Recent companies have been advertising wifi hotspot locations that are 'turnkey' (they can run themselves), and only cost between $13,000 and $20,000 to start. Is that good?
First of all, if it's so turnkey then why aren't they just popping off wifi hotspot locations left and right for themselves, is it their newfound generosity that has them 'sharing' the opportunities they have available. I'm not knocking the possibility of some companies to provide a business model, like in the restaurant business where they allow you to own a branded franchise for an initial investment in order to spread out locations in a more easier return on investment. However, wifi locations normally have an additional service or product that acts as an anchor for customers to come in and use the benefit of wi-fi to connect to the Internet thru broadband high speed access. Starbucks and Hilton Hotels are prime examples of a business model that has customers coming in for a service or product and then using wifi access as a secondary product/service.
Secondly, the potential for wifi hotspots cannot be limited to a cookie-cutter system that will fit everyone, after all if that were the case the other auto makers wouldn't be in business and we would still be driving 'Model T' Fords. Not to mention the fact that if you open a business with only wifi access as the only product/service available and then the community, town or city where your business is located decides to wirelessly enable the public transportation system like in the southern California city of Cerritos; guess what - your business just got knocked the flip out.
African American small business people have resources, and some may believe those resources are unlimited. But if you shell out $20,000 for a new business and after 6 months get locked out of your client base by a larger business or business model, you have lost more than your investment. A wifi business is not something that can be advanced as able to stand on it's own in the present day. In the example above the city of Cerritos is delivering wifi along with it's transportation system, which should probably increase ridership as people will opt to ride and check their email or just finish up a project as they go to work or to shop.
Look carefully at starting to use wifi in your business, research and see if there is a potential for competition to knock you client base out of the ballpark. Even then, when is your competition going to implement their wifi access and see if you have time to enhance your wifi service with coupons or other attractive services that may not be available to your competition. Wifi access will become a very powerful business asset in the coming year and more so in the future. Now is the time to get your feet wet, just check out your options in order not to get drowned out of business.
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Daviyd Peterson: 10-year consultant, instructor, trainer
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