Wanting to start a business

So I have had robots dancing in the brain too much and a couple of months ago decided to start into business. We have several good ideas but no idea on getting money to build them. We figure we can bootstrap everything and make a demo-able prototype but that is no guarantee that we will get a single contract.

If you would like to know are robots ideas are geared towards military and police use.

Anyone have any suggestions on getting the ball rolling?

Look into Roccobotics.

One tip is to figure out websites that you can follow that may help you stay ‘in the know’ for your type of robotics. For example, for UAV’s, there are 2 I follow:
http://www.suasnews.com/
www.diydrones.com

I don’t build UAV’s for a career, but I’m fasciated by quadrotors and can stay up with their progress industry-wide. Should I ever go into business, I can find my own market space that competitors don’t fill (I have an idea or two) – or I could go into business supplying COTS items for other UAV’s.

Find a place where there isn’t anybody operating, or there are very few competitors, then do something better than all your competitors.

If you’re going into military/police-use robots, you’re looking at competing against Foster-Miller’s Talon, along with iRobot’s Packbot. You have to do something that they can’t, or do what they do better than they do. If you can’t do that, then you won’t be successful with the business.

On the other hand, if you develop something that works with both, that neither has come up with…Well, I can see some success there, at least for a while.

Please build a robot to clean my house :o.

But seriously, I think that most mechanical jobs are being done, your best bet is in AI to drive cars (although there you have to compete with google) clean houses, mow lawns, or do some other task humans hate.

Both of those have been done and are continuing to be done. We have several unique ideas we have not seen in the wild

Done :wink:

We do have an advantage of our in-prototype system that once again has not seen much use. We plan to use that to our advantage.

Define, Learn, Do.

Define: What do you want to do? (In this case, start a business.)
Learn: Find someone who has done it (the folks from AndyMark and IFI come to mind) and find out what they know.
Do: Go do what they did.

Probably asking a bunch of people who haven’t started a successful business for advice about starting a business is not the best plan.
Go straight to the ones with results; the knowledge of one successful person trumps the opinion of the masses.
Best of luck, and dream big!

Military & industrial is serious business. They’ll pay a fortune for a product, but it needs to be (literally) bulletproof, with 100% service and a reputation to back it up. A semi-amateur start up wont have much of a chance.

The hobbyist market is huge and carries a lot less liability, fine for one-man operations and small start-ups.

The general public (non-hobbyist) is a dangerous endeavor, one lawsuit and you’re dead. Tread carefully, and think long and hard on this one.

As for general business stuff - accounting, funding, legal, supply chain, marketing, purchasing, branding, etc… Buy a book somewhere, most are just fine for the basics.

Funding is always the issue, identify a customer with cash before building anything, and sell your prototype to them. Use that to find the second customer, and go from there. Be realistic when identifying your potential market size. A niche of a niche of a niche is rarely a large market.

Good luck.

Not to completely disagree with Don, but there are frequently opportunities for the garage start-ups to make a name in those communities. If you are interested, look for opportunities at:
www.fbo.gov
All federal business opportunities are posted there from paving the parking lot of a VA hospital to building the next blah blah blah. There were some very distinct opportunities through a couple specialized programs that DARPA was working on. The website is difficult to can be confusing and difficult to navigate.
H&H got a pretty good contract to make a ridculous vehicle (though it looks like an absolute blast to run around in).

That was my first thought too… maybe I should send them an email?

hey everyone. This is my first thread here. Im in need of some advice. I am 16 and have 500 dollars to start a business with. I want to buy wholesale and sell products on ebay and at my school such as dre beats, nixon player watches, and ray bans. i have found that kids at my school make a killing buying products like these from china and selling them at school. Can someone give me advice on how to do this? or if their are any other options that will make me around 200 a week or more can you please share? i really want to start some sort of business. not working minimum wage at mcdonalds for 8$ per hour. Thanks to everyone that responds * basic questions about running a small business
* the characteristics of an entrepreneur
* necessary abilities for successfully operating a small business
* reasons for business failure

^reported (sig spam)

Not any specific advice, but something to think about:

TED Talk

Best wishes!

This TedTalk seems quite interesting though not sure if the guy’s plans can fit in here.