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High-Tech Marketing Sample Business Plan

This sample business plan will provide you with the ideal guidelines for starting your high tech marketing business.

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High-Tech Marketing Business Plan

Executive Summary

Acme Consulting will be a consulting company specializing in marketing of high-technology products in international markets. The company offers high-tech manufacturers a reliable, high-quality alternative to in-house resources for business development, market development, and channel development.

Acme Consulting will be created as a California C corporation based in Santa Clara County, owned by its principal investors and principal operators. The initial office will be established in A-quality office space in the Santa Clara County “Silicon Valley” area of California, the heart of the U.S. high tech industry.

Within the US and European high tech firms that Acme plans to target,we will focus on large manufacturer corporations such as HP, IBM & Microsoft. Our secondary target will be the medium-sized companies in high growth areas such as multimedia and software. One of Acme’s challenges will be establishing itself as a real consulting company, positioned as a relatively risk-free corporate purchase.

Industry competition comes in several forms, the most significant being companies that choose to do business development and market research in-house. There are also large, well known management consulting firms such as Arthur Anderson, Boston Consulting Group, etc. These companies are generalist in nature and do not focus on a niche market. Furthermore, they are often hampered by a flawed organizational structure that does not provide the most experienced people for the client’s projects. Another competitor is the various market research companies, such as Dataquest and Stanford Research Institute. Acme Consulting’s advantage over such companies as these is that Acme provides high level consulting to help integrate market research data with the companies goals.

Acme Consulting will be priced at the upper edge of what the market will bear, competing with the name-brand consultants. The pricing fits with the general positioning of Acme as providing high-level expertise.

The company’s founders are former marketers of consulting services, personal computers, and market research, all in international markets. They are founding Acme to formalize the consulting services they offer. Acme should be managed by working partners, in a structure taken mainly from Smith Partners. In the beginning we assume 3-5 partners.

The firm estimates profits of approximately $65,000 by Year 3 with a net profit margin of 6%. The company plans on taking on approximately $130,000 in current debt and raise and additional $50,000 in long-term debt to invest in long-term assets. The company does not anticipate any cash flow problems arising.

1.1 Objectives

  • Sales of $550,000 in Year 1 and $1 million by Year 3.
  • Gross margin higher than 70%.
  • Net income more than 5% of sales by Year 3.

1.2 Mission

Acme Consulting offers high-tech manufacturers a reliable, high-quality alternative to in-house resources for business development, market development, and channel development on an international scale. A true alternative to in-house resources offers a very high level of practical experience, know-how, contacts, and confidentiality. Clients must know that working with Acme is a more professional, less risky way to develop new areas even than working completely in-house with their own people. Acme must also be able to maintain financial balance, charging a high value for its services, and delivering an even higher value to its clients. Initial focus will be development in the European and Latin American markets, or for European clients in the United States market.

1.3 Keys to Success

  1. Excellence in fulfilling the promise–completely confidential, reliable, trustworthy expertise and information.
  2. Developing visibility to generate new business leads.
  3. Leveraging from a single pool of expertise into multiple revenue generation opportunities: retainer consulting, project consulting, market research, and market research published reports.

Company Summary

Acme Consulting is a new company providing high-level expertise in international high-tech business development, channel development, distribution strategies, and marketing of high-tech products. It will focus initially on providing two kinds of international triangles:

Providing United States clients with development for European and Latin American markets.
Providing European clients with development for the United States and Latin American markets.

As it grows it will take on people and consulting work in related markets, such as the rest of Latin America, the Far East, and similar markets. It will also look for additional leverage by taking brokerage positions and representation positions to create percentage holdings in product results.

2.1 Start-up Summary

Total start-up expense (including legal costs, logo design, stationery and related expenses) comes to $18,350. Start-up assets required include $7,000 in short-term assets (office furniture, etc.) and $25,000 in initial cash to handle the first few months of consulting operations as sales and accounts receivable play through the cash flow.

2.2 Company Locations and Facilities

The initial office will be established in A-quality office space in the Santa Clara County “Silicon Valley” area of California, the heart of the U.S. high tech industry.

2.3 Company Ownership

Acme Consulting will be created as a California C corporation based in Santa Clara County, owned by its principal investors and principal operators. As of this writing, it has not been chartered yet and is still considering alternatives of legal formation.

Services

Acme offers the expertise a high-technology company needs to develop new product distribution and new market segments in new markets. This can be taken as high-level retainer consulting, market research reports, or project-based consulting.

3.1 Service Description

  1. Retainer consulting: We represent a client company as an extension of its business development and market development functions. This begins with complete understanding of the client company’s situation, objectives, and constraints. We then represent the client company quietly and confidentially, sifting through new market developments and new opportunities as is appropriate to the client, representing the client in initial talks with possible allies, vendors, and channels.
  2. Project consulting: Proposed and billed on a per-project and per-milestone basis, project consulting offers a client company a way to harness our specific qualities and use our expertise to solve specific problems, develop and/or implement plans, and develop specific information.
  3. Market research: Group studies available to selected clients at $5,000 per unit. A group study is a packaged and published complete study of a specific market, channel, or topic. Examples might be studies of developing consumer channels in Japan or Mexico, or implications of changing margins in software.

3.2 Competitive Comparison

The competition comes in several forms:

The most significant competition is no consulting at all, companies choosing to do business development, channel development and market research in-house. Their own managers do this on their own, as part of their regular business functions. Our key advantage in competition with in-house development is that managers are already overloaded with responsibilities, they don’t have time for additional responsibilities in new market development or new channel development. Also, Acme can approach alliances, vendors, and channels on a confidential basis, gathering information and making initial contacts in ways that the corporate managers can’t.
The high-level prestige management consulting: McKinsey, Bain, Arthur Anderson, Boston Consulting Group, etc. These are essentially generalists who take their name-brand management consulting into specialty areas. Their other very important weakness is the management structure that has the partners selling new jobs, and inexperienced associates delivering the work. We compete against them as experts in our specific fields, and with the guarantee that our clients will have the top-level people doing the actual work.
The third general kind of competitor is the international market research company: International Data Corporation (IDC), Dataquest, Stanford Research Institute, etc. These companies are formidable competitors for published market research and market forums, but cannot provide the kind of high-level consulting that Acme will provide.
The fourth kind of competition is the market-specific smaller house. For example: Nomura Research in Japan, Select S.A. de C.V. in Mexico (now affiliated with IDC).
Sales representation, brokering, and deal catalysts are an ad-hoc business form that will be defined in detail by the specific nature of each individual case.

3.3 Sales Literature

The business will begin with a general corporate brochure establishing the positioning. This brochure will be developed as part of the start-up expenses.

Literature and mailings for the initial market forums will be very important.

3.4 Fulfillment

The key fulfillment and delivery will be provided by the principals of the business. The real core value is professional expertise, provided by a combination of experience, hard work, and education (in that order).
We will turn to qualified professionals for freelance back-up in market research and presentation and report development, which are areas that we can afford to sub-contract without risking the core values provided to the clients.

3.5 Technology

Acme Consulting will maintain the latest Windows and Macintosh capabilities including:

  • Complete e-mail facilities on the Internet, Compuserve, America-Online, and Applelink, for working with clients directly through e-mail delivery of drafts and information.
  • Complete presentation facilities for preparation and delivery of multimedia presentations on Macintosh or Windows machines, in formats including on-disk presentation, live presentation, or video presentation.
  • Complete desktop publishing facilities for delivery of regular retainer reports, project output reports, marketing materials, and market research reports.

3.6 Future Services

In the future, Acme will broaden the coverage by expanding into coverage of additional markets (e.g., all of Latin America, Far East, Western Europe) and additional product areas (e.g., telecommunications and technology integration).

We are also studying the possibility of newsletter or electronic newsletter services, or perhaps special on-topic reports.

Market Analysis Summary

Acme will be focusing on high-technology manufacturers of computer hardware and software, services, and networking, who want to sell into markets in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. These are mostly larger companies, and occasionally medium-sized companies.

Our most important group of potential customers are executives in larger corporations. These are marketing managers, general managers, sales managers, sometimes charged with international focus and sometimes charged with market or even specific channel focus. They do not want to waste their time or risk their money looking for bargain information or questionable expertise. As they go into markets looking at new opportunities, they are very sensitive to risking their company’s name and reputation.

4.1 Market Segmentation

Large manufacturer corporations: Our most important market segment is the large manufacturer of high-technology products, such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Siemens, or Olivetti. These companies will be calling on Acme for development functions that are better spun off than managed in-house, for market research, and for market forums.

Medium-sized growth companies: particularly in software, multimedia, and some related high-growth fields, Acme will offer an attractive development alternative to the company that is management constrained and unable to address opportunities in new markets and new market segments.

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

As indicated by the previous table and Illustration, we must focus on a few thousand well-chosen potential customers in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. These few thousand high-tech manufacturing companies are the key customers for Acme.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

The consulting “industry” is pulverized and disorganized, with thousands of smaller consulting organizations and individual consultants for every one of the few dozen well-known companies.

Consulting participants range from major international name-brand consultants to tens of thousands of individuals. One of Acme’s challenges will be establishing itself as a real consulting company, positioned as a relatively risk-free corporate purchase.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

The key element in purchase decisions made at the Acme client level is trust in the professional reputation and reliability of the consulting firm.

4.3.2 Main Competitors

1. The high-level prestige management consulting:

Strengths: International locations managed by owner-partners with a high level of presentation and understanding of general business. Enviable reputations which make purchase of consulting an easy decision for a manager, despite the very high prices.

Weaknesses: General business knowledge doesn’t substitute for the specific market, channel, and distribution expertise of Acme, focusing on high-technology markets and products only. Also, fees are extremely expensive, and work is generally done by very junior-level consultants, even though sold by high-level partners.

2. The international market research company:

Strengths: International offices, specific market knowledge, permanent staff developing market research information on permanent basis, good relationships with potential client companies.

Weaknesses: Market numbers are not marketing, not channel development nor market development. Although these companies compete for some of the business Acme is after, they cannot really offer the same level of business understanding at a high level.

3. Market specific or function specific experts:

Strengths: Expertise in market or functional areas. Acme should not try to compete with Nomura or Select in their markets with market research, or with ChannelCorp in channel management.

Weaknesses: The inability to spread beyond a specific focus, or to rise above a specific focus, to provide actual management expertise, experience, and wisdom beyond the specifics.

4. Companies do in-house research and development:

Strengths: No incremental cost except travel; also, the general work is done by the people who are entirely responsible, the planning is done by those who will implement it.

Weaknesses: Most managers are terribly overburdened already, unable to find incremental resources in time and people to apply to incremental opportunities. Also, there is a lot of additional risk in market and channel development done in-house from the ground up. Finally, retainer-based antenna consultants can greatly enhance a company’s reach and extend its position into conversations that might otherwise never have taken place.

4.3.3 Business Participants

At the highest level are the few well-established major names in management consulting. Most of these are organized as partnerships established in major markets around the world, linked together by interconnecting directors and sharing the name and corporate wisdom. Some evolved from accounting companies (e.g. Arthur Andersen, Touche Ross) and some from management consulting (McKinsey, Bain). These companies charge very high rates for consulting, and maintain relatively high overhead structures and fulfillment structures based on partners selling and junior associates fulfilling.

At the intermediate level are some function-specific or market-specific consultants, such as the market research firms (IDC, Dataquest) or channel development firms (ChannelCorp, Channel Strategies, ChannelMark).

Some kinds of consulting are little more than contract expertise provided by somebody who, while temporarily out of work, offers consulting services.

4.3.4 Distributing a Service

Consulting is sold and purchased mainly on a word-of-mouth basis, with relationships and previous experience being, by far, the most important factor.

The major name-brand houses have locations in major cities and major markets, and executive-level managers or partners develop new business through industry associations, business associations, chambers of commerce and industry, etc., and in some cases social associations such as country clubs.

The medium-level houses are generally area specific or function specific, and are not easily able to leverage their business through distribution.

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Professional Services

Security Guard Business Plan Sample

Protect your community by starting a security business using a security guard business plan similar to this one.

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Protect your community by starting a security business using a security guard business plan similar to this one to compile your own.

1. Executive Summary

Batten-Hatchez Security is a start-up security company founded by Chindit Batten, an experienced former police sergeant and security company manager.

Located in Coastalburg at its launch, the business will provide security guards, security audits, and referrals to equipment providers to commercial buildings, retail businesses, and, eventually special event venues and other clients.

The business seeks to acquire capital from an angel investor and will expand to additional cities in our state and beyond if successful.

Related: Free Business Plan Template Download

In the current political climate, with increasing fears of terrorist activity, and the current economic climate, which promises an upswing in general and in outsourced services especially, this business is launching at the right time.

The business will target large retail stores and building management companies first in order to establish a strong base of clients in Coastalburg.

Batten-Hatchez will grow its employee base of security guards carefully, based on client contracts, and use both full-time and part-time guards. The business expects respectable sales of in the first year, almost doubling by the end of the third year. Gross margins will be similar to the industry average, based on guard labor costs vs. billings.

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After the initial investment and launch, a lean first year, and the establishment of an office and training space in the second year, the business will be poised to expand through its own financing after three years. After the business is proved replicable in additional cities, the business may be sold to provide an exit for the initial investor and founders.

Objectives

Batten-Hatchez Security will base its success on meeting the following objectives:

  • Employ 25 full-time equivalent security guards by the end of the third year of operation
  • Supply security guards to 15 buildings on a full-time basis by the end of the third year of operation
  • Earn $2 million in revenue with net profit over $300,000 in its third year of operation

Mission

Batten-Hatchez Security will remove worries for clients who require security guards for their buildings, facilities, and events by providing excellent customer service for clients and in-depth training for their employees.

Keys to Success

Batten-Hatchez Security believes the keys to success in its industry include:

  • Listening carefully to client concerns and objectives to create customized security guard packages
  • Knowing what the client does not know (bringing deep security expertise as well as knowledge of legal regulations and liability to the table)
  • Training security guards carefully and maintaining their training and certifications (e.g. to carry firearms)
  • Monitoring the quality of security guard service to offer quality assurance

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2. Company Summary

security-company-summary

Batten-Hatchez Security is a startup security company founded by Chindit Batten, a former police sergeant and security company manager with fifteen years in law enforcement and ten years in security work.

Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up

The business will provide security guards to commercial buildings, retail businesses, and special events. The business will launch in Coastalburg but will expand to additional cities if successful.

Company Ownership

Chindit Batten is CEO and founder of Batten-Hatchez Security.

He currently owns 60% of the business and the remaining 40% of shares are owned by his partner and co-founder, Viipuri Hatchez, COO. The business is incorporated as an S Corporation to enable additional investment for its launch.

The founders shares will be diluted as up to 40% of shares will be given to investors.

Start-up Summary

Batten-Hatchez Security will launch as a home-based business out of the home office of Chindit Batten. Initially, this will reduce the cost of rent and equipment.

Related: Conducting a Business Plan Market Analysis

Training for security guards will be provided in temporarily rented office space as needed.

Other start-up costs include the costs of incorporation and permits, such as concealed weapons permits, business license, and police clearances (legal fees), the initial website and brochure design and printing, and the first insurance premium for the business, including liability insurance for the guard’s work and carrying of firearms.

Long-term assets include mobile phones and headsets for all guards and employees, as well as two-way radios for guards working as teams.


3. Services

security-company-camera

Batten-Hatchez Security will provide well trained guards for one or more of the following purposes:

  • To guard entrances and screen guests/employees
  • To monitor clients’ premises with video surveillance equipment
  • To protect clients’ assets, employees and guests
  • To deter crime with visual presence
  • To organize response in the case of fire, evacuation, or other emergency
  • To respond to customer and employee health emergencies and accidents
  • To eject unwanted customers or trespassers
  • To liaison with police and city emergency responders

In addition, the principals of the firm will offer the following:

  1. Security audits and recommendations for security plans
  2. Referrals to providers of security technology (camera systems, etc.)

Batten-Hatchez will be a licensed, insured, and bonded business and will offer both armed and unarmed guards, based on client needs and budgets.

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All guards will be certified for security work and to carry firearms. Whenever possible, the same guards will be sent consistently to the same clients. However, substitutes will be necessary from time to time and the business will ensure that detailed data about the job is transmitted to substitute guards on those occasions.

Batten-Hatchez Security will build trust with clients as a partner, rather than simply in the specific guard or guards they grow comfortable with. Guards will keep in constant communication with their team via portable two-way radios and with the Batten-Hatchez office, as necessary through mobile phones.

The Batten-Hatchez office will be not be staffed full-time at launch, but the CEO and COO will be within reach by phone wherever they work. Guards who encounter criminal activity will alert the authorities immediately rather than going through a communications centre.

Once the Batten-Hatchez office is established outside of the home of Chindit Batten, it will be staffed full-time with a rotation of three call centre personnel who will cover the dispatches. Guards will either be stationed at desks or patrol on foot at all facilities.

Clients must provide vehicles if their jobs require vehicle patrol (i.e., a facility with several buildings), but this will not be a focus of Batten-Hatchez Security.


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4. Market Analysis Summary

security-market-analysis-summary

The market for security guard services includes building management companies, retail businesses, event venues, and other businesses. IBISworld.com reports that the security services industry as a whole was $29.7 billion in 2008.

While this number includes investigative services and armoured car services, it is estimated that security guards accounted for $22.3 billion. This represents approximately 540,000 employees in the security guard industry.

While market revenue has dropped 2% in 2008 due to the recession, it is expected that the market will rise again due to increasing outsourcing of security services by companies who will delay hiring their own full-time employees as the recession ends.

The continuing and growing concerns about security brought on by international terrorism are also expected to contribute to growth in the industry.

Of the potential targets available in Coastalburg Batten-Hatchez Security will focus on building management companies and retail businesses at the outset.

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These businesses require steady security needs and serving them is simpler than serving special events.

Market Segmentation

The market analysis table shows the market segmentation for Coastalburg among the major market segments for security guard services. Growth is slow among these markets as new development is not prevalent in Coastalburg currently.

Building management companies generally install surveillance equipment and employ security guards to monitor that equipment, to staff front desks/security checks, and sometimes for general patrol.

These companies often work with a number of commercial or residential buildings and look to establish a relationship with one reliable vendor for all of their security guard needs. While some buildings require night-shift guards, others require only day coverage.

Large retail businesses use security guards to deter theft and to provide safety. These include department stores and other retail stores over 4,000 square feet, although some smaller stores may use security guards if they sell high-priced items (designer fashion, jewelry, technology, etc.).

Retailers require more guards during the day. Some simply lock the store at night while some larger department stores use night patrols as well.

Related: How Do You Hit The Right Target Market For Your Business?

Event venues use security guards to monitor guest lists and fire capacities and to organize emergency response. Nightclubs and bars may be included in this category. However, most nightclubs and bars employ their own security personnel (or “bouncers”) directly and do not use vendors.

Event security has the same risks as other security, but there is limited time for security audits and situations change fast, making this a higher stress business that requires better trained guards. Events tend to happen in the evenings with weekday nights for corporate events and weekend nights for private events.

Educational institutions, such as primary and secondary schools and colleges, generally employ security officers to guard and patrol their buildings and campuses. Often these institutions employ their own in-house security staff, but they will sometimes use outsources security vendors. These institutions require night and day patrols.


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Target Market Segment Strategy

Batten-Hatchez Security will target the first two of these target markets initially, building management companies and retail businesses. Both segments require ongoing security vendors and are eager to establish long-term relationships.

Once relationships are established, good customer service, quality assurance, and competitive pricing can ensure that the relationships are retained and that the security provider is considered a true partner in the protection of the building or businesses’ assets and people.

Furthermore, the other two target markets listed will be taken on at a later date, if at all. Event venues require more specialised services and may be a slower market to tackle.

Related: Target Market Worksheet

Educational institutions are often eager to establish their own security staffs, making this a difficult market to establish a strong foothold in as well.

Service Business Analysis

According to IBISWorld, there were 41,000 security services firms in the U.S. in 2008 running 56,000 establishments. The average size of a firm was $700,000 revenue per year based on these numbers, meaning that the industry includes both small and larger companies.

There are few barriers to entry, as long as basic legal requirements are met, as the capital investment in the business is very low. The industry depends on a supply of labor, often using retired police officers as security guards.

As security guard services are sold business-to-business, marketing and advertisement is generally targeted on the markets and industries the security companies seek to serve. Businesses generally search for security guard providers on the Internet or through referrals from other companies they trust.

Competition and Buying Patterns

Top players in the industry include Securitas AB, Allied Security LLC, The Brink’s Company, and G4S plc.

Huge players provide services for a huge range of markets, including governments, chemical and petrochemical, colleges and universities, commercial real estate, financial institutions, health care facilities, manufacturing and industrial, residential communities, shopping centers, and temporary security services.

Smaller security companies achieve success based on the expertise and reputation of their founding managers and the growth of a team with a similar track record. The continued success of a company depends on client satisfaction, leading to referrals.

Larger institutions and governments may receive several bids for security contracts, while smaller businesses (such as many that Batten-Hatchez Security will target) often prefer to try out security companies and move on if they do not meet expectations.

The smaller the amount of assets being protected, the more willing a company will be to risk their security on educated hunches about a security company without feeling the need to do due diligence on a number of options.

IBISworld reports the following about the security industry:

  • While the public’s perception of the rising crime rate assists revenue, the most significant factor which increases the demand for this industry’s services is a breach of an existing security system, a break-in or a near break in. The economic crisis has hurt demand over the past two years but things will soon begin to improve.
  • In Coastalburg, security guard service competitors include securityguard.com, Top Guard Security, US Security Guard Services, and Trend Security Corporation.

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Marketing Strategy Sample Business Plan

The elements of this business plan will get your marketing strategy concept off to a good start.

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Marketing Strategy Business Plan

Executive Summary

Last year the doors to 898,000 new businesses opened in the United States for the first time. Most of these businesses were created by entrepreneurs who envisioned an opportunity to develop a new product or service, and pursued that vision in search of independence and financial reward. While these visionaries started with solid ideas to form the foundation of their new ventures, most do not have many of the skills necessary to transform their ideas into reality. Additionally, the scarcity of talent in today’s market makes it extremely difficult for small business owners to attract and retain those skills.

Target Market

The Cambridge Strategy Group (CSG), L.L.C. is dedicated to providing marketing and management consulting services to small and emerging businesses looking for opportunities to increase their potential for success. Unlike traditional management consulting firms that focus on analyzing problems for large customers, CSG works exclusively with small business clients to develop concrete, practical, short-term action plans that will start moving their businesses in the right direction. The Cambridge Strategy Group takes advantage of the small business owners’ need for marketing and management skills, the scarcity of those skills in the market, and the lack of any major competitor owning the concept of “small business consulting.”

Management

The CSG management team brings a broad range of industry experience and training from both energetic small firms and experienced industry leaders.

John B. Gordon, Executive Director: John has worked in marketing, business development, and corporate strategy for a number of small and large firms, including EMC Corporation, IBM Corporation, and Larscom, Incorporated. John’s participation on the North Carolina Council for Entrepreneurial Development, plus his experience providing consulting services to small businesses, catalyzed the formation of the Cambridge Strategy Group.

Todd D. Kuczaj, Managing Director: Todd has worked in Internet consulting, Web design/development, financial services, and media publications for a variety of companies, including a Big Five consulting firm, Integrated Information Systems Inc., SunAmerica Securities Inc., and the Foothills Sentinel. Todd currently functions as an experienced analyst for a Big Five consulting firm, working with Fortune 100 and Fortune e-50 firms to solve their business and technology issues.

Ben S. Cordell, Managing Director: Ben has worked in business development, account management, systems engineering, marketing, and product development positions at LifeServ and ONE Co. (formerly DC Systems). Ben currently functions as a corporate strategy specialist at LifeServ, discovering and developing merger, acquisition and strategic partnership opportunities.

1.1 Keys to Success

UNIQUENESS OF SERVICES
The Cambridge Strategy Group is focused specifically on helping small and emerging businesses maximize their potential for success. We combine Blue Chip training with small business experience and local presence. We differentiate ourselves in the following ways:

Focus on small business. We place our best people on small business customers. Our mission is to help small businesses of today become the leading corporations of tomorrow. Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to own the words “small business” in the minds of our potential clients.

Cost-effective personal interaction with local consultant presence. Personal interaction provides small businesses with a level of comfort not available with remote consultants. There may be many occasions where the small business founders may ask the consultant to simply “stop by,” to react to a new development, or to answer a question. While this local presence and personal interaction is highly valued, business owners are often unable to afford the cost associated with bringing consultants to them from other areas.

A diverse network of consultants and alliance partners. Solving the unique problems that face small businesses today demands a wide range of skills and experiences. By relying on a nationally distributed talent base coordinated to work together remotely, Cambridge Strategy Group will be able to bring together the skills required by a particular client without incurring the expense of physically bringing all of the individuals together. In the book, 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, authors Al Ries and Jack Trout note that being first in the customer’s mind is more important than being the overall leader. In the world of small business, this is particularly true. With 898,000 small businesses starting each year, there is a significant opportunity for a consulting firm such as Cambridge Strategy Group to become the “first” consulting firm dedicated exclusively to small businesses in the minds of a number of these potential clients.

1.2 Objectives

The firm has very small capital requirements. Any capital that the firm obtains will be used to promote the “small business focus” of the firm and cover basic operational costs. For the firm to realize its full potential, the founders would require compensation equivalent to full-time employment while pursuing initial clients and creating a backlog of work requests. This would most likely need to cover at least one year’s salary for each of the three managers. Additionally, funding for initial marketing projects would help to ensure that the firm could establish a claim to the “small business consulting” concept in the target market. In exchange for the funding, CSG would provide an equity stake to the funding company. Ideally, we would like to work with the funding company to help its other clients succeed.

Company Summary

BUSINESS DESCRIPTION
Cambridge Strategy Group is a North Carolina-based consulting firm that responds to entrepreneurs’ need for practical business and marketing services to turn their innovative ideas into successful business ventures. Through interaction with a number of aspiring entrepreneurs, the founders of the Cambridge Strategy Group discovered a ready market of clients who were eager to take advantage of the founders’ skills, understanding, and insight into their businesses. The Cambridge Strategy Group is exclusively focused on small businesses. Our goal is to own the idea “small business” or “small business consulting” in the minds of our target market.

COMPANY ANALYSIS
The Cambridge Strategy Group has identified a real business opportunity that has been neglected by earlier consulting firms due to its complex customer base. Below, we have identified the opportunities and threats in the environment, as well as our particular strengths and weaknesses that will enable us to succeed:

OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS
The Cambridge Strategy Group has analyzed the market and believes that a real opportunity exists to provide services to small businesses. The following paragraphs describe the environment in which the company will compete, and the key success factors necessary to perform well.

Opportunities – The number of new businesses starting each year in the U.S. and specifically in the Triangle Area of North Carolina create a sizeable market. Many of these businesses are started by an entrepreneur with a solid idea, but little experience in creating the formal business strategies or marketing deliverables necessary to turn their idea into a successful business. With recent IPOs giving back much of their initial valuations, companies are now being forced to demonstrate profitable business models in order to maintain strong valuations. Venture capitalists need to focus on making their existing companies successful instead of simply prospecting for the next great idea. To accomplish this, founders need to effectively define and communicate their value propositions. Since this is not a core competency for many entrepreneurs, there is an opportunity to provide this skill set through outsourcing arrangements. Additionally, founders need experience in sales and marketing to exploit market opportunities and create early revenue wins. Finally, no business currently exists with dominant mind-share as a “small business consulting” firm.

Threats – Businesses in the early stages of their life cycles, usually through the Angel funding stage, tend to have extremely tight budgets. Once the business reaches the venture-funded stage, it often has more cash to devote to outsourcing of non-core competencies. Barriers to entry in this market are extremely low. Successful consultants will have to work to earn a few client successes and then aggressively build a reputation as the “small business consultants.” Building a reputation will require funding. High-profile consulting firms could quickly enter this market. In order to keep costs low, it is assumed that they would begin out of a major office, leaving the Triangle Area of North Carolina available. However, low cost of living in the Triangle Area may facilitate expansion. Establishing area contacts will be critical to hedge against new firms entering the area.

Services

The Cambridge Strategy Group portfolio is designed to provide targeted marketing and management services to small businesses. From helping entrepreneurs define their business plans to improve their chances for obtaining venture funding, to creating concrete marketing deliverables to promote their original ideas, the Cambridge Strategy Group seeks to help small businesses at various stages of development. Our services fall into four major categories.

Management consulting;
Market planning;
Communication services;
Technology.

MANAGEMENT CONSULTING
The Cambridge Strategy Group helps entrepreneurs build a solid managerial foundation from which the rest of their business can expand and grow. We construct organizational development blueprints for young firms searching for a solid structure to build upon, and assist in constructing business plans for fledgling companies to improve their chances of obtaining venture funding. CSG offers insights and ideas for how small businesses can discover and sustain their competitive advantage in today’s business landscape where a lack of continuous and constant innovation can be fatal. Furthermore, we offer expertise in other areas such as profit modeling to assist small businesses in their future planning, especially in today’s market where heavy emphasis has been placed upon a company’s ability to show profits rather than pure growth.

MARKET PLANNING
Deciding how to present an innovative idea to the market is critical. We have expertise in turning that idea into a successful business venture. Our market planning services help small business founders determine the best messaging for their companies through market and competitive analysis.

We then take the information gained in our analyses and create an effective marketing mix encompassing all of the elements of product or service definition. Finally, we can help our clients develop a launch plan to give their product or service a good chance at success. When necessary, we will help to develop marketing or business development partnerships.

COMMUNICATION SERVICES
Through our past experience in media operations, CSG provides expertise in a variety of communication formats. CSG composes professional press releases for the media as well as business proposals of all types for both clients and partners. Furthermore, with our understanding of how important company name recognition is to the initial success of small businesses, we help companies create and establish their image through proven branding techniques. CSG can also create marketing/sales collateral, business cards, and other business materials when needed by our clients.

3.1 Service Description

The Cambridge Strategy Group offers four types of services to help small and emerging businesses at various stages of their business development. Our services range in scope from helping to turn a business strategy into a detailed set of concrete actions and milestones, to creating websites and writing collateral for businesses lacking marketing expertise. These tailored services solve the problem of finding marketing talent while minimizing costs.

Management consulting: business strategy, organizational development, profit modeling, sustainable competitive advantage identification;
Market planning: market analysis, value proposition creation, partnership identification, marketing mix development, launch strategies, messaging;
Communication services: press release development, proposal writing, image creation, marketing/sales collateral construction;
Technology: website development, Web hosting, email enablement.

3.2 Technology

The Cambridge Strategy Group understands the importance of implementing the technological components of a small business as soon as possible in order to facilitate communication between the company and its clients, employees, and partners. Therefore, we offer assistance in email enablement as well as phone and fax set-up. CSG also offers expertise in constructing an Internet presence through Web development and Web hosting.

3.3 Future Services

STRATEGY
The Cambridge Strategy Group has a three-part strategy for managing business growth. Initially, CSG will be based out of the Triangle Area of North Carolina, which was ranked #3 on the sixth annual listing of Dun and Bradstreet’s “Best Cities for Small Business” from Entrepreneur magazine.

Starting from North Carolina, our three-part growth strategy is as follows:

  1. Expansion of Consulting Team: We will add new consultants in other U.S. and foreign cities to increase our skill base and provide more “points of local contact” for our clients.
  2. Introduction of New Services: New team members will bring new skills and potentially allow us to offer new services to our small business clients. One possible example is helping small businesses expand their operations overseas.
  3. Evolution of Business Operations: While our initial clients will be obtained through our consultants, ultimately we will create alliances with Venture Capital firms. Our goal is to work with clients and Venture Capital firms to help turn business ideas into successes.

Market Analysis Summary

The Cambridge Strategy Group intends to enter the market for providing marketing and management consulting services to new and emerging small businesses. The sections below discuss our analysis of the environment, the target market, our competitors, and the company.

The environment is well suited for the Cambridge Strategy Group. While the market for startups and skyrocketing IPOs appears to be cooling off, this slowdown provides an opportunity for CSG to establish a presence in the small business arena before the next growth period.

4.1 Market Segmentation

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
The following factors define the environment in which CSG hopes to succeed.

Physical: New businesses are being formed across the United States every day. Providing consulting services to these businesses will require local presence. North Carolina’s Triangle Area has recently been rated as one of the top three metropolitan areas for small businesses by Dun and Bradstreet’s Entrepreneur magazine.

Legal: The creation of the Limited Liability Company has made it very simple for new businesses to organize as formal business entities. Limited Liability Companies are ideal for small businesses as they avoid the double taxation characteristic of C Corporations, while providing limited liability for the company members.

Economic: Current economic conditions are continuing to challenge investors’ views regarding the potential for return. The market is no longer rewarding entrepreneurs solely on the strength of their ideas. Instead, business owners and Venture Capitalists are expected to show profitability before they will be allowed to reap the rewards of their hard work. While small business owners bring innovative ideas and possibly leadership qualities to their organization, they will need to rely upon skills from other disciplines, including marketing, to succeed.

Social: According to a Small Business Administration report, U.S. small business is at an all-time high (The Facts About Small Business, 1999) “interest in owning or starting a small business has broken new records [between 1993 and 1998].” While recent stock market corrections may have frightened a segment of potential entrepreneurs, the opportunity for financial reward keeps many small business owners diligently chasing their dreams.

Technological: Recent advances in technology have greatly enhanced the ability for distributed teams to work together on common projects. The proliferation of the Internet facilitates data sharing and communication. Voice-over-IP technology reduces the cost of conversation between CSG members working across the country.

With these conditions in mind, CSG will concentrate on initially building clients in the North Carolina area before expanding into other areas. We will be concentrating on all businesses that employ less than 100 individuals. CSG will not segment its market to any greater degree since the company wants to build clients as quickly as possible.

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

The target market is defined by the customer needs that create the market, the structural forces that govern operation within the market, and the attractiveness of the market based on strategic value, market size, market growth, and potential for profit. Each of these areas is described below.

STRUCTURAL FACTORS
Particular market forces affect the ability of the Cambridge Strategy Group to succeed. These forces are identified below:

Buyer Power: With almost 900,000 new businesses starting each year, there is ample demand for consulting services. If any particular business chooses to work with another consulting firm, there are still a large number of firms that can be targeted by CSG. Buyers have power in this market, but the size of the market makes it unlikely that buyer power will have any significant negative impact on the consulting firm.

Threat of Conventional Competitors: No other conventional competitor owns the idea of “small business consulting” in the minds of today’s business owners. A number of high-profile management and marketing consulting firms exist, yet most of these firms have a reputation for being expensive and much too theoretical for small business owners who have practical, short-term concerns. Still, there is potential for these firms to open distinct teams of consultants focused on this market place. These teams would have particular strength in an area where the competitors already have an established consulting presence, such as the major U.S. cities. By beginning our efforts in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, Cambridge Strategy Group will exploit an area that has a very strong market of small businesses, yet does not have many high-profile competitor offices outside of tax specialists. No smaller competitor has emerged in this area.

Supplier Power: Suppliers have minimal power over a consulting firm. The www.cambridgestrategy.net website URL as well as all of the Cambridge Strategy Group email addresses are owned by CSG. Our Web-hosting provider can be changed quickly in the event of any disruption of service. CSG intends to work with third party alliance partners to fulfill client projects. For example, CSG is in the process of entering into an agreement with a Web development firm. This supplier will provide website development for the www.cambridgestrategy.net website in exchange for first right of refusal for future client projects. Contractual stipulations have given the Group legal remedies to terminate the contract due to cost, quality, or time issues with the supplier. By crafting supplier contracts in a careful manner, we hope to limit our exposure to risk due to suppliers’ power.

Threat of Substitutes: Potential substitutes are a very real threat. Venture Capitalists could add more consulting services to their portfolio in order to have more points of contact with the new business. Additionally, non-profit groups such as the Council for Entrepreneurial Development offer basic business plan services, primarily focusing on pre-Angel businesses. Cambridge Strategy Group intends to form relationships with each of these potential substitutes. By working with Venture Capitalists, CSG is able to provide a set of core competencies in marketing and business strategy that complements the VCs funding and business model assessment competencies. Also, by becoming more involved with the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and other non-profit organizations, CSG will gain access to a number of firms who will be potential prospects for marketing consulting once they receive their initial funding.

Threat of New Entrants: This threat is significant as there are very few barriers to entry in a consulting market. Consulting firms do not normally have significant intellectual property that can be patented, and the requirements for creating these firms are minimal. Fortunately, the size of the new business market should sustain a number of firms in this area. The Cambridge Strategy Group will focus on gaining ownership of the idea “small business consulting” in the mind of the market. By owning that idea, CSG will minimize its exposure to new consulting firms with similar targets. Owning this idea is an expensive task that will have to start locally and move from one city to another as the company expands.

4.2.1 Market Growth

According to recent research from the U.S. Small Business Administration office, a record number of new small businesses opened their doors in 1998. This record was broken again in 1999 as the overall small business market grew 1.5%. The growth of the market is not nearly as important to the Cambridge Strategy Group as its size. CSG will need to focus on how to capture the most out of the existing market, even if it declines in size, before thinking about expanding. Potentially, the low growth may dissuade some competitors from entering the market, providing the Cambridge Strategy Group with an opportunity to capture market- and mind-share before more competitors enter.

MARKET ATTRACTIVENESS
The Cambridge Strategy Group is entering the market for small business marketing and management consulting services. The growing number of small businesses in the United States, particularly in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, constitute an enormous potential client base that demands the skills provided by the Cambridge Strategy Group.

Strategic Value: The small business consulting market is a strategic, and available, segment for the Cambridge Strategy Group. Many companies are able to get customers to associate a particular concept or idea with their firm. To date, there is no clear association for “small business consulting.” Over time, the Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to capture this association.

Market Size: The size of the market is an important factor. While the large number of small businesses starting each year will make it difficult to gain significant share of the market in the near term, it does help to ensure that there will be initial customers available to the Cambridge Strategy Group.

Potential for Profit: The potential for profit in this segment is very high. The operating costs required to address this segment are minimal, allowing a majority of service revenue to be turned directly into profit. While the barriers to competitive entry may be fairly low, no clear leader has gained the mind-share of the potential client market. Additionally, based on the overwhelming size of the market and the distributed nature of the potential clients, it is unlikely that any competitor will be able to dominate the market in the near future.

4.2.2 Market Trends

INDUSTRY BACKGROUND
The industry is ideal for the emergence of a firm such as the Cambridge Strategy Group. The following facts were listed in a November 1999 report published by the U.S. Small Business Administration:

In 1998; 898,000 new businesses opened in the United States – the most ever.

Interest in owning or starting a small business has broken new records over the last five years and part-time entrepreneurs have dramatically increased.

From 1994 to 1998, about 11.1 million net new jobs were added to the economy. According to Cognetics, Inc., virtually all were generated by small firms with fewer than 500 employees. Microbusinesses with 1-4 employees generated 60.2 percent of the net new jobs over this period; firms with 5-19 employees contributed another 18.3 percent.

Of the 4.5 million workers in high-technology occupations (scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and analysts), 37.9 percent worked in small firms in 1996.

Firms were started for very traditional reasons. Entrepreneurs had a clear perception of an opportunity to develop a business through a new product, coupled with a desire for both independence and financial reward.

The marketing strategy most frequently cited by respondents was either to be the first to the market with a new product or to find a market niche and develop it. These companies much less frequently wait for a market to develop.

Additionally, the fact that the stock market has been slowing during the past year will likely take some of the glitter off of the small business market. This will allow the Cambridge Strategy Group to establish a market presence and prepare to grow during the next period of rapid investment.

4.2.3 Market Needs

Within the small business market, there are a number of segments, each with distinct objectives, resources, and needs.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

CORPORATE FIT
The Cambridge Strategy Group is poised to take advantage of the trends identified above. By combining the marketing and management experience, small business focus, and local presence in key markets, the Cambridge Strategy Group will help the growing number of small businesses increase their chances for success.

The Cambridge Strategy Group is a Limited Liability Company designed to offer limited liability to the members. CSG is incorporated in North Carolina where it will initially focus its operations. The rapidly growing Triangle Area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Research Triangle Park, was recently ranked #3 on the list of large metropolitan areas in Dun and Bradstreet’s Entrepreneur magazine’s sixth annual listing of the “Best Cities for Small Businesses.” CSG’s initial address is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. However, with consultants distributed across the nation, CSG can easily expand its target client base to encompass other regions through the use of existing and tested technology. Currently, our consultants live in or near Phoenix, AZ; Chicago, IL; and Boston, MA in addition to Chapel Hill, NC.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

Competitors to the Cambridge Strategy Group fall into four categories:

  1. Segment Rivals: Segment Rivals offer the exact same services as the Cambridge Strategy Group. These firms must focus exclusively on small businesses and offer marketing and/or management strategy services. While the market is certainly large enough to sustain multiple segment rivals, the Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to ensure that its name is well known in all its target markets.
  2. Market Rivals: There are a number of available Market Rivals who compete with the Cambridge Strategy Group while having slightly different business focuses. Examples of market rivals include start-up focused branches of Big Five Consulting Firms, Management Consulting Firms, and Venture Capitalists who also provide business services. The Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to compete with these firms by demonstrating its focus on “small business consulting.”
  3. Generic Rivals: Generic Rivals represent alternative solutions. The main alternative to outsourcing work to a consulting firm is performing the work in-house. The Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to demonstrate the value of outsourcing marketing and management work to a consulting firm in order to (1) utilize the core competencies of the consulting firm and (2) reduce the costs associated with hiring full-time employees.
  4. Structural Rivals: Structural Rivals are the forces inherent in the market through which the firm must operate. These forces were described in the previous section entitled Target Market Analysis.

4.3.2 Business Participants

A number of other firms will compete with the Cambridge Strategy Group. Due to the size of the available market, it will be exceptionally difficult for any of these competitors to gain significant market share. However, it will also be difficult for the Cambridge Strategy Group to control the market.

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Painting Contractors Sample Business Plan

Offering your services as a painting contractor means having the right business plan in place at the start.

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Painting Contractors Business Plan

Executive Summary

Barnum Painters will provide top-quality interior and exterior residential and commercial painting services. The principal officers of Barnum Painters believe that most companies in this industry suffer two major problems. These are poor scheduling of job projects and poor retention of quality employees. Both lead to lower customer satisfaction, lack of repeat business and a low word-of-mouth referral rate. Barnum Painters believes that by implementing this contractor business plan, it can improve upon and exploit these weaknesses to gain local market share.

The objectives for Barnum Painters over the next three years are:

  • To achieve sales revenues of approximately $620,000 by year three.
  • To achieve a customer mix of 30% commercial/60% residential building contracts per year.
  • To expand operations to include all the Greater Seattle area including Kirkland, Renton and the Kitsap Peninsula.

The company will seek to provide its painting services in the most timely manner and with an ongoing comprehensive quality-control program to provide 100% customer satisfaction. The company’s principal officers see each contract as an agreement not between a business and its customers, but between partners that wish to create a close and mutually-beneficial long-term relationship. This will help to provide greater long-term profits through referrals and repeat business.

Barnum Painters will institute the following key procedures to reach its goals:

  • Create a position of inventory coordinator, and have at least one expediter assigned to each project.
  • Have a dedicated project manager for each project who can handle quality-control issues.
  • Institute a program of profit sharing among all employees.

Barnum Painters is a start-up limited liability company consisting of three principal officers with combined industry experience of 40 years. Barnum Painters will be a partnership between Mr. William Barnum, Mr. Anthony Barnum and Mr. Michael Kruger. The principals will be investing significant amounts of their own capital into the company and will also be seeking a loan of $7,000 to cover start-up costs and future growth. Finally, the company has procured a $10,000 line of credit (not shown on financial statements) that will be used if necessary to cover unforeseen expenses or opportunities.

Barnum Painters will be located in a rented suite in the Rucker Industrial Park on 710 Snoquamie Route, Suite 250 in Edmonds, WA. The facilities will include a reception area, offices for the principals, storage area for inventory, and employee lounge. Barnum Painters offers a wide variety of services primarily focused on interior and exterior residential and commercial painting. The firm also provides such services as drywall plastering, acoustical ceilings, pressure washing, and others. The idea is to provide clients with a broad range of related services that will minimize their need to employ a variety of contractors.  Barnum Painters will engage in a low-cost leadership strategy while maintaining a suitable level of quality.

Initially the company will focus on residential and commercial customers in the Everett, Washington area. However, by the end of the three-year projections, the company expects to be serving the entire Puget Sound area. The company has rigorously examined its financial projections and concluded that they are both conservative in profits and generous in expenditures. This was done deliberately to provide for unforeseeable events. The company’s principals believe that cash flow projections are realistic.

Keys to Success

The principal officers of Barnum Painters have had many years of experience in the contracting business. They believe that most companies in this industry, which includes painting contractors, suffer from two major problems that Barnum Painters can improve upon and exploit.

The first problem comes from scheduling of jobs. Many painting contractors find it difficult to maintain established schedules with their customers that lead to a decrease in customer satisfaction and retention. This is caused by poor management, less than reliable employees, and delays in inventory procurement and distribution. The second problem is in retaining reliable and motivated personnel. Many painting companies rely on temporary or transient employees that lead to high turnover rates and decreased service quality.

Barnum Painters will institute the following key procedures:

  • Creation of a position of inventory coordinator and have at least one expediter assigned to each project.
  • Have a dedicated project manager for each project who can handle quality control issues.
  • Institute a program of profit sharing among all employees.

Mission

The mission of Barnum Painters is to provide top-quality interior and exterior residential and commercial painting services. The company will seek to provide these services in the most timely manner and with an ongoing comprehensive quality control program to provide 100% customer satisfaction. The company’s principal officers see each contract as an agreement not between a business and its customers, but between partners that wish to create a close and mutually beneficial long-term relationship. This will help to provide greater long-term profits through referrals and repeat business.

Objectives

The objectives for Barnum Painters over the next three years is to:

  • Achieve sales revenues of approximately $450,000 by year three.
  • Achieve a customer mix of 30% commercial/60% residential building contracts per year.
  • Expand operations to include all the Greater Seattle area including Kirkland, Renton and the Kitsap Peninsula.

Company Summary

Barnum Painters is a start-up limited liability company consisting of three principle officers with combined industry experience of 40 years. The company was formed to take advantage of the perceived weakness and inadequacies of other regional companies in terms of quality and customer satisfaction. Barnum Painters will be a partnership between Mr. William Barnum, Mr. Anthony Barnum and Mr. Michael Kruger. The principles in the company will be investing significant amounts of their own capital into the company and will also be seeking a loan to cover start-up costs and future growth.

Barnum Painters will be located in a rented suite in the Rucker Industrial Park on 710 Snoquamie Route, Suite 250 in Edmonds, WA. The facilities will include a reception area, offices for the principals, storage area for inventory, and employee lounge.

The company plans to use its existing contacts and the combined customer base of Mr.’s Barnum and Kruger to generate short-term residential contracts. Its long-term profitability will rely on focusing on commercial contracts that will be obtained through strategic alliances and a comprehensive marketing program.

Company Ownership

Barnum Painters is a privately owned limited liability partnership with each of the principal officers holding an equal share in the company.

Company Locations and Facilities

Barnum Painters will be located in a rented suite in the Rucker Industrial Park on 710 Snoquamie Route, Suite 250 in Edmonds, WA. The facilities will include a reception area, offices for the principals, storage area for inventory, a painting booth, tool area and employee lounge.

Services

Barnum Painters offers comprehensive interior and exterior painting services for both the residential and commercial markets.

Service Description

Barnum Painters services include:

  • Full prep work.
  • Dry wall contouring.
  • Fine detailing.
  • Small carpentry work.
  • Specialty wall coatings.
  • Refinishings.
  • Acoustical ceilings.
  • Pressure washing/roof cleaning.

Each project is customized to the wants and needs of the client. Prices are determined by the scope of the project, materials needed, wear and tear on equipment and required profit margin.

Competitive Comparison

The contracting and painting market is very competitive. The barriers to entry and exit in this market are very low making this an industry with a large number of rival firms with high turnover rates. Buyers have a significant amount of power since they have a large number of companies to choose from. Moreover, services are undifferentiated, which means that customer loyalty is usually low. Painting companies must compete on quality and timeliness of service, customer relations, and price.

Barnum Painters believes that it can improve on the quality and timeliness of services in this industry by instituting procedures that will avoid many of the mistakes that other firms make. This includes delayed schedules and high employee turnover which leads to lower service quality. The company will be equally competitive in price and will maintain close ties with its clients throughout the entire project since each project is a customized job. Through these steps, Barnum Painters will be able to build up a reputation of better quality service at competitive prices than its competitors.

Market Analysis Summary

Barnum Painters will focus on two markets within the industry, the residential segment (including apartment buildings) and the commercial segment (including buildings used for professional purposes).

The commercial market requires the shortest amount of time to completion of projects and usually the least amount of customization. Since our projects impinge upon a business’ profitability, it is absolutely crucial for our project foremen to maintain schedule and keep the stakeholders apprised of the project’s progress.

Although the above is also true for the residental owner, time is not as critical, quality and meeting the needs/wants of the client come first in the residential segment. The client is often willing to wait a little longer to have the project done to his/her specifications. The project foremen must be willing to be more flexible and willing to listen to the client.

Over the past decade a number of new trends have been observed in this industry. This includes the tremendous growth of the economy, the high technology boom, and the growth of substitute services such as Home Depot.
Market Segmentation

Barnum Painters will focus on two markets within the industry, the residential segment (including apartment buildings) and the commercial segment which includes buildings used for professional purposes. The company can handle any size building that needs its services. It is the goal of the company to eventually have approximately one-third of all business coming from the commercial segment, since this generates the greatest cash flow. Furthermore, this segment has the lowest percentage of variable costs. The residential segment is considered to be the company’s cash cow. Even during the slow winter months, the company can expect to have a small number of residential contracts.

Initially the company will focus on the two segments in just the Everett, Washington area. However, by the end of the three year projections, the company expects to be serving the entire Puget Sound area.

Target Market Segment Strategy

Each of the two market segments has differing needs and trends. The following sections go into detail about how the company will fact them.

Market Trends

Over the past decade a number of new trends have been observed in this industry. The tremendous growth of the economy has fueled the painting contractors industry as well, as people have progressively spent more and saved less. The high technology boom has created great opportunities in the Pacific Northwest which the industry has also benefited from. However,  the growth of firms such as Home Depot, which encourages do-it-yourself painting and construction, has lead to a serious decline in sales for the residential segment. The growth of this trend poses a significant threat to the industry. Barnum Painters plans to increasingly focus on the commercial segment as the company grows in order to promote greater revenue and income.

Service Business Analysis

Most of the industry analysis is contained in the Competitive Comparison section to give the reader the idea of the competitive nature of the industry, its opportunities and threats, and the company’s flexibility in pricing. Barnum Painters exists in a purely competitive market that faces virtually unlimited competition and high demand. The ability of the company to differentiate its services or enter into a niche market is limited. The company will engage in a low-cost leadership strategy while maintaining a suitable level of quality.

In the painting contracting industry, there are a limited number of large firms that compete for the largest projects, and a vast number of smaller companies that fight for all the rest. Within the largest company section, market consolidation is always a threat.

Competition and Buying Patterns

This industry is highly seasonal. The busiest times are during the summer months where it is easy for a company to become so engaged that it must turn down contracts. During the winter months businesses must focus on marketing to get any contracts at all.

Main Competitors

The main competitors for Barnum Painters include Kolby and Wilson, DMB Enterprises, Sun Painting, and Milbrant Commercial Painters.

Each of these competitors is able to achieve a high degree of profitability through marketing, volume or high-end contracts. They pose a significant threat to Barnum Painters because of their deep pockets and their desire to acquire other painting competitors. Barnum Painters will compete with these rivals through the use of greater marketing and better service.

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