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An Idea for a Small Business You Can Start

Start-up costs range $50 to $500,000+, earnings $5,000 to $2,000,000++, skills from knowing nothing to running an airline. Bon appetit!


Start-up cost: $5,000

Potential earnings: $25,000 annually, or more with more ambitious overall marketing plan (initial outlay will increase accordingly).

Advertising: Register domain and Trademark and follow ordinary registry procedures. Utilize a Smart Ad campaign and/or similar marketing strategy. Cross pollinate this with dual strategy: first B2C, utilizing flyers, references from other "counterculture" sites, and participation with ongoing efforts by the Haight-Ashbury Commission in San Francisco to ensure ongoing relevance of counterculture. Next, direct marketing to businesses that sell like or similar products, including head shops, and gift/variety retailers of "sixties"-related products. Build or obtain a small kiosk for use at San Francisco and other areas where ongoing "reunions" and the like transpire regularly.

Equipment needed: Laptop with adequate e-business application, such as ICode's Accuware Online. A small kiosk for use at events. Various materials for use in tie dye and design and manufacture of sixties-come-21st-century clothing and soft goods, and beads and silk and leather, etcetera, for the design and assembly of accessory items.

Qualifications: Creative genius for understanding how counterculture is imitated but unauthentically by other retailers. Most all of such products today are inexpensive and even cheap references to the authentic genre of sixties clothing and art. This would need to find relevance in the 21st century, in terms of design. So perhaps it's as Robin Williams has said: "if you remember the sixties, you weren't there." The ability to tie dye high quality clothing and fabric and to design 21st century relevant products that bring the sixties and counterculture into today's world more authentically than others are doing.

The first requirement is to register the name as a Trademark. I performed a Trademark search via PTO databases and found the name is not registered. The requisite forms can be completed online. Next, the product mix must be developed and quickly. Initial focus should be on those accessories that aren't too expensive to ruin, such as undies and socks, and tank tops, and T shirts. Summer is here and focus on summer. Develop colder weather lines after launch as New items. A web site will need to be developed and use of pull down windows, with a clean and simple page layout, with use of color kept prudent, and inclusion of small wave files that would play relevant music from the era. Perhaps a dissolver can be used such that when pages open they do so from a starburst of psychedelic color, but don't overdo this. (growing broadband use by yuppies and the like will not make for problems with page load times) A complete listing of all relevant sites and brick and mortar businesses will need to be developed and this can easily be put into an Access 200 database. Suppliers will need to be identified and located and then negotiations undertaken to acquire the product materials for value added development and design. Once the launch debut product mix is developed, and the site published and registered, these businesses will need to be contacted and sales to these businesses accomplished. Much of it can be done via email through their sites, or in direct mail, or, perhaps some telephone calls. I would find a way to also build participation into the web site, meaning the ability for visitors to bring and share something with this new "community." To bolster this, a free Delphi (Prospero forum) can be developed for notices of events, reunions, Golden Gate news, ongoing discussion about the terrific work being done by the Haight-Ashbury Commission. In the forum or within the actual web site design an area for contributions of art, especially authentic psychedelic poster art ( a dying art form)can be provided. This could be transformed with local area interest development. A concert of local bands that play sixties music could be planned and launched, with the concert performed outdoors, in sixties fashion, and, of course, the kiosk rolled out with plenty of things and keepsakes for those who attend to buy. it could even be a street festival, with local area merchants brought in as partners, and other artists involved. The underlying reality is that while many see the sixties as nothing but nihilism run riot it remains true that the era transformed the world, from entertainment to geopolitics and environmentalism. Today's young are seeking to emulate it but do not know how, and many of the parents see it like Grace slick does: it's chasing ghosts. Not if this is brought out in a 21st century relevance of counterculture, the here-and-now relevance of "Today." This would be genuine fun and the project would be limited solely by the creative genius of the proprietor. One last thing for now, I would recommend establishing a Limited Liability Company and because clothing is sold I would obtain an inexpensive products liability insurance policy just to be safe, it isn't expensive.

About You:
Curt Kammeraad, J.D.

I am abandoning legal practice aims to pursue internet business development and strategic management consulting.

The Sequoia Journal will launch later this summer.

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