Urban Hawk: a Business Journey Episode One: The Phantom Start Up’s New Hope

The idea with this blog is not so much to talk about the specifics of our business as the general features of the start-up journey.  We will take you from inception, through launch and development.

Hopefully, we’ll pass go and so onto winning those first, critical contracts. The final part of that trilogy then has to be investment and development into a viable brand and solvent, mobile income source.

This Blog can be read, almost like a serial adventure in business. We will keep the jargon slim and the details minimal. Should you wish to know more about the science or commerce or technology involved then we are only too happy to engage on further platforms such as Facebook /Twitter, in due time.

At worst: it passes the time with anecdotal entertainment. At least: you’ll be reading an assurance that you are never alone in the questions to ask, when charting a business journey and the attendant the risks and rewards: though application to your facts and results will of course differ.

Best case: You see us learn from mistakes en route but pick ourselves up and end with a sensible measure of success by close of business at the end of 2017. Inspired by that, you feel an urge to collaborate, perhaps..on some other, future project? Your evangelical gratitude makes you spread the word about how great we are, both as a business model and an educative, interactive, mentoring blog.

But let’s not run before we can crawl. The first thing with any start up is to START IT! And that, precisely, is what we have been doing of late at Urban Hawk. What is Urban Hawk? It’s a Tech Start up, spun off from a Research and Development Company: Crocotta R n D Ltd.

Crocotta had some big contracts: Siemens! BMW! European Space Agency! A Bio-Pharm company! We were applied science consultants or ‘trouble-shooters’, available to the highest bidder.

Did that work? Yes. Still solvent. Still ‘there’ and able to expand or contract. But is that in any way a sensible or shrewd or even unorthodox yet brilliant revenue model? NO! You can maybe pull that off for a maximum of a year.

Think waiting for procurement processes to finish. Contemplate receiving e-mails from some network opening or other you met at a conference. It’s like picking up mercury with a fork.  No: worse. It is harder and more frustrating and nebulous! Without a core clarity, a business may as well fold into insolvency.

So a step back was required to take a step forward. Having identified a pervasive specialism in data management and a method in our satellite and space expertise /contacts, we focused our efforts on GiS. That’s Geo-Spatial Intelligence.

I shan’t go into the scientific details of what GiS means (we’ll save that for a later sequel or better still, you can just ‘Google’ it?). We did not invent it. It’s been around before we left school. But we do have a unique, in house product, that can zero in on, visualise and feedback the most pertinent data in charting the way forward for an SME.

Our product becomes a service through consultancy on the data charted. Yes: a service, rather than tech ‘product’. For all the previous distinction, there is simply no way around admitting that we are a tech start-up. That entails the usual implications.

There are two main mis-directions one can be trapped by when accepting that ‘tech start-up’ label. The first is that you are some sort of pariah; still working from your parents’ basement bedroom. The second is the polar opposite extreme. You are a tech start-up: of course..well you will be the next Elon Musk! Overnight, investors will come to you. Wrong!

Trick is in finding a ‘third way’: ambitious, professional and mobile yet CREDIBLE.  Accept that you are starting from scratch and progress will be slow. There will be days whereby you think you just want to pack it all in. But don’t give up or despair. Persevere! Endure!

Give yourself an ambitious set of goals and a credible yet ambitious timeframe to accomplish it all, whilst building in regular reviews. If possible, adopt an incubator programme and be prepared for lean yet by no means empty coffers as you consolidate and research all options and embrace all feedback in the first three months.

For the next three to six months? It’s all about the LAUNCH. Define your service as clearly as possible: focusing on client problem, consequences and how you are the antidote. Use old contacts wherever possible to farm new ones.

Join every chamber, network and meeting platform that might be relevant, attending with focus and assessing their value quickly and ruthlessly. Design, write copy for and build an appropriate website. Check your closest counterparts / potential competitors.

Craft and hone an image that is professional and going places but not conspicuously corporate (you are probably not yet a ‘CEO’ even if you do run and found and direct a company that has just started..give that time..meantime just be ‘Director’ or ‘Founding Manager’?).

THEN start your initial meetings with a clear set of possible clients in one or two sectors. Back that up with timetabled mentor meetings and regular creative consultancies with any partners or employees.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen readers..is only the BEGINNING! THAT is the start of the business adventure in the tech start-up universe. And that is also, precisely, where we are ‘at’ with Urban Hawk now. We look forward to keeping you posted. Thank you for joining us. Welcome to a new world of opportunity in data and commerce.