Case Study: A Niche Business Idea and a Proposal
The proposal below was a previous attempt at forming a new consulting business with a focused target market. Niche markets are a key to successful small business concerns. Simply, it is virtually impossible to target broad markets while maintaining desirable quality service standards. Instead, choose a target market for your product and/or service, research the needs of that market, examine the potential competition, and contact people in that industry. Experience and/or expertise in the chosen product or service is key – a baker wouldn’t go into a technical field – where is the credibility and trust required to develop the client base?
This is the actual email I sent a while ago with the business idea and proposal. Though the idea never evolved, I did receive a reply from one of the parties requesting a meeting to further discuss and elaborate on my proposal.
(Names and organizations have been changed to maintain confidentiality)
Scott – Barbara – Chet,
I was conversing with Shirley King, Executive Director of Americans with Chronic Conditions about a possible business idea. She indicated having numerous clients with chronic conditions that do not have access to computing technology, Internet, software or support. I suggested that I would be interested in assisting those with illnesses that are unable to do for themselves.
Ms King indicated the challenges inherent in funding, grant writing, etc. and a certain length of time required to ‘make connections & contacts’ in this specialized classification. Further, she indicated the complexity – paperwork, government standards – involved in forming a non-profit entity is significant. This idea, while commendable and notable for its intent, would require a great deal of time, effort, and other resources.
However, additional consideration and consultation yielded a solid suggestion – instead of using a non-profit entity for this endeavor – why not create a normal or for-profit company that would do the same?
I asked myself some basic questions: Why is this idea beneficial?
Computer, Internet, and software access is virtually ‘a must’ for today’s population. Communication, shopping, entertainment, and information are common uses of computers & technology. Those unable to gain access are in effect isolated from society and many suffer in multiple ways as a result. Further, increasing numbers of workers are using telecommuting as a viable option, especially in a global workplace. Those with no ability to access technology resources can be hindered in their quest to find gainful employment, even if on a part-time basis.
Who benefits and how?
Those with chronic conditions that would have at-home access to the Internet and related technologies. Local, state, and Federal governments realize benefit from a segment of the population that is better able to contribute and help themselves. Society benefits as a whole for providing valuable tools to those lacking them. ABC Org benefits by being able to provide additional services to their clientele.
Here is how I initially envision an implementation of this idea:
A colleague of mine – Robert Dongle – and I are considering forming a technology consulting business. We each have over 10 years in the Information Technology field with an emphasis on user support, desktop, and network installation and configuration. Through industry contacts, we would be able to purchase a significant supply of used computers. We would wipe out existing software configurations and replace them either with a pre-determined standard load or for special situations, a customized configuration and suite of applications. Depending on the circumstances, we would then either ship these computers or install them on-site or contract with a 3rd party for remote locations. Optional ongoing support could be provided via remote access connection (configured at software load time), phone or email. Computers would carry at least a 90-day replacement option (exact time tbd).
Costs are an issue, of course. Hardware, software, installation and/or ongoing support packages require consideration. These may be paid by the client, perhaps by a grant from the State or Federal government or 3rd party, or a combination of the aforementioned. Certain specific circumstances may qualify for a reduced rate, tbd.
A business entity would be created by Robert and myself and would carry insurance to cover errors, omissions, and incidental issues and this program would start with a pilot group for proof of viability and need. The issue of Internet access would also require research and plans for implementation.
These thoughts are obviously a framework with many areas to complete. I suggest this because of the obvious need for this service and a lack of providers for this market niche.
I would welcome an opportunity to discuss these ideas further. Please contact me via email or by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Thank you for your time and consideration.