Insider #22: Defining Moments

Just want to take the time to thank all of you for all of the phenomenal comments regarding our book, The MouseDriver Chronicles. Really seems as if that thing is having an impact on people. If you want to check out some of the reader comments, please visit Amazon. And feel free to post your own comments as well…our parents (and us) love checking ‘em out. Also, the discussion board is starting to gain traction. Any questions?

Lessons Learned

OK, so it’s very clear that selling a company (or the assets of a company) doesn’t just happen overnight. We basically knew that going into this process, but now we are keenly aware that, as in starting a company, selling a company requires a ton of patience. And it’s not like we’re just sitting around and waiting for things to happen. With the help of our independent banker we’ve developed a substantial list of potential acquirers, put together a one page ‘tear-sheet’ highlighting the key points of the company/product, spent countless hours organizing due diligence documents and financial statements (any company that is remotely interested is going to ask for this sort of stuff) and actually contacted a vast majority of the companies on our target list. We’re getting some decent interest, but like all ambitious entrepreneurs, we want more. So, if anybody out there knows of any companies or individuals who would like to purchase a cool product with proven sales, room for growth and about as much awareness as you can possibly obtain, feel free to contact us. By the way, a huge lesson that we’re learning regarding selling the company: Just because we’re selling doesn’t mean that we can slack off. We’ve got to stay focused, , identify goals and continue building out MouseDriver distribution channels as if we’re going to be doing this for awhile. The last thing we want to have happen is a potential buyer passing on us because we were lazy and let sales dwindle down to nothing.

Speaking of sales, we’ve decided to change our inventory investment strategy somewhat. Given that we’re trying to reduce the risks of ordering a bunch of MouseDrivers and not being able to sell them, we’ve decided that all of our inventory production runs out of China will be demand-driven. That is, we won’t be paying for new MouseDrivers unless we know that we can sell them once they’ve safely made it to our warehouse in Southern California. In the past, we’ve forecasted how many MouseDrivers we think we could sell, invested cold-hard cash in inventory, housed MouseDrivers in our warehouse (where we incur holding costs) and then attempted to sell. Now, we’re going to attempt to get actual orders before we invest in inventory…well, at least enough to warrant another inventory investment.. Because we’ll be running orders directly out of China, we’ll be able to offer our channel partners (suppliers, distributors, retailers and ultimately, consumers) better pricing as our costs will be lower. By giving our partners better pricing, we hope to further build out our distribution channels both in the States and in other countries. In a nutshell, we’re really going to try and blow this thing out. We know, we’ve said this before, but we’ve learned some things over the past year or so and think that we might have it figured out now.

So back to the most popular question that we’ve been getting from all of you: “What else are y’all doing?” Honestly, we’re all over the board right now. Seriously. It seems as if we’ve got our hands in a bunch of different things. We’re continuing to sell MouseDriver while trying to sell the company, we’re consulting for a few clients, dealing with book stuff (the book is the #1 listing in Simon & Schusters Fall UK Catalog by the way), trying to pitch the movie/tv rights to studios (can anybody see this as a TV Sitcom?), putting together a business case for our own radio show, motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to just ‘do it’, speaking to university classes and entrepreneurial groups, performing interviews for media publications, meeting with VC’s, private investors and private equity groups (trying to see if there are ways for us to work together), making a ton of introductions to people in our business network, attempting to deal with the company knocking-us off, responding to all of the great comments that we’ve received from people regarding the book and still looking for that next ‘big thing’. Basically, we have no focus right now. And while all of this stuff is very cool, exciting and fun, it’s EXTREMELY hard to stay committed and do a good job when you’re dabbling in a bunch of different things. We really, really, really need to find one thing that we can dedicate the majority of our time to, otherwise, we’ll end up going nowhere and John will continue to work out of his apartment bedroom. Finding this focus is one incredible CHALLENGE and is a great example of where a very seasoned, experienced entrepreneur who’s been through this type of thing before would be of great benefit to us. Any takers? :-)

Alright, one of the coolest things about being published authors is responding to and meeting with all of the interesting folks who have read about our story. We probably receive 15-20 emails a week from readers who have read The MouseDriver Chronicles and are now more inspired and motivated than ever to follow their dreams and bring their ideas to fruition. We’ve also spoken with a number of entrepreneurs who have gotten to a certain point with their idea and then decided that it was time for somebody else to take the reigns…so to speak. While these entrepreneurs are still very passionate about their ideas, they have come to the conclusion (for a number of different reasons including personal and financial), that somebody else is better suited to execute. Here’s the interesting part: These entrepreneurs are asking us if we know anyone who would be interested in taking on their ‘project’. And it got us thinking…”Hey, maybe there’s a way that we can help match idea people (actually, the ideas we are seeing are well beyond idea phase. In most cases, prototypes/product already exists) with aspiring entrepreneurs who would love the opportunity and challenge of bringing a new product/idea to market.” So…if you or anybody else you know is interested in bringing a new product to market, feel free to let us know. You can’t beat the experience.

What We’ve Done

  • Attended our first book club meeting in which the members of the club (about 20 women!) read and then discussed our book. Very cool.
  • Began pitching the idea of turning the MouseDriver story into a TV sitcom of sorts to talent agencies and studios.
  • Videoconferenced with students and professors from The University of St. Louis and George Washington University.
  • Tried to work out a licensing deal with the company knocking us off. They weren’t really open to the idea…whatever.
  • Received our first book royalty check a few weeks back. Yeehaa!
  • Sold MouseDrivers to distributors in both Denmark and Spain.

Priority Goals

  • Steady income. Steady income. Steady income. Steady income. Steady income. Etc., Etc.
  • Solidify a “Chinese Menu” of sorts for the consulting side of our business. We’re just now realizing that people will actually pay for all of our knowledge, our network, etc.
  • Begin the process of publishing The MouseDriver Insider newsletters so that readers, especially students, professors and entrepreneurs will have a nice complement to the book.
  • Prioritize what opportunities we want to focus on and make sure that we don’t get pulled in too many directions.
  • Figure out how we can best capitalize on our knowledge and business network.

Mood Meter

We’re not going to bullshit you on this one. We’re really having problems figuring out what to do next and it’s kind of bringing us down. We know we have great experience, we know we want to move forward together on something, we know that we’re in a very unique position with regards to all of this awareness, etc. But damn, we’re having one helluva time trying to figure out how to take all of this to the next level. A part of us keeps saying “Just hang on and something will surface”. However, it’s not like we can just kick-back and wait. We’re kind of frustrated right now and are really hoping to get as much advice and insights as possible over the next month or so. We’re still very excited…just a little anxious.

 

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