My road to starting a company

This is the speech I held at Laurea Leppävaara University, to students in Business and Information Technology, twice in March 2017, titled

”My road to Entrepreneurship, Self management & some practical Tools that I use.”

(for easier reading, the speech is here divided into 3 parts)

I presented the following chain of subjects.

(part 1)

  • what got me from thinking about starting, to actively start a company,
  • knowing myself with a long list of dreams, short-listing a sustainable choice of activity (likely to stay with),
  • project manage the road to register a stock company,

(part 2)

  • state-supported and local business offices, help on the way
  • project manage the road to creating sales & marketing channels
  • project manage the road to create substance to sell (case specific)

(part 3)

  • ways of networking
  • project manage self, as in program discipline
  • tools to administer the above mentioned

First, a little bit of my Background

Have worked 18 years within Wärtsilä Corporation, large supplier of diesel engines and ship propulsion. Whereof 10 years as a project manager.

…whereof I worked 7+ years in Norway, 4 years in Russia, and 3 years in Finland.

Main industry segments have been propulsion powertrains to the ship building industry, as well as exhaust gas cleaning systems and locomotive diesel-electric powertrain.

A certified PMP, meaning project manager professional.
In PMP, the main value is to speak the same terminology as other project managers. Currently, the main value for me is networking and stay updated with project management tools such as Agile.

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Within My road to starting a company, I like to present the following chain of points :

(part 1)

1. What got me from thinking about starting, to actively start a company.

About 2 years ago, I lost my passion / spark of Why, why do I perform in this company, and I could not envision a continuation, a future.
This lead to my resignation from mentioned company.
I managed to get into second rounds of employment interviews, but without positive results. After several interviews, I decided I better get active on my own.

Also, for half my life, I had returning thoughts of managing a company of my own. Some 25 years ago, I participated in a 12 week start-a-company program.

2. knowing myself, with a long list of dreams, short-listing a sustainable choice of activity (likely to stay with).

I am a dreamer, in the sense that I had a long list of ideas that kept returning like a movie, an almost everyday occurrence.
From one side of the coin, I easily start my own private projects based on emotion, provided I have a practical need, only to realize this sudden interest dying, and find myself jumping to the next project.
From the other side of the coin, I may ponder about a project for a very long time, before taking action. Especially if need to investing money into it. In other words, a long process of balancing the pro’s and con’s.
> Therefore, I wrote down every single idea of project I kept dreaming of.
> It became a list of 25+ items,

The positive results were :
> The overview gave me the possibility to short-list the top 5 items, the items I had a most burning desire to see through.

This in itself was as if reaching a new platform from where to look further.
> Having all ideas written down, I stopped having the returning dream-moments;
now I could focus the time on fever ideas.

So, How did I end up with selecting the one dream that I now focus on?
To understand this, we need to dig deeper into me as a person.

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[ 1 ]  I am fairly introvert person, in the sense that I seek solitude to charge my batteries after a day among people.

To process and reflect over impressions. One can say that introverts are a bit more observing, thus numerous impressions are recorded with greater sensitive – and accumulate over a day – – whereas extroverts move on more swiftly to new challenges.

[ 2 ]  I have sat in various offices for 18 years. Mostly open offices. I’m very much into ergonomics, meaning sensitive to sound, and how to sit on a chair – so as to both keep a healthy back, and perform better at work – with a computer or in meeting with people. Quickly changing levels of noise, sounds, has a way of Distracting me from work and studies. The result is easily poorer performance, irritation, a much shorter duration of effective work.

[ Catalysator ]  About 1 year ago, I was studying the FB posts of a Polish entrepreneur, his electronic products, and I see a strange panel of wood lying on a floor in his test studio.
My research showed that this was an acoustic panel. Which, based on a mathematical formula, the panel mitigates echo.

Echo, in its simplest form, is a soundwave that is reflected by a flat surface. In play, we all know echo from being out in the nature, where the ringing of a shouted call may bounce for a long time, when reflected over many surfaces. Like that of mountain sides.

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Hand-clap test. I like to test echo by clapping my hands together, just once;
you will hear 2 things – how long time it takes for the reflected wave, and if an item in the room remains ringing for a while. Such as glass bowls, which easily resonate.

In short, I spent the following summer to understand the math (Prime Roots) behind the panels, and the acoustical world of reflected sound waves.
And, to understand how to build up a website. As well as what it would take to enable feedback of customer experience.

With customer experience I mean 3 things :
a) internet web page interface experience
b) product improvement and customization wishes (also to trigger a discussion, both for purpose of marketing, and more interesting products)
c) the best marketing in the world is a customer talking to their friend, and the best sales-adding tool is a client blogging about a product.

3. project manage the road to register a stock company.

Parallel to me finding out about the acoustical panels, I knew I wanted to register some form of company.

Why a stock company?
The reasons I opted for stock company are mainly 2 : the stronger impression that a stock company holds in an international market, and the insurance a stock company holds in case of a lawsuit – compared to a form where I am personally liable for possible financial consequences.

So, my first road map was quite simple regarding the count of Key milestones :
A) the math
– understanding the basics of math formulas
– test and save a few versions of most interesting build formulas (risk management)
– study other peoples’ DIY projects, best practice and what to avoid doing,
B) the website
– platform (free, wordpress), the website domain service (godaddy), the company-specific email adress host (MS, through godaddy), also includes the sign-up service for newsletters
C) Content.
-> The website menu system and visual structure, interface
-> the products I want to sell (the most important, but I had only a limited idea of what the products would be, and the customer segment as well)
D) the actual registration, the administrative road
-> the key milestones, figuring out in what order, in what steps, to move from KELA day-money to ‘starttiraha’, not to make a mistake and fall outside this safety-net.

For all of the milestone planning, I use a normal excel spreadsheet.
To management Schedule. To map out a road, and in what order to do things.

to be continued…


The author

Martin R.C. Andersson is an engineer with a soft spot for project management.
He has got a keen interest in audio equipment, especially studio-quality monitors. Always looking for noise-free listening… to be a norm. Values silence, and now and then some solitude.
Thinks Yoga is a mental state of being, when thoughts flow long enough – without disruption – to reach a conclusion of idea or work. Thinks Mindfulness is a state of being when work really gets done – well done.

When the outside world is tuned out, and performance is tuned in.
Feels best when Minimalism, Functionalism and Art come together, crossing their paths.

Do visit my home page Desiderata.

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