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Educational Website Business Plan

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Educational Website Business Plan

Executive Summary

One Week At A Time is a website business based in Lexington, Kentucky that is owned and operated by Frank Williams. The website aims to educate people on how they can help the Earth and lessen their environmental impact by accomplishing one task each week for 52 weeks. The tasks are simple and will show people how easily they can make small changes in their life to make a difference in their world. The revenue stream for this website will come from commissions on recommendations of Earth-friendly products that fit with our weekly tips. We will have affiliate relationships with retailers providing these products so we won’t be producing them or carrying inventory, just earning commission on each sale.

Our financial strategy is based on staying profitable while keeping expenses extremely low. We plan on using profits to support environmental causes we believe in, so it’s not our mission to earn as much money as humanly possible. We’re more concerned with keeping the cash flow and cash balance positive. The accompanying chart highlights our financial plans.

In order to reach our goals, we must complete the following keys of success:

  • We must develop quality content in the form of our tips which engage the readers, empower them, and inspire them to share the tips with others, and so, grow our user base.
  • We must execute our marketing plan well, since the focus is on not spending money, while maximizing our online exposure.
  • We must keep our expenses low. We don’t plan on generating a large amount of revenue in the near-term, so we can’t let expenses get out of control.
  • We must pre-sell our product recommendations in order to get users to purchase through our site, thereby garnering our commissions.

1.1 Mission

One Week At A Time is an educational website that teaches busy people how they can help the environment by accomplishing simple weekly tasks over the period of one year. We hope to help people become more environmentally conscious, help retailers sell Earth-friendly products, and use our commissions to pay our expenses and contribute profits to environmental causes.

1.2 Objectives

  • Use simple weekly tasks to teach people how they can help the environment and lessen their personal environmental impact.
  • To sign up 5,000 subscribers to our weekly environmental tips list at the end of the first year.
  • To receive 10,000 visitors per month to our website.
  • To achieve profitability within six months.
  • To use all company profits to contribute to environmental organizations and causes.

1.3 Keys to Success

  • Quality Content: Write good weekly tips which are simply written, friendly, to the point, and inspire people to accomplish their weekly task.
  • Marketing: Focus on link-building, search engine optimization, and word of mouth to spread the word about our website and email tips.
  • Expenses: Keep other expenses low to make achieving profitability easier. There is no need to spend a lot of money in order to accomplish our goals quicker.
  • Promote and pre-sell Earth-friendly products in a way that inspires our users to buy using our site’s links so we receive our commissions.

Company Summary

One Week At A Time is a small sole proprietor website based in Lexington, Kentucky. Its purpose is to educate busy people on how they can help lessen their personal environmental impact by completing weekly tasks as outlined on the website. The site offers these tasks both on the site, or by a weekly email subscription that is free of charge. Revenue is generated by earning commissions on Earth-friendly products sold to subscribers by recommended retailers.

2.1 Start-up Summary

One Week At A Time will start with an initial $3,000 investment from Frank Williams to get the website and company going. Mr. Williams plans on doing all the initial website design and content creation himself, so there is no monetary cost associated with those items. That leaves $250 in legal expenses to form the company, $1,000 in computer equipment, and $75 to register the domain name for the website.

The initial investment will cover these items and leave a cash balance of $1,675 to cover expenses until income comes in as the company moves forward.

2.2 Company Ownership

One Week At A Time is a sole-proprietorship, founded, owned and operated by Frank Williams of Lexington, Kentucky.

Products

One Week At A Time does not actually produce any products or services. We recommend Earth-friendly products from various retailers who pay us a commission based on the amount of the sale. These are usually referred to as “affiliate relationships” and “affiliate commissions” in the Web world.

The advantage to this setup is that we don’t have any cost of goods, we don’t have to worry about production, inventory levels, fulfillment, or customer service. The negative aspect is that we obviously only receive a percentage of the sale instead of the full amount of the sale. We will be recommending Earth-friendly products of the following types:

  • Reusable Products: Reusable replacements for everyday products that are normally disposed of after one use such as rechargeable batteries, reusable lunch bags, etc.
  • Recycled Paper Products: Printer paper, envelopes, stationary, etc.
  • Kitchen Products: Cloth towels, cloth rags, etc.
  • Organic Foods: Fruits, vegetables, snack foods, etc.
  • Cloth Diapers
  • Clothing: Made by Earth-Friendly companies such as Lands’ End, L.L. Bean, etc.
  • Cleaning Products: Organic and chlorine/chemical free cleaning products like carpet cleaner, laundry detergent, dish soap, car wash soap, etc.
  • Herbal Medicines
  • Lighting: Energy Star approved lighting which uses less energy than standard bulbs and lighting products.
  • Heating/Cooling Equipment: Hot Water Heater jackets, Energy Star air conditioners, heaters, etc.
  • Books: About being Earth-friendly.
  • Music: By Earth-Friendly artists or ones whose proceeds are donated to environmental organizations.
  • Low Water Usage: Shower heads, hose nozzles, and other water-reducing gadgets.
  • Energy Star Appliances: Kitchen appliances, TVs, monitors, etc.
  • Solar Powered Appliances: Major and minor appliances, tools and gadgets that run on solar power.

Market Analysis Summary

One Week At A Time targets all people in general, but the content will be slanted towards what we call “busy people.” These are people who most likely have busy lives such as being a full-time student, working, having a family, etc. These people often feel that they’re too busy to help the Earth, and often think it takes a ton of work to lessen their environmental impact. They tend to be in the 18-55 age range, moderate to high income level, and they live in all geographical locations. Obviously, our market must have access to the Internet in order to view our site.

Our secondary markets are students who range from 12-22 in age who can get started early on being Earth-friendly, and the retired community who may have more free time to help live an Earth-friendly life. These markets really encompass everyone, but we expect our primary market to account for a majority of our visitors and sales.

4.1 Market Segmentation

We segment our market by their “state in life.” By “state in life” we mean what age and point in life the people in the market are in. Usually their “state of life” has a bearing on what their interests are, how much free time they have, and how much income they have. Our market is segmented in the following way:

  1. Students: Students range from 12-22 years old. Geography is not important beyond the fact that our site will only be in English.
  2. Adults: Adults are people in the 18-55 year old range who are working full or part-time jobs and may or may not be very busy with their work and family lives. Geography is not important beyond the fact that our site will only be in English.
  3. Retirees: Retirees are over 55 years old in age and geography is not a factor beyond the site only being in English.

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

One Week At A Time’s main goal is to help people live in a more Earth-friendly manner, so that’s the main reason why we are targeting any market in general, but there are specific reasons we’ll tailor content to our different market segments.

  1. Students: They usually have a low-level of income so we’re not counting on this market for providing us revenue in the way of product sales, but we are targeting students because of the importance that they become educated on how to live in an Earth-friendly manner. It might be a cliche’, but the children are the future.
  2. Adults: This is our largest market and our true target for generating revenue. They have the highest income level, and are the most likely to be buying the types of products we’ll be pushing. These are also the “busy people” who we’re trying to make it easy on to lessen their environmental impact.
  3. Retirees: They most likely have more free time to spend donating to environmental organizations and causes. Their income level is dependant on their retirement savings and their age, so we aren’t counting on them for providing much revenue, but they might contribute in a meaningful manner.

4.3 Industry Analysis

One Week At A Time actually falls in two different industries.

We are an environmental education website. This means our primary competition is other environmental education websites, but because our goal is simply to educate people, we aren’t really competing with these people in the classic sense of competition. There are many environmental websites, and most of them are either environmental news sites, or they focus on one or two specific environmental topics. We cover many topics, and take a different approach with our weekly task email approach instead of just giving people information. We educate them while giving them a specific task and action to make a difference. We are an Earth-friendly product retailing website. Although our site doesn’t actually sell the products specifically, we are competing for the sales with every site that sells a similar or competing environmental product to any of the products that we recommend on our site.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

The content on the One Week At A Time website will generally be aimed at people who are not experts on living an Earth-friendly life. People who are already experts most likely will not need our site to get information on how they can help the environment, or need our site to point them to Earth-friendly products. Therefore, most of the time we’ll be introducing people to ways they can help their environment, and introducing them to products they might not know even exist.

Our customers will choose us over competing environmental websites because we won’t overwhelm them with information. We will provide a fun writing style with weekly tasks that actually have our visitors accomplish something that helps the Earth or lessens their impact. These changes will be noticeable to them, and we believe we will make people happy and feel empowered from using our site, while also forming a personal relationship with our site. We feel this will cause them to recommend our site to friends, and to listen to our product recommendations and buy directly from the links on our site and in our emails.

We will make the product-finding process simple, because it can often be overwhelming. If someone tells you that you should buy a chlorine-free cleaner, how do you know where to find that or which one to choose out of the many options? Users of One Week At A Time will trust us and we will simplify the process by giving them one or two choices and retailers to choose from to buy that chlorine-free cleaner.

Click here to view this full business plan

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