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Prepared for

Jeff Anderson

Prepared by Jennifer Lyons Danielle Linn Leo Mackesy Malinda Lopes

November 16, 2000


Executive Summary The Bobcat Connection will be a care package delivery service for Ohio University students at the main campus and the regional branches. The new local ecommerce will have its own on-line brochure which describes in detail its custom care packages, a create your own care package section, and contact information for customers. The Bobcat Connection will also offer a delivery service to all Ohio University students, alleviating the hassles student run organizations usually cause by making students pick up their orders somewhere on campus. To target potential customers, The Bobcat Connection will use several marketing strategies including on-line marketing, local advertisements, newsletters, and Ohio University’s Pre-College orientation. On-line marketing will be done through services

by Market My Dot Com and local advertisements will be done in The Post and The Athens Messenger, and various local establishments. Newsletters will be distributed to Ohio University students’ home addresses to market to parents and family members, our target market. Finally Ohio University’s Pre-College will be used as means to advertise to incoming freshmen and their parents. Since, many start-up companies usually cannot get a loan from a financial institution, The Bobcat Connection will use private sources as a primary source of money. In addition, investors, local merchants, and Ohio University will be used as additional sources of income. Products for each care package will be purchased through wholesale warehouses and manufacturers. Each individual package will be delivered to


the student’s door by The Bobcat Connection delivery van. Student’s residing at the regional campuses will have their packages distributed by Federal Express. The Bobcat Connection will be a joint partnership between four investors, Leo Mackesy, Danielle Linn, Malinda Lopes, and Jennifer Lyons. In the future, several employees will be hired to help in all aspects of the company. Students from the University will be targeted for employment. Business Description The Bobcat Connection is a full service care package delivery business for Ohio University students at the main campus and the regional branches. We will operate on the Athens campus out of Baker Center, Monday through Friday 8am-6 pm. Our main products are custom care packages, which offer a wide variety of food and gifts for any type of student. These packages include Chocolate Lovers, Get Well Soon, Away from Home, Late Night Munchies, and Java Dreams. Customers will also have the option of creating their own package or adding to an already made package. Our customers will be able to view our products in an on-line brochure displaying all of the items. The order page will give customers our location and contact information. Since there is no competition in the Athens area, our customers will greatly benefit from The Bobcat Connection. Up until now there has been only student run organizations on the Ohio University campus offering this type of service during exam weeks. These packages often do not reach the student, resulting in a loss of the customers’ money. Many times care packages distributed by student organizations require the recipient to come to a location on campus to pick up their package. The Bobcat Connection will alleviate this step by delivering the packages to their door. Care


packages will be available year round for those special occasions or just because. In the end, The Bobcat Connection will save the customer hassles such as buying the products, shipping, and delivery. Market Analysis In order for The Bobcat Connection to be profitable a marketing plan must be implemented. The Bobcat Connection’s target market is parents, friends, and family members of Ohio University students. The primary means of advertising for the local care package company is through an on-line brochure, newsletters, advertisements in The Post, and various materials distributed to new college students at Pre-College. By putting The Bobcat Connection on-line, the target market is easily reached. Since more and more individuals are beginning to buy products on-line it is a vital method of marketing. In fact, “about 34 percent of U.S. householders have made a purchase over the Internet in the past year, up from 24 percent a year ago” (Oh To Be Young, Wealthy and Online, 2000). Individuals also tend to purchase inexpensive items with approximately 28 percent claiming that their largest purchase totaled less than $50. The Bobcat Connection features many items under $50, increasing the on-line market ability. On top of the on-line brochure, The Bobcat Connection will utilize services and ideas provided by Market My Dot Com. Specifically, the company will submit the URL to Market My Dot Com’s Search Engine Submission Resource Center to submit the web address to 50 major search engines and indexes world-wide (Market My Dot Com, 2000). To market even more to the target audience, newsletters will be mailed to students’ home addresses to notify parents of a new care package company on campus. The various care packages, their prices, the company’s services, and the web address will


be described in detail in the newsletter. Besides the newsletter, advertisements will be placed in The Post, The Athens Messenger, and in various local establishments. In order to establish longer relationships between parents of OU students, a large portion of marketing will be devoted to new Ohio University students. The Bobcat Connection will partner with the University to allow advertisements during the Pre-college period. Finance Starting up a new business is a challenge no matter what the product is. Implementing The Bobcat Connection into the Athens area and Ohio University’s regional campuses will be a timely costly process. Like most new businesses, the issue of where to get money is the first priority. Since The Bobcat Connection is a new business, getting a loan from an institutional source, such as a bank is almost impossible (IdeaCafe’s Financing Your Biz, 2000). Private sources, such as friends, family members, and other personal sources are the best option. Specifically, these private

sources will allow The Bobcat Connection to rent a small room in Baker Center to house the start-up e-commerce business. This initial source of income will also be used to begin the marketing campaign to potential customers, a delivery van, and for the products for each individual care package. In addition to private sources, outside investors will contribute to the growth and start up of the company. In particular, investors from the products that are distributed in our care packages will be this source of capital for The Bobcat Connection. Allowing them to have a small portion of our profits will be an incentive to invest. Ohio University will also be asked to contribute to The Bobcat Connection, since this business is marketing to Ohio University students and their parents. A partnership can be


established between the University the new e-commerce business. Local businesses will be solicited through a memo describing the new company and asking for their support and possibly donations to help the company get started and hopefully continue in the area for a long time. Also, in the future, care packages are going to carry more Ohio University items for the custom care packages, and therefore use donated items from local bookstores such as Follet's, College, and Specialty. Supply Since, The Bobcat Connection’s funding is minimal options are limited. The best way to handle inventory would be the first in, first out method due to lack of storage and funding. This method will save money and also eliminate sitting on our products for long periods of time. The Bobcat Connection speculates that the company would have most of its business at the beginning and ending of each quarter. This influx of business would be anticipated, so multiple packages would be bought in bulk from various wholesalers such as Sam’s Club and PJ’s, and Odd Lots. In order to store our inventory a small storage unit will be rented. During the middle of the quarter, however, purchasing merchandise from local merchants like Wall Mart, K-Mart, and Ames would be the most economical. Products will be bought as needed. Many of our add-on items, as well as the baskets, are custom-made by Athens residents. These individuals have agreed to sell us their merchandise for a small fee in return for publicity. In addition, The Bobcat Connection will develop a partnership with some of the major distributors like M&M, Nestle, Star Bucks, and Campbell’s in order to save money. They will be solicited to supply us with their products by offering them a


percentage of our profits. This would eliminate some of the buying from wholesalers and would allow the company to purchase exactly what products it needed from the distributors. Distribution Ordering from the catalog will trigger the distribution process. Ordering will be done by telephone, fax, or mail at first due to uncertainty in setting up an ordering-secure website. Customer service representatives will input the data of the order into the computers as they receive individual orders. Customer databases will help the company store customer information. The information will then be easily accessible to find out who has ordered which package, where they are from, how much they are willing to spend, what the recipients name is, and if they have paid. Assembly will begin with the order assistants. The company will have bins with each product in its own bin. When an order is taken the assistant will read the list and pull the items. After the items have been pulled, assemblers will arrange the items and put the care packages together. Orders will be handled as they are received. Assembly time will be taken into account when telling customers how soon the package will be ready and shipped or delivered. After the packages are ready, delivery will begin. Most recipients of the care packages will have their orders delivered by a company delivery van. The delivery person will require a signature of the person who accepted the package. Delivery attempts to off-campus students will be made twice. If the attempts are unsuccessful, the student will be able to come to Baker to pick up their package. If the student resides in


the dorms the delivery may be left with the building office if someone is there to sign for it. Delivery to regional campuses will be made through Federal Express and will be delivered daily. The shipping service will be chosen by the person giving the package. Those who order packages for students at regional campuses will be charged for the delivery cost according to the cost of their package. Technology will be very useful in understanding the business. A database program such as Microsoft’s Access can maintain historical records of customer information, orders made, and billing information. From this we can obtain specific information such as what types of goods are ordered, where the orders go, and what sorts of students are receiving packages. This information will help our marketing department target more customers. Administration The Bobcat Connection will be a partnership between four entrepreneurs. Leo Mackesy, Danielle Linn, Malinda Lopes, and Jennifer Lyons are all equal partners, splitting all costs at 25 percent each. A total of four employees are going to be hired to assist each individual partner of the company as seen in figure 1. Future plans include adding a few more employees to assist mainly with customer service and delivery. Possible employees would be students at the University and local residents.

Jennifer Lyons VP of Finance

Leo Mackesy VP of Marketing

Danielle Linn VP of Distribution

Melinda Lopes VP of Supply

Employee 1 Accountant

Employee 2 Marketing Assitant (Possibly an OU Intern)

Employee 3 Delivery Person

Employee 4 Customer Service


Conclusion In the years to come, The Bobcat Connection hopes to expand its products and services. With the help of local businesses, the company would like to include more Ohio University products in the care packages. Another opportunity for growth lies in online ordering. Specifically, a more interactive web site that includes a full service order form and a guaranteed secure network for credit card orders would be implemented. For the initial startup of the company, an online brochure will be posted rather than having people actually order from the site because of the possibility of crackers and legalities. A URL will be obtained through email addresses already in place. The four different webpages will be created in notepad and then converted to HTML files. After changing the files, each file will be FTP’ed to the individual file to become a web page. A URL will then be in place from oak email accounts. Hopefully, with these additions we will become profitable and find a location in Athens for the business. Our goal is to be the major provider of care packages for all Ohio University students.


Works Cited Cox, Beth. “Oh To Be Young, Healthy and Online.” Internet News. [November 10, 2000, November 11, 2000],,4_508491,00.html “IdeaCafe’s Financing Your Biz’.” IdeaCafe. [unknown, November 14, 2000]. “Market My Dot Com!!!” [unknown, November 11, 2000]. “The Anatomy of a Winning Business Plan.” IdeaCafe. [unknown, November 14, 2000.]


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