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Author Topic: FSP and Industry  (Read 4462 times)

Rich Lucibella

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FSP and Industry
« on: January 11, 2005, 12:10:59 pm »

I've been watching the development of the Free State Project(s) and have not been convinced enough to sign on as yet. (Unbelievable how even like minded people can start in-fighting so quickly.)  However, it dove-tails with an idea that I had back in '01. I'd like to throw it out for ideas and also see if it would fit in with the FSP.

I've been pretty lucky in my life and business and most would consider me  "well off". Currently, I'm involved in the firearms industry and have come to know it pretty well. It's an interesting industry, dotted by great products, often produced by individuals without the capital, business experise, distribution or marketing clout necessary to do more than scratch out a living. I'm talking about smaller knife manufacturers, gear manufacturers, ammunition, sights and optics, firearms, R&D....you name it, and you'll find great products produced in garages by individuals who really want to focus on manufacturing and development rather than regulation, accounting, marketing and sales.

So, here's a rough-out of the concept:
- Purchase 200+ acres in a "friendly state".
- Set up a large "industrial Park" type complex complete with built-in services for reception, accounting, marketing, legal/patent, engineering, conference rooms and the like.
- Provide the high-dollar equipment on an "as-needed" rental basis for small manufacturers who need but really can't justify their own CNC Machine, Shrink Wrap, coatings  and the like
- Set up a 1,000 Meter range for T&E
- Provide some limited, affordable rental housing on site.

Not a Co-Op, nor a "Company Town-let",  but an approach to attract individuals to the type of  atmosphere where they can rent the necessary manufacturing space and then choose from an "a la carte" menu of needed services and purchase others on an as needed basis. Not to mention the inherent value of having so many skilled and inventive individuals to draw upon for your own endeavor. At critical mass, the enterprise as a group suddenly has the ability to perform national marketing and distribution also.

As a result, you end up with a  group of like minded individualists with enormously valuable trade and technical talents.

Am most interested in feedback on this.
Rich
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Bear

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FSP and Industry
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2005, 12:51:52 pm »

Rich,

I'm not in the industry, but it sounds like a brilliant idea to me. One question, though:
are the kind of people who do craftmanship work out of their garages likely to move
to a new area to take advantage of the services you offer?

If not, could you see them renting space for a limited time to do specific R&D or product
development work? If so, you might include a trailer park / camp ground for temporary
use while they are there, as I'm willing to guess that a lot of these folks have campers
or trailers that could be put to use.

Bear
 
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"There is no good idea so perfect, so pure,
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Rich Lucibella

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FSP and Industry
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2005, 01:58:07 pm »

Bear-
Quote
are the kind of people who do craftsmanship work out of their garages likely to move
to a new area to take advantage of the services you offer?
The million dollar question. However, I do have a definitive answer:
I don't know. :huh:

Seriously, if I could answer those types of questions, capitalism and creation would be truly boring. However, I'm not talking about hobbyists and craftsman (my comment about product being produced in garages was slightly hyperbolic). What I'm talking about is small, but solvent manufacturers, either with one or two product lines or other limitations to further growth. The model I have in mind would, of necessity, entail lower overhead costs for such businesses....otherwise it makes zero sense. No, this would cater to people who would like to make a break from their current locale, but simply don't have the time or where-with-all to do the research and develop the associations in a new area.

As to the concept of temporary gig's, this is the Gulching forum. While gulching requires neither community, camaraderie or interdependence, it does require one item of each of us: commitment. The concept of catering to "drive-by's" fails to appeal to me for that reason and a couple of business reasons. First off, the project requires a multi-million dollar investment. To go after part-timers is to invite every dreamer-who-went-out-of-business-last-month-but-hasn't-realized-it-yet to expend his/her last effort at this enterprise. (Just bad business). Additionally, temp services creates uneven cash flows. Finally, there really is nothing to build upon if your "colleagues" are constantly changing.
Rich
« Last Edit: January 11, 2005, 01:59:38 pm by seeker »
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Bear

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FSP and Industry
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2005, 05:53:18 pm »

Rich,

Ok. I can see I misunderstood. I thought you were talking about a 'service bureau' type of
arrangement where very small business could outsource some of the business needs or
rent equipment as needed, rather than having to get the capital to buy or lease it when they
don't need it all the time.

Bear
 
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Roy J. Tellason

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FSP and Industry
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2005, 11:55:25 pm »

The point in there about the sharing of some facilities has reminded me of those "business incubator" projects that are being done here and there.  You might look into some of those,  if you can find 'em (try Small Business Administration and SCORE and such groups) and see if you can get a handle on how some aspects of that stuff are done,  and how well they're working out...
 
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ZooT_aLLures

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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2005, 12:25:31 am »

seeker,

I've been buying my own machinery for years as quite frankly I wouldn't want to be dependant upon anyone or anything that I didn't have to be.........and what you're proposing is a state of voluntary dependance....
I myself would prefer to own my own stuff on my own land.
Renting equipment requires a certain amount of dependable traffic of product, both incoming and outgoing.....and the one thing that I think most can agree upon in todays world is that nothing is dependable, and regardless of what fails it's "always" going to be someone else fault.

In fact.....the current business climate in the US mirrors that described in the opening chapters of Atlas shrugged to a tee*L*

 
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Rich Lucibella

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FSP and Industry
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2005, 08:06:31 am »

Roy-
While this would not be geared toward start-ups, you're exactly correct as to the model being quite similar to incubator projects. I hadn't thought of it that way and it's a great lead. Thanks.

Zoot-
"Voluntary dependence"....yes.
I'll go you one better. I won't even have partners in my business affairs anymore.....or even debt. So I fully understand your concept of independence. But let me give you an example. I know of a Kydex gear manufacturer who required a CNC machine to manufacture his product...so he bought one. However, he became a slave to the machine payments and spent much of his time looking for third party work just to do make those payments....nearly lost his business over it.

Remember, my target market would not be people who are already way over the top on their own. They, like you, would have no reason to move backwards. I'm talking about your basic $1MM manufacturing operation that really has no need for full time secretary/receptionist/bookkeeper, can't justify some of the high tech equipment that would drop production costs, can't afford a 1,000 yard testing range and can't break into the national distribution networks.

Nor is shared services any sort of requirement of the sketched out model. For those who need them, they'd be there. For those who don't, no worries.

I think the key insight you bring up is the very fact that so many of us in the "gun culture" are fiercely independent. We're not "joiners" and would never be interested in anything that smacks of "Co-Op". Yet we're the very same people who recognize that the life we each dream of would be made so much easier were we located around "like-minded" people....spell that "Voluntary Dependence", yes? That's what the FSP, for instance, and many threads on this Forum are really all about.
Rich


 
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penguinsscareme

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FSP and Industry
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2005, 08:35:00 am »

Well done, Seeker.  I can't offer you any practical advice, except to say that that sounds like it would fit very comfortably with the fsp.
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criofan

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FSP and Industry
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2005, 10:18:12 am »

I like this idea!  You're taking a proven concept--small-business, white-collar incubators--and applying it to a similar situation.  It seems to me that the actual setup of this business would not be the challenging part.  Rather, finding your customers would be the most difficult.

I know a man who does small business coaching.  He offers a seminar and guidance for a set time period to take people's business ideas from conception to startup.  Advertising through those kinds of service providers might be one way to hook up with your customers.

Advertising in hobbyist magazines, or even better getting a profile published, might be another strategy.  Is there a magazine for dedicated machinist hobbyists?

Wherever small businesses in your chosen locale go for help and information is another resource for hooking up with potential customers.  Does the community college offer small business classes?  Would the instructor hand out your brochure in class?  Is there a branch of SCORE or the SBA operating in that locale?  Could you use their mailing list?

Is there a local machinist's union or guild?  Could you advertise in their newsletter?

You could contact local gun shops and see if any of them are interested in renting space/time in your shop.  Also local auto repair shops.

Perhaps you could spin your message to appeal to the customer's sense of independence.  Focus on not tieing yourself to a million-dollar machine and office staff, when you can rent and focus on what you're really good at...etc.

This sounds like a great NH business idea.  Why not post it on the FSP web board under their business ideas thread and see if you get any interest from other FSPers?
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ZooT_aLLures

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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2005, 11:25:56 am »

Quote
Is there a branch of SCORE or the SBA operating in that locale?

WTF???
I guess that's one difference between anarchists and minarchists.......
Why invite yet another nonproductive third party?.......
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Even some cowboy and indian outlaws in the 1800's eventually stopped sleeping under buffalo skins, and came to town to entertain paying customers. For some I imagine the bruising of their ego never healed.

We all have some scar tissue that never lets us completely forget the intent of the adventure.
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