Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company Contact Information: 95 Jackson Avenue Dallas, TX 63453 (325) 555-2642 email@example.com This document contains confidential information. It is disclosed to you for informational purposes only. Its contents shall remain the property of Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company and shall be returned to Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company when requested. This is a business plan and does not imply an offering of securities. Table of Contents 1. Executive Summary Business Opportunity Product/Service Description 2. Company Background Business Description Company History Current Position and Business 3. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 1 3 5 4. Services 6 5. The Industry, Competition, and Market Market Definition Primary Competitors Customer Profile 6. Marketing Plan 7 10 7. Financial Plan Investment Plan Break-even Analysis Liquidity Plan Earnings Plan Risk Analysis 8. Conclusion 12 19 Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 1 1. Executive Summary The company provides a source for legal and free MP3 downloads. It is possible to download MP3s from thousands of artists. The pricing policy provides unlimited downloads for all members. The platform also enables artists to distribute and promote their music. Profits are from download sales and advertisement. The revenues of the first year are between $150,000 and $250,000. The goal of this start-up is the operation of an internet-based platform for music downloads. The expected number of customers is between 120,000 and 150,000. 1.1 Business Opportunity The company expects that the recorded music industry is undergoing significant change with the primary means of distribution transitioning from physical formats like compact disc to digital formats accessed over the Internet and wireless and cable networks. This change is occurring as a result of the popularity and proliferation of personal computers and portable digital music players, like the Apple iPod, and consumer acceptance and the music industry’s endorsement of legitimate digital music sales. The company intends to become a leading supplier of media and entertainment products over the Internet. The company also plans to continue to pursue and expand relationships with leading distributors in each of the media product categories and in new product categories, to establish joint ventures and strategic relationships with major firms and service providers, and to enter into arrangements with other e-commerce companies. Through the company's online music stores, it will provide consumers with access to music recordings, many of which are not readily accessible in traditional music retailers or otherwise available in digital format. In addition, the company provides a means for music and other sound recording content owners to make their content available to consumers at online music stores with minimal effort on their behalf. The company expects to enter into marketing agreements with certain consumer or retail companies and large e-commerce companies in order to market the music recordings directly to consumers, who will be encouraged to purchase these recordings at an online music store. The company intends to pursue a strategy aimed at delivering sustainable growth in earnings and company value. The company expects that the highly fragmented online media market and its anticipated growth provide an opportunity for expanding the company’s business and increasing its overall market share. The key strategies of the company are to: increase the number of customers Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company make strategic investments improve service and product quality 1.2 Product/Service Description The company intends to become a leading supplier of media and entertainment products over the Internet. The company generates revenues primarily through selling video downloads and similar products. 2 The provided rights generally allow the company to electronically distribute, market, promote, and sell the available music recordings, including by digital download and by digital transmission, such as streaming media and downloads to mobile phones. The internet and mobile technology now make it economically feasible for online music stores to make virtually an unlimited number of music recordings available to consumers for purchase at any time. Sophisticated online search tools permit consumers of music and other sound recordings to identify and purchase many previously inaccessible recordings. Figure 1.1 shows the distribution of revenues. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 3 2. Company Background The internet offers for the first time the opportunity to create a global marketplace for music downloads. The company is an internet media and content company that offers a network of web sites and aggregated content distributed primarily on their own platform serving business professionals and consumers. It will become one of the most widely used platforms for music downloads and similar products. The company makes its basic properties like information, search engine, media content available without charge to users, and generates revenue primarily through the sale of downloads. Additional advertising on the platform is sold through the company's internal advertising sales force and third- party agents. 2.1 Business Description The company's performance is substantially dependent on the efforts and performance of its senior management. The company has a strong management team with significant experience in the online industry, the leisure and entertainment sector, information technology, payment processing, media, e-commerce, and customer support. 2.2 Company History The company was incorporated in 2004. The company begins commercial distribution of the services in the fourth quarter of 2006. The fiscal year of the company is the calendar year and the life expectancy of the company is unlimited. The company plans to have 20 employees in the first business year. Competition for qualified sales, marketing, and technical personnel is intense as these employees are in limited supply, and the company might not be able to hire and retain sufficient numbers of such personnel to grow the business. The company plans to substantially expand the sales operations and marketing efforts, both domestically and internationally, in order to increase market awareness and sales of services and products. The company will also need to increase technical staff. Figure 2.1 shows the current distribution of labor costs for each segment. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 4 2.3 Current Position and Business The growing adoption of the web represents an enormous opportunity for businesses to conduct commerce over the internet. The ability to successfully offer products and services, and implement the business plan in a rapidly evolving market requires an effective planning and management process. Future expansion efforts could be expensive and require additional resources. The company plans to continue to increase the scope of the operations at a rapid rate. The company expects that its continued growth and profitability will depend in large part on its ability to increase its brand name awareness and to provide its customers with superior community and music experiences. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 5 3. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company The company offers users the opportunity to join one of the world's largest music download platforms. Any visitor to this platform can browse over 600,000 items for sale, many of which are unique or otherwise hard to find, organized across 330 product categories. In order to increase traffic to the company's web sites, increase revenues and to extend the brand internationally, the company seeks to enter into strategic relationships with business partners who offer music content, technology, and distribution capabilities as well as marketing and cross-promotional opportunities. The company offers a comprehensive suite of products and services through its media platform. The music recordings are from various genres and time periods, and include new and past hits, top sellers, chart hits, world music, previously unreleased music recordings, live performances, sound tracks, music that may no longer be readily available and other music. The company's platform, which can be accessed through the web site, provides users with premier internet navigation functionality, personalized information resources, and online community products. These products and services are developed internally by the company to increase the number of music downloads. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 6 4. Services The market in which the company competes is characterized by rapidly changing technology, evolving industry standards, frequent new service and product announcements, introductions and enhancements and changing customer demands. This means that a core focus will be placed on the detection of new trends and the development of new services. The company plans to expand its operations by developing and promoting new and complementary services, products or download formats and expanding the breadth and depth of services. This will increase revenues in the long run. The company also plans to enter into co-marketing and service agreements with certain internet, consumer and retail companies in order to offer new services for the customers and find new customers. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 7 5. The Industry, Competition, and Market A careful analysis of the market and competitive forces in this industry is a key element in assessing the business potential of the project. This analysis will provide marketing and sales data that are indispensable to optimally develop the business potential. Market is defined as the market where the company plans to operate in the next four years. 5.1 Market Definition The growth of the Internet, the proliferation of advanced digital media and the advancement of communications infrastructure have fundamentally changed the way people work, shop, entertain, and communicate. According to several research institutes, in 2004, there were over 273 million online households worldwide. Of these households, approximately 127 million were accessing the Internet through broadband connections, while the majority continued to access the Internet through dial-up connections. Dial-up connections provide transmission rates of up to 56 Kbps, allowing for basic applications such as e-mail and low bandwidth Internet access. Comparatively, most of the 127 million households accessing the Internet through broadband connections were utilizing first generation broadband, such as DSL, ADSL, or cable modems, for faster downloading of data. Today, consumers and businesses are increasingly demanding access to advanced digital media, video, communications and interactive broadband applications. The legitimate digital music industry emerged in 2003 with the introduction of iTunes and other online music stores. Industry sources estimate that the worldwide recorded music market was approximately $32 billion in 2004, and the digital music segment of this market represented approximately 1% in 2004. Industry sources reported that downloaded digital music increased to 6% of the total music market during the first half of 2005, and project that the digital music segment will represent approximately 25% of all recorded music sales in 2010. Figure 5.1 shows average growth figures in revenues of all available companies in the specified market during the past five years. Despite slowing global economic growth in general a lot of companies with an international focus and new services have experienced constant growth rates of more than 35%. For 2005 a growth rate of 40% is expected with strong development in the third and fourth quarter. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 8 5.2 Primary Competitors The company currently faces measurable competition from other internet companies. The local internet industry is comprised of a few large, well-known companies, several mid-sized companies like this company, and a large number of relatively small independent companies. Several new companies have emerged producing similar services. Competition might come from the use of existing internet platforms and technologies, and also from the development of new services. To further examine the competitive environment it is necessary to define the players in that environment. Figure 5.4 shows the size of businesses in this market segment. The numbers are based on average revenues of companies that run their business more than five years.The company believes that the products and services are not easily substitutable with the products of the competitors due to the level of technology, but nonetheless the company must constantly maintain the technology developments. 5.3 Customer Profile The company markets and sells the products worldwide through a combination of its own Internet platform and third-party internet provider to all kinds of customers. This includes private and business customers. Figure 5.2 shows the demand for the described services. Numbers are based on average revenues per customer of a particular group multiplied by the number of customers in the respective group. This gives total demand share per group. Figure 5.3 shows revenues by yearly income of private persons. The figure shows revenues generated per income group. Numbers are based on the average income per customer and the number of customers per income group. As can be seen customers in the middle income segment generate the highest revenues. High-use, low-income groups, such as students, generate relatively low revenue streams. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 9 Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 10 6. Marketing Plan Effective marketing together with consistent promotion are the keys to success online. The company focuses on a comprehensive web marketing and classical marketing strategy designed to attract new customers, convert leads into sales, and maximize the revenue. In the start-up phase it is a central task of the marketing concept to establish name recognition and its own trade mark. Several marketing and sales promotion strategies are available in the online industry. Figure 6.1 shows different marketing elements and their use in marketing strategies as well as their estimated potential success factor. Later on, the strategy will primarily be targeted to gain new customers and create customer loyalty of repeat customers. The figure can serve as a direction for the planning of a marketing and sales promotion strategy. The numbers are based on comparable businesses. Online marketing The internet is a complex medium and it offers tremendous scope for advertising and business promotion especially for online-based companies. The company has the budget and strategy that allows it to use dozens of traffic providers to link to its core web site. It carefully tracks not only expenditures but also the ROI from each source. Print advertising Newspaper advertising is an integral and desired part of the marketing strategy. Print media advertising is a mass communication tool. Printed advertisements will be used in national and international games magazines to increase the number of customers. Marketing cooperation The best way to find out who would make a good partner is to research the potential businesses in the industry. Sales promotion Sales promotion strategies have temporary effects only. Sales promotion will be used for a limited time to increase the number of customers. The strategy will include special offers with opening discounts for new customers. The initial prices will be reduced by 50% for the first three month. This strategy is expected to continue for one to two years. Direct marketing The company uses direct marketing campaigns with e-mail and mailing lists as well as newsletters. This strategy will be used to increase the revenue per customer. Spreading costs of such mailing are very low, therefore this marketing element provides a useful and efficient tool. On the other hand, acquiring data about customers and prospects will be time consuming and expensive. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 11 Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 12 7. Financial Plan The financial plan is the key factor for the success of a business start-up. Investors and banks will base their funding decision on the information given in this plan. Besides a plan of the financial needs, this plan must ensure that the business is always liquid and ultimately profitable. The sales and earnings projections in the business plan are based on expectations, therefore the financial plan has to be revised and refined on a constant basis so that discrepancies can be uncovered and solved instantly. The inputs for this financial plan are based on other companies, which serve as a group of comparable firms, as well as its own estimates based on the planned business environment. Revenue estimates are conservative and expense projections include a cushion for unforeseen contingencies. All figures are refined by statistical simulations. The most important features of the financial plan and the financial strategy can be summarized by the following points. The initial capital requirement is estimated to be $250,000 to $300,000. This is comparable to other businesses in the segment. There will be further capital requirements in the following years. The growth rates of the whole company are expected to be very strong in the first three years of the business. Revenue and profitability for the company is reliant on, among other things, the level of acceptance of the company’s products in international markets. The company will proceed with the strategy of increasing revenues by cross-selling to an existing customer base, in the form of both bundled service packages and individual additional services as they become available. The gross margin is high for all four years. This ratio only takes into account sales and variable costs, therefore this ratio is a good indicator of a firm's efficiency in producing and distributing its products. The sales margin is expected to be 15% to 20%. The profitability is driven by the ability to control operating expenses, which have declined in past years due to cost-control measures other businesses in the industry have taken, such as employee reductions. The company anticipates that operating expenses generally will remain stable in line with revenue growth. Because many of the operating expenses, such as those relating to sales and marketing, are variable, the company believes that it can calibrate expenses to growth in the business to a significant degree. Depending on the initial investment, sum cost and revenue estimates vary. Figure 7.1 shows the expected relationship of cost and revenues. As can be seen the relationship is not linear everywhere but costs decrease relative to sales. This effect is due to the better utilization and efficiencies of personnel and rising revenues with stable costs. The details of the financial plan are laid out in more detail as follows: Section 7.1 gives an investments schedule. This includes all investments necessary during the Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company start-up phase. Section 7.2 gives a break-even analysis that shows revenues at the break-even point. Every additional sales dollar adds to profit and vice versa. Section 7.3 gives a liquidity plan. This plan is based on current cost and revenue estimates from Section 7.2. Liquidity must always be positive. 13 Section 7.4 contains a long-term profit projection for the first four years of business. The projection shows that the critical amount of revenues at which the business is profitable and how profit develops over time. Section 7.5 provides a risk analysis. The risk analysis contains critical factors that may impact the financial numbers presented in this plan. 7.1 Investment Plan The investment plan comprises primary capital needs for the foundation and operation of the business. The plan also includes initial marketing and sales promotion expenses. The figures are based on comparable businesses. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 14 7.2 Break-even Analysis The break-even analysis shows how earnings rise as a function of sales. The break-even point is the point at which revenues from sales cover total costs (fixed costs and variable costs rising with sales). This analysis is important for the development of the liquidity plan and the pricing policy. If the break-even point is not achieved in the long run, the business loses liquidity and may become insolvent. This requires that a critical amount of revenues must be generated. At a sales revenue of $700,000 and given total costs the business will begin to generate a profit. Fixed costs of this business are estimated at $100,000 to $200,000 and variable costs are estimated at $500,000. In this case, fixed costs are expenses that do not vary with sales volume. These costs have to be paid regardless of sales. Variable costs vary directly with the sales volume. At an estimated revenue of about $1,900,000 after two to three years profits are expected to rise to $130,000. This represents a revenue margin of about 7%. These estimates are realistic in this market segment and comparable to similar businesses. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 15 Increasing sales volume will increase pre-tax earnings margins but this development reverses when administrative costs begin to rise sharply. Up to a sales volume of $3,000,000 earnings margins rise to 9.5% after which the margin decreases to constant 8.5%. Figure 7.2 shows at which critical sales volume the business generates a profit. This serves as a base for a business and pricing strategy. Additionally the graph shows the amount of sales at which a marketing campaign can be run profitably. 7.3 Liquidity Plan The liquidity plan shows the amount of finances necessary to assure permanent liquidity of the complete business. The liquidity plan is based on four representative months of a typical business. Revenue estimates and costs are simulated from a standard normal distribution. Cash is constant at $1,000 for every month. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 16 7.4 Earnings Plan The earnings plan shows the results from ordinary operations. The plan is based on the first four years of business. Revenue estimates are drawn from a normal distribution with a strong estimated growth rate. Figure 7.3 shows net income. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 17 7.5 Risk Analysis The risk analysis considers critical factors that may lead to a failure of the business concept. Such factors can involve failures during the implementation phase as well as during operations. Such potential factors are ordered according to the probability at which they can arise. Shown are the key factors that led to the failure only. Data are drawn from surveys from 12 businesses with different services as well as revenue and cost structures. 1. The internet industry relies to a high degree on technology. The company faces the risk that further technology changes will be required, which would result in an increase in costs. The company therefore continues to seek alliances with major industry players when taking advantage of technology changes. The company cannot predict the effect of these technological changes on the specific business. In addition, the existing technologies and systems of the company may not be competitive with new superior technologies and services. These developments could require the company to incur unbudgeted upgrades or the procurement of additional products that could be expensive. If the company does not adequately replace or upgrade the technology and equipment that becomes obsolete, it might not be able to compete effectively. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 18 2. A change of the business process could result in increased expenses or delays in commercialization and, therefore, could delay revenues and adversely affect our future operating results. Many of the competitors have similar services that have already been tested by the customers or are in development. The future success of the company will also depend in large part on the ability to attract and retain highly qualified service and management personnel. The company faces competition for personnel from other companies, academic institutions, government entities, and other organizations. Behavior of Competition: Due to low entry barriers additional businesses can enter the market at low cost. Approximately 16% of insolvent businesses were driven out of the market by that competition. A better service concept, innovative ideas, and concentration on core businesses are easy means for an entrant to gain a competitive edge. The company has never generated positive annual cash flow from the core operating activities, and it may not generate or sustain positive cash flows from operations in the future. The ability to generate sufficient cash flow will depend on the ability to successfully develop new services and to sell these services. Insufficient demand and customer loyalty: This frequently leads to business failure. This includes permanently low demand as well as a temporary collapse in demand. Often demand estimates were too optimistic at the outset. Such failures might also come from external shocks instead of operating deficiencies. Approximately 25% of businesses with insufficient demand go bankrupt. The expected frequency of insufficient business demand during the start-up phase is low, therefore a critical success factor is to focus promotional effort so as to generate customer loyalty early on, which will help minimize the effects of demand fluctuations. This is also important for the future development of the business. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Business Plan For A Music Download Portal Company 19 8. Conclusion The business of a music download portal requires a comprehensive technology. Because the competition is high, it is necessary to develop new solutions, contents, and to find profitable market niches. New companies in this business can be sure to have a high demand with a high sales margin. The expected margins are between 33% to 35%. The main cost drivers are license fees and marketing costs to find new customers. A professional music platform with the newest technology is essential. This is the chance for new businesses with innovative ideas and new offerings to secure a large customer basis. Service and technology are factors that can earn a competitive edge. For a successful operation of a music download portal company five factors are critical and central to the business strategy: The music download portal provides access to technical support and information to meet customers’ needs. Cost management is a critical success factor for businesses in industries where margins are low. The expected margin for one download is between 3% to 5%. Service is very important. This will secure customer loyalty and optimize profitability in a market that is very competitive. The expected costs for additional services activities are between 5% to 10%. On the other hand, the expected additional growth rates due to new services activities are between 8% and 12%. Online transaction platforms need to use various technologies and approaches to know each customer, and respond effectively to customers’ needs and demands. The number of downloads has to be between 15,000 and 25,000 per month to ensure a profitable business.
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