Having a great idea for a business is just the first step. The most practical initial step is going to be finding out if a market exists for what it is you are trying to do. A great idea is only as good as the customers that will support it. Even if someone is not a true capitalist, they still need to consider that to be in business one must earn money from that venture, and certainly enough to break-even so as to be able to continue said venture. Even for an internet café having a business plan is a great idea.
You have to be able to cover the bills, and earn whatever it is you need to survive. Beyond that, you can be a great profiteer, and really manage your bottom line, or you can continue on making enough to cover the bills, but at some point you will have to draw on your inner profiteer, because just meeting the bills every month can fast land you in a fiscal quagmire that will threaten your very existence. These are the reasons why having a good, solid business plan from the outset is very important, and then revisiting that business plan regularly will keep you on track and remind you of why you started this venture to begin with.
Getting Started With Your Internet Café Business Plan
Starting an internet café is a promising endeavour, and many markets will easily tolerate this business model. The first question is what products or services will you be offering now, and what products and services might you want to build-in to your business model in the future? There is a coffee house model in Japan, called the kissaten, that allows patrons to basically buy one cup of coffee, and then stay indefinitely. Questions on time limits, what you will serve at your cafe, and the kind of experience you want your customers to come to expect are some of the questions you need to answer. The following are some examples of questions:
– Will this be a casual place, or is there going to be some requirements?
– Will your patrons be able to sit in your cafe indefinitely, or will they be paying by the hour for internet access?
– Do you plan to provide Wifi for those who bring their own devices, and if so, will there be a charge for this?
– Will you serve food and beverages, and if so, what does your menu look like?
– Will you limit it to just a few standard options, like coffee and muffins, or will you serve light fare, like sandwiches?
– What kind of an experience do you want to provide to your cafe customers?
– Do you plan to have live entertainment, like poetry readings or a string quartet?
Whether the idea of the Japanese kissaten appeals to you or not, it raises natural questions about how long you want people to be able to sit at your computers, what the hourly charges will be, will you have an open-access computer for quick use, of perhaps less than 10 minutes, and will you have laptops and tablets for patrons to use. Beyond this you want to ask if you are going to offer beverages and light fare, so as to manage expenses in the beginning, or what kind of a menu might you have.
Starting small with the menu might be best to adequately focus on building the internet cafe side of the business, which requires a much larger initial investment, or perhaps starting with a coffee shop, and then slowly building in the internet side of the business is the way you want to go. These are questions that have to be answered when you establish your business plan, and doing both well from the outset might be greater in theory than in practice. Try to make a list of every possible consideration, and then come back to that list a few days later and see if you can add even more questions; this business plan must be comprehensive.
Internet Café Business Plan: Industry and Competition Analysis
Analysis of the industry and competition are somewhat synonymous. Reminding yourself you have to be able to eventually earn a profit from your venture will naturally lead to market analysis, and finding out where the nearest competitors are located. There has to be sufficient market share for the business to survive. In the internet café business plan, also look at the industry you are entering from both the cost-of-goods side of the equation as well as volatility of prices in the commodity you need to procure.
Computers are basically consumer staples, so you won’t have to worry much about price fluctuations, but you must remember that things can change, and so looking at historical price fluctuations on the goods you need will be necessary to accurately forecast feasibility studies. This information is important and can be gathered from a number of sources.
Internet Café Business Plan: The Marketing Plan
The next question that has to be answered in your business plan is how do you plan to reach your targeted customers? Having particular marketing channels and promotional plans in place are very important. You might have a great business plan, and one that the local market in your area will tolerate, but reaching your key demographic is important. At this point you also have to start to consider creating a social media presence for your company, and contemplating creating a website with a plan to draw your targeted audience.
Management Team and Operations in Your Internet Café Business Plan
At this point in the internet café business plan you also have to have a management team and operations plan. Having a current team, and then identifying those positions in your organization that you will have to fill are key steps. The operations plan is really one of the biggest components, as it identifies where you are while also showcasing what goals you wish to accomplish, and an associated timeline to accomplish your goals.
The Internet Café Business Plan’s Financials
Finally, your financial plan needs to be in place. This is the backbone of your entire business plan. It needs to identify how much outside funding you might need, and what sources you are planning on using. You also have to identify how funds will be allocated, and in what areas of your business will they be invested. Projecting profits and revenues for the next 5 years is a necessary component to your financial plan.
Once all aspects of your internet café business plan are in place, and you are very familiar with every detail, you are going to be very prepared to answer all key questions in a small business loan interview. This kind of plan will also serve to keep you on track as your business goes through cycles that every business does. It will be the reference point for you every day outlining why you started this venture, and it will help you build your dream.
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