Understand Your Financials
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Understand Your Financials
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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so i really think that the idea is to understand your financials more than anything i think that's going to be the key because when you start talking to people that are going to want to back you they're going to want to know that you know what you're talking about it's great that you know your idea it's great that you have passion for your idea but if you don't understand the long-term effects of what you're doing if you don't understand the business that you're in if you don't understand like those basic ideas then no one's really going to want to you know provide you with money because they're not going to trust you with it [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur has grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the ceo and founder of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademark if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast john rimer and uh john is began his journey as a systems engineer uh taking systems in engineering class at west point when he was or um i think was uh had to define the 21st century got into environmental science degree um and his interests are always kind of switching away from gun powdered weapons to other alternatives and we'll get into a little bit of is what he's doing today in that regards um then he graduated from west point went to fort campbell for a very period of time and went into the infield tree went to iraq served there for a bit came back got all the military um worked for uh natural science or national center for uh research for a period of time and then uh where he he got to illegally grow marijuana so that's always an interesting one and then uh a buddy called up to our buddy called up and uh indicated that there was a good opportunity i think it was in stevens transport but you can grab me where i'm wrong i went to work for oil gas for a period of time and then today is pursuing a prototype that he's been working on for quite a while that moves us away from our gun or guns using powdered weapons to an alternative and we'll dive into that so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast john oh no thanks devin i appreciate it so very much yeah it's quite it's been quite the journey for sure all good journeys are so i walked through kind of just a quick high level overview of kind of what your journey's at but take itself a little bit in time to when you were at west point and studying and kind of how your journey got started there yeah so we had a class and the basic you know general project for that class was designing something for the 21st century warrior and you know my classmates had all sorts of different ideas and ended up not picking this one thing um i think i picked reactive armor or something like that and don't quite remember the whole story but the idea that i gained from this class really kind of has stuck with me for the past 30 years as i date myself here and what i've done but the idea is is that how can we go from using gun powdered weapons to what will be the next generation of you know future weapons platforms for the military moving forward and always been something that people have stayed away from just simply because the technology hasn't always been there or the ideas just never kind of like came to fruition or there's always been other things to do i mean to be honest with you when you look at the military industrial complex the manufacturing of ammunition is a billion dollar business and there's no reason to stop it unless there's something better that comes along and so i think that that's really kind of where i started was that how can we transform this industry the way that not only do we hunt we uh we wage war we do the things that we need to do in order to kind of like move forward right and i think that with the introduction of the space force you're not going to be able to use gun powdered weapons in space so how would you be able to defend the the galaxy star wars movie or star trek or whatever but yeah i mean that's really kind of where this kind of idea came from was that as we move forward and put ourselves in position to you know explore the world put people on the moon like what are we going to do i mean is there a need to defend ourselves what are we going to do and so this idea just has been brewing in my head for 30 years so now it's interesting because 30 years is a long time to jump over so you went to west point you kind of got this right you did the class you know you kind of graduated you know kind of had this idea of percolating about how you might you know transition away what that might do but then you put that aside so to speak to put that down for a period of time and when before campbell went the infantry and then yeah is that right yeah absolutely and so really just kind of just set it on the side and you know just kind of let it percolate in my brain and i think that that's one of the the major lessons when it comes to the way that i process information is sometimes you just gotta be patient and i think that this idea has been just sitting in the back of my head for that period of time and i've learned a lot of things in my experiences whether it's been you know in the military itself um you know actually how we run integrations what soldiers are looking for what are the expectations of their weapons platforms what do they want done i think those are some lessons that i can take with me that i learned to be able to apply to to this situation because to be honest with these soldiers are picky especially when it comes to their weapons and they want them a specific way they want them to operate all the time and they don't want to fiddle with messes and they want to be able to as they say reach out and touch somebody whenever they want and i think that that's kind of what what i bring to part of the table and being able to really kind of put something together that's going to be a a quality platform for you know not only soldiers but hunters i mean i hunt so it's just one of those things that you really just kind of sit back and and you open up your your gun closet or wherever you're at and you go is there really something better that's out there and you know what what would it look like and i really think that's kind of where it started so now diving into that so you so you were third in iraq you kind of you know get that experience and and you you know got the understanding of kind of what you know whether soldiers are hunting or what you know what uh people that use guns on a regular basis with juan and you know kind of let that idea percolate so now you came back from serving a tour in iraq and kind of where did you where did you go from there and kind of yeah so it was just really working and putting the money together um so and that's really just been kind of where i'm at so along the way i work for the national center for natural products research i did i grew marijuana it was the only legal marijuana field in the united states at the time and that's a really cool job basically what we did was that we took non-native species of plants and they the pharmacologists were trying to develop them into you know usable drugs for the pharmaceutical industry so it was really fun it was exciting but i wasn't able to make the cash that i needed how did you how did you initially get into a job where you basically grow marijuana or legally grow marijuana there are plenty yeah so it was it was a weird thing so i was actually at ole miss to and the the job had kind of just opened up and my mom's a botanist my degrees in environmental science so i really kind of had the the background of being able to you know grow things kind of a green thumb i got my own greenhouse in the back right now there's no marijuana in it just for anybody to know but um yeah i just went out and saw [Music] the ed horticulturist and he was like you're hired i mean i kind of could walk walk through the place and say you know this is what we need to do originally just started like repotting plants and watering them and over the course of about three years i kind of grew into the head horticulturist once they realized that i didn't know what i was talking about um and then you know kind of start on that pathway to work through all that you know like pharmacology government um kind of rigmarole right i mean there were so many regulations and rules for what we were going to cut we used roots we used flowering plants we used seeds just to develop different things and it's weird how stuff like this can develop because on a russian licorice plant there's this super sticky stuff on the outside of the seed pod and that is actually what they reverse engineered to create the sticky substance on the back of post-it notes so it's weird stuff like that that really kind of just kind of you know put you in a position to go this is really cool stuff now you did that for a few years and then what made you decide there to get out of that or kind of where did you go after you grew marijuana for a few years yeah well it was not the cash crop that everybody thought it was at the time um so you know when ring being able to kind of like take my invention to the next steps and go from really kind of what was in my head to putting it down on blueprints i needed you know some some basically money and at that time right i got a call from a friend of mine that was like hey we have some room in the transportation logistics supply chain industry and do you want to join and i was like sure why not that was going to basically double my salary and i was going to be able to to do the work that order to kind of further what my actual goals were and that was kind of like getting this idea into reality and so i've done that for the past you know 15 years i ended up working um with my friend and then we started working in the oil and gas industry and that's really just been kind of what i've done just kind of working my way up the scale director level and supply chain world but always taking that time to decide and say hey i can work on this one i can off time and everybody has been super patient and being able to deal with my mad scientist ravings my kids get annoyed when i start talking about electromagnetic fields and um you know beings and things like that they're just like they just start shaking their head and walk away so so no i think that definitely you know the fun journey to take now as you're going along you know so you you take the journey you kind of get going on that you know you've done now the military you've got into growing marijuana you've got an oil and gas now how did that you know get into oil gas with a friend and then you always kind of percolating in the back of your head i have got this project i want to do this and kind of this is where i'm at now how did that transition to kind of where you're at today i mean so did you or worked through other jobs is it your full-time gig in the society gig which i always say sign game is really just a second full-time job because it takes as much time but kind of bringing us up to a little bit to where you're at today yeah so so right now it is still a second full-time job that i do um so i'm actually hoping that you know october 2021 my full-time gig uh that's my my goal date to be able to to make sure everything launches off but um that period of time was really spent in this journey of being able to go i mean i had the team of electrical engineering um i had to teach myself about you know materials engineering i had to research all these articles and that was a lot of what i was doing in that that journey to get to where i am and that was really kind of why it was has been a side gig for so long of being able to you know just really make sure that you know what i'm putting together is going to be something that's going to actually work um you know historically you know this type of idea has existed for i don't know 50 67 years you know people have put different things together and so i really want to learn from their mistakes uh kind of understand where their limitations were how could i push the envelope what what would be the things that would allow me to be able to you know create what i created and and that's kind of where i'm at and and so um hoping that like october will be the end date that's what i'm telling the family is that october i'll be free and clear and be able to do this full time and uh they're they're kind of excited for me and i'm excited for myself so no that definitely is exciting you know kind of fun to dream about us so to speak and to kind of think where we see where things were going to go out but then to actually have the rubber soda speak hit the road and start to actually pursue it and to go after it and bring it to reality always making sure it gives it a much much realer feel so that's certainly exciting so well that kind of brings us to where you're at today and so now we'll transition because we've kind of talked about you know how you got to or what your journey is how you got to where you're at today and a little bit of where things were headed out in the future jump to the the two questions always ask at the end of these podcasts so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what have you learned the worst business issue that i ever made was not trusting and verifying the people that i'm working with um you know especially with with what i'm doing being able and to talk to people about what i'm doing and and getting their feedback um there have been some people along the way that you know you know i presented this idea to them and said what do you think and i mean they were real quick to shoot it down uh really kind of like you know put that negative energy in there and and you just kind of put you in a position of going man that that's not a good place to be uh you start questing yourself you kind of you know pushed me back maybe a year year and a half to be honest with you and then the other people that i talked to were you know hey this is a group and come to find out they're doing something on the side that they're trying to take from you so it's it's been a little bit of that so i've really just been hard to trust anybody with what i've got going on because it is something that's completely different and unique and i really just kind of want to keep it close to my vest as as much as i possibly can so um you know the important stuff i i've been able to but um you know there there have been people along the way where i've had to you know cut ties with and and just say god it was a horrible decision it just put me on a bad path you know negative energy i think the the best business decision that i made is just to be patient um you know i could have you know rush this out you know about four and a half years ago and put myself in a position where actually the the actual design that i had didn't work um and it wouldn't wouldn't have worked the way that i would wanted it to it was not going to be something that was going to be viable in a long-term situation but i put myself where i had like really just kind of shot off really quickly and then faded away and i and i appreciate the idea that you know i took time to make sure that everything was right done to my eyes crossed my t's really just kind of looked at it and said you know what even if it takes me you know five or ten more years that's going to be okay because it's going to be the quality that i want and that i think people expect no i i think that is definitely you know kind of a mistake to make along the journey but also a great one to learn so it sounds like you know and figuring out who to trust and how to trust and what not to trust and all of that is also always i think a something that people have to figure out along the way because it is hard you know who do you tell who do you share with who's going to be on your team and who's going to say that's a great idea i'll run with it or i think i can do it even better and so i think that that's always you know a great a great list learned along your journey so now we'll jump to the second question which is if you're talking to someone that's just getting into a startup for a small business what be the one piece of advice you give them there's so many to give someone so i really think that the idea is to understand your financials more than anything i think that's going to be the key because when you start talking to people that are going to want to back you they're going to want to know that you know what you're talking about it's great that you know your idea it's great that you have passion for your idea but if you don't understand the long-term effects of what you're doing if you don't understand the business that you're in if you don't understand like those basic ideas then no one's really going to want to you know provide you with money because they're not going to trust you with it so i've been fortunate enough to to get some help along the way and really to be honest with you convincing my family and friends now give me a little bit of cash here and there has always been difficult simply because i you know there was kind of an expectation that they thought on their end that you know it was just a request from a friend and i didn't have to provide them with you know important information like financials and so being able to sit down with them and kind of like throw out a five-year plan and say this is where i'm going this is what i'm doing and this is what i expect and you know they're very appreciative of that being that open with what your financials look like and not trying to you know pull the wool over anyone's eyes and saying i need x amount of money for this shell or for you know why component or anything like that i think that that's that's been always helpful and being able to say i'm going to spend this money and it's always going to be earmarked for someone for something no i i like that you hit on there a little bit of you know kind of being open and transparent because i think that too oftentimes we want to over inflate it you don't want to make it sound better than it is so that it entices people and most of the time all that does is set it up belly because then you have elasticity expectation it's no longer hey this is the time frame here's a risk it's kind of oh we're all going to be millionaires and then you know 12 months and it's like right well you know for most businesses that's not the case and contrary to what you see on tv or shark tank with a movie it's not that quick of growth and so to say hey here's realistically where we're at what we think the potential is what we or it's going to be headed and then you know even being a bit conservative such that then when they when you either hit or meet or exceed expectations or you're on expectations or that they have at least been properly satisfied that's that's definitely some great advice well this as a reminder before we wrap up this episode for all of you that are all the audience we are doing the public question we'll talk a little bit about intellectual property so if you want to hear that answer stay tuned and listen to um john's top of our top intellectual property question otherwise as we wrap up thank you again for john for coming on the podcast it's been fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell um feel free to go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the podcast two more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players so you know what all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so other people can find out about all of our awesome episodes last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with this chat so now with that now as we've wrapped up the normal portion of the episode it's always kind of a fun one that we get to switch the switch gears a bit and you get to ask the question and i get answered as opposed to how the normal exit goes so that i'll turn it over to you to ask your number one intellectual property question yeah so what what is the best way to choose between being able to put your intellectual property on a delay because i forget the terminology and you'll know so you can either put it on a delay for a year or just go ahead and you know bite the bullet and just put it in the in the patent office day one i mean where do you decide on that yeah i think what you're referring to and correct me if i'm wrong but you're basically you know is uh looking or referring to a provisional patent application correct the provisional patent patent correct yep that's the one yeah so and just for the listing audience basically a provisional patent application is one where you can submit it it saves your gives you date of invention kind of saved your place in the hall online for up to a year while you're going after why you decide what you want to do so the you know the and i just reiterate your question now with that background i think you know the question is when should you go for a provisional or when should you get that one-year placeholder versus when should you just go for the full patent application so i usually answer this question with the kind of the opposite of what or you know when would you go or when would you go for a provisional patent application if you don't fall into those cams then i'd i'd recommend going in for a non-provisional or the full patent application will get extended so with the provisional placeholder they're usually kind of two reasons why you do it one is for budgetary reasons and that's saying hey i've got a cool idea i've got a great invention you know i need a bit more time to save up the budget to be able to afford the full thing but i'd like to get something in place while away such that i don't have you know an issue where somebody else comes along and takes the idea so that's kind of one motivation or reason that you're saying okay if i don't have the budget today but i'd like to get something in place i'll do the less expensive provisional patent application so i have a year within which to save up for it another reason i guess there's a i said two but there's probably more three another reason is if you're in if you're not sure how the marketplace is going in other words you're saying hey i think this is a good idea i think it's worthwhile i'd like to take a little bit of time to explore the marketplace test it out see if it's worthwhile to invest before i go after the full one so even if you have the budget you may say hey i'm not convinced of the marketplace so i'm going to do the placeholder first and see how the market accepts it the third reason is is if you're saying hey what we're doing is we've got a really cool idea we're doing a lot of innovation a lot of testing and a lot of development but we're i'm not you know we're while we're not having a i don't know that we've landed on the final item for the full design the first design and we wanted to go to marketplace but on the other hand we've created a lot of cool things and we don't want somebody to come along and see all the work that we've done and copy it so while we're continuing to that r d and getting kind of that first generation product we'll save it we'll do a provisional and then we'll come back to the non-provisional within that year and give us a bit more time to fully flesh out the r d so those are kind of the three main reasons why i would do a provisional usually if it doesn't fall into one of those cams then i would say i'd go for a non-professional intensity let's get a fully fleshed out application it's one where it will have greater weight for investors or for you know people who want to acquire their licenses or anything else and then it also gets the process going for examination so you can get a determination as a patentability and get some more insight there so that's a little bit of how i weigh it it's always a you know a bit of a balancing depends on your circumstance in your situation but it gives you a bit of insight with that we'll go ahead and wrap up the podcast and now if you john or anybody in the audience ever has any other questions about intellectual property um feel free to grab some time with me just go to strategymeeting.com we're always happy to chat and always happy to strategize and help with your intellectual property with that thank you again john and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanksgiving i appreciate it