Calico Computer Consulting will offer small office/home office business owners a quick-response, reliable source of technical help for their computers.
- CCC will offer three main services - Hourly Technical Aid, Retainer contracts for specific skills or systems, and Project consulting.
- There appear to be four main classes of competition, the largest of which consists of individual proprietors and smaller consulting firms such as CCC. The competitive edge for CCC will be to expand on already existing relationships.
- CCC will start with some basic sales literature, including logo and stationary, a brochure, and a basic web page. These will be self-designed and computer generated, of course.
- Fulfillment of services will be provided exclusively by CCC's owner.
- Technology is obviously a critical component of this business: It will be important to stay up to date on both equipment and knowledge to remain competitive in the future.
Detailed descriptions of these points are found in the sections below.
3.1 Service Description
Calico Computer Consulting will offer three main services, corresponding to what industry experts have identified as the primary opportunities in computer consulting:
- Hourly (Temporary Technical Aid) - The less traditional sort of short term assignment helping a company solve a software or hardware related problem. Includes both emergency and non-emergency technical assistance.
- Retainer (Specific Skill) - The more traditional form of consulting, including regular system maintenance, software and hardware upgrades, and network administration. The owner's particular area of expertise is in management consulting with regard to MIS.
- Project (Bail-out or Specific Skill) - This will include such things as consulting on major purchases, system/network installation and testing, and major disaster recovery.
3.2 Sales Literature
Calico Computer Consulting will start with some basic self-generated literature to establish initial positioning:
- Logo and theme - A national catalog sales paper goods company has a wonderful line of blank papers with a computer theme that will serve as the "look" for CCC. A graphic artist friend of the owner has already commenced work on a matching logo.
- Stationery - The theme paper is available in various formats for use as company stationery.
- Brochure - Likewise, pre-printed paper is available, along with software templates for generating brochures
- Web Presence - Eventually a website will be developed as an "electronic brochure" as well as a resource site for the owner's established client base.
- Response Templates - As common problems/solutions are encountered and solved, a set of standardized templates for initial responses will be developed. This will shorten response time and eliminate confusion in providing quick solutions to routine issues.
The fulfillment of services for CCC is provided by the owner. The ultimate deliverable is the owner's expertise and problem solving ability, coupled with an open mind and ease of communication that will result in the customer's complete confidence in immediate and lasting results.
3.4 Competitive Comparison
There seems to be four major classes of competition in the local computer consulting industry:
- In-house MIS consultants - Usually employed by larger companies that can afford the fixed cost of a salaried or hourly employee.
- Individual proprietors & smaller consulting firms - As noted elsewhere in this plan, the bulk of Yellow Page advertisements are comprised of this group.
- Larger network and telecommunications consulting firms - Large, known-name companies such as Network One that specialize in providing total MIS services to larger companies that choose to outsource.
- Computer and electronics stores offering consulting services.
Of course, Calico Computer Consulting fits into the largest group as a sole proprietorship. The primary reason that customers would buy from CCC rather than competitors is the existing relationships that exist. Customer loyalty and satisfaction are the way to success for small service businesses such as this.
Technology is, of course, vital to the success of Calico Computer Consulting. It is imperative that the owner stay up-to-date on the latest technological developments in the computer industry. In addition, it will be important to devote a reasonable portion of each year's revenues toward upgrading the equipment and software used by CCC in its normal operations.