Raising Funds Ain’t for the Weak

Will here again!

Back in late 2014, shortly after our first appearance at the Tanner Gun Show, we knew we were on to something. But, as explained in my last posting, it was simply too difficult just take the next steps as we all had jobs, and bills, with very little money left over. But, if we could only get a little help to get the ball rolling, we were confident that we could pay back loans quickly.

Today, getting donations is easy because our concept is full proof and we can prove. But back in 2014, all we had was an idea, passion, and that’s it. Two week’s ago, we raised money to purchase a press and our friends from Basement Helpers were more than kind to step up and help us get the press 3 days after our inquiry. But back in 2014, it was nearly impossible.

We first tried to seek donations of $5,000. We go no wear. We figured if we could get a handful of these, we’d have plenty enough operating capital to get started. We’d be able to get a small shot, a trailer and some of the tooling and material we needed to complete our work. No one bit donating that much money. Keep in mind, there aren’t any large corporations willing to invest in a custom gun company, so we were asking small companies and entrepreneurs, and they just weren’t comfortable.

Equally, we were a little comfortable taking that much money, as the last thing we wanted was debt held over our head. We knew debt was inevitable, but we just didn’t want to owe anyone large chunks of money. We weren’t confident enough to trust ourselves.

garageSo, we started asking for donations of $250 to $1,000. This method allowed us to meet our initial goal of generating $10,000 within two weeks. This didn’t get us into a brick and mortar shop, but we were able to purchase all machinery, tooling, materials and a large capacity trailer. We set up shop in Craig’s detailed garage.

At this point, we were on to something special. Now, we had to find out how in the world to get business to come in. Lord, us old guys don’t know what to do. But we got better. More story to come!

Will is out!

We are Project Custom Gun

A few years  ago, we started as a group of guys that loved guns. We loved guns brought us all together as a hobby we all had in common. We joked about forming a company that specializes in customizing guns and making a living while doing so. We’re not there yet, but boy are we getting closer to that goal. Today we keep hearing about the importance of having a blog, and how that might attract more interest in our business. We also heard that we need Facebook too, which will be coming soon.

In the fall of 2013, we started planning out different gun customization that we could offer the market. We had no budget, so it had to be cheap, and skill based. We identified that our Trigger Manipulations were not only fairly easy for us skilled workmen to execute, but it really increased the performance of the gun and its operator.

The challenge is that triggers are different in every gun. There’s no way we could be experts in every trigger, so we had to figure out where to concentrate our focus.

In spring of 2014, we got our first opportunity to setup a booth at the Tanner Gun Show in Denver. Our friends over at LeftClean.com tipped us off about the gun show dates as it was one of their biggest accounts. We paid our fee, which happened to be the smallest possible fee available, for the smallest, most tucked away booth in the entire facility.

At the gun show, our goal was to figure out the interest people had in Trigger Manipulations. We did word of mouth surveys, and kept rough stats on how many people we spoke with and if they were interested in our service, or if they weren’t. We figured that this would be foundation-level data to help us vet our idea and if it could be an actual business.

We had so many great conversation and even captured 174 emails from people that wanted to keep up with our progress. We decided to then poll these users on the three things: what types of guns they owned, which gun they’d want trigger manipulations done on and lastly, how much they were willing to pay for this service.

Now, I wish I could say us old fools had the whits to know what to ask people. Our buddy Charles from Durango, who does marketing or some type of fancy business stuff told us that we had to poll our target market. That’s why we knew the gun show was a great place to start. And, he even told us what questions to ask and how to track and consolidate all of our data.

By the summer of 2014, we knew we had a winning service to provide. Now it was a matter of figuring out how to make a business out of this. I’s not like any of us were in a position to stop working our day jobs and invest all of our time into Project Custom Gun. Also, there were so many logistics to understand and figure out such as where to work from, who would be in charge of what, and so on.

And finally, we needed some money to get the wheels turning. And none of us broke suckers had money that wasn’t already pouring directly into our monthly bills. We came up with some creative solutions along the way, which I’ll be telling you all about over time.