Entrepreneurs often give little if any consideration to their computer system needs in their original business plans. It is a necessity to have mention of your computer system as bankers and/or investors will want to know how you will keep track of your future endeavor. You need to carefully spell out your needs and their costs to insure you are asking for the right amount of money for your new project and to insure that you know what you need in advance. All too often entrepreneurs are not completely sure of what is needed and then when they see what is available they want it, this adds costs. Then comes the customization and feature creep as high paid programmers design the modifications.
A business plan needs a complete description of the exact needs of the computer system and subsequent upgrades due to future expansion prior to launch. Of course new systems will be put onto the market and these new innovative systems will have different costs. You may also wish to address this fact. Investors and bankers need to feel confident that you understand the true costs and associated problems with software and hardware before you start. Having read many business plans, I have seen few, which take these issues into consideration. I have seen many entrepreneurs fall down in these issues and it ends up costing them later, even sometimes causing failure of their businesses. You need to be thinking here.
Below is a sample "computer system" section of a business plan, which clearly defines the level of detail needed. This sample is from a simple business, we chose to use a mobile car wash company, which is a franchise of a larger company. The larger company dictating exactly what is needed. Most entrepreneurs are not so lucky in that regard and will in fact need to study all the possibilities before finishing their plan. This serves as an example, as most business plan books do not do justice to the importance of computer systems in their samples. Think on this.
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Systems, Procedures, Computer, Credit Card Units
Phone Dispatch System:
Every customer calling into our company for service will call a 1-800 phone number. This phone number will ring at the franchisor's dispatch service. The operator will answer, asking 'What city are you in?' If the customer asks for our exclusive city we'll get the page. They will be asked the following:
? Phone Number
? Services Requested
This information is typed into a computer and paged out on an alphanumeric pager. All information becomes part of our computer customer data base which is updated monthly by our franchisor. Each truck has a pager for their route. This system is maintained, operated and paid for by the franchisor. We will not have to hire secretaries to answer phones or dispatchers to route trucks, no matter how many mobile car wash trucks we have on the road.
Our franchisor has built all mistakes out of our business to insure smooth and efficient operations. They have provided us with the following manuals:
We intend to follow the procedures outlined in these manuals. If we have any questions about anything that is not in the manuals or anything we do not 100% understand, we will call the franchisee hotline number at Car Wash Guys headquarters or ask our regional director on his weekly visits.
We will be using the following hardware in our franchise business:
IBM Compatible Computer
233 MHZ Pentium MMX
5 GB RAM
45 GB Hard Drive
High Speed Internet and WiMax
12X Speed CD ROM
15" SVGA Monitor
We will be borrowing the following software and user guides from Car Wash Guys International, Inc.:
? Microsoft Windows
? Microsoft Office 2003
This software will hold the following files and databases:
Fundraising Sample Flyers, Coupons, Etc.
This Business Plan
Business Listings Database
Chamber Of Commerce Database
Customer Data Base
Fax List Database
Service Clubs Database
These files will help us move quickly with marketing efforts, keep us in touch with our community and abreast of all competition operating within our exclusive territory. These databases also will help our franchisor with regional public relations and community based marketing. By doing this, our franchisor will help us maintain strong name recognition and pass on quality sales leads.
We will be sold as part of our franchise system:
? Scheduling Software
? Accounting Software
These programs are ours to keep and we may use them for personal use if we wish. This way we won't mix our business with our personal life.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs