Scrolling through People Per Hour and looking at the start up networks online, as I often do, I constantly wonder how many of these people have really thought their business through properly. Although I have had many successful jobs from them and had work done for me by utter professionals, there are roles for this and roles for that and People Per Hour are unfortunately classic for asking a qualified designer to design a logo for £50 (cough) or an online marketing expert (that would be me!) to work for under the minimum wage! I mean, really folks! How on earth do you think us qualified people are meant to put a roof over our heads!? I have a growing son that needs shoes every month! (yes he has big feet).
I’m not driven by money at all, never have been and so I am very used to sticking my neck out on a startup that I have passion, knowledge or curiosity for. If it’s challenging or creative, of course, I would totally consider getting involved. I therefore get that most may not have budgets like you hoped for when you first dreamt up the idea, but you should always pay the going rate to someone worth their salt. You’ll never know when you may need them again and good working relationships are worth building and holding on to. The easiest thing to do is set a max budget and ask them what they can do for you with that budget. You may just be surprised!
The problem is, there are too many startups and of course, not all of them will win – because some ideas are absolute rubbish! And this then promotes low budgets and ultimately skilled freelancers/companies working for under their actual wage or sometimes, even for nothing. You think to yourself; “This one will do it. It’s going to work. It’s a great idea, I would buy it!!”…Sound familiar?
And then of course, it’s back to the drawing board. It’s like my dad says to me, even now – ‘this will be another one of your projects that come to nothing Andrea’. Little does he know that society has changed and ideas are what make the world go around. I would rather keep having ideas that don’t pan out to none at all! And some ideas are well worth the pain of course!
I am of the mindset that there should be far less failures in start ups nowadays as information is so readily available. But alas, it seems that people still make mistakes. So – that in mind, should we find another strategy for nurturing these wonderful balls of creativity that come pouring through our wonderful brains? There’s no way we could stop someone throwing their hard earned cash down the drain on a weak business idea, but what about the really good ideas that don’t even get off the ground? The ones that get away!? (I’m convinced I’ve had two!) Everyone deserves a fair crack at the whip and so I think there should be a better system in place so the successful brainwaves reach their potential and the non-starters don’t lose too much of their hard earned cash. Don’t you agree?
I love The Apprentice. I want to be on it. (But I’m scared!) This is a great process to be involved in if you are an entrepreneur. Ok, if you park the fact that it is a TV show and folk are chosen to make good telly, the actual incubation and focus driven tasks they have to go through week by week are all set to test them and put them through their paces.
I especially love it when they come with their own business plan to go into partnership with Alan Sugar. Or as one did this season, come with someone else’s!! (that did make me laugh!). There was one that was particularly surprising, who showed consistent brilliance throughout the process and his business plan was pants.
So back to my original question, do they honestly look at a dodgy business plan and convince themselves that it will work? Have they asked someone for advice? got a second and third opinion to see whether it could be viable? Made a mock up of the product? ask friends their opinion? researched the idea enough to know whether it has even been done and if not why???
Is there an obvious place Joe Bloggs can take his business plan and get all these answers at the same time apart from getting on a TV show?
A word to the wise…Before you shell out for branding, marketing, online pr etc. get someone’s opinion first and go see a bank or 2! Ask friends, family, strangers – suck the juice out of everyone you meet and try your startup idea out on them. Of course, make sure you copyright it first, just in case it makes you mega rich!
You never know Rodney, this time next year, we’ll be millionaires…