Sunday, December 7, 2014
In August I attended a meetup that featured a new technology transfer program with the Air Force Academy. As I finished talking with one of the Colonels, a guy came up to the colonel, gave him a big hug and warmly greeted him. The colonel responded positively -- which was a surprise given the usual more reserved military decorum. I thought, "This guy is the consummate networker. I don't think I could ever be that good at it." Then I thought, "Maybe I don't need to be. I should introduce myself to him." A few minutes later, I did just that. We talked about what we believe in, our skill sets, and where we wanted to go. He was looking for someone who was good at defining processes and putting people, process, and technology together to make a business run well. It became very obvious we should meet and talk more. We did and the rest is history.
My new partner's name is Patrick. Along with two other guys, Tom and Chris, we formed a new partnership called Advanced Link Consulting. We link investors to people with ventures that need funding. We don't sell securities or serve as brokers. We provide expertise in how to go about the fundraising process and how to 'sell' your business to investors and we help investors sort through the many potential to find the best opportunities for a return on their investment.
My role in the partnership is twofold: 1) helping ALC get organized, our processes defined, and our technology in place and 2) working with clients to plan, organize, and execute crowdfunding campaigns. I will tell you more about the latter in future posts.
In the meantime, I have also completed certification with my company as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. I really enjoy leading the Structured Improvement Activity events and seeing the great ideas that come forth when you put a group of people together and guide them through the LSS process. I hope to keep that work as part of my ongoing consulting business.
I've also taken a number of steps to get Dream Walker Solutions set up and ready to go. Dream Walker Solutions is now incorporated as an LLC in the state of Colorado. It is an easy process to file the Articles of Organization and pay your $50 filing fee at the Secretary of State's web site: www.sos.state.co.us. They recommend but do not require the more complicated Operating Agreement, which lays out exactly how you want to organize and run your LLC. I will, therefore, be drafting one for Dream Walker Solutions and working with a lawyer to get it done right. More to come on that as well.
You may be wondering how Dream Walker Solutions and Advanced Link Consulting will relate to each other. When we file the Articles of Organization for ALC, I anticipate that DWS will be one of the members of the LLC. That is, DWS will own a portion of ALC instead of me. When I do consulting for ALC consultants, it will be a service of Dream Walker Solutions, LLC, in partnership with ALC. The goal is to keep my personal life and my business life as legally separate as I can.
I also got my bank account and a means to receive payments set up for DWS. I deposited enough money in the bank account so that the startup period will be comfortably capitalized, but not so much that I drained my savings.
For accounting and collecting payments, I'm using the online version of Intuit QuickBooks. The accounting application costs $12 a month. The payment tools are free to set up (including a credit card reader for my iPhone/iPad), with a per transaction fee. I don't think I'll use the credit card much, but will likely send invoices to clients through the service, so that I can easily track all of the inputs and outputs of money through one application/service.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The five-step process for making better decisions:
- Maintain a feeling of control over your situation.
- Emotional preparation. Consider how things could be worse.
- Monitor your breathing.
- Controlled empathy.
- Ask "What advice would I give my best friend in this situation?"
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
Be an entrepreneur. Change the world.
This is known as “bad luck.”
Sunday, March 2, 2014
- You register a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO, http://www.uspto.gov/index.jsp).
- It can take a year or more to get a trademark.
- You can start using TM (trademark) or SM (service mark) immediately to indicate that you consider your mark to be exclusive. You can only use the "circle R" symbol if your trademark is registered.
- You have to specify your service and/or goods to which the trademark applies. Once registered, you can narrow your goods or services (jewelry down to earrings), but you can't widen it (jewelry up to jewelry stores). If you want to widen your goods or services, you have to re-apply and start the process over.
- You can also claim a trademark through "common law" rights. That is, you don't have to register your trademark in order to claim exclusive rights to it. I'm sure it is much easier to defend your trademark if it is registered, though.
- If you are not yet using the trademark in commerce, it costs you extra to file an "Intend to Use" application.
- You can save $100 if you file online and your goods/services can be categorized in their standard classes.
- You'll want to search carefully to make sure that there aren't trademarked items in your general area of commerce that sound the same as your intended trademark. The example they gave was T.Markey and Tee Marquis sound almost the same, so they would not both get a trademark. Whoever could prove they were first would get the trademark.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The good news: no one has a trademark on "Dream Walker Solutions". I need to start moving on getting the name trademarked so that it is safely mine to use. Government paperwork, here I come. Another chance to use the skills I learned in college: how to deal with the bureaucracy and win.