jean-Paul (EE 1968, the Internet Dinosaur)
 

Offline longh

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 34
  • Country: us
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2022, 01:35:08 pm »
Thanks! This advice is super helpful. Sounds like all I need to to make something that is expensive, and that everyone wants to buy. How hard could that be?  :-DD

I hadn't thought about becoming a PE, I guess I always thought of that as more of a civil engineering, or construction-related electrical engineering thing. But I could see it being helpful if you are working for yourself. I'll look into it.

-Hunter
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. -Proverbs 14:23
 

Online jonpaul

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2100
  • Country: fr
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2022, 01:42:12 pm »
in USA  a PE is responsible to sign off on plans, documents, drawings, and stamps them.

A lot of rules and beurocrats paperwork

Most PE are not EEs.

Costly to obtain the credentials and to remain current, finally liability and EO insurance will be $20...100k/yr.

No use for small businesses, nor manufacturer

Better to become a lawyer

Jon
Jean-Paul (EE 1968, the Internet Dinosaur)
 

Offline mag_therm

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 605
  • Country: us
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2022, 02:05:25 pm »
In many  USA states if a business offers engineering to public, then that engineering has to be by registered P.E.
An exception might be software only.
Best to check, the regulations will be on state web site
 

Offline fourfathom

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1553
  • Country: us
Re: Always Wanted to Start a Business
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2022, 02:57:41 pm »
In many  USA states if a business offers engineering to public, then that engineering has to be by registered P.E.
An exception might be software only.
Best to check, the regulations will be on state web site

All true, but at least in the USA this only comes into play if you are offering engineering services to the public, or if as an employee you need to sign off on a design or project that requires a PE license.  A PE is not generally required if you offer a product for sale or are employed as an engineer.  And in most cases a non-PE engineer can offer "electronics consulting" or "design" services to the public or other companies.  You might want to ask a lawyer, but I doubt that you need a PE license to do freelance PCB design, for example.
We'll search out every place a sick, twisted, solitary misfit might run to! -- I'll start with Radio Shack.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf