Small business/startup thread

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

Let's help each other by giving tips and feedback related to running a startup/small business.

So a bit about me.
20 Years old
Been investing and trading stocks since age 12
Lived abroad most of my life (china, US, Japan) (I'm born in sweden)
Started the company around 2 months ago with a close friend
had next to no capital to start a company with so we had to find something that was not capital intensive
Find niche in market
work 100h weeks for 1 month developing the business plan, going to meeting for counselling, and market researching
After two months we've now gotten our first investor
Our company is valued at 1 million

We're about to go to a trade show and I was wondering if biz has any tips for us.
Our main problem is that our competitors look a lot more professional when compared to us, while they in reality know less about the industry and tech we're both using. How do we differentiate ourselves from them and how that although we might not look more knowledgeable (we're both 20) we are.

Illusionz
Illusionz

help eachother by giving tips
offers no tips
wants tips

Heres a tip, stop expecting people to care about you. Especially if you dont offer anything to them first.

Fried_Sushi
Fried_Sushi

Well without asking for specific input it's kind of hard to give you useful tips that you wouldn't have been able to find by googling "startup tips".

Veeky Forums and forums are about discussion, being specific and adapting my imput (where I can) depending on who's asking should be a good thing.

But hey you can just read any start-up book if you want general tips that apply to everyone.

Skullbone
Skullbone

What does your startup do

WebTool
WebTool

We're in the precision agriculture business.

DeathDog
DeathDog

How did you got your investor?

Also, acquire someone that has the califications you do not have in order to gain credibility

ZeroReborn
ZeroReborn

he asked what does your start up do
like anyone knows what fucking precision agriculture is

whereismyname
whereismyname

The investor was acquired through a startup pitch competition. One of our greatest resources has been the startup community in general. Both for connections and for advice.

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

double post
Also, acquire someone that has the califications you do not have in order to gain credibility

We're hiring a engineer in order to make a better impression but still, our competition consists of state funded giants and full engineering teams. The problem isn't that we lack the quality or skills they do, in fact they really suck at what they're competing with us for, the problem is that people trust these guys.

Emberfire
Emberfire

Well, maybe reach out to a big company for support? I'm not saying sell your product to a transnational company, but if you can't beat them, join them.

How did you got into this "startup community"? And where do you find these investors pitch? I don't know if i have these in my country (or at least not as open)

eGremlin
eGremlin

Where are you located

StrangeWizard
StrangeWizard

How did you got into this "startup community"? And where do you find these investors pitch? I don't know if i have these in my country (or at least not as open)

Mostly through google and research about the community, VC and financing opportunities. Most places have a incubator or two in a mediumly large town so that's where the startup community really is.
The main thing with finance is that thousands of people before you have been through the exact same thing and are willing to give you localized tips. Other than that keep googling opportunities to get finance. The applications may take time but you'll get really useful feedback (most of the time the negative feedback is the best).

Europe.

Dreamworx
Dreamworx

Another thing we noticed is that due to how we set up the business we were not really in that much need of finance so we had the luxury of saying no to a lot of investors.
Make sure you really need the funding before you try to get it.

Nude_Bikergirl
Nude_Bikergirl

What do you mean by precision agriculture ?

Boy_vs_Girl
Boy_vs_Girl

Think of it as data collection and processing for agricultural producers, so that they can make better and more data driven decisions.
There are other aspects of it but that's the core point.

girlDog
girlDog

So, it's more like a consulting firm in the agriculture business

takes2long
takes2long

To a certain extent, but much of the industry for example also manages the actual spreading of fertilizers through analyzing the crops. So it's very integrated with the tools they use.

Does anyone else have a startup?

takes2long
takes2long

Going to a startup Weekend in my local city soon. Have you got any advice for brainstorming/ coming up with ideas besides the usual advice of "think of a common problem". If I read that again I'll go mad.

CodeBuns
CodeBuns

I work in the industry.

OP your data is the only value in your business.

Honestly you won't be more knowledgeable than people like me. I worked my way up from working on the phones of this company accruing agricultural data to practically managing it- your company may be valued at 2 mil, but its the selling that that is the difficult part.

In short, I don't really want to help you, but you need to persuade companies how your data will be more accurate than mine and the others who have been doing this for years and have well fleshed out pools of information on agricultural trends that go back about 20 years.

Good luck kid.

Evil_kitten
Evil_kitten

Think about what means you have and what has happened or not happened that enables you to be a player in the marketplace. I mean countless people come up with ideas that can businesses but feasibility and risk is a very important component.

Thanks for your input, right now we are mostly avoiding selling directly to farmers and going through already established and state sanctioned agricultural services. The main hurdle would be convincing them they need us so we all together avoid building up a b2c sell side. If we do that we get to free-ride on their salesforce while taking on of the costs.

What do you think of this strategy? We don't operate in the US and we only operate in a small part of a country in Europe so I hardly think we're competing XD

Firespawn
Firespawn

My company operates across the U.S. and within a few bigger European countries. We could be, who knows. I'm not concerned though- the company is preeminent and desu I'm thinking of jumping ship soon.

Selling to farmers is a bad idea unless they're large estates or partnerships. Farmers generally have a very good idea of the state of the industry and how it affects them (e.g. British farmers are currently crying about prices constantly) so selling to them is a no-go. Instead I would suggest offering the information in a limited form (like a 10 page pdf covering general trends) in exchange for exact information on their farm etc.

B2c doesn't work well in the precision industry in my experience- but with that said you could build a smaller department offering very in-depth data to interested large estates and the like.

Your targeting of established agricultural services and the state is the best manner of conducting business in my experience. However, even if you do secure them as clients it is impractical to think you'd have a free ride using their salesforce instead of investing in your own (plus sales are cheap- just make your OTE too high for most to attain, training is easy).

Your strategy is pretty sound but in this business you need to be good at:
Getting new data.
Updating existing data.
Putting the data into useful statistic blocs.
Selling said manipulated data.

Two last things- firstly, how are you building new data stores? Second (a bit of advice) have you considered selling data to magazines, agricultural or economic? Even tabloids occasionally need farming data.

StrangeWizard
StrangeWizard

Not really, our company focuses exclusively on drone based precision ag. One of the main reasons for that was the low barrier to entry, we didn't have the time or the capital to make fully encompassing service.
Furthermore the most powerful player in this industry is basically doing everything for free (government funded) so trying to offer what they're offering but better is a no go.

When it comes to agricultural trends we have access to the government data and reports on the issue and our active usage of that system is in part let us establish a comprehensive strategy for segmenting the market. Data collection for trends are public info and who farms what, where is also public info so we have all of that. In terms of actual maps and image analysis of farmland we don't have too much of that, just the pilot project with a select few big players.

In that sense we are more of a direct data gathering and analysis service rather than a macro-consultancy firm.

viagrandad
viagrandad

Ah alright I see.

Honestly I don't know what to tell you then. Obviously drone agri tech looks set to increase tenfold in activity over the next few years so it is a smart time to enter than niche, yet if your major competition is already pivoting to accommodate the early market within its free services then it could be very hard to penetrate it.

As a direct data gathering and analysis service I suppose you could sell yourself as a micro-consultancy firm to potential clients? As for combating larger company spread in the established agri services you could play to your youth and try to forge a reputation as a young, innovative company? I've done my best with my company but most firms are populated with old, knowledgeable, yet OLD fuckers.

In light of this new information, for your trade show you both need to go smart- but not stuffy- and just be approachable. Give out business cards liberally and really play up the drone aspect of the business (but tailor it to the audience, old farmers 50+ tend not to give a flying fuck about new tech) and how it and your analysis could benefit their output and overheads.

Firespawn
Firespawn

like anyone knows what fucking precision agriculture is
Isn't it obvious?

Booteefool
Booteefool

Is it a good idea to startup a tech company (website) without any knowledge of coding?

I was going to outsource the website/app design to a company in the city (I know it will be expensive, I'm prepared to pay) and once I have everything ready I can start the marketing side myself.

The startup is similar to Uber but for something other than rides (it's specific to what I have researched in my city, so I'm not sure about scalability across the country but we will worry about that later). So generally all I need programmed is the site where people can request someone to provide the service, browse through people, and perhaps a simple messaging system.

I am currently learning ruby on rails in order to create some sort of prototype, but this will likely take months and I would prefer to take action now and get it over with.

RumChicken
RumChicken

outsource the website/app design to a company

That's like Basics 101 on how NOT to run a tech business - when it comes to the core product offering you'd want to keep it to people who have as much skin in the game as you.

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

If you guys need help with GIS stuff, I gould probably help.

Nude_Bikergirl
Nude_Bikergirl

Could*

iluvmen
iluvmen

So linkedin, glassdoor etc?

The main issue with making money doing something like that is you either have to go mass market in order to reach a large enough scale to make money from ads (while providing a free to use service) or integrate the product closer to the consumers which basically means you become a staffing company.

Deadlyinx
Deadlyinx

How do I get going

Lord_Tryzalot
Lord_Tryzalot

Need a developer/sysadmin?

massdebater
massdebater

You will never operate in the U.S. without being raped by Monsanto/John Deere. Every JD tractor now comes with GPS and monitoring tools that collect and process data in real time. By using statistics they can project annual growth/decline in certain areas, predict rainfall, moisture, alkaline in the soil etc

Basically you are fucked and your company is worth pennies the only thing keeping you alive is the fact that Monsanto is banned from your euroturd country for being too American. After brexit you won't have big brother to protect you and you WILL be anally devastated.

TreeEater
TreeEater

Why do people so clueless make such sweeping a baseless assumptions?

PackManBrainlure
PackManBrainlure

HE'S GROWING DANK KU$H

CodeBuns
CodeBuns

Confidence.
you did all the research, technical work etc

now its up to good ole salesmanship. you must appear confident and act like you know more then the next guy at alll fucking times. you must live breath that shit, if you dont you whole company wont be taken seriously aka failure. youll be scrutinized more because you might look too young. its confidence my son

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

"........that's entertainment!....."

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

In fairness my company is currently contracted by monsanto to test the waters in the UK for massive expansion should they brexit

5mileys
5mileys

Oh wow

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

we don't look proffessional (legit) yet

just takes time nig. Time and experience. There's no tip for that. It will happen bro. Then you'll look in the mirror one day and see the people you used to be jealous of.

RavySnake
RavySnake

Would be interested. I'm thinking of just buying a turnkey script that offers basically what I need. I would require some changes to the site though, if you can provide them.

The script is written in:
Server Side Scripting: PHP 5.5+
Framework: MVC
Client Side Scripting: JavaScript, AJAX, Jquery
Database: MySQl 5.6+
OS: Linux
Web Server: Apache
HTML Structure: Div Based Table Less Structure

Can you make sense of this mumbojumbo? Is it using good code or shitty outdated code?

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