We like to keep track of the flow of things here at THEORYbee, and think you should know too!
Below is the sliding scale of how things are leaning.
Words from the average
How did I create this? Through faith, courage, and a whole lot of help. A wise major in the Air Force once said, “It’s never you.” The idea itself wasn’t hard to come up with, my creative mind took a simple combination of words like Theory Organization & Behavior, and ran with it. The difficult part was translating that into the final product. That final product included honing the ideas into something like a sculpture, where before it was a make-shift mass. This required all of the technical skills I did not have. All of that required teamwork. I sought help from those around me. I also found ways to make things work, not using failure as an excuse to quit. For instance, I wanted a semi-professional looking promotional video made, but had no idea how to make a movie. I did know that both Windows and Mac provided a simple picture mover. Those didn’t have the functions I wanted, but I did not want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a program I was going to use for a video that was less than a minute. It took me many Google searches and three weeks to find this random Youtube post which pointed me to the correct program.
Find people who buy into your idea. A lone nut by himself/herself is just that, a lone nut. Pierre & Vince both helped me get to where I am today, and if THEORYbee is ever successful, I’ll make sure they are taken care of along with others who pointed me in the right direction. While I originally created the green layout of the website, Drew, with his graphical genius, created the default layout you see today. He calmly and respectfully explained how this lent more credit to the intellectual concept I was driving towards, and he was 100% right. Vince peppered me with many ideas, and put forth the idea to connect users to the corporate world.
Never underestimate the power of networking.The voice-over for the promotional video was a gaming friend of mine I met on mumble, we played World of Tanks together in the same clan. When I thought of putting a video together, I immediately thought of him and his announcer-like voice. He didn’t even ask to be paid, but I insisted anyways. It took us a few more attempts than I thought, but all in all not that much. I found Drew because I relentlessly searched for a way to contact qualified developers. A random conversation with a video editor student pointed me to this graphic design newsletter that went out to other UCF students. I had great guidance from a wonderful marketing professor at UCF, who helped me hone everything to a fine point and put forth the idea to reach out to PH.D research arms. Get to know people around you, start by being pleasant and polite. I never knew that I would eventually re-connect with my prior marketing professor, and I’m very glad I took the time to meet her.
It does not have to be complicated. I created 80% of THEORYbee on the second floor of the UCF library, in one of those little wooden cubicles, in-between my 1:00pm and 6:00pm class, 10% at home, and 10% in miscellaneous places. I mapped out the idea and drew the mockups of what THEORYbee would look like on those free Google documents while listening to classical music and deadmau5. That’s right, I did this listening to dub-step and orchestras. I must have listened to Raise Your Weapon, Brazil, and Right This Second a dozen times. I spent $33.93 to reserve the name theorybee.com, with no hosting plan. That is the bare minimum you need. That cool video required me to shell out $33 that I used to purchase the pictures at freedigitalphotos.net. Audacity was what I used for the voice-over, which was free. Not even incorporating cost that much money, it was $87.
Where the big bucks come into play. The two things that cost me over $100 bucks was paying Drew for developing the site, and our attorney for trademarking the name Theorybee. Trademarking cost $1,050, and the website development cost $1,500. Those are large numbers to me. I’m a college student, who works and is in ROTC, $1,000 is a good chunk, let alone another another $1,000. Luckily, I had saved money. If you don’t have two grand sitting around, you might want to take out a loan. Believe me, the idea’s success and initial requirements may be scary to you are first, but the fact that you had the courage to take that risk is what makes a successful business.
Protecting your idea. I heartily recommend incorporating and trademarking your name before going public, this link was a great tool for me (I ended up incorporating in Florida). Without either, someone could beat you to the punch, and you could end up paying $200,000 for your name like Facebook did. That would have stopped my dreams cold. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA), and Technology Assignment Agreements (TAA) are a must if you want to avoid any Zuckerberg fiascos. The NDA ensures that people won’t spill the beans, steal your idea, or come back 5 years later and claim 50% of your company. Is it a good idea to make your best friend sign a NDA or TAA? If they are actively involved with your project, yes. Typically, the brainstormers sign NDA. The TAA is a formal agreement that your technical developers sign, after the NDA. The TAA tells the world that whatever your developer makes, they make for the company and not for themselves, as well as an acknowledgement that you don’t owe them anything more than what is being paid. If they don’t sign this, then by law whatever they make for you is legally still theirs to use as they see fit. There is also another very good reason why all loose ends should be tied up, as explained below.
Investors. If your idea is sound, you will inevitably have to deal with them. I am not yet at this point because I have kept my head down and I have been able to keep my expenses in check. However, while I was browsing the Startup Lawyers website, I noticed in one of his investor webpages that any loose ends make them nervous. While that might not be immediately apparent to you, once it is said out loud it makes a lot of sense. A potential investor isn’t going to want to hear that you and your partner haven’t signed any sort of legally binding agreement concerning your new venture. Even if you know there is nothing for them to fear, the potential that something could happen will weigh on their decision to invest. Remember, to them the bigger the risk, the bigger the expected return. Ideally, you should present as much of a profitable and low-risk venture as you can in order to strike a fair bargain.
I will continually add to this as things pop up in my mind. I just want you to know that I am still a normal person, graduated from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in May 2012, with a business degree. I was able to get THEORYbee up and running through sheer determination, and it didn’t require me to sign my life away. If you have a great idea, the worst thing you can do is let it go. Even if this website doesn’t become hugely popular, I can say I really risked something to contribute to the world.
What process should I take if I have a great idea?