Originally Posted by Mfusick
That's part of the transition from a group buy to a proper business.
I'll throw this idea out there again. There are other organizational/business models than:
- garage effort for group buys for a few folk as a hobby
- full-fledged business for ownership profit
As an alternative to the above, there's:
- Co-op businesses where customer-members take profits (small sports clubs, electric co-ops, insurance, etc.)
- Nonprofit membership associations, where no profit goes to any 'ownership.' Revenue pays for operations (including staff salaries etc.) and profit would go to further the nonprofit cause (develop new drivers, new designs, the growth of designers, research, etc.). A member might be a designer, a customer, both.
- Company whose purpose is to sell and "crowd-fund" speaker designers. Etsy, Kickstarter, etc. come to mind. Much benefit goes to designers, the company takes the fee for infrastructure, marketing, operations, fulfillment, etc.
- 501c3 for scientific purposes (this might have to exclude the purchasing of product component, but could fund research, testing?)
- ...I'm sure there are more models.
Typically there's a board, there are committees of board members and volunteers and staff, and there are directives in bylaws for how to operate.
The point is, to have an organization with a higher purpose than "make money", that does have a facility for group contribution, whose raison d'existance is the community.
You can still have volunteers, a couple staff who are compensated for their time, a director, oversight, products, sales, discounts, etc. But key is the perception, which as we've seen, people can be sensitive about.