Sign in to follow this  
Splinter of Chaos

How much BUISINESS does one need to run a company?

Recommended Posts

First off, I want to start a company right out of college. Don't tell me if you think it's a stupid idea, I know and don't care. Besides, things might not even work out for me to do it that way. The thing is, I don't care if I don't end up being the person who makes the models or the concept art or any thing like that, I want to be the programmer and designer. I want to go to school, double major in computer science and math (maybe physics), and start a company. But, I'm being told that I should minor is business; maybe major (goodbye math major). I really don't want to take ANY business courses, though. I figured that running a very small business and selling games online, maybe with people online instead of at an office, I'd be able to get a foot in the door without real business knowledge. Well, even I realize that last part sounds incredibly stupid--I'd probably need some rental office space and real people to work with--but this brings me back to my point: How much business should I take in while at college? Some contrary advice I got from someone who actually ran a computer software company with no business knowledge is: either go to my local university (an average CS school) and learn about business so I'm a valuable enough member of the team that they won't desert me, or go to a good school and get a CS, in which case I'll be valuable enough to the team. The question this brings up is: Who runs the business? Anyway: any advice would be helpful. I have four years to work out kinks in my plan and decide how much business to take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't find the bit where you say you want to start small stupid. The bit I'm scratching my head over is where you say you want to start a company but you don't want to take any business courses. If your goal is to start a business, why are you shying from the study?

I'm in a position where I'm looking to start a small business myself, but I only started heading in that direction after I finished my undergraduate studies. I've tried to pick up some learning from books and a few short courses on tech start-ups to compensate. If you really want to run a business, why not take a few courses now while you can?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The question is about where the balance is. Should I major in business? Minor? Casually take a few courses? It's not even that hard?

The thing is, I just don't care about economy, what an entrepreneur is, and crap like that. I want to minimize my exposure and focus on what I think is important: programming, math, English literature, crap like that. In fact, I want to take as many of those classes as possible and am peeved that business is going to get in the way. That's why I want to minimize my exposure...besides getting told a bunch of crap about how great capitalism is would really piss me off.

I know knowledge of business is required, I just want to study as little business as possible so nothing else gets minimalized.

I know I'm not very good at wording things like this. Sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
First off, I want to start a company right out of college. Don't tell me if you think it's a stupid idea, I know and don't care.
Starting a business right out of college isn't a stupid idea. I started consulting just after I started college. As long as you are persistent and willing to do what needs doing, such as taking business courses, you can get off to a good start.
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
I want to be the programmer and designer. I want to go to school, double major in computer science and math (maybe physics), and start a company. But, I'm being told that I should minor is business; maybe major (goodbye math major). I really don't want to take ANY business courses, though.
Basically, you want to be the R&D guy. That's fine, but you should pair up with someone who's business-savvy, if you're not willing to put in legwork on that front.
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
I figured that running a very small business and selling games online, maybe with people online instead of at an office, I'd be able to get a foot in the door without real business knowledge.
Sounds simple and easy on paper, but in practice, when you're starting up, you're not going to have much luck. Playboy success is for those who are born rich. Real success is for those who work hard, constantly. You can't work hard to great effect unless you know what you're doing or you have someone on payroll who knows what they're doing.
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
Well, even I realize that last part sounds incredibly stupid--I'd probably need some rental office space and real people to work with--but this brings me back to my point: How much business should I take in while at college?
A lot, even if you just want to be the R&D guy. University education provides a foundation; higher education is not a magic pill. At the least, you should have basic knowledge of accounting and marketing concepts, developed public speaking skills, and familiarity with strategic management.
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
The question this brings up is: Who runs the business?
A cofounder with business-savvy. You won't be the top dog, but you should never start a business for the title and all that entails. You should start a business because you have a mission, because you believe you can fulfill the as-of-yet unfulfilled needs of an established or yet-to-be established market. If you just want a paycheck, get a job; don't become an entrepreneur.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This may be very different in the USA (I wouldn't know), but over here you'd probably be wasting your time taking business at university for what you want.
Reading a good "how to run your own business" book might actually help more. You may also want to consult a tax advisor. It costs very little as long as you have little/no income, and it's definitively worth the investment.

I've worked with people who had what you'd call "business minor" at two occasions in the past. They were nice guys and they sure had studied a lot about "business, economy and stuff", but they had zero knowlege which would have been valuable or applicable for the business. It took them 6-12 months in the job to acquire that knowledge.

A couple of friends of mine founded a startup firm some 5-6 years ago. One of them was a "business major". They had a good idea, a nice looking business plan, and much to my surprise, they managed to raise 5 million euros from investors within only two months (wtf, don't ask me how!). Two years later, the money was gone, as was all of their personal equity.
I don't know, but to me, the outcome isn't really that convincing. If that had been my money, I'd puke...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You first need to determine if you really want to start and run a business. If you don't, just look for a job. You can always start a company later if feel you're ready for it.

In my experience, running a small business requires besides common sense, a lot of practical knowledge: understanding tax rules, writing proposals and contracts, networking and communication skills etc. All the disciplines found in an established company. Doing this all by yourself can be very interesting and challenging, but if you feel this is not for you, team up with others who can appreciate it and are willing to invest time finding stuff out. If formal education in the form of a business minor can help you gather some of that knowledge I'd say go for it, because sooner rather than later you will find yourself in a situation where this will be required. It's nothing that cannot be obtained by self-study, but having it presented as a course rather than hunting for it can save you a lot of time and frustration.

If you start a small enterprise with several people involved, not being the 'managing director' doesn't mean you don't 'run the company', you're still a major share holder or partner. Leaving the day to day business stuff up to someone else, while you focus your attention on the engineering or artistic part of the process is fine, but you will have to realize that as a small business owner you have to be prepared to be pretty all round, because there might be no one else that will do it for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
The question is about where the balance is. Should I major in business? Minor? Casually take a few courses? It's not even that hard?

The thing is, I just don't care about economy, what an entrepreneur is, and crap like that. I want to minimize my exposure and focus on what I think is important: programming, math, English literature, crap like that. In fact, I want to take as many of those classes as possible and am peeved that business is going to get in the way. That's why I want to minimize my exposure...besides getting told a bunch of crap about how great capitalism is would really piss me off.



Thats ok, you limit yourself to what your good at, and hire others to do all the bits that you aren't so good at. Its a matter of pricing everything, if you're spending 2 days doing your accounts, when a professional can do it in 1/2 a day, your better off getting the pro. in.

anyway, I think you should research running a business to some degree, find a few books to read first, and then decide upon the business major.

I get the impression that it could be a bit of a culture shock for you if you do start a business straight out of college, learning as you go is ok; but the potential to get things wrong and the consequences of getting those things wrong can be huge. (such as tax calculations, registering your company correctly, managing your wages, ensuring enough money for your employees)

I'm not sure building a website to sell games is going to bring in enough revenue either to support yourself and a small team and an office, you'll have to do some market research in order to determine the viability yourself. (this is more than just googling) You're assuming as soon as you setup your website portal its just going to "take off".

When you first embark on your business ideas, its important not to be picky about what kind of business you do. Every type of work is important, and its important you understand that you must go and find the work, not the other way around. People generally won't come to you when you first start out.

my advice, take the business course and learn the maths in your spare time. or try and do both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't learn any business in college: it's seldom useful in my experience. Instead, get a great technical level and get hired by a start-up. If you're lucky, you'll get a great wage, but the actual point of doing this is that you'll be observing up front how a start-up founder works: how he finds clients, how he finds investors, how he finds collaborators... learning by actually seeing the things in action is much more effective for business (and anything social in general) than it is for technical matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
> How much business should I take in while at college?

College won't teach you leadership, salesmanship, and inter-personal skills. Those are needed to run a successful business. And it doesn't matter if you are the CEO or VP Engineering or Tech Lead, you need those soft skills to run the business if you want to really own that business.

My suggestion is to work in sales or customer service as a summer job, get involved in para-academic activities (investment clubs, sports teams, chess club, etc, even found one if you can't find what you like!), etc. Those types of activities will get the mileage you are looking for. If you still feel you are missing out on some more business education, you can always do an MBA a few years after you graduate.

-cb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can understand you don't want to "waste" time at college learning business, but that doesn't mean you don't take any business courses. It's almost certain there are courses you can enroll on (maybe even for free) outside of college. For instance, you can go to night school. This may lead to some sort of official qualification, or it may just teach you some things. You can also find books in your local library or on Amazon about all this stuff.

Going into this with no research is a bad plan, but it's quite normal for would-be company founders to have to put in long hours doing this kind of thing on top of their normal life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Splin wrote:
>First off, I want to start a company right out of college.
>I really don't want to take ANY business courses, though.

Perhaps you see now that these are incompatible desires? You've gotten truly excellent advice here (except those posts that said "you don't need no stinking business courses," that is).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
(except those posts that said "you don't need no stinking business courses," that is).
For the sake of discussion: I suspect I'm in the group above, so I feel I should express my view more clearly and ask your opinion about it.

  • College courses are not a good reference for starting a business, and even if they were, there are usually a lot of fine points you can't get if you don't already have some experience in that area.
  • By contrast, going back to school after a short while (either by doing an MBA, or some specific courses aimed specifically at people who wish to start a business) will get the benefits of both a very precisely selected curriculum and a few years of real-world experience.
  • And, as I already mentioned, working at the side of a company founder is also a good way, to me, to get a good overview and some insight into the process of founding and leading a company.


So, what would be your precise thoughts on the above?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
The thing is, I just don't care about economy, what an entrepreneur is, and crap like that. I want to minimize my exposure and focus on what I think is important: programming, math, English literature, crap like that. In fact, I want to take as many of those classes as possible and am peeved that business is going to get in the way. That's why I want to minimize my exposure...besides getting told a bunch of crap about how great capitalism is would really piss me off.

If you lose all your money, your business is dead. Learning how to run a business helps ensure that you can continue working on your passions, on your schedule.

To do the things we want in life, we always have to make sacrifices and do somethings we don't really want. Sometimes, we get pleasantly surprised and learn that we actually enjoy some of the things we thought we didn't want.

Here's my recommendation: audit the business courses (so you don't have to get good grades in them and they won't affect your GPA; just pass) as an undegrad. Start a small, one- to five-person business after graduation, and see if you can run that successfully for about three years. Regardless of outcome at that point, enroll in a business school and obtain an MBA. With the combination of your primary expertise at making games, a couple years' experience running a small company, and the business knowledge and networking/contacts from the MBA, you will now be poised to grow your business substantially and potentially become one of the industry's major success stories.

Good luck! [smile]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My recommendations, having started two small companies and going for a third try:

#1: College courses in accounting and basic "business legal" issues are probably worth taking. Don't bother majoring or minoring in business unless you want to get an MBA and become CEO of someone elses company.

#2: Spend some bucks at Amazon, you local bookstore, etc. and get a decent book on starting your own company. I recommend http://www.amazon.com/Small-Business-Start-Up-Peri-Pakroo/dp/1413307566/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217353547&sr=1-6 - which will have some stuff you probably already know (getting a Web domain, etc.) and a lot you won't (dealing with taxes, etc.).

#3: Don't be surprised if your first attempt, or even first FEW attempts, fail. A huge percentage of startups fall over, and for many the first try is more of a learning experience. Don't let it get you down, take what you learned and try again!

#4: There are lots of good publications for FREE from the Small Business Administration, look at http://www.sba.gov/tools/resourcelibrary/publications/index.html - there are some real gems among the docs available.

Best of luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"tooh" asked me directly:
>So, what would be your precise thoughts on...
1 >College courses are not a good reference for starting a business,
2 >going back to school after a short while (either by doing an MBA, or some specific courses aimed specifically at people who wish to start a business) will get the benefits of both a very precisely selected curriculum and a few years of real-world experience.
3 >working at the side of a company founder is also a good way... to get a good overview and some insight into the process of founding and leading a company.

1. I disagree. Formal education isn't an end-all and be-all, of course. I've always said so. But it's a good eye-opener.
2. Sure.
3. Of course. Experience is everything, which is not to say that education is nothing.

The following quotes are all good advice:
>learning as you go is ok; but the potential to get things wrong and the consequences of getting those things wrong can be huge.
>you must go and find the work, not the other way around. People generally won't come to you when you first start out.
>get hired by a start-up... you'll be observing up front how a start-up founder works
>It's nothing that cannot be obtained by self-study, but having it presented as a course rather than hunting for it can save you a lot of time and frustration.
>there are courses you can enroll on (maybe even for free) outside of college. For instance, you can go to night school.
>Going into this with no research is a bad plan
>To do the things we want in life, we always have to make sacrifices and do somethings we don't really want. Sometimes, we get pleasantly surprised and learn that we actually enjoy some of the things we thought we didn't want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Here's my recommendation: ... Start a small, one- to five-person business after graduation ...


That was actually my plan (although I was thinking it would be 3 to 5). I'm glad to see it was suggested.

Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
The following quotes are all good advice:
opinion.

Quote:
Original post by WanMaster
You first need to determine if you really want to start and run a business. If you don't, just look for a job.


That's actually not a bad question, that I stopped asking a long time ago. [deleted long rant about making games no sane person would ever get behind]

Could I find a lot of freedom in a company, or even ANY freedom to design games if I want to be a programmer and can't draw well? I mean, the kind of freedom I will need to do what I want to do means there can't be any one who's going to say "I can't see who the target audience is." I just don't know that, even in a small company, even in a small INDY company, I could say "and I want it to take place in a microwave" and have people take it seriously, or worse, not take it as a joke. (I'd want people to take it seriously as a suggestion, but realize it's a joke...on the player.)

Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Splin wrote:
>First off, I want to start a company right out of college.
>I really don't want to take ANY business courses, though.

Perhaps you see now that these are incompatible desires? You've gotten truly excellent advice here (except those posts that said "you don't need no stinking business courses," that is).


Heh, I've known for a long time those two are incompatible. Too bad I never listen to my self.

Quote:
Original post by (someone; I couldn't be bothered to check)
Something about running the business for two years before going back to college.

Is the two years because the first two years are too important for me not to allocate time away from the company to take classes? I hope that in that time, my company will have put out two games, and be working on a third, so that doesn't sound like a bad time to do that. (I know that sounds fast, but I have a plan.) It would be about the time I'd be looking for expansion. If we can't produce two games as fast as I think, that'd be an even better time.


Well, so I've heard the opinions, and here's what I've come out with:
Go to school, NO or FEW basic business classes (more on law and stuff).
Read a book or two on business AFTER the classes (so the material is fresh enough I'm not too bored to take them).
Start business.
Go back and get masters on business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Keeping this short because I'm in the middle of the bar exam. Yes, Tom, I should be studying. This is how I spend my mental health break time.

1. Most small businesses and new ventures fail. The failure rate is compounded when the principals lack experience, business-sense, financial and psychological maturity, and financial backing.

2. EVERYONE involved in the direct lifeline and well-being of the company needs to have some business knowledge. Without it, those who know the least will probably get screwed the most if/when things go south.

3. While academia may not be only route, I would strongly advise you take at least some kind of legal rights class so you're aware of your liabilities and risks when starting a business.

4. You can't make money without fronting some money. Most banks won't give an SBA loan to new companies-- the company needs to be in business for 2-3 years for that route to be viable. Venture capitalists typically only work with major business ventures and experienced business people. Angel investors are hard to find. Taking out loans from friends and family may strain your future relationships. Going into a business without knowing about business will ensure that anyone who bets on you will be throwing their money away.

I've given up trying to talk people out of starting companies right out of college. I wouldn't call it stupid, simply irrational. Chances are you're going to do it, scrape your knees a bit, then join the work force and learn from your mistakes.

Regardless, best of luck to you. I wrote a couple articles about this for gamedev a while back, so feel free to check them out. Biz planning 2. Part 1 is still up on my blog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
Could I find a lot of freedom in a company, or even ANY freedom to design games if I want to be a programmer and can't draw well? I mean, the kind of freedom I will need to do what I want to do means there can't be any one who's going to say "I can't see who the target audience is." I just don't know that, even in a small company, even in a small INDY company, I could say "and I want it to take place in a microwave" and have people take it seriously, or worse, not take it as a joke. (I'd want people to take it seriously as a suggestion, but realize it's a joke...on the player.)

Nobody gives a rat's ass about your fucking freedom.

Now that I've shocked you, let me explain. Fundamentally, we're all free - but we also have nothing. There are things we want, which other people have, and things we have, which other people want. So we exchange what we have for what we want. You don't have money, clearly, because if you did you wouldn't be deliberating over whether to start a company and issuing screeds on freedom. Because you don't have money, you have to get it from someone who does, and to do that you have to give them something they want in return.

You have two options:
  1. Work for them, so they pay you money in return for work done; or
  2. Borrow from them, so you pay them money (interest) for letting you use their money for an agreed duration.

In reading your comments, I see a lot about what you want, which is all very interesting in that "Aw, the little boy told Santa he wants an orbiting death ray for Christmas!" kind of way. Ultimately, nobody cares. What are you prepared to do - to give, to sacrifice - to get what you want?

Until you think about that, you're not ready to start or run a business. If you think someone telling you, as an employee, "I can't see who the target audience is" is a problem (ignoring the fact that, as a programmer, you won't be involved in any decision at the level of considering target audiences), then you must be blissfully unaware that running your own company doesn't make that problem disappear. After all, your indie games company needs to sell some of those games and make money, right?

Welcome to capitalism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by cbenoi1
> Well, so I've heard the opinions, and here's what I've come out with:

Add: Hone soft skills by getting involved in para-academic social activities.

-cb


Good addition.

Quote:
Original post by madelelaw.
2. EVERYONE involved in the direct lifeline and well-being of the company needs to have some business knowledge. Without it, those who know the least will probably get screwed the most if/when things go south.

3. While academia may not be only route, I would strongly advise you take at least some kind of legal rights class so you're aware of your liabilities and risks when starting a business.


2. Hmmm... Good point, although are you suggesting I only hire people with at least elementary business knowledge, or inform them upon entry?

3. Definitely.

Both 2 and 3 sound like solid votes for taking at least two--maybe three--biz classes in college; this is aside from the book(s) of coarse.

Quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
Nobody gives a rat's ass about your fucking freedom.

Now that I've shocked you, let me explain.


Do you really think this is shocking to me? Did it not occur to you that the reason I wanted to start my own company was due to this obvious fact?

Quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
"I can't see who the target audience is" is a problem (ignoring the fact that, as a programmer, you won't be involved in any decision at the level of considering target audiences)


Another good reason not to be an employee, but employer. Besides, if I work at a small enough company I DON'T own (say, one when you take "the number of people at a company and divide it by the number of people who don’t do any development" and get a good ratio (Taken from an interview with Metanet on N+)) I'll at least be closer to being able to pitch ideas and if I pitch an idea, I need to have a target audience in mind (if I know anything about the biz of gaming). It's just that I feel this takes away the artistic freedom and creativity the industry was based on. The first innovators of the industry didn't design for an audience, they created an audience. What if I want to aim for audiences that don't exist yet? What if it's not a bad idea?

I don't want to work with people who think of games in terms of audience. I want people who think of games in terms of "awesome, everyone will love it" and "that idea sucks." Selling the game will just mean I have to sell it to any audience it seems any of the awesomeness of the game appeals to. (To emphasize this point: A survival horror game with an emphasis on immersion, imagery, abstractness, and notably not fear, might not actually appeal to survival horror fans. That doesn't mean there's no audience, though.)


Now, a few miscellaneous comments:
Please, no more remarks about finance. The one who keeps my college fund assures me that I'll supposedly have more than enough for college, and even some left over for capitol. Not that she'll tell me how much of MY money she's keeping in MY account, but there's enough evidence to support I won't be taking any loans any time soon. Please, no more remarks about finance.

Please, no more remarks about commitment and sacrifice. You don't know me, you don't know enough to judge my maturity, intelligence, understanding, or commitment. I'm not even going to try to justify myself here; I'd like you to all have the respect to give me the benefit of the doubt--or at least consider it pointless to ask me if I don't think I should do what I'm telling you I think I should do.


Other than that, thanks for all the comments! One thing I find interesting is that no one is mentioning that failure probably means financial ruin. No? It's possible to eventually get back up again? I won't say that sounds encouraging until someone confirms this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
Other than that, thanks for all the comments! One thing I find interesting is that no one is mentioning that failure probably means financial ruin. No? It's possible to eventually get back up again? I won't say that sounds encouraging until someone confirms this.

It depends a bit on what you mean by "failure". I'm sure you've been told the statistic that something like four in five new small business no longer exist after five years*. But that includes those cases where the business was sold, achieved their objective, or closed due to the owners wanting to move on.

In the worst case you could face bankruptcy, loss of credit rating, and maybe even your personal assets depending on the type of business you set up. But there's precautions to stop you from getting that far. If you do your homework and set up the right sort of company framework with the help of a lawyer and an accountant you'll be safer. And even those who go bankrupt can and do bounce back.

However you'll have to note that I'm gearing myself mentally up to start my own small solo business, so I might be taking an optimistic viewpoint here. [wink] Do your own research to reassure yourself.

* I'm not sure how true the raw figures are in this statistic, or whether it still holds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
One thing I find interesting is that no one is mentioning that failure probably means financial ruin. No? It's possible to eventually get back up again? I won't say that sounds encouraging until someone confirms this.

Well, the good thing is that creating software (including PC games) doesn't necessarily require a substantial initial investment. You don't need a factory, expensive machines or rare raw materials to start working. What you do need is creativity, talent and lots of (productive) time. The fact that many people here make games as a hobby is a proof of that.

Of course you still need to pay the rent and eat a sandwich once in a while. Therefor it may be wise to start saving some money while having a 'regular' job. It may also be important to set yourself (and the others involved) a deadline: if after a year the company doesn't generate enough income to support yourself, ask yourself the question whether you should continue or not.

Like Trapper mentioned, most successful entrepreneurs have a couple of failed attempts on their track record. It's not the end of the world, as long as you learn from your mistakes and don't give up.

Starting a business will always involve financial risk, but the returns may well exceed that of a steady job at an established company. Make sure you are aware most of them in advance and make sure you have a backup plan if things aren't going as well as you would have hoped.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
Both 2 and 3 sound like solid votes for taking at least two--maybe three--biz classes in college; this is aside from the book(s) of coarse.


Best thing you've said so far.

A business has two faces: there's the bit where you do what *you* want to do, and the bit where you do what the government says you *have* to do. The latter is the boring bit that many seem to think they can just dump onto the shoulders of their accountant friend; either way, it's *unavoidable* overhead. For smaller businesses, this overhead is often quite small and easily handled if you've a head for organisation and can force yourself to set aside a few hours a week to deal with it all. ("Hey, it's Paperwork Friday! W00t!")

I have a personal rule of thumb that has helped me quite a bit in life: "Know enough about each subject to recognise bullshit when you see it." This is a good general rule to follow, but it does mean reading up on basic accountancy and your country's laws as they apply to small businesses. If you don't you run the very real risk of getting screwed by whomever you hire to handle that side of the business. (In other words: even if you do hire an accountant, keep an eye on what they're doing to make sure they're not making mistakes. Even accountants are only human, and their mistakes will cost *you* money.)



Quote:
What if I want to aim for audiences that don't exist yet?


And, er, how will that audience *know* about your game when you release it? Marketing and PR don't magically appear: you have to pay for them. And pay quite a bit. Viral marketing can help up to a point, but it can take *ages* for it to gain valuable traction. Time that your rivals -- and make no mistake, if it turns out you're right and there is a market for your game, you *will* have rivals -- can use to build their own games and market them using their established teams.

Quote:

I don't want to work with people who think of games in terms of audience. I want people who think of games in terms of "awesome, everyone will love it" and "that idea sucks."


Don't be so quick to dismiss traditional marketing and PR techniques. These are based on very sound, solid science. Seriously: read up on it sometime. (You'll want to do that anyway if you intend to market your own games.)


Quote:
One thing I find interesting is that no one is mentioning that failure probably means financial ruin. No? It's possible to eventually get back up again? I won't say that sounds encouraging until someone confirms this.


I'm currently watching a close family member, who runs her own business, scrabbling around, trying desperately to raise over £20K to keep the bailiffs from repossessing their *home*. It's not as if there were no warning signs that her business was in trouble, but they made the classic beginner mistake of not planning their Exit Strategy: i.e. deciding in advance when they'd pull the plug and walk away.

It is *very* easy to get so attached to your business -- your "baby" -- that you can't face the idea of shutting it down. If there's any one point you should take from this thread, I think it's that. There's been a lot of great advice in this thread, but, for the sake of your sanity, do NOT fall into the trap of seeing your business as anything other than an abstract entity. Don't let stubbornness -- a common trait in entrepreneurs -- blind you.

[Edited by - stimarco on July 31, 2008 9:51:10 AM]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos

2. Hmmm... Good point, although are you suggesting I only hire people with at least elementary business knowledge, or inform them upon entry?



I would recommend educating yourself enough to ensure you aren't taken advantage of down the line, and I would strongly recommend that at least one member of your team knows enough about complex business planning, transactions, negotiations, marketing, employment law, human resources, tax law and single-purpose entity formation to keep you from doing any irreparable damage, i.e. tax evasion. Businesses can be extremely complex, enough that many consulting firms and law firms make a significant portion of their income through handling corporate/company maintenance (such as annual meetings, corporate quarterly filings with state/federal governments, etc.). With small businesses the maintenance is typically less arduous, but you can still hurt your business by not knowing your responsibilities under the law.

Quote:

Now, a few miscellaneous comments:
Please, no more remarks about finance. The one who keeps my college fund assures me that I'll supposedly have more than enough for college, and even some left over for capitol. Not that she'll tell me how much of MY money she's keeping in MY account, but there's enough evidence to support I won't be taking any loans any time soon. Please, no more remarks about finance.


You don't know how much of your money is yours? And you don't think this indicates a little bit of financial immaturity?

You're in a fortunate position.

Quote:
Please, no more remarks about commitment and sacrifice. You don't know me, you don't know enough to judge my maturity, intelligence, understanding, or commitment. I'm not even going to try to justify myself here; I'd like you to all have the respect to give me the benefit of the doubt--or at least consider it pointless to ask me if I don't think I should do what I'm telling you I think I should do.


If you're that temperamental about suggestions and critiques re: legitimate business matters (i.e., financial an professional maturity, experience, commitment), you are in for a very rough ride. You need to get used to the idea that people are going to try to offer advice, that nearly everyone you encounter in business is going to think you're too young and therefore unreliable. That's what you're going up against. Consider this training. People will not waste their time getting to know someone if their first impression is one of unreliability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this