Telecommunications Business Plan
The telecommunications revolution has arrived: Personal communications and unified messaging systems are at the vanguard of this technological phenomenon. Dating from the 1984 deregulation of local and long distance telephone service, competition has accelerated and sought out every nook and cranny of telecom products and services for both consumers and businesses. From that day only 15 years ago, when consumers were tied to a fixed phone with its fixed phone number, mobile and cellular phones have proliferated to meet the demand for communication anytime, anywhere in the world. Companies that have not foreseen change–or kept up–are quickly consigned to the technological and financial graveyard, Iridium being just the latest example. Financial muscle has been displaced by quality and depth of management and speed of execution as the final arbiter in the marketplace. AT&T finally realized this and brought in a technology-savvy CEO who could pull the trigger on needed change; Iridium did not and paid the price.
TeleSpace is well positioned to become the market leader in personal communications and unified messaging. Now that business and the consumer have telecommunications mobility with numerous phone and fax numbers, pagers, and email, they are demanding simplicity and speed: One identifier for their complex business and personal lives that will find them anytime, anywhere, and deliver their communications. They want and need MyLine.
MyLine has been an operating system for over five years and has a loyal, though small, core of customers. The technology is clean, elegant and maintainable. The system has a complex array of features, some critical, most not. MyLine has had limited success because it was engineered and marketed like the pocket knife of the early TV ads: Rather than the sleek cutting tool the consumer wanted, the early knife had a corkscrew, screwdrivers, awl, key chain, etc. It weighed twice as much as it had to, and came with instructions, instructions for a pocket knife! Consumers knew they were in trouble before they even used the product.
Internal market research has shown what the consumer wants, and MyLine has it! There are five primary target markets, three of which will be discussed below, starting with the businessman and consumer who just wants to get phone calls no matter where: In the office, in a car, in a plane, playing golf, wherever. If the customer is on earth, MyLine will find him/her. Then there’s the Soccer/Sports Mom, totally mobile and often just as totally unreachable-except with our toll-free, 800 MyLine. And the military market, for both professional and personal use, is inviting. They demand mobile, reliable, and confidential communications–MyLine is ready and able to enlist.
The overall telecommunications market is huge, well over $200 billion. The personal communications and unified messaging sub-industry, with its hundreds of millions of actual/potential users, is difficult to quantify at this stage. Management estimates that projected sales of about $40 million in the third year, with sales running at the rate of $5 million per month by the end of that year, would still be only approximately a one percent market share. To become the market leader, a five to ten percent market share would probably be needed. Management plans to achieve this within five years.
TeleSpace’s primary corporate objectives are:
- To become the market leader in personal communications and unified messaging products and services within five years.
- To become the lowest cost provider and drive an aggressive pricing model through the industry.
- To have the best and most responsive customer service by year-end Year 1.
MyLine is already the most technologically-superior personal communications system in the world. TeleSpace management will build on MyLine’s brand and technical reputation to become the market leader in personal and business communications, and unified messaging systems within five years.
1.3 Keys to Success
There are three keys to success for TeleSpace:
- Marketing must generate sufficient sales volume to drive an aggressive pricing model while still achieving planned profitability projections.
- Strategic partners must be found to private label MyLine and promote it through their distribution channels.
- Equity capital must be secured at a reasonable valuation.
TeleSpace, Inc. develops and markets programmable personal communications and unified messaging services for individuals and businesses. The company was incorporated in early Year 1, and operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AmericomUSA, Inc., a public reporting company. In response to overtures from AmericomUSA senior management, TeleSpace management has proposed a leveraged buyout of the company from Americom and has incorporated this proposal in a Letter of Intent (LOI) sent to Americom. A copy of this LOI is included in the plan appendix. Briefly, the proposal calls for TeleSpace management to purchase 81% of TeleSpace common stock from Americom, with an option to acquire an additional 10% within two years. Americom will deliver all rights and ownership of the MyLine technology and customer base and cease active association with the company. They will not be represented on the Board of Directors. Management expects this negotiation to be completed by the end of October, Year 1, when management will actively pursue equity capital to finalize the acquisition and fund corporate operations.
*Attachments are not included in this sample plan.
2.1 Company Ownership
TeleSpace, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AmericomUSA, Inc., a public reporting company. Mr. Robert Cezar, Chief Executive Officer of AmericomUSA, Inc., owns approximately 58% of the common stock of AmericomUSA.
2.2 Start-up Summary
Start-up costs, shown below (exclusive of salaries), are comprised mostly of legal fees, marketing collateral, advertising, and consulting fees. Start-up costs are being financed by the parent company, AmericomUSA.
2.3 Company Locations and Facilities
TeleSpace corporate offices are located in Arroyo Grande, CA. Existing space of 900 square feet is adequate for existing staff, but new facilities have to be leased when sales representatives are hired.
Products and Services
TeleSpace, Inc. develops and markets programmable personal communications and unified messaging services for individuals and businesses. The MyLine system can best be described as a personal communications platform, a remotely programmable “telocation” service which allows the user to access MyLine services from any telephone device or personal computer anywhere in the world.
3.1 Product and Service Description
The MyLine system can best be described as a personal communications platform, a remotely programmable “telocation” service which allows the user to access MyLine services from any telephone device or personal computer anywhere in the world. MyLine is a virtual telephone number which allows the user to control inbound telephone, fax, and data calls and receive them anywhere, but only on demand. MyLine is the only telephone number users will ever need. They receive every telephone call, fax, or email sent to their MyLine number in real time or stored for later use. Or they can screen and elect not to receive any particular communication, delete or divert for later handling. MyLine includes a proprietary security system to prevent unauthorized access and has real-time billing and accounting capabilities. The latter can generate, using a telephone or personal computer, comprehensive billing records by project and/or general ledger account.
3.2 Sales Literature
Initial radio and Internet ads and sales collateral will be developed by the company’s marketing, advertising, and public relations agency in Silicon Valley. This is a well-known firm specializing in high-tech clients.
3.3 Competitive Comparison
In 1992, AT&T launched their Easy Reach service which, although simplistic in design and use, signified the need for a universal telocation virtual number and thus found immediate acceptance. MCI reacted by introducing its Personal 800 Follow Me Service. These services today require users to subscribe to their networks, lack a broad range of integrated services, and offer limited remote control capability.
There is one striking difference between MyLine and competing technologies: The competition has not integrated all means of communication. Some offer voice mail and follow me technology, others offer this, and other features, on a piece meal basis, not totally integrated. MyLine is the only totally integrated voice, fax, data, and email system on the market.
The company now maintains its servers locally for supporting MyLine. As volume grows, management plans to co-locate at Above.Net’s facilities in San Jose, CA. A strategic marketing partner will also be sought, especially for the toll-free, 800 number.
The MyLine hardware platform is a state-of-the-art digital industry standard, and its design provides unique redundancy and flexibility. The MyLine system places the user on an electronic highway of digital call processing, operating on a Novell Local Area Network (LAN), integrating computer and telephone information into computer telephony technology. The LAN is connected to the Public Switch Network with the capability of using the ISDN/DSL features provided by the long distance carriers.
MyLine users have a personal communications exchange as a zero-blocking private global network providing voice, fax, and data transfer between themselves and any other MyLine or non-MyLine user. MyLine overlays and utilizes the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or the Public Switched Data Network, providing access to anyone with a MyLine number. The network routes all incoming and outgoing requests and data to a central hub for distribution to external routers, the Internet if needed, or delivers the request directly to local destinations.
The MyLine switching center provides the telephonic connection to the PSTN, which the network utilizes as its gateway. The MyLine system utilizes a Novell Netware Global Messaging Service which operates on Novell Netware file servers, providing a standardized platform and format for global message distribution to other Novell Netware servers, compatible applications and Internet addresses. Thus, access to the MyLine system is virtually unlimited. All communications within the network are encrypted, either with public/private key algorithms or with the proprietary MyLine rotational encryption algorithms.
3.6 Future Products and Services
MyLine features can be summarized in the following categories. A comprehensive feature set is available upon request by potential investors.
- Call forwarding.
- Selective call screening.
- Automatic callback.
- Wake-up services.
- Conference calling.
- Call waiting.
- Call wonferencing (integrating call waiting and conferencing).
- Voice messaging.
- Real time billing/accounting.
- Information on demand.
- Number referral.
- Fax store and forward.
Market Analysis Summary
Dun and Bradstreet estimates that 1999 sales of the U.S. telecommunications market will be over $150 billion, of which the personal communications and unified messaging market is three percent, or $4 billion. If the company can achieve a one percent market share within three years, its sales would be $40 million in a market growing eight percent per year. These estimates are conservative, given the accelerating growth rate of telecommunications and unified messaging in particular. There is ample space for the company, and many competitors, in this huge and fast-growing marketplace.
4.1 Market Segmentation
TeleSpace has targeted five primary market segments:
- General consumer and business market.
- Sports Mom toll-free.
- Domestic Traveler/Calling Card.
- International Traveler.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
The company will market its products to customer segments that require the basic mobile telecommunication services (such as voice messaging, fax, and email) in a single solution. Other features will be specific to each customer segment. The company will spend substantial marketing efforts in determining which set of features are the most attractive to each customer segment. Offering customized quality product to each customer segment at a competitive price level will be one of the marketing goals of TeleSpace.
4.2.1 Market Needs
All customer segments that we target seek reliable communications that are easy to use. However, feature preferences vary in between the segments. ‘Soccer moms’ that spend so much time driving their kids around are in need of an ‘always on’ accessibility. A permanent 800 number is what they covet. Business travelers, on the other hand, have a strong need for a universal communications portal that will take care of all their communication needs. In this respect, TeleSpace will specifically tailor its market offering to each customer segment.
4.3 Service Business Analysis
TeleSpace is part of the telecommunications industry, including the following sub-industries:
- National and international carriers (AT&T) which dominate the long distance market and offer unified messaging system (UMS) to their customers.
- Regional operating companies (Pacific Bell, GTE) which provide local service and switch long distance traffic to the carriers and CLECs. They also offer UMS to their customers.
- Competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) provide both local and long distance service and market UMS to their customers.
- Resellers aggregate traffic and provide discount long distance service and UMS to their customers.
- Unified messaging and personal communications service providers with in-house switching capability, such as TeleSpace, that offer MyLine and similar services to all consumers and businesses.
4.3.1 Business Participants
The personal telecommunications and unified messaging system sub-industry of the overall telecommunications market is a new, technology-driven, and immature industry characterized by a high growth rate, low barriers to entry, several large, and many small, competitors. The industry evolved during the last ten years as a spin-off the the telecommunications de-regulation, and subsequent explosion in competition and technological innovation. Overall industry sales should continue to accelerate for at least the next three years as consumers learn they can have their own unique local and 800 phone numbers for anyone to find them anytime, anywhere. Several industry leaders have emerged including:
- AT&T: The overall industry leader is expanding both vertically and horizontally into new markets and technologies and will probably have an impressive UMS.
- Excel Communications, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Teleglobe, Inc., a large public telecommunications company. Excel is aggressively marketing its UMS.
- Linx Communications, Inc.is a leading national communications service provider which recently received venture capital financing. See Competitors, Section 4.3.3.
- Nextel Communications, Inc. is a large public company providing digital and analog wireless communications services throughout the U. S. See Competitors, Section 4.3.3.
- Sprint PCS offers a wide variety of UMS services marketed primarily to its long distance customers.
- Voice Mobility, Inc. is a public company offering UMS for CLECs, wireless and other communication providers. They offer a MyLine clone to providers who re-market to their consumers.
There are numerous small competitors, the primary of which are described in the competitor section.
4.3.2 Competition and Buying Patterns
The primary buying factors in personal telecommunication systems are price, accessibility, and ease of use. There is significant brand loyalty based on the company’s experience with its current customer base. Once an individual has acclimated to the MyLine system and memorized the access routine, he tends to be reluctant to switch to another service. Very much the same attitude prevails in consumer long distance, where demonstrable savings fail to sway a large segment of the population to switch carriers. AT&T still has over 60% of the market even though they are the highest cost carrier in a commodity business. Powerful branding and advertising, even with premium pricing, will create a significant barrier to competitors taking our customers. Being the market leader, like AT&T, will strengthen the company’s branding position and also make it more difficult for the competition.
Management feels the primary competition will be other well-branded companies like Nextel and Linx Communications, which have deep advertising pockets, feature-rich and competitive services, and an established brand. All the major telecommunications companies, including the Baby Bells, are moving into UMS because they have the infrastructure to support it and the brand to promote it. They will have the initial advantage in branding and marketing muscle, but their services to date are inferior. The marketplace is big enough to support all this competition and then some.
4.3.3 Main Competitors
Our main competitors include both telecommunications and unified messaging companies, most of whom have deep financial pockets, and all of whom appear to be competent at packaging and marketing their products. They are shown below with brief descriptions of the company and product(s):
- Webley Systems offers a UMS called the personal assistant, which Small Business Computing and Communications Magazine has rated the most sophisticated product they have rated. The personal assistant provides subscribers with a phone number where you can leave faxes and voice messages. Messages may be accessed either through a password-protected website or by phone, where you can listen to voice mail or have email or fax headers read. It also supports fax forwarding and broadcasting and offers an effective voice recognition engine to navigate through menu choices. The assistant will notify you by pager when new messages arrive and can also screen and selectively forward calls to any phone number you designate. You can also load your contact list into the assistant and have it place calls for you while on the road, including conference calls. However, the assistant only supports one email account at a time.
- StarTouch International, Ltd. entered the UMS arena in July, 1996 with its Electronic Secretarial Administrator (ESA). ESA offers a switch-based service including call answering, forwarding, voice mail, fax, broadcasting, and conference calling. The company claims to be debt-free and to own their own switch. Overall, ESA is impressive and competitive, though sign-up is difficult and rates confusing.
- Nextel Communications, Inc. is a large public company offering a digital, nationwide service competing with other cellular service providers such as GTE, Cellular One and AT&T. Nextel operates on radio taxi frequencies, and their system is based on radio “walkie talkie” style communications for short-range communications. The service is thus tied to the range of their wireless transmission system. Within that range they do offer many features including caller ID, paging, voice mail, call waiting and forwarding, and conference calling. Nextel offers a national system within their transmission range with unlimited long distance. For example, a national account with 1,000 minutes costs $135/month with an additional $.10 per minute for call forwarding.
- Linx Communications, Inc. offers a Web-based unified communications platform called LinxWeb, a personal Web portal that manages personal daily communications including phone calls from any landline or mobile phone, messages, pages, and faxes. LinxWeb is very similar to MyLine. Linx has teamed with Focal Communications to co-locate their switches in Focal facilities across the U.S.
- JFAX.COM unified messaging provides a single phone number in one of 60 cities world-wide allowing faxes, emails, and phone calls to be managed via your email account. The system is accessible via phone but best accessed through computer.
Security Guard Business Plan Sample
Protect your community by starting a security business using a security guard business plan similar to this one.
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.
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.
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
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
The creation of SAB KickStart, SAB Foundation, SAB Accelerator and SAB Thrive, provides the opportunity for a tangible and sustainable future for South Africans by providing invaluable guidance and support to new business.
2. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Security audits and recommendations for security plans
- 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.
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.
Knowing how to write a funding proposal properly can make or break your business idea before it even gets off the ground.
4. 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.
These businesses require steady security needs and serving them is simpler than serving special events.
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.
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.
There are two kinds of security companies, one that sells products and one that sells services or you can combine both.
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.
Self-Storage Sample Business Plan
Before you start your self-storage facility you will require a business plan similar to this one.
Self-Storage Business Plan
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
See the section on Competitive Comparison for names of competitors. In the present market situation, competition plays a very weak role.
Photography Studio Sample Business Plan
Starting up your photography studio will need a proper business plan and this sample will provide the guidelines.
Photography Studio Business Plan
Families need photographs to capture the special moments of their lives. Families of professionals are busy, and if too much time goes by between photos, these moments are lost forever. Babies, especially, grow fast and parents need photos of them several times a year.
While nearly everyone has a camera for snapshots, people need professional quality photos when they will be shown to an important audience, and when people want to be seen in the best light. The Internet has expanded the use of photos, making it possible for anyone to send them or to publish them for wide viewing.
Professionals often have business needs for high-quality photos, and through this familiarity, they acquire a taste for them. When these professionals need photos to preserve memories, or to display family photos when they entertain at home, they have the budget and the desire for similarly high-quality photos. Just as they appoint their homes with fine furniture and decorations, the photos on their walls need to exhibit their standards of quality.
Most people use professional photo studios only on rare occasions, such as weddings, yearbook pictures, or baby portraits. Because the client has to initiate the call, many special moments are lost and the studio loses potential business. Photo studios generally charge a large fee for CDs of their clients’ digital images. For these reasons, most photo studios are rarely used by families as a whole.
This photography business plan shows how Phoebe’s Photo Studio will meet the needs of professionals and their families to capture the special moments in their lives and present them in the best light. We will establish a relationship in which we initiate the calls to keep their photos up to date. Digital files of their photos will be available for free by e-mail, or with a nominal fee for CD. Because of our relationship with the families, when something big like a wedding comes, there’s no place else they would go.
Phoebe’s will grow at an annual rate of over 40 percent by targeting families of professionals with newborn babies for baby pictures and then developing a relationship with the client over the years for ongoing photographs. The funding requested in this plan is projected to result in a comfortable annual net profit by Year 3.
The opening of Phoebe’s Photo Studio will mark a change in the way professional photography is delivered. Rather than being a rare place to visit, this photo studio will be a fun part of a family’s lives, helping them capture special moments and share them in a digital world.
Phoebe’s Photo Studio helps clients preserve memories and portray themselves in the best light. We thrive on repeat business by developing relationships with our clients and calling them with timely reminders for new photos. We make professional quality photographs easily available in a digital format. We do this by using a pricing structure that makes our digital photographs a household staple and by making it fun for them to come here or to have us in their homes.
In addition to livelihood, we’re in this business for the enjoyment of photography and having fun with people. We want to keep it simple.
Our objectives are:
- To generate a comfortable net profit by the third year.
- To develop systems of production for each product category that are easy to replicate with new clients to keep it simple and fun.
- To have a client relationship system and call plan that will keep us on top of each of our client’s scheduled needs at all times.
Keys to Success
Our keys for success are:
- Target marketing for the gateway products of baby pictures, high school photos and wedding albums.
- Developing relationships with our clients through personal customer service, to turn one-time customers into lifetime clients.
- Our system of tracking clients’ ongoing needs for photos and taking the initiative to call them for appointments.
Phoebe Peters has worked as an industrial photographer and freelance portrait photographer in Southern California for 10 years. She has found that personal customer relationships are the key to repeat business and will open Phoebe’s Photo Studio in downtown Eugene, Oregon on that premise.
Phoebe’s Photo Studio is a sole proprietorship owned by Phoebe Peters. It will open in a leased 800 square foot studio in downtown Eugene, Oregon.
Phoebe Peters is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California and is a member of the Professional Photographers of Oregon and the Professional Photographers of America. She has 10 years experience capturing the special moments of people’s lives.
Company Locations and Facilities
We will open in an 800 square-foot studio at 100 Main Street, the heart of the commercial district with ample free parking. The space will be leased for three years beginning at $800 a month with cost-of-living adjustments made annually.
The studio will have a highly visible electric sign and a 20-foot wide display window visible to passing foot and auto traffic. Customers will enter a public area with a counter, samples of our photographs and albums, and couches for waiting. A separate playroom with props and other toys will accommodate children with sitting areas for parents, while a utility area off the back door will be set up to accommodate pets and their props. Children, pets and props can be brought into the photography studio for their photographs. An office and working area will be used for assembling the final product.
Phoebe’s Photo Studio will help our clients to look their best, will keep their photos up-to-date, and will capture the special moments of their lives.
Phoebe’s Photo Studio has a comprehensive program to preserve memories on an ongoing basis. We see individual pictures, especially baby pictures, as gateway products for our programs of ongoing photography.
All of our photos are created in a high-resolution digital format, from which our prints are made. Since the Internet and commonly used printers typically use the lower-resolution 300 dpi format, 300 dpi digital files are available to clients for a nominal charge. Higher-quality digital photos and prints carry full pricing. We will retain the high-resolution data and clients can order more prints from us if they wish.
Our photo studio includes quality props for portraits and baby, child and pet photography. The physical environment of the studio is fun and accessible, making families want to come here. We also go regularly to people’s homes and bring cameras and lights that are out of the budget of non-professionals.
Our products include:
Our specialty is baby pictures. We have a unique combination of props and a passion for babies. Babies are also our prime gateway product for entering families into our programs of ongoing pictures.
High School Senior Yearbook Portraits
Senior pictures are a long-standing tradition that brings high school seniors into photo studios. By making these photos easily accessible in digital form, and by marketing prominently on the Internet, we hope to capture much of this market.
We offer a special package of a family portrait at half price with the senior picture. It is often the parents who are paying for the senior portrait, so we want to establish a relationship with the parents. The parents will want a picture of their senior with the rest of the family. This introduction to the family will allow us to market our other services.
Family and Pet Portraits
Portraits of the entire family are needed for display, to send to relatives and to use in family newsletters and websites. Most families have pets, and we can arrange family portraits that include them. While we don’t specialize in pet portraits, we have props and will take stand-alone photos of pets as well. There’s an additional charge for exotic animals.
Individual portraits are commonly needed for individual and business websites, business cards, brochures and annual reports.
Model’s Portfolio and Glamour Shots
Photos suitable for magazine publication.
Weddings are one of the most special moments of life. Our wedding album includes up to 7 hours of wedding photography, with prints displayed in a custom photo album and digital images on CD.
Annual Portrait Program
We take the initiative to schedule the annual portrait and we replace it in last year’s frame while saving last year’s photo in a portfolio.
Baby Picture Program
We arrange pictures of the baby at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years, and 2½ years.
Child Portrait Program
We arrange a portrait of the child at 3 years, 4 years and 5 years, or until the child begins to be photographed annually for school pictures.
Capturing Memories Program
We arrange an annual portrait of the family and individual pictures of each member of the family. Photos can include pets and the house and grounds, if desired.
The competition for portrait photography is divided into several categories:
Award-winning photographers are those who routinely deliver magazine-quality photographs. Their work is highly creative and spontaneous instead of routinely posing shots. They are rare and highly expensive.
These are professional-quality photographers, like us, who use a lot of posed shots. Most of the competition falls into this category.
Low-priced, lower quality providers.
Same Day Photographers
Normally priced photo studios that provide lower quality photos on the same day.
ACE Marketing Communications will develop the logo, electric sign, business cards, brochures, website and display ads. All will contain branding information around the theme of capturing the special moments of our lives. This theme is the backdrop of our program to maintain customer relationships and to take the initiative to schedule photo shoots at our studio, in our clients’ homes, or in nature, to preserve their special moments.
Our innovative approach makes the most of consumers’ fascination with the latest digital imagery. By playing to this market trend, we gain new customers and provide added value, with high-quality, small file-size images our clients can easily share with friends and family members.
Phoebe’s Photo Studio will use several digital cameras, and will require a computer fully loaded with image-manipulating software, such as Adobe Photoshop. We will also need an ongoing maintenance agreement for the computer and software, and nightly backups of image files, in the event of computer failure, theft, or fire.
Market Analysis Summary
Families with children are the biggest market for portraits. For the purpose of this analysis, these families are divided into three socio-economic categories:
- College graduates
- High school graduates
Families of college graduates are most likely to be professionals and to have the means and the taste for professional portraits. There are nearly 20,000 such families in the metropolitan area.
We will target female professionals and wives of professionals, because women make the majority of purchasing decisions in these families.
The competitive environment is divided between luxury magazine-quality photographers, moderate professional photographers who mostly pose their subjects, and same-day photo studios.
The trend among our targeted consumers is toward more digital photography and more sending of digital images on the Internet. As the world becomes more technical, people need more personal support.
Phoebe’s Photo Studio will use a “high-tech, high-touch” approach to reach and retain clients for their ongoing photo needs. We will make it affordable and easy for them to disseminate their photos electronically.
People who who pay for professional photo portraits are generally status-conscious professionals who have children, and so we’ve segmented the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area according to the social status of families. We’ve used education as a measure of social status.
Families of College Graduates
Professionals are, almost by definition, college graduates. They are the ones most likely to have a need for professional photo portraits for career purposes. They are also most likely to have the means and taste to want professional photos for their families, as well.
Families of High School Graduates
People who have not completed college are assumed to be more likely to be employees or be in a trade. While many of them may have the means for professional photos, relatively few will use them. They are more likely to use home-made photographs, except for rare occasions, such as a high school photo or wedding.
Families of Non-High-School Graduates
These are families who are generally without the means to hire professional photographers on a regular basis.
The Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area has a total population of 330,527. There are 74,836 families.
Some 25.5 percent of the adult population in the metropolitan area is composed of college graduates, which we will here define as professionals. Some 62 percent of the population is made up of high-school graduates.
The Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area closely conforms to the boundaries of Lane County, Oregon. The office will be located in Eugene, but clients are accessible throughout Lane County through physicians’ offices. Most Lane County residents are accustomed to doing occasional business in Eugene.
Target Market Segment Strategy
Our target market is families of college-educated people who are most likely to be professionals. This is the population most likely to order professional photos on a regular basis, having both the means and the desire for professional quality photographs.
Since women make most of the purchasing decisions in families, our specific target market is middle-aged professional women in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area, roughly 19,554 people.
Photography has gone digital. Digital cameras are replacing conventional cameras faster than DVDs are replacing VHS in video stores. Even cell phones have digital cameras on them. The uses of photography have expanded as well because of Web pages on the Internet and email. Digital images are needed for printing uses as well, for such uses as brochures and business cards.
Photo studios have mostly switched to digital format because it also allows for easy processing and manipulation. They have been less amenable to making digital files affordably available to clients, and this is a trend on which we intend to capitalize.
The growth rate used in the table is based on the 1.4 percent growth rate experienced by the Eugene-Springfield area over the past year. This growth is reflected in the accompanying chart and graph.
Families have photos taken to preserve memories. Most photos are taken by consumers with their own cameras, which are increasingly digital and are even part of their cell phones. Most of these photos are low quality but no one cares because only the family views them.
Consumers generally engage professional portrait photographers when the photos will be viewed outside the family and when quality matters. Professionals, such as those in our target market, often have business needs for quality photos and have acquired a taste for them. These professionals have families, too. They have the budget and the need to use them for their families because they often entertain at home and their family photos will be on display. Just as they appoint their homes with fine furniture and decorations, the photos on their walls need to exhibit quality.
Specifically, some of their needs include:
- baby pictures
- portraits for home or office
- senior pictures for the high school yearbook
- family pictures to send to family members
- family newsletters
- family, individual or business websites
- portraits for business cards, such as for real estate agents
- portraits for brochures and annual reports
The world has become increasingly digital, but many professional photo studios have made it difficult for people to enter the digital age. The traditional practice of retaining negatives to require clients to return for prints has been carried over to charging high fees for releasing digital files of their portraits.
The need to capture memories lasts for people’s entire lives, and business portraits require a regular update. But people generally don’t look forward to seeing a photographer. In fact, they find it a burdensome expense, have not established a relationship with a photographer and don’t think often about going to one. As a result, a lot of memories are lost and ancient portraits of professionals continue to be hung on walls and portrayed in publications. This makes them appear to be trying to preserve their youth instead of embracing their maturity and experience, and doesn’t show them in the best light.
The competition is divided between luxury magazine-quality photographers, moderate professional photographers who mostly pose their subjects, and same-day photo studios.
Phoebe’s Photo Studio is not a luxury, magazine-quality studio, but our service and photo quality is high compared to other moderate professional photographers. Our rates are comparable to theirs, but we add value through personal contact and easy dissemination of digital images.
Competitor X is an award-winning, highly creative photographer with a style that one would expect to find in a national magazine. His prices are the highest in the area, up to $15,000 for a wedding album. His strategy appears to be to capture the high-end market, where a magazine look is a luxury that people can afford.
Competitor Y is a more typical photographer with more staged photographs and wedding packages running up to $5,000. His strategy appears to be to occupy the middle-ground of quality and price where most of the market is likely to be.
Competitor Z offers same-day photos. This is easier to accomplish with digital processing for a studio organized around speed, but quality is necessarily sacrificed. The market for same-day photos doesn’t necessarily demand quality. Prices are average. The strategy of this studio appears to be to appeal to convenience and speed.
Competition and Buying Patterns
Purchasing decisions generally begin with an urgent need, such as a high-school senior picture or the birth of a baby. Buyers are most likely to seek a professional by referral from someone who has used their services. If this is not available, they are most likely to look in the Yellow Pages, but increasingly online, especially if they are young.
Photo studios are generally located in commercial areas with high visibility, but many studios are run out of the owner’s home. This is possible because so much photography occurs on location: in people’s homes or offices and in nature or at social events.
Photo studios are run by professional photographers with various levels of education and experience. There is considerable variation in quality and taste according to the ability of the individual photographer. This is a highly individualized, creative process that makes it difficult for large corporations to enter the market or to create “chain stores.” The participants are mostly individual photographers.
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