Friday, October 31, 2008

Putting together the Components of Business


So in order to be an official 'business woman' appearance is everything. When you are on your own with no company affiliation it comes time to start building your own support resources. With a company everything comes pre-assembled, but when you are your own boss the options are unlimited. The limits of your resources are constrained by the time it takes to do the searching, and the money you have to pay for the resources.

I finally designed business cards for myself to represent my personality and abilities. Here they are! I decided to make them 2 sided, the black side shows some of my CAD designs and projects from college, with a listing of my degree and some past employers. The white side has one of my artworks, and represents my creative and entrepreneurial side. I've known for a while that I didn't want a completely 'standard' business card, because the business card is what you give to people you meet in an effort to represent yourself, and It's always important to give them as fair
of a representation that you can give on a 2X3.5 in piece of paper!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Inventor Resources


Starting up a business is quite tricky. With so many options ahead there can be doubts along the way. Its impossible to know everything on needs to know initially, so its all about trying to find the resources that can be of help along the way. When joining a company things are easier because usually all the resources you need are already there and pre-paid for. Once you start going out on your own the resources are hidden, and the only paid for services are coming out of your pocket. All of this stated, it can be quite intimidating.

So as I do my search for resources, I'll be sharing them, to start creating a kind of path for others to follow so everything isn't sooo intimidating.

1) http://www.inventionconvention.com/ncio/inventing101/000.html

2) Business plans, are a perceived necessity in starting out, to justify to yourself and others why you are doing this, and to prove that you'll be satisfying a business need. Here are some fee sample business plans:
http://www.bplans.com/Sample_Business_Plans/all_plans.cfm


3) SCORE is a non profit organization comprised of people with business experience and wants to give back to the community, so they volunteer to help out new business owners. They have local chapters around the country and offer mentoring and workshops.
http://www.svscore.org/counseling.htm
There is an Entrepreneur Center in San Jose with Resources for small businesses
http://www.ecenteronline.org/
A list of Networking Events for Women Business Owners
http://www.ecenteronline.org/womens_events.htm
Score has a lot of resources to help you! Look for the list of helpful websites on this page.
http://www.svscore.org/businessResources.htm

4) http://Startupnation.com

5) http://www.siliconvalley-sbdc.org/

6) http://www.sba.gov

7) http://Astia.org - A women entrepreneur's resource

Thats it for now!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A day at Stanford


Yesterday I spent the day on Stanford's campus. I rode my bike to Caltrain, then rode to Stanford. Coming up Palm Drive was amazing, so beautiful, and it takes you straight to the main entrance. It's obvious that Stanford was very well planned. Then I made my way to Green Library, and talked to the guy at the front and showed him evidence of being a continuing education student so I could be allowed to pass through the pearly white gates. Then filled out paperwork to receive a shiny new library card.

The woman in front of me was pratically begging to gain free access to the library because she worked for a non profit, but DENIED. I felt like a golden key was needed to access the premises, but somehow I was able to get by with a temporary and fragile plastic one that can only open certain doors. I asked for some general information, and was guided towards the business school library. Pedaling around campus was like a dream, did these people really appreciate all that they have going for them? Their school is AMAZING. The views are AMAZING. The buildings are AMAZING. At Purdue we had 37X the amount of students on 1/5 of the land. And we were in the middle of INDIANA.

At the business school library I logged onto one of the computers as a visitor (Continuing education students do not have internet privledges or logins). They have similar research databases for market research as Purdue students have access to. I was able to get some good articles from Marketresearch.com through the stanford library website. However, I did realize that I was able to find more relevent articles by searching on Google that pointed me also towards marketresearch.com, but there listed were articles that I had to pay for that were not listed through the Academic version. Very disappointing.

But then I headed over to an Entrepreneurial Leadership Seminar open to the public, and heard a terrific speaker who is a designer and architect, and now a partner in a venture capitalist firm. Much of his lecture was on sustainability with very eye opening themes, and some interested concepts such as 'leasing recyclable carpet'. He is the author of a book titled 'cradle to cradle'. And at the end of the lecture, Stanford had deli meats and cocktail shrimps just waiting to be eaten. AMAZING. The only time we got snacks like that at Purdue was upon graduation. How differently things of the same concept can be...

And then I met a pretty interesting Architect who also attended the lecture. We discussed the lecture and other subjects, and it blended in with the current theme that I've noticed here in Silicon valley, how well educated and free spirited people are here. Its so simple to strike up conversation with someone here and have it full of substance. A quality that I haven't found anywhere else in the US, people here are very educated and worldly, you could learn so much just by wondering the streets and asking questions. (And I'm not talking about the "can you spare some change" kind of questions.

So I rode with my new friend a different route, toured Stanford some more, and their breathtaking campus, and ended up at another Caltrain station. The train was late, so I striked up a conversation with a Biochemist from Holland. And we proceeded to talk about sustainability and energy...and he wasn't even at the lecture...brilliant. Then we crammed our selves onto the packed bus with about 3 times the bikes that should have been, and rode off down the tracks.

Just another day in the sunny valley.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Inspiring Video and Asking the Important Questions


Today I worked on some video editing to fund my entrepreneur habit. And yesterday we could have picked up a potential job which is exciting. Also, tomorrow I think I'll be meeting with a more experienced videographer and pick up some tips and advice, and potentially some future gigs. Networking is always a good thing.

Today I watched a video featured here: http://etl.stanford.edu/ "Guy Kawasaki, Founder and Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures provides advice about foundation, priorities, financing, key employees, getting the word out, leveraging resources, scope, business development, raison d'etre, and the big picture. For example, a few years ago, cleverness was the priority, he says. Today, expertise in technology is important and entrepreneurs should be thinking of making the world a better place, he adds."

I enjoyed his speech, and I definitely find myself preaching the same values and goals. I like when I come across things that validate what I believe and find that these people are successful. It shows that I may have a shot at this!

I met with my group about the business start up idea. The meeting went well, and we started off by talking about myers briggs personality types, and writing down questions that we will need to answer. We will spend the next day independently answering these questions, such as "who are our customers? what value will we provide to them?"

So far things are going well, busy, and kind of stressful, with all the thoughts of everything I want to accomplish. But, staying on track!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

ANOTHER BIT OF FATE! :-)


I'm so excited, so a pretty huge reason of why I moved to California in the heart of Silicon Valley is due to Tom Kelley's Book, "The Art of Innovation", its a book mostly about IDEO, a company that I deeply respect, and that I could actually see myself working for! So, I did a yahoo search for "Entrepreneurness" to see if my website had been added yet to their search engine, and I came across this result:

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Forum / Different skills sets for ...
Business Association of Stanford Engineering Students. Stanford Technology ... I guess they have found a role whereby they can satisfy their 'entrepreneurness' ...
etl-forums.stanford.edu/viewtopic.php?id=213


So, I clicked it, because I was curious about the context in which they used 'my' word :-), and I noticed that I was on some kind of Entrepreneurial Website, so I went to the home page, and I noticed it took me to a list of speakers.  And I thought to myself, wouldn't it be AWESOME if Tom or David Kelley was a speaker, and I scrolled down, and there Tom's name was!

And there was the time and location listed...and so as I was contemplating standing outside the building anxiously, or emailing someone to sneak me in, there it was, the semenars are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!  AMAZING!  I'm very much excited now, and it's already on my calendar, and all because of a search for the word "Entrepreneurness"!!!  Inspiration can come from anywhere!

Patents Continued...


So, the book "Patent it Yourself" by David Pressman has been recommended to me by a handful of people already, so I have purchased it, and have recently received it. I'll consider that as a small drop in the bucket of spending towards being an Entrepreneur. I was able to buy the book online for around $30. Another book recommended to me is "Patent Pending in 24 hours", its about provisional patents, I'll wait a bit until I buy that one. Finding a lawyer may still be my 'best' option, but I am still doing more of a patent search before I throw half my savings into a patent lawyer. (ouch.. it pains me to even think of it)

I'm wondering if its really worth it at this point to use uspto.gov as a search engine. The site is divided into two, pre and post 1976, so any work you do, you basically have to do it twice. I'm thinking of sticking with google.com/patents, and then going to uspto.gov as needed. Any advice there?

File management has been getting harder and harder for me. I keep on doing research and creating documents to store my progress, and then I am left with too many documents with scattered information. And transferring between my laptop and desktop leaves me even more confused. Eventually I hope to come across a better system for this.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A product Idea, & a Business Idea


So, from the entrepreneur class I am taking, our professor has encouraged us to 'partner up' on projects. So, one one side of the room he put every one who had an idea and who was looking for help executing it. So from that, I have met two people who are interested in going into business with me. I have a business concept that I think will be extremely fun to pursue and that will be very beneficial for all who are involved. So, working on this business concept along side working on my product idea will give me a very diverse portfolio on entrepreneur ventures!

If I could get one of the concepts off the ground and running, I could use the income to stronger support the second venture...and then the third.. and the forth... haha. It would be great to be able to first pursue my ideas, jump all the crazy hurdles that have been placed in front of me, get to the point where I can jump the hurdles blindfolded... and then clear them out of the way for other people trying to pursue their dreams.

Its insane how costly patents are. $10,000 for the patent, and $10,000 for legal advice?! Seriously...that's $20,000 just for the rights for your idea. That doesn't even begin to include research and development, and all your time. And I hear they are trying to make patents harder to get. HAHA..WHAT?! If you really want a stronger economy, they should encourage smaller entities to create ideas...instead of just awarding patents to huge compnaies who can afford to jump all the hurdles, then proceed to pay their CEO and VP's millions of dollars. That makes no sense. Less people are happy, and you have such a large pyramid with tons of corruption. Ack. And then award these huge companies with tax breaks in the hopes that the money will somehow trickle down to the people who need it? Umm.. Yeah, makes total sense. Instead of teaching the middle class how to fish, lets just feed the middle class the scraps of the Fishermen (i.e. Corporations).

The $700 billion dollar bailout plan just passed today. I'll be giving my hard earned money to banks who pay their CEO's millions and millions of dollars. For the hope that they'll push me out of the way of the falling piano, that they have decided to drop on me? If we are all lucky, we'll be able to walk out of this with just a FEW scratches and bruises. Great time to be an entrepreneur!