Dealing with this helplessness

Dealing with this helplessness

Sitting in front of my computer like a big eye staring back at me, I wish there was something I could DO!  Many of you may feel the same. I understand the importance of self-isolation, but it doesn’t make it easy.  

I read the report on the simulations by the Imperial College of London.  Grim. Even with the measures we are now taking in the US, the death toll may reach 1.5 million and the number of infections grows to over 35 million.  With more aggressive actions maybe we can get that number to 1.1 million deaths and 25 million sick. With the Wuhan lock-everyone-up-for-two -months, maybe we get to 200,000 deaths.  Grim. So that means (1) several of you reading this will get the virus, and (2) with no vaccine ready for 12-18 months we will be asked to continue isolation for quite a while.

As business owners, especially ones who are trying to gain some traction before what little funding you have runs out, this must be a sobering thought.  What could you do?

The first thought I had was to be sure you are communicating with your investors and lenders.  They don’t do well in the dark. As painful as it might be, you need to communicate your situation.  Explain what is happening to your customers, your vendors, and any contract employees.   

There are some potential bright spots on the horizon.  There are low-interest business loans made available through the Small Business Administration.  Be sure you are aware of all the options there. Like the City of Sacramento’s zero-interest loans.  Moreover, your lenders may provide relaxed payment terms if you work with them early.  Don’t be the last in the door to seek this kind of concession. If you have contract or grant payment terms tied to milestones, figure out how you can legitimately reach some of those milestones to keep cash flowing.  

Second, use the time to do some tasks you otherwise have put off.  This likely includes making sure you have your expenses entered into your General Ledger and your financial statements completed and bank statements reconciled.  If you, like many, have not done this yet, it’s a good time to start. We can help you find some expert help that could give you advice by phone.

Third, do some learning, especially customer discovery. Check out Steve Blank’s Virus Survival Strategy for your Startup. Other people are likely wanting to do things to fill their days, so you may find it easier to get someone to talk to you.  Doing interviews by phone is not as good as in-person, but better than doing nothing.  

UC Davis has its Big Bang workshops available to watch.  This is a good time to see what you can learn there.

Fourth, get some exercise.  It is still okay to take a walk.  Keep active.

What can CleanStart do to help?  Take our survey! We will be putting on some Zoom video conferences and live streaming on Facebook.  We invite you to join these. Here’s what we will offer so far:

  • Sharing experiences—a community conversation.   We want to hear from all of you on what brilliant ideas you have for doing things in this crazy period.
  • Getting your accounting in shape.  We will have some folks from Moss Adams ready to answer your questions.
  • How to do customer interviews.  It all sounds pretty formidable, but we have some steps to guide you through it all.

These will be recorded and available on our website for you to view

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStarts Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, EY, Stoel Rives 

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz

College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State

Microgrids Forecast to Grow 10% per year to $47 Billion by 2025

Microgrids Forecast to Grow 10% per year to $47 Billion by 2025

We have commented in blogs, hosted meetups and done workshops on the opportunity for clean tech businesses in microgrids.   We see roles for the utilities to become skilled managers of multiple microgrids as well as for vendors of equipment and software to build and control microgrids locally.  A new market research report puts some forecasts to this thought. ASDReports has issued its report “Microgrid Market by Connectivity (Grid Connected and Off-Grid Connected), Offering (Hardware and Software & Services), End-Use (Commercial & Industrial, Remote, Institutes & Campuses), Grid Type, Pattern, Region – Global Forecast to 2025”.  The report says microgrids are “projected to reach $47.4 billion by 2025 from USD $28.6 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 10.6% between 2020 and 2025. Rising demand for clean energy, increasing instances of cyberattacks on energy infrastructures, growing requirement for reliable & secure global power supply, and rising global deployment of microgrids for rural electrification are key factors driving the market growth. Furthermore, the expansion of renewable energy capacity of countries in APAC and government initiatives to encourage the development of microgrids are the opportunities for microgrid developers.”

That’s a lot of money.  The report takes a pretty broad view of what constitutes a microgrid, leading to the $28 billion figure for 2020, more than most would expect.  You can find more details here.  The report is a bit expensive.  But the summary provided at the link gives some key insights for free.

Thomas Hall

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Simon is the Chair of CleanStarts Board. A seasoned energy executive and entrepreneur with 45 years of experience in business, government, and non-profits.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, EY, Stoel Rives 

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz

College of Engineering & Computer Science at Sacramento State

CleanStart Events Postponed

CleanStart Events Postponed

CleanStart is postponing our events due to Covid-19 concerns.  At this point, we are unaware of any potential exposure, but we are exercising the utmost concern for our community.

We are still supporting the greater Clean Tech community and if you have questions please reach out to us at info@cleanstart.org and follow our activity on LinkedIn, FacebookTwitter, and here.

CleanStart is a Non-Profit 501(c)3 that relies on sponsorships, donations, and events to operate. While we recognize there are many groups with compelling reasons to support them during this troubled time, CleanStart would appreciate your support. Please Donate Here.

Follow us on Social Media to keep upto date!

Startup Weekend at Sac State

Startup Weekend at Sac State

One of the most exciting open startup events (IMO) is Startup Weekend, and the Carlsen Center hosted one last weekend (3/7).  If you aren’t familiar with it, Startup Weekend is a business competition where teams form and race to validate a business in 54 hours.  (Technically this one was 53 with daylight savings) It is an exciting event where budding entrepreneurs meet that weekend to pursue a dream.

You might remember that last year we put on a Startup Weekend called Sustainable Revolution at the Atrium.

This year Startup Weekend was put on at CSU Sacramento’s Campus by the Carlsen Center. Facilitated by Josh David Miller the weekend kicked off with nearly 40 ideas pitched.  Teams then coalesced around ten of them and started the race to create a business to pitch on Sunday. I joined a team around building more accessible STEM education centers called STEM Gym.  

It was exciting, going out and doing customer discovery and changing our pitch constantly throughout the weekend. We marched through the rain to spend an hour talking with the Girl Scouts about the STEM center and then raced drones with Robotics Evolution who has students/kids that made a device to suspend things in the air with sound.  Some members took Steve Blank’s advice and got thrown out of a library trying to talk to future customers. 

After all that fun we buckled down and finalized our business model and pitch.  Our lead Boniface Micheal from CSU Sacramento brought cool things kids made to impress the judges.  Being pessimistic I thought we would struggle to connect but Boniface hit his marks on the presentation and we Won!  Well, we won Second Place. First place went to CampusMart –E-commerce marketplace for students can post/sell their services on campus. Third place went to another E-Commerce idea ShopSmart, who demoed a web extension to help buyers find products that align with their values

If you want to learn more about the excitement of customer discovery check our out Customer Discovery and Product Fit March 17th at Hacker LabSac will have some pictures up soon!.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.

CleanStart Sponsors

Weintraub | Tobin, Moss Adams GreenbergTraurig

BlueTech Valley, PowerSoft.biz, Revrnt, Synbyo, Califronia Mobility Center


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