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    5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 21, 2007 3:57 AM by WEBillions

    How'd you get started??

    Dwaz39 Wayfarer
      I have a burning desire to get out of corporate America and start a business of my own. I have had a couple of ideas for more product oriented businesses than a brick and mortar type business. Whenever I get these ideas, the first thing that comes into my head is "I don't know how to do that, I will need help." The second thing that comes into my head is "Can I trust anyone" or "I need to patent this." However, to patent anything, I imagine it needs to be a pretty technical and detailed description. I would need help creating that. I know a lot of people, but know I would eventually need outside help. I am very hesitant to go to them with these ideas without a patent or something, fearing they will capitalize on MY ideas.

      Basically what I am asking is for any stories or advice anyone in the community has on how they went about starting their businesses/companies. Get a patent pending and then look for help? Sign agreements with the partners to not steal your ideas? What did you do?

      Please do not be shy and tell me anything, no matter how trivial you may think it is - I or someone else in the community most likely will find it useful and I am not going to give some smart a$$ed answer as I have seen from others. I figure you can always learn from other peoples perspectives and experiences.

      Thanks in advance for all of the excellent input I know I will receive.

      -Dan
        • Re: How'd you get started??
          20Concepts Newbie
          I am a banker that focuses on business. I really wish you were walking into my bank right now so that I could help you.
          Well there are more ways to 'establish' what you want to do. What I tell my customers is:
          1) find out how best you should be structured for the business you want. EX. sole prop, corp, LLC, etc.
          2) At some point, you will have people that want to purchase your goods or service, and to operate legitimately, you will need a banking account.
          3) depending on your finances, and product, you may need cashflow to start 'putting things together'.

          That's just some initial info I can offer. I really like it when people visit me in the beginning of their business structure cause I really like to see new ideas/business come to light and grow.
          • Re: How'd you get started??
            LUCKIEST Guide
            Dwaz, Glad you asked:
            20 years ago I was an self employed Accountant who wanted to increase my business.
            We used our home equity loan to purchased the business of anther accountant.
            The business grew with the help of a telemarketer. Good timing and computers.
            LUCKIEST
            • Re: How'd you get started??
              Lighthouse24 Ranger

              Wow, I just did a radio segment today on exactly the situation you described. Although I'm sure I said it more eloquently on the air (LOL), here's the message in a nutshell:

              No matter how unique and inspired you think your idea might be, 99 other people got it at the same time, and at least three of them are already working on it -- and they probably have more time, money, and expertise than you. So your biggest threat isn't that someone you know will steal your idea -- it's that one of those other three guys will beat you to the marketplace if you don't find some help and catch up.

              Ideas are essentially worthless. The value comes from developing, advancing, and refining the idea -- not from the idea itself. Until you have something tangible to protect with a patent, trademark, copyright, etc. the best approach is to buy yourself a blank hardbound journal. Then use it to document the development of your idea on a daily basis, and make notes of who you talked to about it and what you told them. Have a disinterested third-party periodically review, sign, and date each entry you make. It's often this type of early documentation that decides an intellectual property case anyway.

              Hope this helps. Best wishes.
                • Re: How'd you get started??
                  slavaret Adventurer
                  Well put, Lighthouse.

                  I think most businesses fail (or never get off the ground) not because somebody's idea gets stolen but because of poor implementation or lack of doers. Talk is cheap, ideas are plentiful, it's the actual work that needs to be done that turns people off.

                  The best way to protect yourself is to start doing something. Once you see what it takes to get things done you begin to realize how far ahead of others you are - and that's your best protection.

                  People like to associate with other successful people. Once you have something real in your hands - raw, unfinished, but real - people would would want to work with you, for you...
                • Re: How'd you get started??
                  WEBillions Adventurer
                  Let me refer you to my blog about thinking through starting a business at mickysbusiness.blogspot.com

                  I go over a lot of the concerns you seem to have. Granted, this blog is more designed for an internet business, but a lot of the same questions are important.

                  You will need help, check out my article about picking partners.

                  It's not going to be easy, but if you love it the work will never be too bad.

                  Patents are a nightmare and you'll need a lawyer, which will be expensive, but it's worth it if you have a good idea.

                  Think it out and use my blog to get you started. Good luck!