Vending Services Business Plan
Chef Vending, LLC is a family start-up business that specializes in importing vending machines and commercial food & beverage equipment from Spain. We will penetrate the vending industry with innovative, first to market, high quality vending machines. We will establish our own vending routes in the Southern and Central Florida region. We also plan to participate in the $321 billion food & beverage industry by supplying high-quality innovative equipment. With the establishment of one strategic alliance with a national brand name in either of our vending lines, we expect to easily exceed our financial forecasts.
Chef Vending’s mission is to be the leader in introducing innovative, quality vending machines and restaurant equipment to the market. Through close customer contact and excellent relationships, we will meet the needs of our customers wherever we can.
Chef Vending, LLC, is a privately-held Florida corporation and maintains an office and a small warehouse in a mixed-use area of North Miami Beach, Florida.
Three of the four investors in the company have full operational responsibility. Mauricio Ordonez and Javier Palmera, the co-founders, have both entrepreneurial and industry experience. Charles Mulligan brings operational management and financial skills to the operation.
Chef Vending will have two product lines, each for the various markets it serves. Our vending products line will include our unique Sandwich Express machine, our Fresh Orange Juice machine and our Multi-line Dispenser. Our restaurant equipment products will be toasters, espresso makers, and fresh juice squeezers.
Most of our products, such as Sandwich Express are innovative machines that have functions and advantages not found in today’s common vending machines, thus providing Chef Vending a competitive advantage over more established competitors.
We plan to aggressively enhance our existing line in the future. Our immediate plans are to include a larger model of Sandwich Express that will offer a greater variety of sandwiches, and a more diverse product line, such as pizza. Other products are in the exploratory phase.
We are also pursuing supplier relationships with large nationally-branded juice and sandwich manufacturers, to customize our machines to their products. This would enable Chef Vending to supply machines to national companies and allow them to brand the machines with their product lines.
Revenue from U.S. vending consumable merchandise was $24.5 billion last year, an increase of 4.9% over the previous year, according to the Automatic Merchandiser magazine’s latest State of the Vending Industry Report. Small companies, with sales of less than $1 million, accounted for 5.8% of the market and had projected sales of $1.35 billion. Three quarters of all vending operators are classified in the small category.
Within the industry, snacks and cold beverages are the largest product segments and these two categories are the driving force of the industry. The food category grew at a rate of 7% last year, according to the Automatic Merchandiser. Cold storage machines grew at an even more impressive 42% last ylear, with this growth coming at the expense of shelf-stable products.
According to the National Restaurant Association, revenues from restaurants are expected to reach $321 billion. This is a large and healthy industry in our economy, and suppliers to this industry are expected to benefit from this growth.
All of this indicates that a fast moving, innovative company that can introduce enhanced products to vending machine/restaurant equipment customers stand to gain significant market share in a relatively short time span.
Chef Vending will market its machines to three distinct market segments including; distributors, branded sandwich and juice manufacturers, and end users. For our restaurant equipment business we will focus on restaurants and hotels and equipment supply companies.
Chef Vending’s objectives in our first year of operation are:
- Sell 400 vending machines.
- Directly place 10 vending machines, that we will operate, in the South Florida area.
- Achieve $500,000 in sales in our restaurant equipment line.
For the following two years our growth objectives are:
- Grow our vending machine and equipment business by 20% each year.
- Grow revenues by 25% in our directly operated vending machines.
Chef Vending’s mission is to be the leader in introducing innovative, quality vending machines and restaurant equipment to the market. Through close customer contact and excellent relationships, we will meet the needs of our customers wherever we can. Chef Vending will secure sufficient profits from free cash flow from operations, to sustain its stability and finance future growth. We will add value to our community by maintaining a friendly, familial work environment.
1.3 Keys to Success
As a start-up company, new to the industry, and introducing new products, we must be focused and work hard to create acceptance for ourselves and our products within the marketplace. The keys to our success are:
- Quality support and service, recognizing that Chef Vending’s success depends most critically on the relationships it’s able to create.
- Innovative, quality products that are able to both expand existing markets and create new ones for our customers.
- Steady, disciplined pattern of growth.
- Our customers and keeping them happy.
Chef Vending, LLC, is a family-owned and operated import company that focuses on importing innovative vending machines and restaurant equipment from Spain. By serving a niche segment of the $24.5 billion dollar vending industry, we will position Chef Vending as a high-quality, innovative company, that creates value for its customers.
Located in North Miami Beach, Florida, three of the four investors have full operational responsibility. Mauricio Ordonez and Javier Palmera, the co-founders, have both entrepreneurial and industry experience. Charles Mulligan brings operational management and financial skills to the operation.
2.1 Company Ownership
Chef Vending, LLC, is a privately-held Florida corporation. Chef Vending is owned by three of its key employees, and one financial investor. The ownership breakdown is as follows:
Mauricio Ordonez- 40%
Javier Palmera- 20%
Charles Mulligan- 20%
Pedro Herrera- 20%
2.2 Company Locations and Facilities
Chef Vending maintains an office and a small warehouse in a mixed-use area of North Miami Beach, Florida. We maintain a showroom, where we provide customers with product demonstrations, a warehouse, where we keep an inventory of machines and supplies, and an administrative area to handle the business functions.
Chef Vending imports a variety of innovative products that serve the needs of special segments of the market. These machines all aim to expand existing sales and open new lines of sales for our customers.
3.1 Product Description
Chef Vending has three vending machines and three lines of restaurant equipment.
Our vending products are:
- Sandwich Express- This machine stores, in a refrigerated unit, up to 140 pre-packaged sandwiches. When an order is placed, the machine sends a sandwich from the refrigerator to the toaster, toasts the sandwich for a pre-determined time, and at a predetermined temperature. In approximately 60 seconds, a fresh, delicious, hot sandwich is served.
- Fresh Orange Juice (OJ) Machine- This machine, as its name implies, delivers a chilled 7 oz. cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. In a refrigerated unit, the machine stores up to 140 lbs. of juice oranges. This will yield approximately 110, 7 oz. cups. When an order is placed, the machine will dispense, from its refrigerated container, whole oranges that will be sliced in half, and then each half is pulverized for its juice. The juice will run through a filtering system to keep out the seeds and most of the pulp, to finally provide the customer with a 100% all natural cup of OJ in approximately 30 seconds.
- Multi-line- These versatile, low-cost, easy-to-maintain machines provide the end user with a variety of vending options, from phone cards to disposable cameras. Chef Vending is able to provide customers with machines that have either two, three, or four product lines; this will provide flexibility to maximize unit revenue.
Our restaurant equipment products are:
- Toasters- Coming with either a single or double toaster, these panini-type toasters provide the commercial establishment with an automatic machine that frees up service personnel for other customer service tasks. These machines will toast sandwiches, pastries, and a variety of other menu items, in a predetermined time and temperature, automatically dispensing the food item when done.
- Espresso Maker- This high-quality espresso maker makes single-serve cups of delicious gourmet coffee from pre-packaged coffee pods. These pods provide great benefit to the owner by reducing the cost of measuring for each new order, and eliminating the waste associated with the traditional methods.
- Fresh Juice Squeezer- This commercial grade machine will squeeze fresh, whole-juice oranges to allow the owner to sell a cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
3.2 Competitive Comparison
Both our Sandwich Express and Fresh OJ machines will be first to market. Currently, the market only provides a sandwich, or other hot meals, that must then be microwaved. We will be the first to market a vending machine that both toasts the sandwich, and then delivers it hot to the customer. Our machine’s products will enjoy a qualitative advantage over microwaved products as well.
For juice drinks, the market only offers bottled or canned juices for a customer to purchase. Our OJ machine will literally squeeze a fresh cup each and every vend. A qualitative advantage over other machines is the fact that the product is free of additives and refined sugars.
There are a number of similar multi-line machines on the market today. We will offer the customer a quality product at prices below the prevailing market rates. Our machines also enjoy distinctive packaging that will compete favorably with the products currently in the market.
We will also be first to market a fully automated line of toasters. Currently, the toasters on the market require the food service worker to manually monitor the cooking process, where ours automatically toast and dispense, freeing the service worker to engage in other customer service tasks.
Our espresso coffee makers will compete with the existing espresso makers on the market today. Our machines will offer the pre-packaged coffee pod which will be a cost savings to the end user. We will also compete with an aggressive pricing strategy.
Our fresh juice machines will be priced aggressively as well, in order to better compete in the market.
3.3 Sales Literature
Sales brochures have been developed as part of our start-up expenses.
Chef Vending imports its machines from Spain. For oranges and sandwiches, we contract with local suppliers.
Chef Vending’s mission is to be the company that introduces innovative products to the market. To achieve this, we will search out the latest in food preparation technology in the vending and equipment business. As first to market, we currently enjoy a technological advantage over the competition.
3.6 Future Products
To enhance our existing line, we are looking at a larger model of Sandwich Express that will offer a greater variety of sandwiches, and a more diverse product line, such as pizza.
We are also pursuing supplier relationships with large nationally-branded juice and sandwich manufacturers, to customize our machines to their products. This would enable Chef Vending to supply machines to national companies and allow them to brand the machines with their product lines.
As we increase our presence in the equipment business, we will continuously search out products to expand our existing line. A key component of this will be the feedback from our customer base.
Market Analysis Summary
Revenue from U.S. vending consumable merchandise was $24.5 billion in 1999, an increase of 4.9% over 1998, according to the Automatic Merchandiser magazine’s State of the Vending Industry Report in August 2000. This figure includes both machines and products. Small companies, with sales of less than $1 million, accounted for 5.8% of the market and had projected sales for 1999 of $1.35 billion. Three quarters of all vending operators are classified in the small category.
Within the industry, snacks and cold beverages are the largest product segments, representing 29% and 25% of the industry, respectively. These two segments are the driving force of the industry. The food category grew at a rate of 7% last year, according to the Automatic Merchandiser. Cold storage machines grew at an even more impressive 42% in 1999, with this growth coming at the expense of shelf-stable products.
Broader economic and cultural trends are also positively impacting the industry. Food sales away from home have become a larger part of total food sales in the U.S. since the 50’s, according to the Department of Agriculture. Technomic, a Chicago-based research firm, reports an increase in demand for takeout meals as the percentage of two-parent households declines, along with the decline of the three regular sit down meals per day.
Consumer preferences about taste, price, nutrition, convenience, and technology are changing. These changes favor the vending industry, which now has the opportunity to spot these trends and develop their markets.
According to the National Restaurant Association, revenues from restaurants are expected to reach $321 billion in 1999. This is a large and healthy industry in our economy, and suppliers to this industry are expected to benefit from this growth.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Chef Vending will market its machines to three distinct market segments:
- End Users- Operators that have their own vending routes who wish to expand their product selections. Included in this category are large institutional food service companies that engage in vending operations as part of their overall food service business.
- Distributors- Companies that supply operators with machines and supplies for their operations.
- Branded Sandwich Manufacturers and Branded Juice Companies- By working closely with these companies, we will customize our machines to meet their specifications and to allow them to “brand” our machines with their products. They will either supply the machines or sell them to their customers who will buy product supply for the machines from these companies.
We have two markets for our equipment business:
- Restaurants and Hotels – End users who benefit from the equipment purchased.
- Equipment Supply Companies- These are large supply houses that offer a variety of equipment to the food & beverage industry.
4.2 Industry Analysis
The U.S vending industry is divided into three main segments:
- Operators- Companies that buy and place vending machines on their routes, sell the product and service the machine, and range from small family businesses to large national companies.
- Manufacturers- Companies that manufacture machines for sale to operators.
- Distributors- The link between the manufacturer and the operator. Supplies the market with both machines and products for operators.
The food & beverage industry is divided into similar segments:
- Food & Beverage Establishments- This segment covers the entire spectrum of bars and restaurants.
- Suppliers- Companies that supply the establishments with all of their food, paper, and equipment needs.
- Supply Houses- Acting as a distributor, these firms supply an area with their required supply needs.
4.2.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
Both the food & beverage and vending industries are highly competitive. Price, Return On Investment (ROI), reliability, and customer service are the factors most effecting a buying decision.
There are many large name brand companies with vending machines in the market. We will focus on creating a niche market for our innovative machines, to compete with larger more recognizable names. By being first to market, we have a unique opportunity to brand ourselves and our machines.
Buying patterns are fairly consistent across the year.
4.2.2 Distribution Patterns
Distribution in the vending industry typically runs through a distributor. These distributors will carry a brand of machine for sale in a defined geographic region. In some instances, manufacturers sell direct to operators or end users. Another form of distribution is to be a supplier to a nationally branded company. Similar distribution patterns are established in the food & beverage industry.
4.3 Target Market Segment Strategy
Chef Vending’s initial strategy is to offer all of our products to all segments of the market. We will focus on both the end user and the distributor initially, as the strategy to secure accounts with the nationally branded companies will take some time to realize. We will reach our target market in one of three ways. First, we have begun a small advertising scheme in industry trade publications highlighting the many features and benefits of our products. Secondly, we have joined the National Automatic Merchandiser Association (NAMA) and have introduced ourselves and our products to distributors and end users at the NAMA annual convention in October, 2000; we will also participate in their Southeast regional show in South Carolina and in their national show next year. Finally, we will pursue personalized relationships with contacts developed at these shows and with regional companies in the South and Central Florida area.
For equipment sales, we will focus on end users and distributors in the South and Central Florida regions. As we gain market share in these markets we will expand geographically.
4.3.1 Market Needs
The principle market need we will be addressing will be revenue. Each of our machines will act to expand existing sales for operators, and in many cases will create new markets entirely. For the operator that is already vending snacks, a high end sandwich will enable this operator to expand his or her sales without cannibalizing existing sales. For the coffee vendor, a perfect compliment to a gourmet cup of vended coffee will be a fresh cup of orange juice. By creating a new untapped market, the operator will be able to expand revenue streams beyond their existing accounts. Another important need we will fill with our multi-line machines and our equipment, will be price. As we will be competing with existing supplies already in the market, we will price our products to be highly competitive in order to attract clients.
4.3.2 Market Trends
Growth rates in both the vending industry and the restaurant industry remain strong. This growth is fueled by the changes in the workplace and workforce that are causing workers to consume more of their meals away from home. Away from home food sales are expected to increase by 53%, according to NAMA.
As more and more consumers eat away from home, the demand for higher quality is also growing. Vendors are now offering a full line of packaged frozen meals in their machines. Margins will increase as premium prices are being placed on branded, high-quality products.
Demographic trends are affecting the industry. A large group of young adults, who mainly grew up on fast food, have emerged as an economic force. This group’s perceptions on fast food, technology, and vending, will have a positive impact in the vending business. Furthermore, overall population growth rates, and immigration trends particularly, will also have a tremendous economic impact on the vending industry. Much of the growth in both of these areas will be in the Southeast, where Chef Vending is poised to capitalize on these trends.
4.3.3 Market Growth
Studies by Automatic Merchandiser reflect an industry growth rate of approximately 4.8% over the last five years, matching the overall growth of the U.S. economy.
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.
Telecommunications Sample Business Plan
Any telecommunications company needs a proper business plan at the start.
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.
Gift Baskets Sample Business Plan
If you are beginning a business that specializes in gift baskets then you will find this sample business plan most useful.
Gift Baskets Business Plan
Basket of Goodies (BOG) is a premier gift basket retailer. BOG is concentrating on making gourmet gift baskets out of a wide range of high-quality ingredients. In addition to having several flagship baskets, BOG will also offer the option of a custom basket allowing the customer to choose the ingredients themselves. BOG will be selling to individuals as well as corporations. Initially the bulk of BOG’s business will be generated by individuals from word-of-mouth referrals, but as time passes, corporations will become a growing percentage of sales.
Once up and running with some momentum, BOG will be steadily producing profits. It is projected that BOG will be making a profit by December. By the end of year three, it is projected that BOG will be generating a net profit of approximately $21,000.
The Basket of Goodies’ mission is to create the finest gift baskets available. BOG, soon to be located in Salem, OR, will be hand assembling our products out of premier ingredients, local when possible. The business will be based out of Susan Presento’s home. Although this will be a home-based business, toward the end of year one Susan will have an employee.
Susan Presento, founder and owner, managed a flower shop in Salem for three years and this has given her insight to the gift giving practices of Oregonians. The primary gift baskets that will be offered are: smoked fish basket, fruit basket, pasta dinner basket, and picnic basket that has caviar, crackers, fruit, and smoked fish. BOG also offers a custom basket which allows customers to pick items from a list and BOG will assemble the basket with its custom ingredients.
The purchasing of gift baskets is very “seasonal.” More than half of the gift basket purchasing occurs during a wide variety of holidays.
BOG’s competitive advantage will be based on two factors, low overhead which allows reasonable prices, and an unrelenting desire for the highest quality product and service.
- Low overhead
- Highest quality product and service
BOG’s sales strategy will be targeted at obtaining both the individual and corporate clients through word-of-mouth referrals. Customers will be able to place an order at the office, over the phone or via the website.
The Basket of Goodies’ mission is to create the finest gift baskets available. We exist to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Our products and services will exceed the expectations of our customers.
The objectives for the first three years of operation include:
- To create a home-based company whose primary goal is to exceed customer’s expectations.
- To increase the number of clients served by at least 20% per year through superior performance and word-of-mouth referrals.
- To develop a sustainable home business, surviving off its own cash flow.
BOG, soon to be located in Salem, OR will offer a wide range of gourmet gift baskets, production as well as custom units. BOG will be hand assembling the baskets out of premier ingredients, local when possible. The business will be based out of Susan Presento’s home. Although this will be a home-based business, toward the end of year one Susan will have an employee. If the business goes per the forecasted plan, the business will achieve profits by the end of year one.
2.1 Company Ownership
The Basket of Goodies will be a sole proprietorship, owned by Susan Presento.
2.2 Start-up Summary
BOG’s start-up costs will include all the equipment needed for the home-based office, legal fees, website creation, and start-up advertising. The home office equipment will be the largest chunk of the start-up expenses. This equipment includes a computer system, fax machine, office supplies, cellular phone, and pager. The computer should have a 500 megahertz Celeron/Pentium processor, 64 megabytes of RAM (preferably 128), 6 gigabyte hard drive, and a rewritable CD-ROM for backing up the system. Additionally, there will be the expense installation of a broadband connection. While a broadband connection is not totally necessary, it only costs between $40-50 per month for service and will make working on the Internet significantly faster and easier.
The home office will also require a few pieces of furniture such as a desk, chair, and bookshelf to transform a standard room into an office. Lastly, an additional land phone line will be required. The legal fees are used for the formation of the business as well as for reviewing/generating standard client contracts. The Web creation fees at start-up costs are for design and creation of the website. The start-up advertising will be the production of brochures.
BOG sells gourmet, hand-assembled gift baskets. Their premier baskets are: smoked fish basket, fruit basket, pasta dinner basket, and picnic basket that has caviar, crackers, fruit, and smoked fish. BOG also offers a custom basket which allow customers to pick items from a list and BOG will assemble the basket with their custom ingredients.
For the customer baskets, BOG will provide a list of options grouped into four different categories. The customer then chooses two items from each of the four categories and the gift basket is made for them. BOG highlights four previously mentioned premier baskets. In addition to these, BOG will typically have one or two specials, often seasonally based.
Market Analysis Summary
BOG will be going after two distinct market segments, individuals and corporations. Both groups buy gift baskets as a goodwill gesture, typically for different reasons. Individuals typically buy the baskets as a present with over half of sales occur during holidays. Corporations buy the baskets as presents as well, but usually for events unrelated to the holidays. By going after both of these groups, sales will be less seasonal (relative to if only the individuals were targeted).
There are many different “gift basket” retailers in Salem. BOG will differentiate themselves through the use of premium ingredients in their baskets. The gourmet baskets, coupled with a custom option and reasonable prices (attributed to low overhead) will spell success for BOG.
4.1 Market Segmentation
BOG’s has two distinct groups of customers, individuals and corporate customers:
- Individuals- The individuals are people who are looking to give a friend, relative, colleague, etc., a gift basket as a gesture of goodwill. These customers typically do not have a specific type of gift basket in mind when they look at BOG’s product offerings, they just want to give a gift.
- Corporate- The corporate customer is typically buying the basket for a colleague at work, either as a sign of appreciation, for a special event, or as a thank you for a customer. The corporate market can be further broken down to banks, health care, employment gifts, real estate, apartments, special events/promotions, corporate headquarters, hotels/vacation resorts, and automobile dealerships.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
BOG is focusing on individuals and corporate customers because they are the largest segments of purchasers for gift baskets. Individuals are the target purchaser of gift baskets. They purchase baskets typically as a thank you in response for something the recipient did or just to be nice. The gift basket is unmistakingly a gift so upon receipt there is no ambiguity why it was sent or at least what it is trying to accomplish. Within the individual category, women are 69% more likely to be the purchaser of a gift basket compared to men. This is not to say that women more often purchase gifts, it just indicates women are more likely to buy gift baskets.
BOG is focusing on the corporate customers as they currently represent approximately a third of the purchasers of gift baskets. The corporate customer could be buying the basket for someone within their company, or they could be buying it for a customer, vendor, etc. The trend for the corporation to purchase gifts is not a new phenomenon and therefore would appear to be a solid market segment to pursue.
4.3 Industry Analysis
There are many different forms of competition in the gift basket business:
- Similar gift basket type retail stores: There are several of these stores located in Salem. These competitors offer a wide range of gift baskets, however none of them are concentrating on the higher end, gourmet product line.
- Nut/fruit companies: There are several stores that concentrate on nuts and or fruit baskets.
- Bath product gift basket companies: There is currently one gift basket company that concentrates on bath products. Bath products have a slightly smaller population of people who appreciate these products (as women predominately appreciate bath products more then men do).
- Regional gift basket: There is one retailer that sells gift baskets composed of local products. These type of baskets tend to appeal to people that are buying gifts for people that are not from this area.
- Candy gift baskets: There are several candy stores that offer, as one on their products, a candy gift basket. Similar to the bath products basket, candy typically appeals to women a bit more so then men.
- Florists: Flowers are a similar product that competes with gift baskets. Once again flowers tend to appeal to women more so then men.
The purchasing of gift baskets is very “seasonal.” More than half of the gift basket purchasing occurs during a wide variety of holidays.
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