James left his job to set up an online marketplace for selling bikes. As we have found out here at Escape the City, setting up a new market place wth buyers and sellers from scratch is no easy task - we have lots of respect for James!
Happy to provide advice, work experience or just act as sounding board.
Particularly keen to chat to awesome web developers as we may have an opening coming up as we grow.
Just started http://www.goinggoingbike.com/" rel="nofollow">Going Going Bike which is a legitimate online marketplace for bicycles, bike accessories and kit. The idea was to provide a specialist auction which would help cut down on the sales of stolen bikes. I spend most of my time meeting potential partners in the bike industry, trying to figure out new ways of cutting bike crime, persuading retailers to list on our site and thinking of new marketing ideas to spread the word. And recently lots of time on Twitter which I am undecided as to whether it is beneficial or a complete waste of time.
Pretty varied but trained and worked as a management specialist with Jardines for 6 years mostly in Asia. Really challenging, really good training and took me to loads of interesting places including HK and the Philippines.
I love solving problems and by the end I got the chance to fix some pretty big ones! However I wanted a challenge that I would really care about as well as finding intellectually satisfying. Plus one which would get me out of the office and now I get to bike to all my meetings!
When I was a kid, my dad left his job and then started up his own business. It was tough but it always struck me that it was better to be dependent on your own efforts than at the whim of some corporate re-structuring.
Think you need 4 main things - the right skills yourself, the right team, the right contacts and enough money to survive while you make mistakes with the first 3!
So in terms of planning, I chose a career that gave me the breadth of skills; I have known my business partner for over 14 years; and as you get older you naturally get more contacts. Cash comes from savings and friends and family.
One word of caution on funding - you'll always need more than you think, a lot more...
It's like a constant yo-yo with all the highs and lows. For example we found an amazing intern and were really happy and then a day later she found a full time job. Or you feel awful because an expected deal didn't go through and then suddenly a deal you thought was dead comes alive again.
It's your money and your baby so everything is so much more intense.
Start a business with someone you can rely on. There will be tough times but with a good partner you'll get through them.
You can check out the normal government business organisations but you're unlikely to get much use out of them. Grants don't seem to be available and the only real advice we got was to think about shortening our name!
However, they can be quite useful as it does force you to put your ideas down in a semi-coherent way and explain them to someone neutral who will actually give you negative feedback (unlike your friends).
There are loads of great blogs out there and would particularly recommend http://eu.techcrunch.com/" rel="nofollow">TechCrunch as it is quite inspirational reading stories of people getting loads of funding and it keeps you in the loop with the latest technological developments.