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Business opportunity (perhaps)
Old 30th January 2007
  #1
Business opportunity (perhaps)

Hi all.

Not sure if this is the right place for this but here goes.

I and thinking of starting my own gear design company. I have a very good business sense and many professional contacts to get a company on it's feet from a marketing and legal angle. I have owned / ran businesses before and have years and years of people and project management experience.

The down side is I know very little about electronic design.

heh

I have a great ear, I know what I like and I think I have a few special products that would have a market but I need a designer that is willing to work with me to see these ideas from concept and testing to full production.

I don't have stars in my eyes, I see this as a way to sell a few units with plenty of potential for growth with the proper products and marketing. LOTS of hard work and some frustration for very little payoff other than being my own boss. Anyone interested should have this same outlook.

I have a friend who is a designer that I have spoken with about this already. He gets first shot at this opportunity but I am not going to wait for him to make up his mind for too long either (I am not getting any younger).

I am looking for a partner first to share the responsibilities of start up costs, production costs and workload. Someone to bounce ideas off of and get input from (a fair split in a healthy working business relationship).

Failing that I would be interested in a designer that will build my concepts, offer input and ideas, develop drawings and fill customer orders at a per piece rate. Not sure on the details there but I am open to suggestions.

So... I would be looking for someone in the U.S., preferably in the North East but that is not mandatory. Someone with design experience who is very reliable, somewhat outgoing and above all HONEST.

If you or anyone you know is interested please send PM's.

Thanks..
Old 30th January 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Wavebourn's Avatar
 

Good idea, Michael!
I have very similar one, the difference is, I can design equipment, and have own concepts that are as I believe brilliant, but did not start any businesses yet.
It would be interesting to co-operate.
Old 30th January 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 
JohnRoberts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
Hi all.

Not sure if this is the right place for this but here goes.

I and thinking of starting my own gear design company. I have a very good business sense and many professional contacts to get a company on it's feet from a marketing and legal angle. I have owned / ran businesses before and have years and years of people and project management experience.

The down side is I know very little about electronic design.

heh

I have a great ear, I know what I like and I think I have a few special products that would have a market but I need a designer that is willing to work with me to see these ideas from concept and testing to full production.

I don't have stars in my eyes, I see this as a way to sell a few units with plenty of potential for growth with the proper products and marketing. LOTS of hard work and some frustration for very little payoff other than being my own boss. Anyone interested should have this same outlook.

I have a friend who is a designer that I have spoken with about this already. He gets first shot at this opportunity but I am not going to wait for him to make up his mind for too long either (I am not getting any younger).

I am looking for a partner first to share the responsibilities of start up costs, production costs and workload. Someone to bounce ideas off of and get input from (a fair split in a healthy working business relationship).

Failing that I would be interested in a designer that will build my concepts, offer input and ideas, develop drawings and fill customer orders at a per piece rate. Not sure on the details there but I am open to suggestions.

So... I would be looking for someone in the U.S., preferably in the North East but that is not mandatory. Someone with design experience who is very reliable, somewhat outgoing and above all HONEST.

If you or anyone you know is interested please send PM's.

Thanks..
Good Luck... In some regards designing and building the gear is the easy part, assuming you can sell as much as you need to at a comfortable profit margin to support your expenses.

IMO the higher end markets are to some extent fashion driven, rather than performance driven, so being closely attuned to trends, responsive, and effective and brand management will be important. Of course the "designer" gear must work well too. Perhaps do a market study of what companies are already in the general area you are interested in and their particular strengths and weaknesses.

The number of small companies that have come and gone, should advise some caution, but there's always room for one more boutique player. Lurking here can suggest hot product trends or new ideas (perhaps some even worth doing?).

There seems to be some brand association with strong personality designers which will be hard to create from whole cloth (without lots of ad bux) so that might suggest some association with an already known entity. That may come with good and bad baggage, depending on the individual.

Good luck and to rephrase an old joke, the way to make a million dollars in a new business is to start with two million.

JR
Old 30th January 2007
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRoberts View Post
Good Luck... In some regards designing and building the gear is the easy part, assuming you can sell as much as you need to at a comfortable profit margin to support your expenses.

IMO the higher end markets are to some extent fashion driven, rather than performance driven, so being closely attuned to trends, responsive, and effective and brand management will be important. Of course the "designer" gear must work well too. Perhaps do a market study of what companies are already in the general area you are interested in and their particular strengths and weaknesses.

The number of small companies that have come and gone, should advise some caution, but there's always room for one more boutique player. Lurking here can suggest hot product trends or new ideas (perhaps some even worth doing?).

There seems to be some brand association with strong personality designers which will be hard to create from whole cloth (without lots of ad bux) so that might suggest some association with an already known entity. That may come with good and bad baggage, depending on the individual.

Good luck and to rephrase an old joke, the way to make a million dollars in a new business is to start with two million.

JR
Thanks John

As I said above.....

"I don't have stars in my eyes, I see this as a way to sell a few units with plenty of potential for growth with the proper products and marketing. LOTS of hard work and some frustration for very little payoff other than being my own boss. Anyone interested should have this same outlook."

Also as I said I don't know about designing gear, I am a business man. I agree with you the business side is probably harder than the design but that is what I bring to the table.

Thanks again man.
Old 30th January 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Wavebourn's Avatar
 

Hi Mike;

in order to sell few high end units you need to build prototypes, run an experimental production, but since it is expensive here prices on such start are high so I doubt that selling few units will be profitable unless you have already consumers who trust you and your business. I can design outstanding gear but my name is unknown yet for potential consumers... However, if you have lot of money for such hard start you may survive this period and using outsourcing run mass production that may be well marketed. It is easy to design having money for prototyping and experimental runs, but with no such money it is impossible. No problem to design something rough and run mass production of prototypes with lot of plans to upgrade such a garbage very often; it is done all the way nowadays, but do you mean such a business?
Old 30th January 2007
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavebourn View Post
Hi Mike;

in order to sell few high end units you need to build prototypes, run an experimental production, but since it is expensive here prices on such start are high so I doubt that selling few units will be profitable unless you have already consumers who trust you and your business. I can design outstanding gear but my name is unknown yet for potential consumers... However, if you have lot of money for such hard start you may survive this period and using outsourcing run mass production that may be well marketed. It is easy to design having money for prototyping and experimental runs, but with no such money it is impossible. No problem to design something rough and run mass production of prototypes with lot of plans to upgrade such a garbage very often; it is done all the way nowadays, but do you mean such a business?
Hi Anatoliy

Well... as I said in my message above (sorry it is so long winded).... I have done management for other projects before so I understand the process of prototyping to full production runs and budgeting to recoup design and development costs.

I guess I am saying that I am not a spring chicken here and I know what I am in for. I know where many of the traps are in small business start up and I am not expecting to make a million dollars. I do believe there are opportunities in the industry right now to make limited production runs of high quality boutique gear that can be profitable. I doubt it would be highly profitable but I do think there is a way to supplement a studio income. Hell this is exactly what Wade is doing with Chandler Limited and Tim is doing with Seventh Circle Audio right?
Old 30th January 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Wavebourn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
Hell this is exactly what Wade is doing with Chandler Limited and Tim is doing with Seventh Circle Audio right?
Thay are already doing, and we know their names, right?
Old 30th January 2007
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavebourn View Post
Thay are already doing, and we know their names, right?
Sure thing but we didn't know their names before they started doing what they are doing did we?

I know Wade's name because of his gear, same with Tim. Their names did not sell their gear. What sold their products was the fact that they made high quality hardware that people had a need for backed up with great customer service all at a fair price point. Their names became popular because their gear and companies were popular not the reverse.

When I was a kid I didn't know a lick about Microsoft or Bill Gates and neither did anyone else in the world. That didn't stop them from creating one of the largest companies on the planet now did it?

heh

Almost all companies start with no product recognition. There are a few names like Paul Wolf and Rupert Neve who have a built in reputation (even Paul was a little under the radar after he left API and started Tonelux). Most of the designers out there today were not known before they had a product on the market.
Old 31st January 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Wavebourn's Avatar
 

And we did not know about Bill Gates' family, about their financial possibilities, about his mom's relations with IBM's management, etc...
Old 31st January 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 
JohnRoberts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
Sure thing but we didn't know their names before they started doing what they are doing did we?

I know Wade's name because of his gear, same with Tim. Their names did not sell their gear. What sold their products was the fact that they made high quality hardware that people had a need for backed up with great customer service all at a fair price point. Their names became popular because their gear and companies were popular not the reverse.

When I was a kid I didn't know a lick about Microsoft or Bill Gates and neither did anyone else in the world. That didn't stop them from creating one of the largest companies on the planet now did it?

heh

Almost all companies start with no product recognition. There are a few names like Paul Wolf and Rupert Neve who have a built in reputation (even Paul was a little under the radar after he left API and started Tonelux). Most of the designers out there today were not known before they had a product on the market.
This is going to sound a little mercenary but many who are involved in the audio business are doing it out of a passion for audio rather than a rational pursuit of some fertile business opportunity. If you are a strong businessman there may be some weaknesses there to exploit. Unlike your Bill Gates story I don't see any fast growing pie here to grab a small slice from. IMO it is more like a near zero sum gain with your sales coming out of the share of some other less effective merchant.

I believe there's opportunity to be found anywhere but in a room full of romantics maybe being the one clear headed one would give you a merchantable advantage. Mackie did it to a lethargic MI indusry by applying consumer style advertising to close the customer directly with ads rather than depending upon traditional dealers to make the sale. Uli exploited another opportunity to take advantage of low cost off shore manufacturing when many domestic manufacturers still beleived their customers when they said they wouldn't buy Chinese made gear (they lied). I don't mean to gloss over the rest of Uli's BP which I don't consider worthy of discussion in a "how should I do business thread".

I already said this, but perhaps perform a survey of the market you are interested in. Identify who has the major market shares and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Hopefully an opportunity will present itself from a thorough analysis and comparisons with your business experience in other markets. If you decide to just steam into the market because you believe you can "do that too", plan on being very lucky.

Good Luck

JR

PS: If you want to be another Rupert Neeve, it's simple, put your name on a recording console that doesn't suck and manage to keep the product name in the market for a few decades. To be another Paul Wolff be stubborn, very persistent, and work your ass off for a few decades. To do it in less time, you could always throw (early days) Mackie level advertising bucks at it, but even Greg had a previous Tapco back story to flog, with all those ad dollars.
Old 31st January 2007
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavebourn View Post
And we did not know about Bill Gates' family, about their financial possibilities, about his mom's relations with IBM's management, etc...
Fair enough... How about Linus Torvalds... I think you know who he is.



You also skipped my other points.

I know Wade's name because of his gear, same with Tim. Their names did not sell their gear. What sold their products was the fact that they made high quality hardware that people had a need for backed up with great customer service all at a fair price point. Their names became popular because their gear and companies were popular not the reverse.

Let's try this on for size... you have to start somewhere and I refuse to make excuses for why I could not do something. My name is not known or I don't have the right connections, these are excuses people use when they are afraid to fail, succeed or do something different. I don't make excuses, I succeed or fail on my own abilities and ambition. I don't always succeed, I don't always fail but I never make excuses.
Old 31st January 2007
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRoberts View Post
I don't mean to gloss over the rest of Uli's BP which I don't consider worthy of discussion in a "how should I do business thread".

Hi John

I think this is where the disconnect is.... This is not a "how should I do business thread" this is a "I know what I want to do and I am looking for resources thread" but thank you for your input, your points are well taken.

I know it is a long post but if you have a minute maybe take a look at my original post at the top.

Thanks man.
Old 31st January 2007
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Sounds Great's Avatar
 

One more opinion.

It is already a pretty crowded field.

Do you want to do this as a competitive and profitable business, or just to come up with new and custom designs to satisfy your own wants and needs?

If it is the first, I think you might have a tough time coming up with a good profit to effort ratio. If it is the latter you might do better just working with existing manufacturer/design companies paying them to implement your ideas into product using their years of experience and resources, and possibly sharing in any profits on sucessful results.
Old 31st January 2007
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
One more opinion.

It is already a pretty crowded field.

Do you want to do this as a competitive and profitable business, or just to come up with new and custom designs to satisfy your own wants and needs?

If it is the first, I think you might have a tough time coming up with a good profit to effort ratio. If it is the latter you might do better just working with existing manufacturer/design companies paying them to implement your ideas into product using their years of experience and resources, and possibly sharing in any profits on sucessful results.
I guess my first post was too long to read huh?

LOL (just kidding)

As I said to John above, this is not a "how should I do business thread" this is a "I know what I want to do and I am looking for resources thread" but thank you for your input, your points are well taken.

Thanks man.
Old 31st January 2007
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
Axiomhead's Avatar
 

...for petes sake! Let the man run his business!...

I say go for it!
Old 31st January 2007
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axiomhead View Post
...for petes sake! Let the man run his business!...

I say go for it!
LOL

Thanks man!!

thumbsup
Old 31st January 2007
  #17
Because my original post was a little long and the concept was probably lost in the haze here is the real point of the thread....

I would be looking for someone in the U.S., preferably in the North East but that is not mandatory. Someone with design experience who is very reliable, somewhat outgoing and above all HONEST.

If you or anyone you know is interested please send PM's.

Thanks again all.
Old 31st January 2007
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Wavebourn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axiomhead View Post
...for petes sake! Let the man run his business!...

I say go for it!
Me too!
Old 31st January 2007
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
Axiomhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
LOL

Thanks man!!

thumbsup
Anytime... and I want your first 1073 clone! heh
Old 31st January 2007
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axiomhead View Post
Anytime... and I want your first 1073 clone! heh
THAT is funny....

Nope no 1073's here on the horizon. No preamps at all actually at least not at first.

The goal is to produce some unique products that are missing from the ranks of available gear out there now. I have been engineering in the studio and live for 20 years or so and there are a few things that I have ran into along the way that I think folks would find very interesting.... or not and I will have a self full of stuff to give away at which point I will be sure to look you up....

Old 31st January 2007
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Wavebourn's Avatar
 

Anyway you can't live without good preamps, so cooperation is still possible.
Old 31st January 2007
  #22
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JohnRoberts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
Hi John

I think this is where the disconnect is.... This is not a "how should I do business thread" this is a "I know what I want to do and I am looking for resources thread" but thank you for your input, your points are well taken.

I know it is a long post but if you have a minute maybe take a look at my original post at the top.

Thanks man.
You're correct I was offering advice that you didn't ask for (my bad ).

Good luck anyhow...

JR
Old 31st January 2007
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavebourn View Post
Anyway you can't live without good preamps, so cooperation is still possible.
Agreed..... preamps are always in style right?

Old 31st January 2007
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRoberts View Post
You're correct I was offering advice that you didn't ask for (my bad ).

Good luck anyhow...

JR
No problem man, good advice that I will keep in mind.
Old 31st January 2007
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Wavebourn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post
Agreed..... preamps are always in style right?

No, I don't mean style. I mean points of maximum of power amplification that matters more in the whole chain.
Old 31st January 2007
  #26
Lives for gear
 
AlexLakis's Avatar
 

Build an 8U compressor with knobs the size of my f*cking fists and metering that looks like the cheshire cat is gonna leap out and pounce on me when I walk by the rack. I'll buy that **** up! thumbsup

If that doesn't pan out, you could always fall back on my idea of the drumstool with a remote that punches the drummer in the nuts.

Seriously, tho, with your ears and someone with some knowledge of circuits and assembly, what's to stop you from making a kickass product? I say go for it!

I'd focus on creating something original, tho. Too many clone this and Neve that around. Give us some new flava!
Old 31st January 2007
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
Build an 8U compressor with knobs the size of my f*cking fists and metering that looks like the cheshire cat is gonna leap out and pounce on me when I walk by the rack. I'll buy that **** up! thumbsup

If that doesn't pan out, you could always fall back on my idea of the drumstool with a remote that punches the drummer in the nuts.
As a drummer I will have to think about that one... lol

Quote:
Seriously, tho, with your ears and someone with some knowledge of circuits and assembly, what's to stop you from making a kickass product? I say go for it!
Thanks man... that is how I am approaching the venture as well.

Quote:
I'd focus on creating something original, tho. Too many clone this and Neve that around. Give us some new flava!
This is EXACTLY what I am shooting for here. I like cones, I like Neve and API, I like lots of stuff available now but most everything out there is based on things we have all seen before.

My goal is to design products that are moving in a different direction from the standard EQ's, comps and preamps. NEW products. That may include EQ's, comps and preamps at some point but when and if that happens they will have special features that are outside the norm.

The goal is to make NEW high quality, usable products with a twist. Wouldn't that be nice?

Old 31st January 2007
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Wavebourn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_so_new View Post

The goal is to make NEW high quality, usable products with a twist. Wouldn't that be nice?
I am doing that already. In prototypes, for a time being.
Old 1st February 2007
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Axiomhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexLakis View Post
If that doesn't pan out, you could always fall back on my idea of the drumstool with a remote that punches the drummer in the nuts.
I totaly need that!
Old 1st February 2007
  #30
Gear Maniac
 
Axiomhead's Avatar
 

Sorry, I couldn't resist...

Business opportunity (perhaps)-not-so-new.jpg
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