I am starting a new business and need your feedback



  • From the early makerspace days, we have wanted to setup Kamloops Makerspace to also be an incubator for businesses that are formed around designing and developing physical products. Up until now we have not really had a chance to explore this dimension. I have been talking to several people and think that there is potential to develop a custom digital manufacturing business and I have decided to take the leap. I am documenting the process of developing my business here hoping that this would inspire some other members to get help from our community and build meaningful businesses.

    Business Plan

    Following is what I have for a business plan so far. I will keep updating this post based on your feedback and any new findings.

    Executive Summary

    This document describes a plan to build a digital fabrication shop with a strong online presence, including an open source library of products.
    The business uses Open Source CNC technologies to build custom products on demand. We follow the principals of open making a recent global movement to support sustainable digital manufacturing. :shipit:

    Market and Product

    Small businesses are our primary market. Our products are custom solutions and kits, most of which would take more than one day to fabricate. Many of our products would require a wide range of skills and various materials to complete and may include electronics. As we receive new contracts, we expand our online repository that includes detail build logs. Digital designs for all the parts and instructions to rebuild the product are published online. We target a niche market that is more concerned about reliability and performance of their tools rather than intellectual property.

    Market Trends

    In the recent years there has been a global trend in enabling small scale and local manufacturing. The open source hardware and software movement has resulted in creation of several great digital libraries for creating physical objects; for instance thingiverse, OpenDesk, Obrary, and Open Source Ecology.

    Recent advancements in CNC hardware and software technologies has made these powerful tools more accessible and maintainable. We will utilize Open Source CNC technologies to offer on demand manufacturing. We follow the principals of open making a recent global movement to support sustainable digital manufacturing.

    Marketing Strategy

    Our primary marketing strategy is digital content creation and sharing. By showing our work to the world, we hope to connect with prospective clients at a deeper level and offer them more value.

    Growth

    We will meet regularly at makerspace and will build the first few orders there while we simultaneously develop the website. The website must be finished and launched in the second quarter. By the third quarter of this year we should be making enough money to be able to afford to rent one of the offices on the second floor of makerspace.

    Employees

    Our target employees are all digital fabricators. These are creative designers and makers who are capable of working as an independent consultant. Projects are directly accepted by employees, removing any management overhead.

    Company Structure

    I am still not certain what kind of company structure we will adopt, but it has to be flat. I do not plan to manage people and I don’t listen to anyone but the client.

    Co-founders

    I am looking for two other humans to help me develop this business from ground up. You must be able to commit to a significant amount of time (Lets say a minimum of 30h per week) so that we can keep pushing . I am looking for people with knowledge in either CNC manufacturing or software development, or both. You must also accept that there are inherent risks in starting a business like this. Talk to me if you are interested!

    Personal Objective

    My aim is to create the ideal workplace environment and business structure for myself; a place that I would want to spend the rest of my life working at. Of course studying market and financial planning is going to be crucial, however money is not the bottom line. Instead I work based on principals I believe to be true.

    Feedback!

    Let me know what you think, what other aspects of the business I should look at and what things I should watch out for. If you know of any businesses similar to what I have described here please share them with me.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this! :smile:



  • I like it. I have no advice as i still use Cardboard Aided Design but seeing what you can accomplish i have no doubt that you will be successful.



  • @arasbm said:

    I am looking for two other humans to help me develop this business from ground up. You must be able to commit to a significant amount of time (Lets say a minimum of 30h per week) so that we can keep pushing . I am looking for people with knowledge in either CNC manufacturing or software development, or both. You must also accept that there are inherent risks in starting a business like this. Talk to me if you are interested!

    Sounds like a good basic idea, but has a few hurdles to overcome. Cost of customer acquisition is going to be a challenge, as well as sales volume, especially in startup year. All custom work means finding customers with the financial resources to value and pay for that work, with little or no economies of scale to leverage. I know next to nothing about CNC manufacturing (but I am really looking forward to learning), but I know a thing or two about business. I definitely don’t have the 30 hrs/week to invest in the business, but I’d be happy to sit down with you and maybe help a bit with the basic business plans if you’d like. At least run some basic numbers to see if the idea is really viable. I love looking at business plans, that’s my geek space. Let me know if you want to talk.


  • Founder

    Awesome @arasbm !!

    It looks good as a first step, and kudos doing it publicly.

    I am not the guy you are looking for as a partner, as I don’t have the skills or time (currently).

    But I think it would be cool to start a bit of a business “mastermind” as they are called. I know there are a few of us interested in starting businesses (me included), and I believe that most of us are at a similar stage to you, just starting out, getting a plan together. I would be willing to meet once a week or a couple of times a month, talk about a certain section of a business plan each time, compare notes, and be accountable to eachother. Maybe invite in experts willing to help and share knowledge?

    I think that as we go, a couple of us can be picking away at the KM business plan as well, to make it a group effort.

    Anybody interested?

    @Nicholas ?
    @Jacob-S ?


  • Electric

    Congratulations! If I can do anything to help you in terms of finding customers, industrial design, larger scale automation, or just general business advice I will do whatever I can to help you.


Log in to reply