[Preview] It’s (Really) Not a Club—It’s a Business
Source: Part I, Section 1
Thousands of middle and high school robotics organizations are active around the world at this very minute. But there are only two types of robotics teams.
There are teams that are run like clubs. The organization is casual, maybe a bit haphazard. The team is resource-strained but toughs it out. Good mentors are hard to come by. But despite all of this, everyone has a good time. 90% of robotics teams fall into this category.
And those that are robotics teams that are run like businesses. They have lots of sponsors every year, enough to get them all the way to the FIRST championship. They have no trouble sourcing mentors. They’ve partnered with local STEM companies during the year’s build phase. And they have just as much fun as their counterparts.
Some see this as a battle between the haves, and the have-nots, where some teams struggle endlessly for funds, equipment, and mentors, while others seem to have it all.
Some see this as a battle between the haves, and the have-nots, where some teams struggle endlessly for funds, equipment, and mentors, while others seem to have it all. But we’d frame it a bit differently. Every team can and should have fun at these events. Just as every team can and should have an organized system in place to maximize donations and mentors and ensure their team makes it to every yearly contest if that’s one of their goals.
In other words, it’s not about haves and have-nots. It’s about organization and proper planning.
That’s what Part I of this book is all about—organization and planning ahead to make robotics even more fun. And to accomplish this task, we need a strategy to see us through. Better yet, we need a business plan.
Why create a business plan? Because they work! Creating an organization is a tough job to begin with. Doing so without a plan is just setting your team up to fail. And no, we don’t mean fail in the traditional sense of losing. What we mean is, if you fail to plan, everybody is worse off.
- Your team is worse off due to time constraints and a lack of funds.
- The local STEM community—schools and companies both—lose out on future sponsorship promotion, and maybe even future students and employees.
- Parent volunteers are worse off when they want to help but no one tells them when or how
- Even large sponsors miss out on finding new teams that they think can make a big difference in the world.
And while the stakes aren’t as high for a robotics team as it is for a business, the same concepts still apply. Proper organization will create growth. Failure to organize will leave you spinning your wheels or worse, lose your team entirely.
Our objective is to help you find your objective.
Our objective is to help you find your objective. We also want to help you find better mentors, proper funding, and more time. Part I will set you up to do just that. But before we jump in, let’s take a look at the challenges faced by robotics organizations around the globe.