Archive for June, 2007

blue skies and business plans

June 13, 2007

I’ve always been proud of the fact that Wondermill has never taken outside investment.  We’ve had our ups and downs, but we have a solid business model and no debt.  We’re in good shape.

Bootstrapping for years has taught us to be careful with money and ensured we keep profitability in mind.  On the other hand we’ve had to pass up ideas with big growth potential but that might not fund themselves in the short term.

Now we’re at that fork in the road again with a new idea, and it’s time to choose the other path. 

Here’s what’s up.

We’re working on a new service, which we’re hoping to launch in the next month.  When we light the fuse, one of two things will happen.

A)  People love it.  Takeoff is explosive and we’re holding on tight as we go see what’s on the other side of the moon.

B)  The world shrugs, and we clamber out wondering what went wrong.  Then we either tinker with it and see if it’ll go, or go back to work on other projects.

I believe it’s going to be A. 

There are competitors already in the space, which is reassuring.  They’re proving a market exists, and they’re well-funded.  One has received $4M over two rounds and one started with $5M. 

We don’t need anything near that amount, but we do need more than we have now.  If the app is successful, we’d need three more people right away and more soon after that.  Ideally we’d be hiring for those positions now, as it usually takes six weeks to hire the right person.

Wondermill might be able to fund the new business at a survival level but there are other reasons to look for outside investment. 

I’ve got responsibilities now.

I’m married, and we’d like to buy a house someday.  I’ve got a kid who says “balababababrrble” but may someday say “hi dad, put me through college”, and I’d like to stop asking my wife if I can not pay myself again this month.

And so, for the first time in many years it’s time to make a business plan and see where this thing goes.

I’m a little nervous because it’s outside my comfort zone, but I’ll get over it.

Wish me luck!