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Author Topic: New Business Start Up  (Read 5816 times)

Derek Worden

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New Business Start Up
« on: August 19, 2008, 03:41:07 pm »

I suppose I should give a little background before I ask the question.

For the past 7 years I have been doing sound for various groups. In high school I did sound for plays/musicals, dances, and graduations. In college I was in charge of the mobile sound and light system and worked more on sound and lights than homework (my major was math which I am very quick at). Now my fiancee and I are have graduated she is working at the college and doing a conducting internship there. After this school year she will be hopefully attending graduate school, which means we maybe moving out of the area in a year.

I originally wanted to start working with some local sound companies but when looking the only opportunity that turned up was an hour drive away and didn't have enough work to make the cost in gas worth it.

So sound, acoustics, and system design is what I love to do, and I have thought of starting to do it on my own targeting churches in my area. I've been thinking of contacting some and offering to look at what they have, see what problems they experience, then offer advice, training and installation services.

Some people have told me that this will be a great idea, that I will be able to next summer/year have more experience under my belt that might make me more appealing to larger companies. I also have a concern that I don't want to start providing services to churches and in a year have to leave them with no one.

I don't need this to be full time work, but if it turns that way good. So my question is does any one have advise on how to do business so that if I leave the are in a year I don't leave any churches in the dark, or does any one have advise on starting up a business on my own.
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Charlie Zureki

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 05:22:26 pm »

  Hey Derek,

 Remember your Personal Reputation! I think you might be better off holding the business start up until after you move.

You don't want to leave anyone in a bad position with their (your) system. And, telling them up-front that you'll likely leave town, probably would not net you any work.

 Find some other work to pay your bills and possibly volunteer your time with your Church/Temple/ whatever, until you move. You'll learn for the future!


 That's My Opinion

 Good Luck,
 Hammer
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Be prepared, you'll need it!

Tom Young

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2008, 06:46:41 am »

It appears that you need to read up on the whole concept of starting a business.

And then there are specific needs for installation work.

You will need: liability insurance, to register your business, ensure you do not need to be licensed, figure out whether to incorporate, set up as a LLC or as another form of business, you will need tools (from hand tools to ladders to vehicle to test & measurement), book keeping software, drawing software, possibly a website and other business marketing stuff (cards, brochures), etc.

When most of us started out, driving an hour for work was no big deal. I realise that current gas prices change that. But I also do not think that being a small time installer in churches will count a great deal when you look to get hired by a sound company. It will count some, but not a lot if you do not follow standard installation practices. How will you learn these ?
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Tom Young
Electroacoustic Design Services
Oxford CT
Tel: 203.888.6217
Email: dbspl@earthlink.net
www.dbspl.com

Brad Weber

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2008, 10:02:38 am »

To add to Tom's excellent comments, I'll be blunt and ask the questions you probably need to ask yourself; what are you actually going to offer, what are your abilities and experience in those areas and why should someone hire you?

Please don't take this wrong, my goal is not to discourage you, it is simply to make you think a bit about the realities of such an endeavour.  Have you put together a business plan?  Have you considered what services you actually plan to offer and the costs to do so?  Have you thought about the fact that the nearest sound company being an hour away and not having enough work either tells you something about that company, which may in itself be instructive, or about the market?  Have you done anything to confirm that there is any market for the services you would offer?

There are some services that you may be able to provide with minimal financial investment, but what do you bring to a potential client that they don't already have internally or that isn't already available to them?  And realize that the fact that it is a temporary business does not change anything regarding taxes, licensing, contracts, liability, insurance and so forth.  Do you understand the issues related these or have someone to help you there (I am so thankful for my attorney, CPA and peers for helping me though many of these)?  

Please keep in mind that none of this is personal and that we don't actually know you or what actual relevant experience, education, training, certification, etc. you have.  You mentioned having experience with high school theatre and portable sound in college but we do not know the scale of the systems and applications involved or of your role and you did  not mention any training, education, apprenticeship, etc.  I will say that it sort of jumped out at me that your plan is apparently to target churches and provide installation but you didn't mention having any church sound or installation experience.
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Brad Weber
muse Audio Video

Ivan Beaver

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2008, 06:49:19 pm »

I run into churches all the time that "had a guy" tell them they needed to do "so and so".  And they think we should do it.  Just about all the time they have been given bad advice, by an unknowledgable person who "thought" they knew what they were doing.

With no experience, they "thought"  Laughing it would work
Mad

I just hope he has the proper experience, before he starts to give out bad information, and then the church has to pay somebody else to come fix the problem.

There is a lot more involved in doing it right than most people think.

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For every complicated question-there is a simple- easy to understand WRONG answer.

Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

Derek Worden

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 07:33:22 am »

Well I have to say looking back at what I asked I am not surprised that no one responded... "what are you stupid?" I guess I miss communicated somethings

If I do start doing things on my own, I don't plan to do anything over my head. My goal is to provided good advice and good work, not make quick money. I mean if I do big installs and under cut other guys, I'm screwing myself over because I want to work with them in the future. Actually one of my thoughts has not to do any install work, but refer churches to companies that I know can do good work. More consulting less installing. I would run cable, terminate cables, build racks, and things like that tomorrow, but something like suspending speakers I don't want to get wrong and I want to learn the right and legal way first.

I did miss a big part in my background. I did help my church out 5 years ago with installing what they have right now. Also I went to college at a Christian College. Without mentioning that I must have sounded like I was preying on churches. I actually started out school in a ministry track, so I know very much how churches services are run. And I graduated with a music minor so I have solid background in music. But I switched because I realized there is reason I am good with electronics and love working with sound equipment.

To finish I'd like to stress I only want to do sound because it's what I love to do! And I want to work with smaller churches at this point to give my self a professional starting point and to make sure churches are equipped with what is right for them.

In case some was interested I have composed a list of the events I have been involved in, it's not complete but close.
http://sites.google.com/site/addisonaudio/intresting-files/P RODUCTION.doc?attredirects=0
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 09:08:08 am »

Not to sound negative, but what real experience do you base your knowledge on?  Doing one install and helping out with sound-even for a number of years does not give you the range of experience/knowledge need to be able to "consult" with people and charge them money.

How do you know what companies to recommend?  Have you worked WITH them-or are just going on what you have "heard" about them?  Perceptions can very often be deceiving.

Having a background in music and ministry is a good thing, but does not help much when it comes down to the "science" of audio.

In order to provide a REAL consulting service, you have to know about a wide variety of gear and what it is REALLY capable of doing, not just reading some spec sheets.  What is your experience with different products?  What about reliability?  What are your testing abilities to see how well the products actually perform?

What happens when your advice does not work as intended?  Who is going to "make it right" by the church?

There is just a lot more to it than just "advising".  WHat are you going to base your rates on?

Do you have ANY formal training in sound?  Take a Synaudcon class-even the beginner class to get a little taste of what you probably don't fully know/understand.

Just throwing out a reality check.
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For every complicated question-there is a simple- easy to understand WRONG answer.

Can I have some more talent in the monitors--PLEASE?

Ivan Beaver
dB Audio & Video Inc.
Danley Sound Labs

Don Boone

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 01:43:54 pm »

I'm with Ivan here. Take the 4 Synaudcon courses. Take the 3 Smaart courses. Take a rigging class. Look into training from NSCA.  
Don
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Brad Weber

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 05:03:45 pm »

Derek Worden wrote on Mon, 25 August 2008 07:33

More consulting less installing. I would run cable, terminate cables, build racks, and things like that tomorrow, but something like suspending speakers I don't want to get wrong and I want to learn the right and legal way first.
Derek Worden wrote on Mon, 25 August 2008 07:33

To finish I'd like to stress I only want to do sound because it's what I love to do! And I want to work with smaller churches at this point to give my self a professional starting point and to make sure churches are equipped with what is right for them.

So just what will you do?  Only doing sound will be limiting as many churches are more multimedia based, but I think the last statement is worth more discussion.  Looking at it from a practical perspective, especially with it involving a limited time period, I do not see you becoming a dealer for products or getting a low voltage contractor license or obtaining any related certification.  Your experience seems primarily as an end user of the technology, you don't really seem to have experience with installed system design (which is very different from production design) or the business aspects (bids, contracts, liability, documentation, etc.).  I could be wrong on this, but you also do not seem to have a lot of existing relationships with other audio professionals in your area.  So if you want to have your own business then how about using your production experience to help them while you learn more about the consulting and installation side of the business.  Instead of focusing on equipment and adding equipment, maybe you could focus on helping churches more effectively implement what they already have and look in general terms at what they may need for for what they want to do.
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Brad Weber
muse Audio Video

Derek Worden

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Re: New Business Start Up
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 05:21:56 pm »

Brad Weber wrote on Mon, 25 August 2008 16:03

maybe you could focus on helping churches more effectively implement what they already have and look in general terms at what they may need for for what they want to do.

This is ultimately what I was trying to say with "more consulting less installation"

I know I may not have much hands on experience with installation, but when it comes to the physics behind audio and the electronics I am very knowledgeable (but I know that I am not done learning).

You guys have mentioned classes and some certifications. What do you guys think is best one to start out with and which do you feel carries the most weight? The ones I have looked into are mostly Syn Aud Con and Info Comm CTS certification, but I am open to hearing about others ( such as NSCA, I assume not www.nsca-lift.org  Laughing )
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