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  • #978307
    PetesPlans
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    • Total posts: 23
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    Hi, my name is Pete.

    I have been researching my buisiness idea for a long time now, and was excited to find a site of like-minded people with the same ideas and potential problems as me! I am not alone!

    I intend to start an electronics manufacturing business with the focus on Chinese imports for the base materials (I have some experience here and have been to China for business a few times), with my designs, software, and final assembly. I will need anywhere up to two years to get things happening with prototypes etc.

    The actual technology behind the products is not hard for me and is currently my line of work. My main concerns at the mo are:

    1. The industry of choice is quite small with only a handfull (half a dozen) of companies in Australia. I am currently employed with one of them. I need to remain employed until (or slightly after) the launch date. There is a serious conflict of interest here, but i cannot afford to leave my current job – i have a large morgage and my wife is at home with a baby. I guess this is really a moral issue, but has anyone had this same issue – being in competition with your own (small business) employer?

    2. Since i am quite a way from getting the company off the ground, i am thinking about a website and SEO (learnt that term here :) ). I am considering launching a website with information relating to my product or the market of my product in order to gain a higher search engine place over the coming years. Obviously, i cannot list any actual products for sale. Is this worth the effort, or would i be advertising the fact that i am new in the market (in this market, long-term reputation is everything)?

    3. Starting a manufacturing company is a big step which would involve employees and a small factory and therefore a largish investment, which means a lot to loose…

    I will repost some of these thoughts in their correct categories at a later stage for discussion.

    Any thoughts in the meantime?

    Cheers, Pete.

    #1106081
    NathanB
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    PetesPlans, post: 117777 wrote:
    1. The industry of choice is quite small with only a handfull (half a dozen) of companies in Australia. I am currently employed with one of them. I need to remain employed until (or slightly after) the launch date. There is a serious conflict of interest here, but i cannot afford to leave my current job – i have a large morgage and my wife is at home with a baby. I guess this is really a moral issue, but has anyone had this same issue – being in competition with your own (small business) employer?

    Pretty dirty if you ask me – not that I have a problem with it myself how ever this could shake up your own credibility, as you said it, in a small industry. Don’t give others a reason to put a bulls eye on your back if you can find a way to avoid it.

    Another thing to consider is why are you looking to go out on your own? Are you going to do something different or better than your current employer? If this is the case, does the possibility of pitching him your idea’s and then making it happen, riding on his cash exist? You could position yourself as partner of an existing successful business with out the risk of your own assets. Are you own idea’s/aspiration grand enough to add value to your employers business? If not, than will they work on their own?

    if the answer to the above is no, and your plan is to just do the same thing your current employer is doing but only for yourself, I would consider the moral implications of continuing to work for them. Will you eventually be able to leave on good terms, could you get fired before your business is in the finical position it needs to be in to support your circumstances? Will you have burnt any bridges in your industry?

    PetesPlans, post: 117777 wrote:
    2. Since i am quite a way from getting the company off the ground, i am thinking about a website and SEO (learnt that term here :) ). I am considering launching a website with information relating to my product or the market of my product in order to gain a higher search engine place over the coming years. Obviously, i cannot list any actual products for sale. Is this worth the effort, or would i be advertising the fact that i am new in the market (in this market, long-term reputation is everything)?

    Getting the ball rolling won’t hurt as long as you have plan/purpose to it. No point in advertising something you cannot do or sell as yet but I think many on this forum would tell you, if you can position yourself as an expert and source of great information relating to your industry, when you do begin to sell, things will be much easier and you will already be a credible/sought after source.

    PetesPlans, post: 117777 wrote:
    3. Starting a manufacturing company is a big step which would involve employees and a small factory and therefore a largish investment, which means a lot to loose…

    Indeed it is. This is why I believe it may be worth investigating partnering with your current employer, If that is not a option, make sure you have a damn good exit strategy or contingency plan. All business ideas can be winners, but not all business’ end up winners.

    #1106082
    EmbalmSkincare
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    • Total posts: 459
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    Hi Pete,

    I would highly recommend for you to check your contract with your current employer for any clauses that could get you in serious trouble setting up your own business within the same industry.

    More and more companies are making use of their enforcement rights, including my employer in regards to ex-staff pulling our clients over to their new portfolio.

    If there are such clauses in your contract, they can take you to the cleaners.

    All the best!

    Regards,
    Mel

    #1106083
    IncredibleCo
    Member
    • Total posts: 406
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    Very good advice given here. I think you might be on shaky ground working for your employer whilst trying to build a competing business. If they get one whiff of what you’re up to…

    #1106084
    PetesPlans
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    • Total posts: 23
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    Thanks for your replies.

    I am able to leave any time if i feel the need, and this is not really a defining issue in my overall plan. Its just easier that way because it is a well-paid job. I have no employment contract.

    Regarding pitching the management/partnership idea to my employer, is not an option anymore. I have presented ideas to him for over 10 years that everyone else in the company agrees with (including his wife!). He is stubborn and old fashioned and not prepared to move forward. Many of our designs are 25+ years old! Most employees are ready to walk out, and spend most of the day laughing at his ridiculous ideas. You get the idea…

    He will offer me a management position eventually (and has told me this) and he is already past what most people would call retirement age. But he intends to stick it out for many years to come (possibly another 10).

    I feel now that my plan is fresh and technically well thought-out, making the most of a compromise between Chinese imports and Australian-made products. I have the funds behind me if required (my house!), and i am not afraid of a challenge/risk.

    I have been thinking through this idea for many years now and i am now making some moves.

    I am looking foward to reading the forums and articles on the site that will help.

    #1106085
    Geronimo
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    • Total posts: 237
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    Hi Pete,

    I was in a very similar situation a number of years ago, also in a specialised technical field.

    I didn’t think that it wouldn’t be right to draw a salary and work for my employer too, so quit without approaching any clients or taking steps in that direction. I did however save up three months worth of living expenses to give me the time.

    When I left, I offered consulting services to fund my R&D, which worked very well.

    Regarding generating interest, be sure to either get a patent before making anything public, or understand your risks. One of the realities of being a micro business, is that any number of big boys could swipe our ideas and build in a matter of months, what takes us years.

    I would also offer this advice when looking at what market/product to work on initially. Look for something that will give you a very good income, but is too small for the big boys to target. Once you have that success, you will have the capital and cash flow to compete in a larger market.

    #1106086
    marnieb
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    • Total posts: 159
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    Hi Pete,

    Welcome to FS. I just wanted to say good luck taking the leap. It’s a massive step that’s terrifying, but can be quite rewarding after a while too.

    Good luck.

    #1106087
    TheGoldenGoose
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    • Total posts: 860
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    Hi Pete

    I think everyone has possibly suffered with the same dilemma (if you have a heart and a particularly good employer). It is hard, but there’s nothing to do other than to take a leap.

    This is how all businesses are formed, and is just… reality I guess.

    I love that you see it as a moral dilemma, alot wouldn’t care. I spose my advice would be just to leave the best way you know how, on the best terms possible.

    Good luck!

    #1106088
    AgentMail
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    • Total posts: 1,741
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    Hi Pete,

    Another one that has been there and done that. I actually did proceed with setting up the business whilst I was employed – The reason was that I trusted my own morality, and only worked on my business out of work hours, and never discussed or approached any of my companies clients.

    When I did eventually leave and my employer was made aware of what I was doing, it did turn kind of nasty. In hindsight, I should have gone and worked at Bunnings whilst setting it up, just to avoid the complications that occured.

    Having said that, it is always difficult to walk away from a well paid position. You will know what is right and what is wrong for you, and only you can make that call.

    At the end of the day, look at all the business owners out there that go broke and leave their employees without super, unpaid holiday etc. etc. – They are not exactly holier than though when it comes down to it either.

    #1106089
    36805#deleted
    Member
    • Total posts: 17
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    PetesPlans, post: 117777 wrote:
    Hi, my name is Pete.

    I have been researching my buisiness idea for a long time now, and was excited to find a site of like-minded people with the same ideas and potential problems as me! I am not alone!

    I intend to start an electronics manufacturing business with the focus on Chinese imports for the base materials (I have some experience here and have been to China for business a few times), with my designs, software, and final assembly. I will need anywhere up to two years to get things happening with prototypes etc.

    The actual technology behind the products is not hard for me and is currently my line of work. My main concerns at the mo are:

    1. The industry of choice is quite small with only a handfull (half a dozen) of companies in Australia. I am currently employed with one of them. I need to remain employed until (or slightly after) the launch date. There is a serious conflict of interest here, but i cannot afford to leave my current job – i have a large morgage and my wife is at home with a baby. I guess this is really a moral issue, but has anyone had this same issue – being in competition with your own (small business) employer?

    2. Since i am quite a way from getting the company off the ground, i am thinking about a website and SEO (learnt that term here :) ). I am considering launching a website with information relating to my product or the market of my product in order to gain a higher search engine place over the coming years. Obviously, i cannot list any actual products for sale. Is this worth the effort, or would i be advertising the fact that i am new in the market (in this market, long-term reputation is everything)?

    3. Starting a manufacturing company is a big step which would involve employees and a small factory and therefore a largish investment, which means a lot to loose…

    I will repost some of these thoughts in their correct categories at a later stage for discussion.

    Any thoughts in the meantime?

    Cheers, Pete.
    hi Pete,
    I am a business owner in an entirely different industry to your prospective business but from a business point of view getting started is always a big challenge but in this very shaky economical climate perhaps it is worth weighing up your current wage & whether your employment is secure as opposed to starting your own business during these gloomy times. Perhaps yours is a business which is designed to flourish during economical instability . Whichever way you go. All the best.
    Warmly JN

    #1106090
    PetesPlans
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    • Total posts: 23
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    Thanks again for your ideas.

    AgentMail, that is valuable information. The working at Bunnings idea has crossed my mind. Morally, it would be alot easier this way, and may end up being my prefered choice, hence the initial question.

    I do intend to save 3 months living expenses anyway, and i don’t intend to approach current clients either. I would be happy to leave well before launching, but my only concern is the possiblility of very low incoming work (at least for a while). Unfortunately it is very hard to predict the amount of work once the business gets going. I have done plenty of market research, but only the actual launch of the business will show how many people respond to a new company with no history or references.

    jn, I would like to think that my line of work is less likely to fail due to hard economic times, but in reality it affects everyone. Thank you for the point.

    TheGoldenGoose, that is how i see it. My argument for my actions are simply that i know the industry, i can do a better product that what is currently out there, and my employer doesn’t want a part of my plan. What choice do i have? I feel better knowing that he will retire in a few years as a relatively wealthy man. I also assume that the company will close its doors with no option for an experienced manager to take over. I don’t think i will feel guilty for this, i have no reason to be tied to the company, i just work there like everyone else.

    Thanks again for allowing me to share my thoughts…

    #1106091
    NathanB
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    • Total posts: 775
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    Knowing more of the back story now I’d add to my first post that even though your current circumstances seem to leave little room for you play with, I would probably still advise leaving your current employer as soon as possible.

    Under the old adage: adapt of die, You may as well take all the clients you can from your employer too. You have forewarned him of your desire go beyond your status as employee and even shared your ideas of how. The fact remains (based on this discussion) that things seem like they are going to get nasty no matter how you go about your plans so you may as well try to reap the greatest reward possible for your troubles.

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