[hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

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[hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Chris Hardee
We're starting up a space here in San Antonio, TX and I've been asked by sponsors and members for a business plan. I've been working on one but is there a skeleton plan or something I can base this off of? Any tips or experience anyone can share about writing one? Thanks

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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Jens Ohlig

Am 28.06.2010 um 15:49 schrieb Chris Hardee:

> We're starting up a space here in San Antonio, TX and I've been asked by sponsors and members for a business plan. I've been working on one but is there a skeleton plan or something I can base this off of? Any tips or experience anyone can share about writing one? Thanks

You may want to make sure (through membership fees, classes, events) that you have just enough money to pay for bills like electricity and rent. Done.
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

punkin3.14
In reply to this post by Chris Hardee
On 10-06-28 9:49 AM, Chris Hardee wrote:
> We're starting up a space here in San Antonio, TX and I've been asked by
> sponsors and members for a business plan. I've been working on one but
> is there a skeleton plan or something I can base this off of? Any tips
> or experience anyone can share about writing one? Thanks

To be frank, most "business plans" aren't worth the paper they're
printed on. But since you are being asked to provide one by people with
a real or potential stake in what you're doing, its important to
understand what specifically they want to see before they'll be willing
to invest. Any business plan you draft needs to address whatever
specific question your sponsors and members have. The most valuable
thing you can do at this point is make sure you know what those
questions are.

At KwartzLab, we held a very long conversation with our potential
membership regarding what they expected from the venture -- both what
they wanted in terms of community and resources, and what they needed in
terms of financial stability. From this, we were able to draft a vision
statement, a governance model, and a budget for the space. Because we
knew how many people would be signing up on day one, we were also able
to draft reasonably accurate financial projections. We didn't package
this up as a business plan per se, but its the sort of thing you'll want
to include.

If your sponsors are interested in knowing how you plan on growing your
numbers, you may also want to include a section on the sort of marketing
or outreach you have done so far and have planned for the future, how
successful its been, and what growth you anticipate for the coming year.


--

     |\___/|   Punkin3.14
     )     (
    =\     /=     [hidden email] | http://punkin3.14159.ca
      )===(
     /     \          Relaxen,
     |     |            und watschen der blinkenlichten
    /       \
    \       /
/\_/\__  _/_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\
   |  |( (  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
   |  | ) ) |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
   |  |(_(  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Adam D Bachman
I was going to give a quick one-liner like Jens' "are the bills payable?", mostly because that's how we did it at the Node, but I think Punkin's suggestion is a winner.

If folks want a business plan because, "businesses have business plans, QED" then forget it. You'd be better going it alone, you're not going to catch a break because they're not supporters, they're haters. But if they have very specific questions and answering those questions will be valuable to you, if would be a good exercise to answer them.

At the Node (http://baltimorenode.org) our plan looked something like an answer to, "what will it take to survive for six months". It was very helpful to write down how I thought this would work (http://wiki.baltimorenode.org/index.php?title=Version_Zero) but the only real purpose of the document was as a starting place for discussion and a limit to the very vague, bike-sheddy, non-helpful side discussions that were happening during our formation. 

The discussion is ongoing and we've been in business for almost a year (one year next week), so it has worked for us. "When needs arise, we will meet them" is always enough of a business plan for a roomful of creative folks. Whatever gets you from "here we are" to "we are doing things" fastest (http://baltimoreprintstudios.com/2010/05/strategic-plan-posters-are-back/).

I'm curious what you expect your relationship to investors to be? Are you going the for-profit root with actual shares and returns and all that, or are you a non-profit and they're actually donors? Donors don't get a say in how their money is spent, members are part of creating the business, so a "business plan" (talking about what you're going to do) makes less sense than just doing it.


- Adam

On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:19 AM, punkin3.14 <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 10-06-28 9:49 AM, Chris Hardee wrote:
We're starting up a space here in San Antonio, TX and I've been asked by
sponsors and members for a business plan. I've been working on one but
is there a skeleton plan or something I can base this off of? Any tips
or experience anyone can share about writing one? Thanks

To be frank, most "business plans" aren't worth the paper they're printed on. But since you are being asked to provide one by people with a real or potential stake in what you're doing, its important to understand what specifically they want to see before they'll be willing to invest. Any business plan you draft needs to address whatever specific question your sponsors and members have. The most valuable thing you can do at this point is make sure you know what those questions are.

At KwartzLab, we held a very long conversation with our potential membership regarding what they expected from the venture -- both what they wanted in terms of community and resources, and what they needed in terms of financial stability. From this, we were able to draft a vision statement, a governance model, and a budget for the space. Because we knew how many people would be signing up on day one, we were also able to draft reasonably accurate financial projections. We didn't package this up as a business plan per se, but its the sort of thing you'll want to include.

If your sponsors are interested in knowing how you plan on growing your numbers, you may also want to include a section on the sort of marketing or outreach you have done so far and have planned for the future, how successful its been, and what growth you anticipate for the coming year.


--

   |\___/|   Punkin3.14
   )     (
  =\     /=     [hidden email] | http://punkin3.14159.ca
    )===(
   /     \          Relaxen,
   |     |            und watschen der blinkenlichten
  /       \
  \       /
/\_/\__  _/_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\
 |  |( (  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
 |  | ) ) |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
 |  |(_(  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |

 |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Far McKon
Hive76 took the planning model a lot of cooperative housing and studios take.

1) Membership should pay the bills, + 5-10% extra to slowly accumulate
for damage, improvements, and emergencies.

2) By 6 months, you should have 3 months of 'reserve cash' to pay
bills. IE, if everyone gets hit by a meteor,
there should be cash on hand for 3 momths of operation. You should
always have that reserve, and if you use it.
refill it before spending other 'emergency' cash.

3) Lights and Rent should be covered by membership. New
projects/equipment by pledge drives or net income classes.


The above is a very common model of housing cooperatives, and shared
workspaces, and has worked very well.  That said, Hive76 has barely
made those goals. But they are do-able goals, and easy to explain and
agree on.

hack on,
- Far McKon


http://www.Hive76.org  "Making things awesome,  making awesome things!"
http://www.FarMcKon.net "Creatively Maladjusted"



On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:57 AM, Adam D Bachman <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I was going to give a quick one-liner like Jens' "are the bills payable?",
> mostly because that's how we did it at the Node, but I think Punkin's
> suggestion is a winner.
> If folks want a business plan because, "businesses have business plans, QED"
> then forget it. You'd be better going it alone, you're not going to catch a
> break because they're not supporters, they're haters. But if they have very
> specific questions and answering those questions will be valuable to you, if
> would be a good exercise to answer them.
> At the Node (http://baltimorenode.org) our plan looked something like an
> answer to, "what will it take to survive for six months". It was very
> helpful to write down how I thought this would work
> (http://wiki.baltimorenode.org/index.php?title=Version_Zero) but the only
> real purpose of the document was as a starting place for discussion and a
> limit to the very vague, bike-sheddy, non-helpful side discussions that were
> happening during our formation.
> The discussion is ongoing and we've been in business for almost a year (one
> year next week), so it has worked for us. "When needs arise, we will meet
> them" is always enough of a business plan for a roomful of creative folks.
> Whatever gets you from "here we are" to "we are doing things" fastest
> (http://baltimoreprintstudios.com/2010/05/strategic-plan-posters-are-back/).
> I'm curious what you expect your relationship to investors to be? Are you
> going the for-profit root with actual shares and returns and all that, or
> are you a non-profit and they're actually donors? Donors don't get a say in
> how their money is spent, members are part of creating the business, so a
> "business plan" (talking about what you're going to do) makes less sense
> than just doing it.
>
> - Adam
> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:19 AM, punkin3.14 <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> On 10-06-28 9:49 AM, Chris Hardee wrote:
>>>
>>> We're starting up a space here in San Antonio, TX and I've been asked by
>>> sponsors and members for a business plan. I've been working on one but
>>> is there a skeleton plan or something I can base this off of? Any tips
>>> or experience anyone can share about writing one? Thanks
>>
>> To be frank, most "business plans" aren't worth the paper they're printed
>> on. But since you are being asked to provide one by people with a real or
>> potential stake in what you're doing, its important to understand what
>> specifically they want to see before they'll be willing to invest. Any
>> business plan you draft needs to address whatever specific question your
>> sponsors and members have. The most valuable thing you can do at this point
>> is make sure you know what those questions are.
>>
>> At KwartzLab, we held a very long conversation with our potential
>> membership regarding what they expected from the venture -- both what they
>> wanted in terms of community and resources, and what they needed in terms of
>> financial stability. From this, we were able to draft a vision statement, a
>> governance model, and a budget for the space. Because we knew how many
>> people would be signing up on day one, we were also able to draft reasonably
>> accurate financial projections. We didn't package this up as a business plan
>> per se, but its the sort of thing you'll want to include.
>>
>> If your sponsors are interested in knowing how you plan on growing your
>> numbers, you may also want to include a section on the sort of marketing or
>> outreach you have done so far and have planned for the future, how
>> successful its been, and what growth you anticipate for the coming year.
>>
>>
>> --
>>
>>    |\___/|   Punkin3.14
>>    )     (
>>   =\     /=     [hidden email] | http://punkin3.14159.ca
>>     )===(
>>    /     \          Relaxen,
>>    |     |            und watschen der blinkenlichten
>>   /       \
>>   \       /
>> /\_/\__  _/_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\_/\
>>  |  |( (  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
>>  |  | ) ) |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
>>  |  |(_(  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
>>  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |  |
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
>
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Matt Joyce

I think having a clear and transparent view of finances for those that want to see them is valuable and important.  Also demonstrating a business plan is less about the plan or the organization philosophically, and more about "How serious are you?  How much thought has been put into this?"

Hackerspaces are an investment not just in terms of money, but more importantly time.  there's no reason on earth someone would not want to have their mind put at ease before commiting to it. 

A business plan can go a long way torwards that.  I hope that as you proceed you document this all and make as much of it as you can available.

On Jun 28, 2010 11:09 AM, "Far McKon" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hive76 took the planning model a lot of cooperative housing and studios take.

1) Membership should pay the bills, + 5-10% extra to slowly accumulate
for damage, improvements, and emergencies.

2) By 6 months, you should have 3 months of 'reserve cash' to pay
bills. IE, if everyone gets hit by a meteor,
there should be cash on hand for 3 momths of operation. You should
always have that reserve, and if you use it.
refill it before spending other 'emergency' cash.

3) Lights and Rent should be covered by membership. New
projects/equipment by pledge drives or net income classes.


The above is a very common model of housing cooperatives, and shared
workspaces, and has worked very well.  That said, Hive76 has barely
made those goals. But they are do-able goals, and easy to explain and
agree on.

hack on,
- Far McKon


http://www.Hive76.org  "Making things awesome,  making awesome things!"
http://www.FarMcKon.net "Creatively Maladjusted"




On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:57 AM, Adam D Bachman <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I was going to...


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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Arclight
Because someone's name usually has to be on the lease, I think a plan
is very valuable to have. For us (only 5 core members, lots of
"sporadic" members), it consisted of a shared Google spreadsheet where
we outlined all of our expenses:

1. Rent  ~$850/month (1,025ft^2)
2. Insurance ~$100/mo (Required by landlord)
3. Electric ~$75/mo
4. Internet ~$60/mo (yay commercial rates...not!)

Of course, there were move-in and build-out expenses, which got broken
up and paid as agreed on.  People who wanted personal improvements
(i.e. shelving just for their project or whatever) paid for them out
of pocket.

Our reserve is in the form of the small core having enough cash to
stick in out for 3+ months if one member moved/got hit by
meteorite/etc.

For a larger group where the funding comes from 20+ members paying
smaller amounts, it's definitely important to do some research (i.e.
start a mailing list/forum) and verify how many people will be willing
to pay in and what they expect. It is equally important to pad that
enough to create a "slush fund" for emergencies/etc.  And with a
larger group, you should probably create a budget for the improvements
ahead of time, since it's cumbersome to put every little expense to a
vote.

And of course everyone paying money needs to be able to look at where
their money is going.  Posting the financials on a board in the shop
or putting them on-line somewhere should be done.

Other than collecting dues/rent money, an automatic "house tax" on
revenue-generating activities is a good way to keep funding up. This
way, you can have whatever third parties you want put on events or do
projects or whatever, and you just agree on a fee or percentage for
the space to collect out of it.


Arclight
http://shop.23b.org


On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 8:15 AM, Matt Joyce <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think having a clear and transparent view of finances for those that want
> to see them is valuable and important.  Also demonstrating a business plan
> is less about the plan or the organization philosophically, and more about
> "How serious are you?  How much thought has been put into this?"
>
> Hackerspaces are an investment not just in terms of money, but more
> importantly time.  there's no reason on earth someone would not want to have
> their mind put at ease before commiting to it.
>
> A business plan can go a long way torwards that.  I hope that as you proceed
> you document this all and make as much of it as you can available.
>
> On Jun 28, 2010 11:09 AM, "Far McKon" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hive76 took the planning model a lot of cooperative housing and studios
> take.
>
> 1) Membership should pay the bills, + 5-10% extra to slowly accumulate
> for damage, improvements, and emergencies.
>
> 2) By 6 months, you should have 3 months of 'reserve cash' to pay
> bills. IE, if everyone gets hit by a meteor,
> there should be cash on hand for 3 momths of operation. You should
> always have that reserve, and if you use it.
> refill it before spending other 'emergency' cash.
>
> 3) Lights and Rent should be covered by membership. New
> projects/equipment by pledge drives or net income classes.
>
>
> The above is a very common model of housing cooperatives, and shared
> workspaces, and has worked very well.  That said, Hive76 has barely
> made those goals. But they are do-able goals, and easy to explain and
> agree on.
>
> hack on,
> - Far McKon
>
>
> http://www.Hive76.org  "Making things awesome,  making awesome things!"
> http://www.FarMcKon.net "Creatively Maladjusted"
>
>
>
> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:57 AM, Adam D Bachman <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>> I was going to...
>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
>
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Sean Bonner
Don't confuse a budget with a business plan. Budgets are all numbers,
business plans need to have things like "competitive analysis" and
info about why you are the best people to open this company, and yes,
are largely useless.

-s

On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 12:00 AM, john arclight <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Because someone's name usually has to be on the lease, I think a plan
> is very valuable to have. For us (only 5 core members, lots of
> "sporadic" members), it consisted of a shared Google spreadsheet where
> we outlined all of our expenses:
>
> 1. Rent  ~$850/month (1,025ft^2)
> 2. Insurance ~$100/mo (Required by landlord)
> 3. Electric ~$75/mo
> 4. Internet ~$60/mo (yay commercial rates...not!)
>
> Of course, there were move-in and build-out expenses, which got broken
> up and paid as agreed on.  People who wanted personal improvements
> (i.e. shelving just for their project or whatever) paid for them out
> of pocket.
>
> Our reserve is in the form of the small core having enough cash to
> stick in out for 3+ months if one member moved/got hit by
> meteorite/etc.
>
> For a larger group where the funding comes from 20+ members paying
> smaller amounts, it's definitely important to do some research (i.e.
> start a mailing list/forum) and verify how many people will be willing
> to pay in and what they expect. It is equally important to pad that
> enough to create a "slush fund" for emergencies/etc.  And with a
> larger group, you should probably create a budget for the improvements
> ahead of time, since it's cumbersome to put every little expense to a
> vote.
>
> And of course everyone paying money needs to be able to look at where
> their money is going.  Posting the financials on a board in the shop
> or putting them on-line somewhere should be done.
>
> Other than collecting dues/rent money, an automatic "house tax" on
> revenue-generating activities is a good way to keep funding up. This
> way, you can have whatever third parties you want put on events or do
> projects or whatever, and you just agree on a fee or percentage for
> the space to collect out of it.
>
>
> Arclight
> http://shop.23b.org
>
>
> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 8:15 AM, Matt Joyce <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> I think having a clear and transparent view of finances for those that want
>> to see them is valuable and important.  Also demonstrating a business plan
>> is less about the plan or the organization philosophically, and more about
>> "How serious are you?  How much thought has been put into this?"
>>
>> Hackerspaces are an investment not just in terms of money, but more
>> importantly time.  there's no reason on earth someone would not want to have
>> their mind put at ease before commiting to it.
>>
>> A business plan can go a long way torwards that.  I hope that as you proceed
>> you document this all and make as much of it as you can available.
>>
>> On Jun 28, 2010 11:09 AM, "Far McKon" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Hive76 took the planning model a lot of cooperative housing and studios
>> take.
>>
>> 1) Membership should pay the bills, + 5-10% extra to slowly accumulate
>> for damage, improvements, and emergencies.
>>
>> 2) By 6 months, you should have 3 months of 'reserve cash' to pay
>> bills. IE, if everyone gets hit by a meteor,
>> there should be cash on hand for 3 momths of operation. You should
>> always have that reserve, and if you use it.
>> refill it before spending other 'emergency' cash.
>>
>> 3) Lights and Rent should be covered by membership. New
>> projects/equipment by pledge drives or net income classes.
>>
>>
>> The above is a very common model of housing cooperatives, and shared
>> workspaces, and has worked very well.  That said, Hive76 has barely
>> made those goals. But they are do-able goals, and easy to explain and
>> agree on.
>>
>> hack on,
>> - Far McKon
>>
>>
>> http://www.Hive76.org  "Making things awesome,  making awesome things!"
>> http://www.FarMcKon.net "Creatively Maladjusted"
>>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 10:57 AM, Adam D Bachman <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>> I was going to...
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>>
>>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>



--
Sean Bonner
http://www.seanbonner.com - homebase
http://www.metblogs.com - get local

*** Please check your address books, the best e-mail for me is
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 12:07, Sean Bonner <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Don't confuse a budget with a business plan. Budgets are all numbers,
> business plans need to have things like "competitive analysis" and
> info about why you are the best people to open this company, and yes,
> are largely useless.

I generally agree that standard business plans are useless.

However, if the sponsors/members are asking for a "Business Plan", you
might want to give them a document that is "What a Hackerspace Is" +
Budget.  As was previously noted, it's good to have a narrative for
things, especially if you are going to file for 501(c)(x) status.

--
Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org / 8B13F204
Washington, DC, 20013-1208
P: +1 (707) 676-FARR
F: +1 (866) 536-2616
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

André Kelpe-2
In reply to this post by Chris Hardee
Hey Chris,

For whitespace (http://0x20.be) we have a set of founding members that
cover the costs with their membership fees (40€). Any additional
member pays the regular fee of 20€ per month.

This basically means that the founding members make sure the space is
running and everything that comes in via additional members or selling
drinks can be used for buying stuff and building a war-chest of money
in case that shit hits the fan. No member has special rights in this
setup. No matter how much you pay or donate, you are as good and
respected as everybody else. Works well for us.

http://0x20.be/FAQ#Membership
http://0x20.be/Membership

-- André

2010/6/28 Chris Hardee <[hidden email]>:

> We're starting up a space here in San Antonio, TX and I've been asked by
> sponsors and members for a business plan. I've been working on one but is
> there a skeleton plan or something I can base this off of? Any tips or
> experience anyone can share about writing one? Thanks
>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
>
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Lokkju Brennr
In reply to this post by Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
As having gone through starting a space almost exactly six months ago,
I'll just throw out there that you should remember that plans change,
and to only count on 50% (or less) of the support promised.  We
initially had a lot of potential members promising support...  of
which less then 50% actually paid membership over those six months -
and it was only $40/month.

Loki

On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 12:07, Sean Bonner <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Don't confuse a budget with a business plan. Budgets are all numbers,
>> business plans need to have things like "competitive analysis" and
>> info about why you are the best people to open this company, and yes,
>> are largely useless.
>
> I generally agree that standard business plans are useless.
>
> However, if the sponsors/members are asking for a "Business Plan", you
> might want to give them a document that is "What a Hackerspace Is" +
> Budget.  As was previously noted, it's good to have a narrative for
> things, especially if you are going to file for 501(c)(x) status.
>
> --
> Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org / 8B13F204
> Washington, DC, 20013-1208
> P: +1 (707) 676-FARR
> F: +1 (866) 536-2616
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Peter Ing
I am trying to get a Hackerspace going in South Africa. Instead of a
business plan I drew up a document that explains what a hackerspace is
and what the intentions and outcomes are.

This document is for potential partners who would be willing to
provide resources and space for the hackerspace to use.

Here in SA its not feasible to setup a hackerspace like a business and
I suspect the same may apply in most parts of the world.

Thats just my 2c

Peter

On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 7:00 PM, Lokkju Brennr <[hidden email]> wrote:

> As having gone through starting a space almost exactly six months ago,
> I'll just throw out there that you should remember that plans change,
> and to only count on 50% (or less) of the support promised.  We
> initially had a lot of potential members promising support...  of
> which less then 50% actually paid membership over those six months -
> and it was only $40/month.
>
> Loki
>
> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 12:07, Sean Bonner <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Don't confuse a budget with a business plan. Budgets are all numbers,
>>> business plans need to have things like "competitive analysis" and
>>> info about why you are the best people to open this company, and yes,
>>> are largely useless.
>>
>> I generally agree that standard business plans are useless.
>>
>> However, if the sponsors/members are asking for a "Business Plan", you
>> might want to give them a document that is "What a Hackerspace Is" +
>> Budget.  As was previously noted, it's good to have a narrative for
>> things, especially if you are going to file for 501(c)(x) status.
>>
>> --
>> Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org / 8B13F204
>> Washington, DC, 20013-1208
>> P: +1 (707) 676-FARR
>> F: +1 (866) 536-2616
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Koen Martens
On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 09:08:13AM +0200, Peter Ing wrote:

> I am trying to get a Hackerspace going in South Africa. Instead of a
> business plan I drew up a document that explains what a hackerspace is
> and what the intentions and outcomes are.
>
> This document is for potential partners who would be willing to
> provide resources and space for the hackerspace to use.
>
> Here in SA its not feasible to setup a hackerspace like a business and
> I suspect the same may apply in most parts of the world.
>
> Thats just my 2c

I would say that a business is the anti-thesis of a hackerspace. A business
is profit driven. In any setting where you are profit driven, I personally
would refuse to volunteer for anything. If I paid for the businesses' services
I would expect a certain level of services.

The community part is very strong in how I see what hackerspaces are, and you
wipe that out once you go commercial. Sure, you can make a community around
your product, but that will be a marketing vehicle, and not give you the
commitment a real community gives.

Gr,

Koen

>
> Peter
>
> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 7:00 PM, Lokkju Brennr <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > As having gone through starting a space almost exactly six months ago,
> > I'll just throw out there that you should remember that plans change,
> > and to only count on 50% (or less) of the support promised.  We
> > initially had a lot of potential members promising support...  of
> > which less then 50% actually paid membership over those six months -
> > and it was only $40/month.
> >
> > Loki
> >
> > On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 12:07, Sean Bonner <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >>> Don't confuse a budget with a business plan. Budgets are all numbers,
> >>> business plans need to have things like "competitive analysis" and
> >>> info about why you are the best people to open this company, and yes,
> >>> are largely useless.
> >>
> >> I generally agree that standard business plans are useless.
> >>
> >> However, if the sponsors/members are asking for a "Business Plan", you
> >> might want to give them a document that is "What a Hackerspace Is" +
> >> Budget.  As was previously noted, it's good to have a narrative for
> >> things, especially if you are going to file for 501(c)(x) status.
> >>
> >> --
> >> Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org / 8B13F204
> >> Washington, DC, 20013-1208
> >> P: +1 (707) 676-FARR
> >> F: +1 (866) 536-2616
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Discuss mailing list
> >> [hidden email]
> >> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> >>
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
>
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Serendipity Seraph-2
Koen Martens wrote:
On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 09:08:13AM +0200, Peter Ing wrote:
  
I am trying to get a Hackerspace going in South Africa. Instead of a
business plan I drew up a document that explains what a hackerspace is
and what the intentions and outcomes are.

This document is for potential partners who would be willing to
provide resources and space for the hackerspace to use.

Here in SA its not feasible to setup a hackerspace like a business and
I suspect the same may apply in most parts of the world.

Thats just my 2c
    

I would say that a business is the anti-thesis of a hackerspace. A business
is profit driven. In any setting where you are profit driven, I personally 
would refuse to volunteer for anything. If I paid for the businesses' services
I would expect a certain level of services.
  

That misses so much.  A business plan is about making sure that any organized activity can continue indefinitely on as self-sustaining a basis as possible or with adequate outside funding.  It is make sure that the organization/business/non-profit can continue to operate.  Responsible people must do this if they expect to continue to have whatever the organization is about.  It doesn't have anything particular to do with profit as it also applies to non-profits.   
The community part is very strong in how I see what hackerspaces are, and you
wipe that out once you go commercial. Sure, you can make a community around 
your product, but that will be a marketing vehicle, and not give you the
commitment a real community gives.
  
I think you are confusing a business plan with going commercial.  They are not at all the same thing.   I wouldn't count on the continued survival of a hacker space or anything else that did not have at least a basic business plan as to how they would pay their bills and keep the lights on.


- s


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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Peter Ing
In reply to this post by Koen Martens
I agree fully with that. I think its best to keep a hackerspace non
commercial and then if you want you could always attach some
commercial venture to it for example selling stuff made through the
hackerspace, but that would be for each member to do on his own
possibly with the help and support of the community. Or have a
business run a hackerspace as part of giving back to the community.

The big problem is that a hackerspace will still need some kind of
capital input because of the need for physical space and resources.
Thats the hard part, rent isn't cheap and the community will probably
be changing all the time so you can't rely on membership fees. In fact
membership fees kind of remind me of a commercial interest. So its
challenging finding a model that will allow a hackerspace to be
sustainable.

Perhaps this thread should be called "Hackerspace Sustainbility Plans"
because is that is the kind of planning and that is needed to make a
Hackerspace work as opposed to a business plan. Well thats the way I
see it looking at the concept of a Hackerspace vs a Business.

I wonder if anyone has done any formal work in this regard? What about
getting formal input in the form of a wiki or something where
sustainability models could be explored or something?





On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 10:17 AM, Koen Martens <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 09:08:13AM +0200, Peter Ing wrote:
>> I am trying to get a Hackerspace going in South Africa. Instead of a
>> business plan I drew up a document that explains what a hackerspace is
>> and what the intentions and outcomes are.
>>
>> This document is for potential partners who would be willing to
>> provide resources and space for the hackerspace to use.
>>
>> Here in SA its not feasible to setup a hackerspace like a business and
>> I suspect the same may apply in most parts of the world.
>>
>> Thats just my 2c
>
> I would say that a business is the anti-thesis of a hackerspace. A business
> is profit driven. In any setting where you are profit driven, I personally
> would refuse to volunteer for anything. If I paid for the businesses' services
> I would expect a certain level of services.
>
> The community part is very strong in how I see what hackerspaces are, and you
> wipe that out once you go commercial. Sure, you can make a community around
> your product, but that will be a marketing vehicle, and not give you the
> commitment a real community gives.
>
> Gr,
>
> Koen
>
>>
>> Peter
>>
>> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 7:00 PM, Lokkju Brennr <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> > As having gone through starting a space almost exactly six months ago,
>> > I'll just throw out there that you should remember that plans change,
>> > and to only count on 50% (or less) of the support promised.  We
>> > initially had a lot of potential members promising support...  of
>> > which less then 50% actually paid membership over those six months -
>> > and it was only $40/month.
>> >
>> > Loki
>> >
>> > On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 9:19 AM, Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
>> > <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> >> On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 12:07, Sean Bonner <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> >>> Don't confuse a budget with a business plan. Budgets are all numbers,
>> >>> business plans need to have things like "competitive analysis" and
>> >>> info about why you are the best people to open this company, and yes,
>> >>> are largely useless.
>> >>
>> >> I generally agree that standard business plans are useless.
>> >>
>> >> However, if the sponsors/members are asking for a "Business Plan", you
>> >> might want to give them a document that is "What a Hackerspace Is" +
>> >> Budget.  As was previously noted, it's good to have a narrative for
>> >> things, especially if you are going to file for 501(c)(x) status.
>> >>
>> >> --
>> >> Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org / 8B13F204
>> >> Washington, DC, 20013-1208
>> >> P: +1 (707) 676-FARR
>> >> F: +1 (866) 536-2616
>> >> _______________________________________________
>> >> Discuss mailing list
>> >> [hidden email]
>> >> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>> >>
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Discuss mailing list
>> > [hidden email]
>> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>> >
>> _______________________________________________
>> Discuss mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>>
>>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Blackhold
In reply to this post by Chris Hardee
hi,
I'll try to explain what we are trying... maybe could be a clue...

we have a group of servers that we offer websites to social and
cultural collectives.

these servers we have them distributed in various places and they are
connected through project guifi.net, all the data is sync all the time
through this network, and then its also offers websites to internet,
but the internet we use is not in the place we have the server, we
have vpn tunnels.

in this way we prettend to offer first this websites to collectives in
a very cheap way, we have to pay the internet access (on more amount
of mb contracted, more cheaper is the connection), then the places we
have our servers are distributed, some of them they have air
conditioned and some other no (and summer is here :P).

we have an infrastructure of a really very low cost, but people that
wants to host a website to our servers, they have to pay 140€/year.

now we have not a lot of collectives, but we pretend that we could
mount that without putting money and in the future we spect that the
hours we put on administrating these servers could be remunerated.

at the moment, to suffry some costs we install antennas to get grow
the project of guifi.net and in some time found a new place for our
servers.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Blackhold
http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Hackerspace_Barcelona
SummerCamp Garrotxa: http://hacklabs.org/summercamp (lightning/blitz talks)



On Mon, Jun 28, 2010 at 15:49, Chris Hardee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> We're starting up a space here in San Antonio, TX and I've been asked by
> sponsors and members for a business plan. I've been working on one but is
> there a skeleton plan or something I can base this off of? Any tips or
> experience anyone can share about writing one? Thanks
>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
>
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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

Ashley McClelland
In reply to this post by Serendipity Seraph-2
Rather than creating a business plan, you may want to work on strategic planning, which is universal for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Here is a good start for things to evaluate and consider:


-Ashley 

On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 7:15 AM, Serendipity Seraph <[hidden email]> wrote:
Koen Martens wrote:
On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 09:08:13AM +0200, Peter Ing wrote:
  
I am trying to get a Hackerspace going in South Africa. Instead of a
business plan I drew up a document that explains what a hackerspace is
and what the intentions and outcomes are.

This document is for potential partners who would be willing to
provide resources and space for the hackerspace to use.

Here in SA its not feasible to setup a hackerspace like a business and
I suspect the same may apply in most parts of the world.

Thats just my 2c
    
I would say that a business is the anti-thesis of a hackerspace. A business
is profit driven. In any setting where you are profit driven, I personally 
would refuse to volunteer for anything. If I paid for the businesses' services
I would expect a certain level of services.
  

That misses so much.  A business plan is about making sure that any organized activity can continue indefinitely on as self-sustaining a basis as possible or with adequate outside funding.  It is make sure that the organization/business/non-profit can continue to operate.  Responsible people must do this if they expect to continue to have whatever the organization is about.  It doesn't have anything particular to do with profit as it also applies to non-profits.   
The community part is very strong in how I see what hackerspaces are, and you
wipe that out once you go commercial. Sure, you can make a community around 
your product, but that will be a marketing vehicle, and not give you the
commitment a real community gives.
  
I think you are confusing a business plan with going commercial.  They are not at all the same thing.   I wouldn't count on the continued survival of a hacker space or anything else that did not have at least a basic business plan as to how they would pay their bills and keep the lights on.


- s


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Re: [hackerspaces] Hackerspace business plan

elmar lecher
In reply to this post by Koen Martens
Koen Martens schrieb:
> I would say that a business is the anti-thesis of a hackerspace. A business
> is profit driven. In any setting where you are profit driven, I personally
> would refuse to volunteer for anything. If I paid for the businesses' services
> I would expect a certain level of services.

The business plan is not about doing profit.

Its about realizing when you dont have enough money to afford it
anymore early.

We did a plan for the expected plan and for the borderline plan.

The Borderline plan just pays the bills while the expected has some
money left for projects and buildout of the space.

> The community part is very strong in how I see what hackerspaces are, and you
> wipe that out once you go commercial. Sure, you can make a community around
> your product, but that will be a marketing vehicle, and not give you the
> commitment a real community gives.

Noone was talking of going commercial. The hackerspace survey shows it
clearly that most hackerspace interested people dont do it to earn money.

But you know, you have to be sure to be able to pay the bills. If you
need to shut down the space after 6 month due to being low on money.

Also it suxx to hunt money all the time

mc.fly ...
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