Computer Consulting Business Plan

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Strategy and Implementation Summary

Calico Computer Consulting will focus on the following to establish and grow the business:

  • Four main promotion strategies: networking and referrals, web based promotion, traditional media advertising, and some non-traditional promotion methods.
  • A value proposition of timely and practical solutions, at a reasonable rate, coupled with a 100% guarantee.
  • A competitive edge based on cultivating existing customer relationships.
  • A comprehensive and detailed marketing and sales strategy, covered in depth in a separate marketing plan.

5.1 Strategy Pyramid

Most of the textbooks and/or experienced business people who contributed to the research for this plan suggested some combination of the following four marketing strategies. These are especially suited for a modern high tech business such as computer consulting.

  • Strategy 1 - Networking & Referrals - Using existing contacts and clients to build a larger network of potential clients.
  • Strategy 2 - Web promotion - Using a web page to showcase the owner's skills and knowledge, providing an "electronic brochure" as well as useful technical information free of charge.
  • Strategy 3 - Advertising - Traditional methods such as Yellow Page ads, newspaper classified and display ads, local television cable access advertisements.
  • Strategy 4 - Non-traditional - Creative and unique advertising such as door hangers, bumper stickers, etc.

A much more comprehensive discussion of these strategies is presented in the CCC Marketing Plan (written in Marketing Plan Pro).

5.2 Value Proposition

The value proposition offered by Calico Computer Consulting is quite simple: timely and practical solutions for client's computer problems and/or upgrades, all at a very reasonable and competitive rate. Most important, CCC offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, thus building and retaining the client's confidence.

5.3 Competitive Edge

CCC's competitive edge is that the owner already has a significant number of high quality relationships with current and potential clients. In essence, CCC has already overcome the barriers to entry in the consulting field and is simply in the process of formalizing the business.

5.4 Marketing Strategy

The topics below briefly outline the marketing strategy for Calico Computer Consulting. A much more comprehensive discussion of these strategies is presented in the CCC Marketing Plan (written in Marketing Plan Pro).

5.4.1 Marketing Programs

The most important marketing program for CCC is to get the word out, through a combination of the following:

  • Sending a letter of announcement and brochure to all existing contacts and customers.
  • Following the well-established steps of a public relations campaign (press releases, announcements, etc.).
  • Developing and purchasing "grand opening" announcements in the local news media.

A much more comprehensive discussion of these programs is presented in the CCC Marketing Plan (written in Marketing Plan Pro).

5.4.2 Positioning Statement

For the home business/small business owner who needs technical help with their business computers, Calico Computer Consulting provides fast and effective response that gets the business back up and running. Unlike [key competition], CCC offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

5.4.3 Pricing Strategy

Calico Computer Consulting will adopt a price matching strategy rather than entry pricing. A survey of local consulting businesses revealed the following:

  • Hourly Rate Pricing - The average price charged was $75.00 per hour.
  • Retainer Pricing - Based on the expected minimum number of hours per month, the average was $150.
  • Project Pricing - Based on a daily rate (8 hours x $75.00/hour)

5.4.4 Promotion Strategy

The primary promotion strategy for CCC will be directly in line with the strategy pyramids mentioned previously. The lead strategy will be to focus on cultivating existing relationships, using known networking techniques to develop referrals and new customer leads. Added to this will be a blend of web based marketing and traditional public relations and media marketing. The ultimate promotion strategy, however, will be in guaranteeing customer satisfaction: happy customers will generate repeat and new business.

5.5 Sales Strategy

Sales strategy for Calico Computer Consulting is simple and straightforward: customer satisfaction! Happy customers will be repeat customers, and they will provide referrals to new customers.

  • Sales forecast figures are based on industry figures for the typical growth of a consulting startup and reflect repeat business generated through meeting customer needs.
  • Sales programs must be based on the notion that business is driven on customer demand when problems arise. While some business can be generated by soliciting customers to upgrade their systems and software, by and large the bulk of the business will be emergency technical aid.

A much more comprehensive discussion of the sales strategy is presented in the CCC Marketing Plan (written in Marketing Plan Pro).

5.5.1 Sales Forecast

The sales figures shown below include the projection based solely on hourly rate consulting during the first year of business. Yearly figures for subsequent years include the growth of retainer and project consulting income as business grows.

Cost of sales for consulting services are the hourly payments earned by the owner.

Sales Forecast
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Unit Sales
Hourly Rate Consulting 660 1,152 1,152
Retainer Consulting 0 5 10
Project Consulting 0 6 12
Total Unit Sales 660 1,163 1,174
Unit Prices Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Hourly Rate Consulting $75.00 $75.00 $75.00
Retainer Consulting $0.00 $150.00 $150.00
Project Consulting $0.00 $600.00 $600.00
Sales
Hourly Rate Consulting $49,500 $86,400 $86,400
Retainer Consulting $0 $750 $1,500
Project Consulting $0 $3,600 $7,200
Total Sales $49,500 $90,750 $95,100
Direct Unit Costs Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Hourly Rate Consulting $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
Retainer Consulting $0.00 $20.00 $20.00
Project Consulting $0.00 $79.98 $79.98
Direct Cost of Sales
Hourly Rate Consulting $6,598 $11,517 $11,517
Retainer Consulting $0 $100 $200
Project Consulting $0 $480 $960
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $6,598 $12,097 $12,677

5.6 Strategic Alliances

Calico Computer Consulting will need to focus on networking with local computer stores and local business organizations (such as Chamber of Commerce and local SBDC) to develop strategic alliances. Such organizations, which may not be customers in themselves, will be valuable in providing leads to new customers.

5.7 Milestones

The milestones listed in the table below outline primarily the tasks needed to develop this business plan and get the start-up business to opening day. The milestones table in the marketing plan will be a more comprehensive listing of the tasks involved in promoting and sustaining CCC's business.

Milestones
Milestone Start Date End Date Budget Manager Department
Research the right business 10/1/1998 5/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Test assumptions 10/1/1998 5/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Improve business mgmt. skills 10/1/1998 10/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Determine the right business 5/1/1999 6/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Prepare personal financials 5/1/1999 7/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Decide on target customers 5/1/1999 6/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Know the industry 5/1/1999 8/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Decide on location 5/1/1999 6/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Select business name 7/1/1999 8/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Secure location 7/1/1999 8/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Establish business contacts 7/1/1999 9/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Expand information base 7/1/1999 9/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Choose business form 7/1/1999 8/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Establish good information flow 7/1/1999 8/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Research demographic info 7/1/1999 7/15/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Establish financial objectives 8/1/1999 8/15/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Establish pricing strategy 8/1/1999 9/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Establish sales forecast 8/1/1999 8/15/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Determine capital needs 8/1/1999 9/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Prepare marketing plan 9/1/1999 9/15/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Prepare balance sheet 9/1/1999 10/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Establish bank relationship 9/1/1999 9/15/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Prepare for opening 9/1/1999 9/15/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Check all systems 9/15/1999 10/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Opening final prep 9/15/1999 10/1/1999 $0 Owner N/A
Totals $0