Monthly Archives: October 2015

A $100 Billion Idea, Yours for the Taking: Uber-ized Driverless Electric Cars!

I had written a post earlier about how sometimes entrepreneurs shoot themselves in the foot by not discussing their ideas in order to validate the demand and market and competition, etc.

The reality is the idea is usually 1% or less of the value of the total- the rest is execution.

Here’s a perfect example. I was talking with a friend and somehow got onto the topic of Uber and electric cars and then driverless cars.

After thinking about it for less than two minutes, we jointly decided this was a fantastic hundred billion plus dollar business concept.

These are the advantages of having our transportation system largely converted to on demand electric cars that drive themselves:

  • Cut traffic in half or more as most cars now carry at least two people or more instead of one
  • No need to own a car- just buy a subscription based on your need- always have a car available any time to take you anywhere
  • Dramatically reduce (virtually eliminate) accidents because there are fewer cars on the road and none driven by drunks, tired people, distracted people or inexperienced drivers.
  • Safe independent transportation solution for the elderly who would otherwise be stuck home or driving unsafely
  • Increase productivity because now many more people can work during their commute
  • Drastically reduce carbon emmissions
  • Increase emergency response times because of less traffic and cars that will get out of the way
  • With so many cars available you won’t have to wait long to go anywhere and you can go virtually point to point (or pay a premium to ride single with no pick ups or drop offs if you are in a hurry)
  • Meet new people and connect socially with others you wouldn’t have otherwise met
  • Safer for motorcyclists, bike riders and pedestrians
  • No more train vs car accidents
  • Safe, reliable, cheap transportation becomes available to everyone increasing access to jobs and housing and other resources that may have been previously out of reach or too hard to get to

You can probably think of more. We didn’t even get into having freight trucks built using the same type of system. Or UPS/FedEx delivery vans using the system. Or the USPS. And so on.

The idea is not the issue here. It is big enough to be attractive to venture capital and certainly big enough to create one of the largest companies in the world (or several) who can be the ones to enter and succeed in the market.

The challenge is the execution. You will have to overcome huge hurdles to pull this off:

  • Liability issues and insurance company acceptance
  • Government regulation limiting access to the roads
  • Objections from incumbent services
  • Local government interference
  • Complaints from citizens fearful of technology on the roads
  • Objections from people who think you will want to take their cars away
  • Public fear of the concept any time there is a crash, scare or malfunction (which will happen occasionally)
  • Figuring out how to properly monetize this and make it appealing and viable at the same time

And I’m sure these are just the tip of the iceberg.

That said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this happens in my lifetime and becomes the defacto method of getting around. Carbon fuels are running out and there are simply too many people to give everyone their own car indefinitely- you can only widen roads and freeways so much.

This solution makes sense and will be huge for someone, somewhere in the not too distant future. They will just need to pull it off. Which is where all the real work starts.

Four Reasons Your Company NEEDS to Stay in Good Standing

staying compliantCongratulations! You’ve had your business for almost a year (maybe more!) and the roller coaster ride has been exciting, challenging and rewarding. With all of the effort you put into working on and in your business, it’s important you maintain your company’s good standing status in the state (jurisdiction) of creation and/or the states where you are qualified to do business.

Each jurisdiction has its own annual requirements and it is imperative you meet each obligation to stay in good standing. Failure to fulfill the state(s) annual requirements can carry some steep consequences:

  1. You could lose your name: You’ve built your business and brand identity around your carefully chosen name. It’s a part of you, your company and your culture. It may even be the envy of some of your competitors. If your entity falls out of good standing, in many jurisdictions, the name is no longer legally protected. That jealous competitor could swoop in and form a new entity under YOUR name. You would no longer be able to operate under that name and would be forced to change your name or operate under a different legal structure (e.g. a doing-business-as d/b/a) to continue in that jurisdiction. Aside from that headache – think about the cost of rebranding your company with a new name!
  1. Publicly defunct status: You’ve spent months working on an important partnership and you’re ready to close the deal. The potential partner has a great feeling about you and just needs to wrap up the final details. When he checks the public records of your company, he finds the entity is defunct (the legal term will vary by jurisdiction). Deal aborted, opportunity lost.
  1. Extra fees, time and aggravation: As a business owner, every penny counts. More importantly, every minute counts. If your entity falls out of good standing, it will cost you both time and money to come back into good standing. Depending on how your company is set up and where you are doing business, you may have to reinstate/re-incorporate and/or re-qualify. Oftentimes, the state will assess penalties for doing business while in a “defunct status”. Missing an annual filing or tax payment can add up to an abundance of fees rather quickly.
  1. Potential legal trouble: Legally forming your company as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) was the first of many smart decisions you made in this venture. By doing so, you took steps to protect your personal assets from potential loss and facilitated the opportunity to take advantage of specific business tax planning and savings practices. Falling out of good standing “pierces the corporate veil” and causes you to lose those legal protections you created.

What can you do to ensure you stay in compliance? One step is to make sure you fully understand the state requirements and tie them into your accounting and corporate maintenance procedures. Another way is to engage the services of a professional service company who specializes in keeping companies active. Many of these service companies offer compliance services, such as Compliance Verification Service (automated alerts) or Compliance Filing Service (automated filing) for a nominal fee. By utilizing a service company for these services, you can rest assured your company is going to maintain an active status.

About the Author: Kyle Buzzard is Director of Client Development at Incorporating Services, Ltd.(IncServ). IncServ is a full-service registered agent and corporate services company providing administrative, legal support and related services to the entrepreneurial community. A former business owner and consultant with a passion for entrepreneurs and small businesses, he is an advocate for smart outsourcing and insourcing that allows business owners the freedom to grow their companies. If you need help with compliance, or simply have questions about growing your business, Kyle can be reached at pr@incserv.com or 302-531-0702.