Thursday, February 9, 2017
My second business plan has now been started. I actually decided to go with a different format for this plan and have seen some pretty awesome results so far. Having a second format is an enormous help for me to understand what the original format was asking and what types of things I can say or do to improve my first business plan. The fact that it is an entirely different product in a completely different market is helping as well because there is a lot less overlap than if I were making two business plans for two similar offerings. It's been a lot of work thus far, but the hardest part seems to be deciding what it is that I'm supposed to do. I'd like to have as much information on paper as possible before I present what I have to a professional. This way, the feedback that I get is going to be as specific and helpful as possible. I'd rather get comments about what I did wrong instead of broad generalizations about the topic being discussed.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
E-books are going to be where I learn how to truly gain recognition in the industry. I just decided to pursue the idea today and already I have a document outlining possible topics I could write about and how they break down into smaller ideas that I can really go into depth about. I think that writing e-books is going to not just be a useful thing to do, but it's also going to help my whitepaper writing and my overall professionalism when presenting myself to the business world. I'm not sure why, but I see e-books as the most formal medium I've worked with so far and I like the mindset that I have when I approach the problem of generating material. The topics that I associate with e-books seem to lend themselves much better to an academic-based format which will hopefully give me some much needed practice with my business presentation skills. E-books seem to be more of a set of instructions than a conversation which I've found hard to achieve even in my whitepapers.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
I have officially taken my first step towards having a human-readable business plan. One of my products now has the beginnings of one business plan. This is an enormous step forward for me since it is as far away from engineering work as you can get while still discussing the topic. It's kind of surprising to see how far away I was at my attempts at a business plan. I pretty much just went over my favorite features and made notes about what made them my favorite features. I also tried to imagine who might like those features. I think we'd be friends. An actual business plan has to take into account that someone with no knowledge of the industry at all might read it. I have to consider things like employees and building space. It's going to be a long journey, but so far seems like a necessary one. From what I've been able to guess so far, I'd think that all of my products are going to need one, although since it will get pretty repetitive I'll just do my favorites first.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
I think that motivation is the biggest success I've gained from my new "marketing" and "sales" documents. I already knew what I was designing my products for and what I was going to do with them. But now I have a handy reference manual where I can simply point to this document instead of bothering to go into the code and try to remember all of this stuff again. Even better is that if my documents are written efficiently enough, I won't even have to be there at all. Just point someone to this neat reference manual, add a few screen shots, and they'll have all the info they need to understand what I'm doing with my products. If they have any technical questions, I can refer them to the summary materials. Although this is just a start, as you put in more work you can start to see how things fit together eventually. I think that even if nobody ever reads these documents, they will be helpful for me to have around. If I want to go over a few things real quick about my company, I can just skim though a few papers, look at the table of contents, browse the screen shots. Having all of this accomplished is a big boost to my motivation.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
As a surprisingly helpful companion project to my summary documents, I would like to talk about the success of the business documents area that I have added to my promotional materials. Although I have many areas in my computer that refer to things as "business documents", this is meant to be similar to the summary documents which give a very technical-minded overview of how the company plans to utilize each products features and translate that into financial gain. So far, each product is getting exactly two files. One that discusses the marketing approach for the product and one that discusses the actual sale of the product. The marketing document typically refers to what an investor might be interested in about the product. It's place in the market, competitive aspects, and what might generally create attention for the product. The sales document refers to how customers will actually interact with the product. Who the customers are, how they will be reached, and what this means for the company. These documents don't really belong in the promotional materials area since they won't be released to the public, but having them there seems to be helpful for workflow reasons.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Naming files is not just something that is relevant for code. I first discovered that I might have a problem when I was uploading screen shots to the web. Since I had only taken one or two screenshots for each application's respective promotional page, I had named all of the image files either "screenshot" or "display". After uploading all of the images to the service I'm using, I noticed that having all the files named the same thing could be an issue. This isn't an issue when you preserve the directory structure which labels the application at the root. I think that with a program I can think of everything as one piece of work, but my documentation, flowcharts, and other files might need to be a little more portable. If I were to display code for any reason, I might even have to make further changes, but working with my business-related documents is enough work for now. I'm not sure what process or procedure this falls under, but having a large amount of files with the exact same name on the same computer can't be a good thing. I'll have to decide how much work this is going to be, but I've already started the process of adding product IDs to some of my generic filenames.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
I think that I am approaching the conclusion of my summary documents for the moment. I still have a fair amount of work left to do and some of it covers some pretty complex topics. The majority of what I have remaining is going to be fairly redundant technically and would be a very interesting task for a volunteer, intern, or even someone that has just started working for me. I know this is a long ways away, so it's something that I will probably finish myself eventually. Right now, I think that my time would best to be spent working on other tasks. I have a good amount of my products fully documented and almost everything is at least outlined (I decided that I'd write outlines as a sort of table of contents). So far, the documentation has given my company a lot of depth that I feel very good about. As a pleasant side-effect, I have also generated some interesting art work and todo items. I think that I still might need one more layer of documentation that goes even further into detail, but I haven't decided what that's going to be yet.