The College Cafe

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Online College Bookstore Business Plan

Executive Summary

The College Cafe is a student-to-student Internet marketplace providing college students with the opportunity to buy, sell and trade college textbooks, participate in auctions, post classified ads, provide teacher evaluations, and buy products for college.  The College Cafe's target market consists of over 15.8 million college students who spend $200 billion annually.  The College Cafe was founded in July and is presently in its start-up stage.

1.1 Solution

The College Cafe will enable students to buy, sell, and trade used textbooks directly to other students, by-passing the university bookstores.  By selling textbooks to other students, the seller can receive more money than the bookstore will pay and the buyer can pay less than the bookstore charges.  In addition to textbooks, students will be able to sell class notes, old tests, computers, dorm accessories, used CDs, tutoring services or anything students wish to sell via an online student-to-student marketplace.  In addition, the College Cafe will offer other services such as classifieds, teacher evaluations, weblogs (bloggers), specialized content and retail. 

The College Cafe will establish itself as the leading online student-to-student marketplace by combining extensive market-specific expertise with Internet technologies to generate revenue while creating a win-win solution for students.  The College Cafe will achieve market dominance by utilizing extensive domain experience, a local grass roots marketing strategy, an exceptional management team, superior software, and the formation of strategic alliances, memberships and partnerships with companies within the college market.

1.2 Market

The U.S. college student market is a growing yet underserved niche market.  The U.S. Department of Education expects the U.S. college student market to grow from 15.8 million students to 17.2 million in the next five years.  According to Harris Interactive college students are expected to spend over $200 billion this year. 

1.3 Opportunity

College students are eager to find ways to get "quick cash" at the end of every semester.  One method college students use is to sell their old textbooks at the end of every semester, however the re-sell market is controlled by the local university bookstore.  Because university bookstores monopolize the market, students receive only a fraction of the value paid for the book, typically 75% or less of the purchase prices.  The bookstores then re-sell the books back to other students, receiving over 125% profit.  The current situation creates a lose-lose situation for students and a win-win situation for bookstores.  Students are looking for convenient, money saving ways to purchase textbooks and to receive more value when re-selling textbooks at the end of each semester.

1.4 Financial & Capital Requirements

According to the opportunities and requirements for The College Cafe described in this business plan, we have determined the following financial projections:

  • Generate exceptional revenues by the end of year one.
  • Report profits during the 9th month of operation.
  • Exceed a 1.5x increase in sales and profits by the end of year three.

The College Cafe will require an initial seed investment as well as later rounds of investment.  The initial seed capital will be used for marketing and customer acquisition, software and website development.

1.5 Objectives

The College Cafe will strive to achieve the following objectives:

  • Become the leading Internet student-to-student marketplace
  • Attract 500,000 registered users in the first year
  • Achieve 50,000 visits per month
  • Establish sustainable profitability within the first year