Operating an internet cafe business is a lucrative and profitable venture. The internet cafe has become the go-to place for people who wish to do their surfing and administrative work without having to go home. For some corporate types, it is a lunchtime pastime where they can surf without facing the scrutiny of their employers. The internet cafe offers a very good gateway for people with limited capital and an ambition to do business in technology.
All the positive things about an internet cafe business do not diminish its demands and specifications. You have to be on point in terms of your customer care. Good understanding of the business is a must, otherwise you will be swallowed up by the competition. In recent times the state is beginning to regulate internet cafe businesses. Thus you are also required to pay attention to your paperwork and related matters. This article explains how to start a profitable internet cafe business.
Ensure that you have the right premises and equipment
The office space can be hired or bought. The advantage of hiring is that you are not saddled with a mortgage. If you want to move your internet cafe business for any reason, it is merely a case of giving notice at the end of the month. Moreover, not having a mortgage reduces your initial capital deposit requirements. The money that would have been spent on purchasing an office space could be distributed between leasing and other essential business expenses. Meanwhile the companies that let out office space tend to provide a number of important peripheral services. These include a post office box, administrative support, toilets and a cafeteria. That means that you can give your customers a very rich experience and convenience without spending too much money on it.
You should select locations that are well within the vicinity your potential clients. For example, you may locate your internet cafe business near offices, schools, universities and airports. This is where the clientele is likely to come from so you are in the best position to gain access to them. Test the internet quality because nobody is going to pay for anything less than full-time high speed services. Good quality internet is both fast and reliable. It is never a good idea to congregate with other internet cafes. That essentially means that you are inviting competitors to take away your potential customers. You need a good power source and a backup generator. In the age of green technology, try to make use of energy savings when operating your internet cafe business. For example, the use of solar power in hot climates is ideal.
Deciding on the scope of the internet cafe business
An internet cafe can have anywhere between two and an large number of computers. The ideal according to industry standards is 25 modern computers. You might consider including some peripheral items such as a scanner, printer, photocopier, binder and facsimile. These are services that might be of benefit to the people that come to your internet cafe. In effect you are enriching their experiences at your establishment without requiring them to travel long distances. If you are going to have fewer than 25 computers, then it is advisable that you use an intermediate launcher which includes an administrator facility on the front desk computer. There are some service providers that allow you to share internet while others insist that you connect each computer individually.
Depending on the level of activity, you may want to have an electronic ticketing and point of sale system. This ensures that there are no long queues for service with people complaining that they have been overlooked. Some advanced internet cafes even use a bar-code scanner. This way, they can audit every single product that is sold. The normal unit of measurement is the amount of time that the user spends. You can use other methods such as a token system. Do not forget to install some air-conditioning. The equipment is bound to heat up considerably in such a confined space, with such heavy-duty usage. Inevitably you may have to hire a technician to configure and maintain the different computers. It is likely that there will be issues from time to time which require professional attention.
Rules and regulations for internet cafe business
You will need to set out the terms of service which are publicly available. For example, some internet cafes do not allow the consumption of food and drinks. Others place restrictions on the content that can be searched, processed and printed. The state will also take an interest in internet activity and you may therefore be asked to maintain records. These rules may temporarily inconvenience some of your customers. However, they are essential in order to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly and that you do not get into trouble with the regulators.
Some internet cafe business owners take preventative measures by warning their prospective clients about the rules. They also install a monitoring system that will tell them when things are going wrong. Beware that there are some clients that will want to take advantage of a weak system. For example, they may do all their office downloads in the cafe whilst restricting the payments that they make. This means that your bandwidth is facing pressure and yet you are not getting paid for it.
Make sure you have a comprehensive internet cafe business plan
The failure to plan is the beginning of business failure. The internet cafe business plan must be clear and succinct enough to give your potential partners, clients and investors an overview of what your objectives are. At the same time, it must be detailed enough to explain the nuances of the business that you propose. At the very minimum you need to have the following included:
- The mission, vision and operational strategy
- Market Analysis And Customer Segmentation
- A business case showing that the business is financial viable and sustainable
- A marketing and customer care plan
- An organizational chart and human resource policy
- A three-year expansion outlook
- A risk and rewards Analysis
You will need to make an informed decision about the business type that you will adopt for your internet cafe business. Each of the different business entities requires very specific application processes for permits and registrations. The business type you select will determine who owns, runs and supervises the operations of the company. It’s also better to have a website for your internet cafe business.
Why open an internet cafe business?
The average internet cafe business will start off with anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000. That means that this is one of the least capital intensive businesses. You may need to budget for legal expenses, stationery, brochures, consultants, insurance, rent, accessories, refreshments, internet access, electricity, gas and marketing. These additional cost centers are determined by the scope that you want to achieve with your internet cafe business. They are also determined by the kinds of services that your clients demand.
The internet cafe business is a huge income earner for individual entrepreneurs. It also employs countless numbers of people in the developing world. The internet cafe business is particularly lucrative in the developing world. This is because many people have some knowledge of the internet but are not rich enough to purchase their own personal computer for home use.