Trademarks and New Equipment

Baby steps again this week, but steps nonetheless. We finally heard back from the leasing agent, and it sounds like the owners are willing to agree to most of what we were asking for -- and all of the items that we consider showstoppers. The biggest item for us, since we have to sign a personal guarantee on the lease, is that our total exposre be capped -- we've asked for a cap of $15k during the 24 month term of the lease (or we can terminate the lease if the owners don't want to pick up any additional liability beyond our $15k cap), and is sounds like they're OK with that. The leasing agent will be in town next week Thursday, so we're going to try to schedule a building inspector for that day, as well, to give it a thorough once-over before we sign. I all goes to plan we should get the keys before the end of October.

We spoke with an insurance agent today about a policy -- $1 million general liability, $2 million aggregate, and additional coverage for our equipment. We'll get a formal quote Monday, but it sounds like we're looking at something around $1500/yr for the policy. Does that line up with what you would expect for that kind of coverage?

This coming week our CPA is going to set up our books on QuickBooks and show us how to use it. $300. Everything comes with a price tag attached, and the little things add up quickly. The building inpsection will probably tack on another $500.

This weekend I'll send the image files to our attorney for our logo and trademarks so that she can file the required paperwork. We're anxious to get going on this since we're in a holding pattern on our molds and packaging until we get some clear direction on the trademarks.

We're also anxious to get the feedback from our two paid evaluations. 70-Percent has five bars and C-Spot has five bars. As much as we'd love them to tell us how wonderful our chocolate is, I think the reality is that we're still in 'beta' development and what we're really hoping for is some good constructive criticism and suggestions for future direction.

We kicked off the formal consulting arrangement with Clay today. My job tomorrow (Sunday) is to come up with the starting list of questions to work on and assumptions to be challenged. I'm really looking forward to this part of getting our business started.

Lots of fun this week working on some of our equipment -- and there's a separate thread you may want to read on that: http://www.thechocolatelife.com/forum/topics/dust-deputy-for-winnower. We want to automate EVERYTHING we possible can so that Leslie and I have more time to work on finding and developing customers and less time doing manual processes (like feeding winnowers in this case). Last night I finally had a few mintues to try out an idea for a feeder for our Dust Deputy winnowing set-up, and after a few adjustments, got it working well enought to call proof-of-concept a success. Today I found a battery powered rotisserie drive for under $20 and will try that out to driver the feeder sowe don't have to tie upour KitchenAid mixer. Stay tuned (on the other discussion thread) and see if/how that works out.

Looking forward to a busy, and hopefully fruitful, week next week...

Cheers,

David and Leslie