Subject: Re: The computer software business
From: nelson@crynwr.com (Russell Nelson)
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 94 23:49 EST

   Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 16:01:06 +0800
   From: a Friend (I didn't ask him if he wanted my reply to this list).

   While I have lots of technical experience, I have no small business
   experience.

There are books that can help with such things, in particular, books
on starting a business in *your state*.  Get one.  Also get a copy of
Don Lancaster's book, Incredible Secret Money Machine II.  It's
available from Synergetics, 602-428-4073.

   I am writing you in hopes you may be willing to
   share/discuss, via email or telephone, your experiences.  In
   particular I seek your counsel on: 1) making sure your income stream
   supports your family,

This is always a concern.  Before you jump ship, make sure your ducks
are lined up.  I had developed sufficient reputation in the industry
so that I had multiple standing job offers.  So dumping the day job
was risk-free for me.

Have cash on hand.  Lots of it.  At least three months worth, *bare*
minimum.  Why?  Because business affairs always go slower than you
think they should.  Even if you have complete trust that you'll get
the first job/sale/whatever, it'll take a month to get it arranged,
presumably you'll take some time to do the work, and up to two months
to get paid, even if your invoice says NET30.

   2) conducting business in a manner faithful to God and still taking
   into account the secular views of the people you do business with,

Get and read _Your Money or Your Life_, by Vicki Robin and Joe
Dominguez.  Then do the steps.  It's not a religious book in any
sense, but it tells you how to deal with money in accordance with your
values.

   and 3) whatever experiences and lessons you'd like to share.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned much: if you're dealing with
corporate America, be prepared to deal with people movement.
Cultivate multiple contacts everywhere, if you can.

Don't hesitate to give out business cards.  Always have a few cards in
your wallet.

Enhance your reputation as much as you can.  If you haven't written a
free program or two or a dozen, do so.  There are hundreds of programs
needed, at all skill levels.  But once you've written the program, you
also have to support and market it.  Promote yourself shamelessly --
no one else is going to do it (not at first anyway).

Even if all you're looking for is a new/different job, reputation
helps.  Consider that Linus Torvalds could walk into nearly any Unix
house unannounced, and have a job within minutes.

Lots of room for free business applications.  Businesses can justify
spending money, and often they don't have the expertise to do their
own programming.  Support is an absolute necessity for business
(payroll, accounts receivable, etc) applications.  If you can
out-support the proprietary software, you've got a hope of suceeding.

Be lucky.  That always helps.

-- 
-russ <nelson@crynwr.com>    http://www.crynwr.com/crynwr/nelson.html
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