Lee Mitchell owner of G.A.I.A. Professionals spoke about starting a new GIS business on the Jan 31 American Sentinel University Webinar. I learned during a detailed discussion of her work history that she worked in some capacity for American Sentinel University in curriculum development. That was not disclosed in the webinar marketing material and might have been made more clear in the presentation itself.
The webinar was very generic and covered the issues all business must deal with: office space, hardware, software, staff, insurance (errors and omissions insurance in particular, which she was not aware she needed, it costs $4000/year), lawyers, accountants, funding, etc. She spoke of getting clients via existing networks, social media, and government contracting. She did not mention blogging or writing for industry or professional journals or speaking at conferences, which have served me quite well in building my client base. She did suggest going to conferences.
I was most disappointed in the discussion of open source GIS software. That was highlighted in the title of the press release announcing the event “Learn How Open Source Software Benefits a Successful GIS Business.” The press release listed a half-dozen free and open source GIS packages, but these and other business related packages were simply mentioned in passing. These can save a new business money, Mitchell noted.
I was also disappointed, as a small business owner of 11 years, to learn that “sometimes you are working on a project for three months before you get paid anything.” That is not how my advisors suggested I structure my contracts and thankfully, I never had that happen.