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Self-Storage Sample Business Plan

Before you start your self-storage facility you will require a business plan similar to this one.

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Self-Storage Business Plan

Executive Summary

This storage business plan describes a proposed self-storage facility to be established in Westbury, New York involving the conversion of an existing building. Total project costs are estimated at $1,054,487 including purchase price, conversion costs, and pre-opening expenses (see section on Start-up Summary). Based on current and projected strong demand for self-storage units, rental revenue is projected to grow rapidly as units fill up from the first year’s target of $320,000 to $684,000 by year three.

Objectives

After achieving experience and success in their present self-storage facility in Plainview, New York the principals of this proposed project plan to take advantage of the strong demand in the self-storage industry to achieve a major presence in Westbury. The ownership connection with Stote Moving will assist in gaining full occupancy quickly. Goals have been set to rent 50% of the proposed 300 unit spaces within the first six months of Year 1. An additional 25% will be rented in the second half of Year 1, with the remainder to be filled in Year 2.

Mission

The mission of the principals is to serve the Long Island community’s local residential and commercial storage and moving needs.

Keys to Success

The keys to success in the self-storage business are:

  • To provide dry, secure, and clean facilities with convenient access.
  • To have good connections in the moving industry to direct customers needing temporary storage space.
  • To be able to adapt as storage and market needs change.

Company Summary

Westbury Storage is a start-up project to be located in Westbury. The owners are experienced in the moving and storage field, owning a well-established moving company (Stote Movers) and a successful self-storage facility in nearby Plainview (Plainview Storage). The building to be purchased for this project is a large brick building originally constructed as a bleachers around 1910. This building as well as surrounding buildings, were connected with the now dying leather industry which flourished a few decades ago. A large building of similar size located next door and connected by a walk bridge has already been converted successfully and is operating well. The Westbury Storage building contains three floors of heavy-duty wood and steel beam construction ideally suited to the planned purpose of self-storage units. The building is heated by oil. One of the two elevator shafts will be the home for a new over-sized passenger elevator suitable for transporting storage contents from the ground level to the units on the second and third floors. A large separate parking lot area comes with the building but will not be needed for this project. This lot could be sold or could be the site of additional future storage units to be set up using one of several one-story steel storage systems.

It is estimated that, with purchase of the building taking place in June of this year, the conversion into storage units could be completed and ready for occupancy by the end of the year. Demand for the units is strong, as evidenced by the market survey of existing self-storage facilities. Bank financing for 70% of the project costs is expected with the remainder supplied by shareholder equity.
Company Ownership

The company will be incorporated as an S Corporation, and will be owned by three individuals: Roger Black, Sebastian Stote and Daley Thompson. Each will own 1/3 of the stock. Roger Black and Sebastian Stote are 50-50 owners of Plainview Storage which is a 110 unit self-storage facility converted in 1993 from a former piano factory. All units are fully rented. Sebastian Stote is owner of Stote Movers, which is a family business providing residential and commercial moving since 1917. In addition to being the source of many of the rentals at Plainview Storage, Stote Movers has 52 filled 45-foot trailers located in Roslyn-by-the-Sea. These trailers contain customers’ stored goods pending delivery at a new location.

Company Locations and Facilities

Westbury Storage will be located in Westbury, in a central location about 1/2 mile from the monument in the center of Westbury. The owners’ present self-storage facilities are located at in Plainview with further storage capacity in 52 trailers in Roslyn.

Start-up Summary

Advertising and promotion will rely heavily ads in the Yellow Pages, as well as initial local newspaper ads at the time of opening. We are assuming three directories for Yellow Pages ads with 1/8th page ads costing $165/month each. The ads in the local papers (Springfield News and community newspapers) are estimated to cost $300 monthly for the first year only. They will be reduced in the second year to half this amount and eliminated in the third year.

Property taxes ($11,946) are projected at the actual rate of the last tax year. Significant increases are not expected.

Building maintenance is normally a very substantial item on a building of this size built in 1910. However, the roof has been completely redone fairly recently and the basic structure of the building is very robust. The start-up costs reflect adequate amounts to ready the building for opening in good order. Also, it should be noted that expenditures for building maintenance would need to be larger if the building were being used for offices rather than storage. We assume an annual amount for maintenance equal to 5% of the purchase price which works out to $27,500.

Services

Westbury Storage will provide short- and long-term self-storage services in the North Shore community. The company owners have extensive experience in the storage business as well as the good connections in the moving business. The later will help utilize the storage space at the maximum capacity. Westbury Storage will provide about 45,000 square feet of well maintained self-storage units that will be offered for both residential and small business renters.

Market Analysis Summary

In a similar split experienced by management’s existing storage facilities, Westbury Storage is expecting to rent 70% of its available units to non-commercial renters and the remaining 30% to the commercial sector of the market. A total of 300 self-storage units of various sizes will be created and offered for rent by Westbury Storage in a central location in downtown Westbury. The present supply of these units is insufficient to meet the demand as evidenced by a survey of all self-storage facilities within easy reach of Westbury residents. The price realized by these existing units is more than double the national average.

Market Segmentation

Self-storage units are needed by residential customers for storage of personal items as well as by commercial customers for storage of stock. It is envisaged that 70% of the planned self-storage units will be taken up by the residential segment of the market and the remaining 30% will be directed toward the commercial segment. This split is expected based on the existing customers of management’s present self-storage facilities in Plainview. The commercial segment are small businesses, many of which are run out of people’s homes such as an interior designer who needs space to store hundreds of expensive sample fabric books, or a retail shop with inadequate on premises storage.

The market research shows that the annual market potential for the commercial self-storage service in the Westbury area is about 10,000 customers. As stated above, these are mostly small businesses. The residential segment potential is substantially higher at 150,000 customers per year and is based on the Self Storage Association’s assumption that 40% to 55% of population has used self-storage facilities.  This estimate includes individuals who need storage facilities due to moving arrangements or to store excess household property. Both of the market segments are expected to grow at a 5% annual rate.

Target Market Segment Strategy

Since the demand for local self-storage services substantially exceeds the local supply, Westbury Storage will simultaneously market its services to the two major customer segments–residential customers and small business customers. The company will not pursue large business segment due to the limited service scope it can provide to such customers at the existing facilities.

The market analysis shows that local self-storage rates are substantially higher than the national averages. Westbury Storage will position itself to the both customer segments as a conveniently located and affordable quality self-storage facility. Both customer segments will be effectively reached via the local Yellow Pages ads and through the referrals of Stote Movers owned by one of the Westbury Storage’s co-owners.

Market Needs

Customer needs in the self-storage industry have certain similarity across different market segments. The underlying need is for a reliable, safe, dry and accessible self-storage facility. Due to the overwhelming demand, customers are less price sensitive and consider convenient location as the major buying decision criterion.

Residential customers use self-storage facilities to temporarily store their property while moving to a new location. This need originates in the mobility of the American population and the affordability of rental accommodations. Such customers usually rent 25 to 100 square feet depending on the size of their household and they rent on a weekly or monthly basis. The other cluster of residential customers rents self-storage facilities for longer periods to keep their oversize property like boats or other equipment that either does not fit in their garages or is not used on a constant basis.

Small business customer segment requires self-storage facilities to temporarily store their stock or merchandise. These customers may use the storage facilities more often than residential customers and they benefit from convenient loading areas, extended operating hours and better equiped storage units of bigger size.

Service Business Analysis

According to an article in the November 15th issue of Inside Self-storage the national industry average rental income generated by self-storage units is $6.00 per square foot per year, or $.50/sq. ft. per month. In the market to be served by Westbury Storage the average storage rate (see section on Competitive Comparison) is more than double this amount. Washington Storage in Westbury is a typical example. They charge $50/month for an 8X6 ft unit which works out to $12.50 per sq. ft. per year. A 9X9 unit on the second floor also rents for this same amount only because there is no elevator. All of their units are fully rented! All units within the area were surveyed. The average rate is $1.20/sq. ft. per month ($14.40 per year) and the mean was closer to $1.40/sq. ft. per month ($16.80 per year). The story concerning availability was uniform. Either the facility was full or only had one or two available units to chose from. E-Z Mini Storage in S. Centreport said, “There’s some turn-over at the end of every month. Leave your name and we will call you when one becomes vacant.” Extra Space Storage in Springfield said, “We need one week advanced notice.” North Shore Self-Storage said, “We have nothing available on the ground floor.” U-Haul reported, “We have one small unit available, otherwise we are all full.”

The self-storage industry really only started in the late 1960’s when a few far-sighted people recognized the growing need for residential and commercial storage. The industry has doubled in size each decade. Returns on investment have been very impressive–often twice that of other forms of real estate investment. The reasons for this have been the mobile society, the tendency to live in rental apartments, and the general increase in the accumulation of property, especially leisure articles such as skis, wind-surfers, exercise equipment, etc.

The industry lends itself relatively easily to financial modelling. The magazine article mentioned earlier explains the economics of an average self-storage project which is of similar size to the proposed Westbury Storage project. The total building square footage in the model is 41,000 (Westbury Storage is approximately 45,000 after deducting the office space portion of 9,600 sq. ft.). The model shows total gross income based on $6.00/sq. ft. or $240,000 annually. (Westbury Storage’s gross revenues will be more than double that.) Total project costs for the model come to over $1,150,000 versus $1,054,500 for Westbury Storage. The loan amounts are virtually the same as well as the interest rates used (8.5%). Normal operating costs generally come to about $2.00 per sq. ft. Westbury Storage’s operating costs are projected at nearly twice this amount due to generous provisions for maintenance and payroll. However, the model’s net operating income is slightly less than $4/sq. ft. versus Westbury Storage’s $11.40/sq. ft.

It could be argued that the higher than national average rates enjoyed by local self-storage facilities may not continue indefinitely, but there is no indication of any downward pressure at this time. It should also be pointed out that during an economic down-turn the self-storage industry does not suffer to the extent that other industries suffer.

Should the supply of self-storage units begin to outstrip demand, Westbury Storage should be well positioned to deal with the competition due to its ability to offer heated units (nearly all competing units are unheated) and its ability to supply electric outlets to individual units (for hobby/workshop purposes).

Business Participants

Although there are a few nation-wide players in the self-storage market, the industry is still fairly dispersed in which many small companies take part. (See the section on Competitive Analysis for a complete listing.)

Competition and Buying Patterns

Convenience is probably the single most import factor in the decision of where to rent a self-storage unit. For example, Hicksville and Huntington have no self-storage facilities. Residents choose to rent one in a nearby town probably based on proximity to the route taken by the renter to and from work. If no units are available nearby, then renters will travel further afield. Units on the ground floor are favored, especially if no elevator is available.

Main Competitors

See the section on Competitive Comparison for names of competitors. In the present market situation, competition plays a very weak role.

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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.

Related: How To Start A Business With (Almost) No Money

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.

Related: 3 Key Law Areas To Know When You Launch That Start-up

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.

Click here to view this full business plan


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Professional Services

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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