How can I start a small Internet service provider ISP business? — Tonderai
This is similar to the hoary chestnut, “How can I take over the world?” The answer is the same. Sit at the knee of a master for two years (at least) and learn the game. When you have a sufficient network of contacts, and understanding of the business, head off on your own. How do you find a ‘master’? Identify an ISP that appeals to you. Get your foot in the door somehow, even if it’s just making coffee. Work your way to as close to the CEO’s door as possible by continuously over-delivering. Learn like a sponge.
The possible alternative to ‘find knee of master’ is to find a technical guy with zero sales inclination. Make him your partner. You become the front office (sales — find customers). He becomes your back office (tech — product delivery). If you can’t find a master or a tech partner, you can’t start an ISP.
How do I find a co-founder? How do I find a development team? — Kirsten
For a technical co-founder, Tinder is best. Jokes. In fact, Tinder is the last place on earth to find a technical co-founder. Rather try family and friends. Conferences. University. Milk your networks by letting everyone know that you’re looking for a technical co-founder. Failing that, you must hire a development team.
The days of compensating software developers with equity in lieu of cash are long gone. Absent a technical co-founder, there is only one way to develop software: Pay for it. How do you find the right dev-house?
Word of mouth is best. The rules of thumb are:
- Maximum project duration = three months.
- Scope it once. Don’t change the scope.
- Keep it simple.
For your first iteration, it usually makes sense to go with a young and relatively inexperienced crew (try www.avochoc.com). Yes, the product will not be future-proof, but your first version need not be future-proof. You just need something to start signing up customers and getting market feedback.
If you get traction, then you can start worrying about scalability and consider engaging with more experienced (and expensive) dev-houses.
I have invented a hamburger roll that ensures the patty and toppings cannot escape. Would you suggest I patent it? — Albert
Interesting idea. From the photos, it seems your solution is a variation of a pita bread. It may be worthwhile reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel.
He argues that consumers will always resist change, even change that is very obviously good for them, ie: non-leaking hamburger rolls. The only way to introduce innovation into an established market is if it represents a minimum of 10x improvement over the status quo. Only such a quantum improvement will induce people to change behaviour.
Although undoubtedly a big improvement, I’m not sure the non-leaking hamburger roll qualifies as 10x innovation. And so it probably will not succeed in the market place.
Before patenting, I suggest you try sell some rolls to establish whether you can get traction and prove revenue potential.
I’d like to launch an app with an advertising revenue model. What do you think? — Mvelo
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but advertising is an insufficient revenue model in South Africa. You need to figure out another way to make money. Most times, the paths to non-advertising revenue streams only reveal themselves once you have users.
You should work on the assumption that it will take you at least two years to get sufficient traction, therefore you need to have two years’ worth of runway before plunging into your entrepreneurial adventure. In those two years, you should be growing your users as much as possible.
The size of your user base will determine your negotiating power with potential investors and/or customers, and will determine the odds of success in finding a non-advertising revenue stream.
Okay, forget advertising. I’m going to charge my users a monthly subscription of R20. — Mvelo
I realise that it’s a chicken and egg situation, but it’s very hard to find backing until you have proof of your theory working in the real world. On other hand, it’s hard to get proof without first finding backing. That’s the entrepreneurial quandary.
Generally speaking, the egg comes before the chicken. The egg is users. The chicken is revenue. Before you can test your revenue theories, you need users. Refer to previous answer.
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