The Pains of Starting A Corp

General Thade 2019-01-30

Art by Major Sniper

Recently I started my new adventure: one where I try to start a corporation in EVE Online. Like most players, my entire gameplay experience has been under someone else’s flag. There were a few events in-game that drove me to try to start my own corp, but I mostly want to talk about the challenges of it, and why a lot of corps don’t make it in EVE Online.

In my short time as a CEO, I have noticed three main problems: money, members, and leadership.

Money

A big problem with starting a corp in nullsec or wormhole space where structures are not provided for you is money. The corporation is going to spend different amounts of cash based on how many members they have, where they live, and what they are trying to accomplish. As I started the corp, the first thing I noticed is how much structures can actually dent your wallet. As a small corp, the ISK that is going to be used most likely comes from the CEO, or the first few members of the corp. For my corp, my partner and I have been splitting all of the ISK for structures, and at the same time working together to get more ISK for more things needed.

At this point, with such a small amount of players, there is no corp income. We have no industry, buyback, or taxes.

When going down my checklist, I was looking at the cost of the things and structures needed, and it can lower confidence. As a new corp, the cost of structures is overwhelming before you add in the cost of fuel and fittings. When you are starting a corp, determining how you are going to get corporate ISK and how you are going to spend it can help a lot. A ton of corps charge tax, but at the same time offer SRP, or other corp programs as a return for paying into the corp. The hardest part of starting a corp is in the beginning, where you don’t have any corporate ISK, only private.

Members

As I stated, it is easier to make ISK based on the amount of members you have. More members can kind of be like splitting the workload a bit, but the number of members you have can be a problem of its own. As I look in the recruitment channel, I am competing for members with other corps, who are more established, have more players, and could maybe offer more to a member. This is the nature of the game.

A few people come in and out of my Discord or in-game recruitment chat. A lot of them ask how many members we have. When you tell them how many you actually have they leave, without seeing what you have to offer. The current EVE landscape is full of corps with hundreds or even thousands of members. With a landscape like this, the quality of corp a lot of the time can be “predicted” by the amount of members the corp has, which can damage a lot of the smaller corps as they don’t even get looked at a lot of the time.

Leadership

And lastly, a huge problem is leadership. When you are starting a small corp that you want to grow most of the time, the first few people that join become your leaders. A corp is most vulnerable when it is new; when starting a new corp, the first few members may be thrust into leadership roles, even if they don’t want it, they are not ready, or they are bad people for the job. You don’t really know these people, and they can destroy the corp before it gets off the ground.

On top of this, when the corp has so few people, I worry about leadership disputes. One of my top five problems in this game so far has been my age. I am 16 years old, and I have been playing since I was 12, but people tend to ignore the experience I have and look at my age…Which is not to say I have not made some dumb mistakes—I have made plenty of those. I could imagine people not wanting to join because of my age or other people in corp wanting a higher position, because maybe they don’t want to follow someone as young as me.

Conclusion

Knowing what the early stages of a corp looks like can be important. A lot of people can see what large successful corps look like because they have joined them in the past, but coming across newer corps can be a bit harder. I want to start a small C5 PVP corp—nothing complex, pretty simple. Not only do you have to compete with larger groups in the economy and on the battlefield, but you also have to compete for members. I have heard the key is to find a niche. Not only are people looking for the right corp for them, but I am looking for the right person. Not a lot of people want to join a small corp and help grow it, and a lot of people don’t realize how hard being a leader is. I think your CEO deserves a round of applause, for they and the others around them have put in a lot of hard work.

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Comments

  • Nick Ashley

    You forgot to have a premise when you wrote this. Its basically just rambling for a few paragraphs with no point.

    D-

    January 30, 2019 at 8:12 am
    • J Moravia Nick Ashley

      Thanks for reading and commenting, but this makes absolutely no sense.
      The article has:
      – an introduction with a clearly defined thesis statement at the end
      – three body sections, one dealing with each part of the thesis
      – a conclusion that sums up the contents of the body

      This is not merely AN acceptable format; it is the IDEAL format for writing an essay. I’m a high school teacher by profession, and part of my job is prepping my students for the SAT college-admission test. If an SAT essay is submitted which doesn’t follow this exact format, the graders immediately dock points before even beginning to read the content. The same format is widely used in the business world, in presidential speeches, &c.

      It appears you have a history of leaving critical comments on INN, which isn’t a problem (we’re all big boys and girls), but if your criticism is not at least logically valid, all it does is make you look like a whiner with an axe to grind.

      Educationally yours,
      J

      January 30, 2019 at 11:14 am
      • Nick Ashley J Moravia

        This article lacks a thesis. Is that clear enough for you?

        January 31, 2019 at 1:34 pm
        • J Moravia Nick Ashley

          The thesis is the last sentence of the introduction (exactly where it’s supposed to be): “In my short time as a CEO, I have noticed three main problems: money, members, and leadership.”

          So, to recap:
          – The article is titled “The Pains of Starting a Corp”
          – The thesis statement lists three specific pains the author has experienced (money, members, and leadership)
          – There are three body sections, one dealing with each item listed in the thesis statement

          Again, as a professional teacher, this is a flawlessly formatted essay. The more you try to argue that it isn’t, the more you betray your own cluelessness.

          Grammatically yours,
          J

          January 31, 2019 at 2:50 pm
      • Johiah J Moravia

        It doesn’t really provide any solutions to the issues it lists, though. I noticed that when I read it, basically wondering “Ok, how does this help me?”
        Nick probably could have gone about saying that in a more polite way, however.

        February 3, 2019 at 5:02 am
    • Guilford Australis Nick Ashley

      Are you aware of what site you’re reading? Many – probably most – readers belong to The Imperium or another large nullsec bloc. The logistics of establishing and running a small, independent corporation is exotic territory for most of INN’s readership. If you happen to be one of the enlightened few who know everything about this subject already, then by all means feel free to submit an article of your own through the link at the top of the page.

      January 30, 2019 at 12:42 pm
      • Nick Ashley Guilford Australis

        Is it ok if I just submit a rambling mess with no point? Will I get some amazing affiliate link pennies in my PayPal account?

        January 31, 2019 at 1:59 pm
        • Guilford Australis Nick Ashley

          As a rule, I give people the benefit of the doubt rather than to assume, based on a comment or two, that they are insufferable trolls with no actual interest in the articles they comment on. You, however, have removed all my doubts, freeing me from making such assumptions and allowing me to treat you with the contempt you deserve.

          January 31, 2019 at 3:19 pm
          • Nick Ashley Guilford Australis

            What an insipid, overly-verbose response. Thank you for your candor, however.

            January 31, 2019 at 10:52 pm
  • Punky260

    I don’t see the leadership problem.
    If you have a small corp you don’t need any leadership besides a CEO. Once it gets a bit bigger, you will only need a very few positions that can become handy to be filled by someone else as the CEO. (Mostfly for aspects of split workload or better availability throught the timezones)
    It’s not easy, but also not super hard, to find a good mix of trusting your members while being cautios at the same time. Don’t grant rules people don’t explizitly need, but make sure they can do what they want to do. If you cut their freedom too hard, they will leave for better corps.

    January 30, 2019 at 10:08 am
  • Menaiya

    The way you present yourself and your actions at you take will always take precedence over your age. Remember it is better to have a few people that work well together, than a huge group of people who don’t.

    Be honest about issues. You’re the leader and occasionally being a hatchet man is part of the job.

    January 30, 2019 at 11:47 am
    • Punky260 Menaiya

      Can only agree with that. I knew a few FCs who were pretty young when they started – nobody ever complained about their age.

      January 30, 2019 at 1:26 pm
  • Alaric Faelen

    Something I would add….
    1) Lack of focus.
    You see a lot of corp adverts that claim they basically do everything in the game. Other than huge alliances, that is an immediate red flag.
    For one it shows a lack of focus and direction that is probably endemic to the whole organization. Chances are someone is just going to be disappointed in the lack of the content they signed up for. What this usually means that rather than a cohesive group, the corp is just a collection of randoms doing their own thing anyway- which is no different than staying in an NPC corp. The moment there is a drama or war dec, the corp is probably going to fold or hide, leaving you with all the negatives of being in a player owned corp with none of the benefits.

    It also makes it hard to recruit when your corp has no identity and no reason for anyone to join it instead of any other. The most impressive pitches give you a sense of the culture before you even find their recruiter to talk to. As a small start up you would do far better to cast a smaller but more specialized net. Part of building a corp is finding key staff, and that again is difficult if everyone in the corp has a different agenda.

    2) Ask Not What Your Corpmates Can Do For You.
    This should have been number one. WHY do you want to form a corp? The answer is most commonly for selfish reasons, which dooms corps to failure from the start. Some people want to be the boss, some might think it’s as easy as guilds in other MMO’s that mostly amount to a shared bank, some just want others to make them rich. This latter category is all too common. People get to a point where they need others to expand (usually for defense) so they make a corp. Essentially seeing other players as either a means to an end, or a road block to that end- but not really as an equal.

    What I call ‘Ego Corps’ are far too common, and they probably do more to make people quit Eve than War Decs and Space AIDS.

    3) Subject matter expert.

    Along with some focus for your corp, you should either be- or have on staff- subject matter experts. Regardless of what type of player you are looking to recruit, they will be looking to you with the expectation that you are better at it than they are. If you are looking for new players, they will expect to be handheld and taught. If you are looking for experienced players, they may well be more competition than companion so you need to offer something they can’t already do on their own.

    January 30, 2019 at 4:31 pm
    • J Moravia Alaric Faelen

      Great points, especially #1. You do a corp search and find a group that’s like “We do PvE, and PvP, and mining, and exploring, and industry, and Faction Warfare” and you’re thinking “Probably none of it well, though.”

      A clear and well articulated vision for the corp will take it further than a thousand spammed ads in Jita local or however plebes recruit for corps these days.

      January 30, 2019 at 10:05 pm