When starting your own company you expect to run into problems. In terms of product development alone I’ve had more than my fair share of set backs such as exhausting my database question limit thanks to accidental SQL query loops or, that’s right, learning an entirely new skill like programming. I also knew that establishing a client base would pose its own problem requiring more that a few cold calls. However, a problem that I would never have thought to encounter is the one I face now; how to spend money once you’ve got it.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Boo hoo, poor MyOfficeTool, they have more money than they know what to do with”. We appreciate your sympathies. Sarcasm aside, as a recent recipient of the Ottawa Technology Transfer Network award, a $10,000 grant, MyOfficeTool is now in a position to make financial decisions that can affect the future of the company. At each step of the process you are so focused on how you’re going to create, improve, market, and sell your product to make money that once you actually have some you are unsure on how to spend it. Although I’ve always believed that MyOfficeTool needs a company Ferrari (I might settle for a Porche), the grant stipulates that it must be spent efficiently so as to promote company growth and within the next two months.
Since rewarding myself with a generous bonus is also out of the question, this grant has partly forced me to reevaluate what my business is and how I will conduct it. To say that I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off is a gruesome, though oddly appropriate analogy of how I’ve been running my business. Yes, I’ve always had an Idea of what my product should be and yes, I’ve been working hard with my client and test site to ensure that our product is meeting their needs and that of the market. But one should no more applaud these facts than congratulate someone for breathing. These things are expected of a business and a failure to do them would lead to a failure for the company, death if you will. What hasn’t always been clear is the direction I want, or should, take MyOfficeTool, other than up of course.
Under no circumstances do I want to give you the impression that this grant is somehow a bad thing for MyOfficeTool, far from it. I’ve simply had to take into consideration things that I had never before thought of, namely future goals and how can we realistically achieve them. Thinking about the future requires us to think about the present. What we have versus what we need and what we do versus what we need to be doing are important considerations for the growth of a company. I have to think about who we are and who we want to be in the future and what is missing in between to make that happen.
$10,000 is not an enormous sum of money for a big business, but as a startup software company my actual equipment expenses essentially include computers, software, an internet connection, and an internet host, all of which I already had before beginning this venture. With that in mind the question then becomes, If I already have the necessary tools to create a product, am I the only thing standing in the way of success? I’m inclined to say yes. Money, it would seem, can not buy success, it can only facilitate it.
That having been said, while I’m not allowed to pay myself for my hard work, I am able to pay others for theirs. As a physics major turned programmer, my design experience is limited to say the least and this cash injection will allow me to be more productive and provide a better user experience by outsourcing those tasks that I can not accomplish as well (yet) and focus on what I know better than anyone else, my product. And so, with money burning a hole in my pocket, I’m off to invest in the future of my company. I hear Bestbuy is having a sale on 60″ 3-D TV’s. What? It’s so that the company can… umm… you know… well… do the… umm…