Introduction: Executive Summary
Mark-Tech Consultants Inc. is a brainchild of individuals who have worked in various capacities in a range of global consulting service, market research and personal computers consulting firms. The company will be owned by the founders in collaboration with principal investors and operators.
Based on the knowledge and experiences of the founders, Mark-Tech will be a consulting firm that specializes in the marketing of high technology products and services to global markets (hence Mark-Tech). Particularly, the company will be offering manufacturers of high-techs reliable and high-quality consulting services on global business, channel and market development. This will involve high-level market research, retainer and project-based consulting. To ensure the best services, the company will work in collaboration with key players in the industry, with participants from key international technology consultancy brands, as well as particularly individuals with knowledge and years of experience in the industry.
The company will start by focusing on global clients in North American with global linkages, including HP, Microsoft and IMB, among others, with these companies acting as important linkages to their many external (global) partners. In this respect, the company plans to broaden its coverage by expanding into additional markets abroad, including Far East, Latin America and Western Europe)
This business plan will summarize projections of key aspects of business as they will apply to Mark-Tech. These will include:
Market problem (providing opportunities)
Description of products and/or services and how they will help solve the market problem cited above
Sales and Marketing Strategies and Activities
Legal Aspects and
Potential and Plan(s) for Expansion
Charge high value for higher value high-tech consultancy services for its clients
In this respect, and as already noted above, Mark-Tech Consultants Inc. will offer manufactures of high-tech reliable and high-quality consultancy services to help them with goal business, market and channel development. This involves the provision of high-level practical know-how and experience as well as contacts and confidentiality. The idea is to make sure that Mark-tech’s clients know they will interact with high professionalism and will be offered less risky answers to their problems by offering new ways of working in collaboration with their in-house teams. Internally Mark-Tech will aim to maintain high financial performance even as it provides high-value services to its clients.
Problem (Opportunity) and Solution (Idea)
Although there are other key competitors in the industry (such as Boston Consulting Group, etc.), many of these companies choose to do market research and business development in-house. However, these companies have not focused on niche markets. This is what Mark-Tech does; focusing on niche market. As already noted above, Mark-Tech will focus exclusively on large manufacturing corporations, offering consultancy that understand the needs of their extensive resource bases, which can be complex as well. These companies may have achieved a lot to the point that it seems there is hardly any room for further development in the market. For example, being a Fortune 500 company and becoming the most valuable company in the world in recent years, despite Apple Inc. has mainly continued to reap from its i-Pod, i-Phone and i-Pad. Other than that, the company may has not enjoyed much growth in the market in last few years. Using this example, these companies need to know that they can still grow further. Not many- if any companies- offer this service.
In this regard, what these companies need is a partner who understands the market better and can offer new ideas on new opportunities (including technological needs) and how they can meet these goals. This is the gap that Mark-Tech aims to fill, with plans to offer attractive development alternatives to high-tech (multimedia, software, etc) companies and having a hard time addressing new markets and market segments as well as opportunities that come with them. Although many large tech companies (like Apple, Inc.) have an in-house Research and Development (R&D) department, which are part of in-house market research (including on business development), Mark-Tech offers the extra advantage of development functions that spun off in a way better than in-house efforts, including extra market forums and research.
The role of Mark-Tech will be to offer high-tech companies solutions to their needs to identify new markets and new segments in them (such as in the emerging markets) as well as develop new distribution channels for their products. In this respect, the company’s services will cover three key areas: retainer consulting; project consulting; and market research.
In this respect, Mark-Tech will represent its client companies as extensions of their market development and business development functions. The company recognizes where the point at which this begins; that is, with the holistic understanding of the client’s situation (in relation to internal and external factors), short- and long-term goals and objectives and the barriers to the company’s short- and long-term goals and objectives (i.e. market and business development). In all this, Mark-Tech will be quiet and maintain confidentiality even as it sifts through new market opportunities and development options. At the same time, the company will represent its clients in initial negotiations with potential vendors, partners and channels.
On this, the company will offer its clients new ways to harness Mark-Tech’s key qualities, knowledge and experience to solve their problems as well as develop and implement plans. This will also include offering expertise on how the clients can collect and utilize key information and knowledge to optimize their abilities and capacities for growth. These services will be billed on the basis of project and milestone.
The company will finance its group studies, not just by in-house teams but also by key tech-consultancy brands and individuals. These studies will be packaged and published as complete studies of specific niche markets, channels or any other relevant issue (such as how to develop consumer channels in South Africa and the industry impacts of changing software margins. These studies will then be available on demand at the rate of between $20,000 and $35,000 per unit.
Competition Analysis and Market Opportunities
For a new entrant like Mark-Tech (more than for players already in the industry), competition determines the ability to enter the market. In this respect, competition comes in these four forms: in-house efforts; management consulting of high-level prestige; international market research companies; and smaller market-specific consultants
For companies with in-house initiatives do not always need consulting. Instead, they choose to keep market research, business and channel development in-house. In many cases, the managers do this as part of their day to day functions.
However, Mark-Tech sees an opportunity. The idea is for the company to present itself as the key solution to the limitations that come with such obligations on the part of the company. For example, the company can take advantage of the fact that managers are already occupied with the loads of day to day responsibilities and hardly have time for this extra work. Mark-Tech’s plans are to place emphasis on this extra work and its limitations on the well-intentioned organizational goals and objectives. Mark-Tech will present itself as the expert in the field. Equally, the company will use company vendors, alliances and old channels as leverage for attracting these clients.
Management Consulting of High-Level Prestige
Companies that offer these services (including Bain, McKinsey, etc.) are generalists that take their name-brand management consulting into specialty areas.
Again, there is an opportunity here for Mark-Tech, especially in relation to the weaknesses of these companies. One of their biggest weaknesses of these companies lies in their lack of sufficient to serve this particular niches market. Their structures are also generally weak, a weakness that manifests itself in the fact that many of their partners sell new jobs. Moreover, these companies use inexperienced associates to perform their tasks, including market research. Mark-Tech will present itself as the experts and will offer services of higher value to its clients.
International Market Research
These offer generally intensive competition in terms of published market research and forums. However, their focus on these two areas leaves other areas to tap into, which will offer opportunity for Mar-Tech
Smaller Market-Specific Consultants
These companies focus intensively on specific markets. However, they lack the capacity (financial or other) to serve the large companies that Mark-Tech seeks to target.
The business strategy will be consistent with the aspects that characterize the target market segment. As noted, the target clients are large and medium-sized technology companies. In this respect, Mark-Tech will large corporation executives, including general managers, marketing managers, sales person, among other personnel who may be charges with international focus (i.e. general market or specific channel focus). One notable characteristic of these organizations and individual is that they do not like to waste time or take risks with their money just because of a good bargain. In this respect, even as they seek for market and business development, these individuals are conscious of the potential risk to the company’s name and reputation, as well as market position. In fact, their reason for seeking these services is to improve the position of the company.
Against this backdrop, Mark-tech’s main strategy will be to focus on a group of well-chosen potential customer within the United States, Latin America and Europe.
All these will help to establish Mark-Tech as a real consulting company which is positioned as a generally risk-free partner for market and business development.
Marketing and Sales Strategy and Activities
Towards the implementation of its overall strategy (cited above) in a number of limited product segments (software, personal organizers, personal computers, networks, telecommunications and technology integration products), the company will ensure effective marketing and sales strategy.
The company will adopt a marketing mix in the frame of 4Ps: products/service(s); place; pricing; and promotion.
In this case, Mark-Tech will emphasize the exclusivity of the services it provides.
With tech-consultancy a big industry in the United States and Europe, focusing on these regions are part of the key areas of focus is important
Although at this stage the main focus should be on market entry, it is important that the company’s pricing strategy reflects its general positioning; the provision of high-quality and high-value services. In this respect, competition analysis having revealed a niche market opportunity, pricing will be on the upper side of the general market value. This is premium pricing. In this respect, the main focus is not on many clients, but high-value clients (that is, value).
This will generally involve advertising (which will involve online marketing, such as the use of interactive social marketing strategies) and direct marketing as well as sale promotion.
The marketing strategy will be implemented in conjunction with sales strategies. The sales strategy will involve interpersonal interaction, such as through one;-on-one meetings and networking.
Together, the marketing strategy and sales strategy should ensure good sales for the two services and two products (retainer and project consulting, and market research and strategic reports) within the first three years.
Like is the case for all other business, Mark-Tech is subject to legal frameworks within the countries where it operates (i.e. having to do with regulatory legislations) and even industry-specific laws. To mitigate potential legal liabilities, the company will ensue it abides by the general business and industry-specific legislations in the countries were it operates.
Most importantly, being a global company, chances are the company may have to enter online contracts (as opposed to written contracts). Unfortunately, on-line contracts pose bigger legal challenges than- albeit with equally adverse implications as- written implications. Yet, Mark-Tech cannot avoid online contracts, especially considering the nature of the business and the scope on the global level (i.e. the source of its clients) it has to deal with. To avoid all these issues, the company will work with the law firms with knowledge and experience with the modern online contracts. The assumption is that they will also be good with written contracts.
Based on data on potential customers, Mark-Tech is likely to enjoy relative growth in the first five years as it still establishes itself in the market. The table below summarizes the various aspects that will impact on Mark-Tech’s expansion within the first five years.
For capital, starting Mark-Tech will cost a lot of money. First, the start-up expense (for logo design, stationery, legal costs and other related expenses) is estimated at about $70,000. Next, start-up assets as expected to cost about $117,000 for the short-term assets (such as office furniture, among others) and an additional $90,000 initial cash for handling business (consulting) operations in the first few months as accounts and sales play through cash flow. In total, this comes to about $277,000.
Sources of Funds
The business will essentially depend on other capital from other sources (other than itself) in the first year of operation. From the second year, while the external sources will still be needed, profits from sales will start to complement these other sources. Generally, at the moment, these are the main categories for the finances needed for the start of Mark-Tech.
Savings from the Founders
The founders will inject their savings into the business. However, this will only raise a small amount of money. There ill, therefore, be need for more capital. This is where external sources come in.
Below are two main categories of funds:
The founders have approached various banks to ask for commercial loans. We look forward to positive response on this.
This is the most-preferred source. This is because equity finance allows for the involvement of the investors. This gives them a sense of ownership, which means they will be committed to the business in a way that commercial banks would not be. In other words, these investors would be committed to the success of the business. This is what Mark-Tech requires at this stage.
Of the range of equity venture alternatives, the most important ones (that would come with the required commitment) are: venture capital and angels.
Grants and Subsidies
Grants and subsidies (such as for start-up business) will ensure vital savings.
However, as noted above, from the second year (2018), the profits from the business are supposed to finance part of the subsequent operations. However, the contribution of the profits should grow every year as those of external sources should fall. In other words, while the percentage of the contribution of the profits in 2018 may be lower than that of the other sources, this should catch up with the external sources in 2019 and 2020 and start overtaking them from 2021 as the business becomes self-sustainable.
Generally, project consulting will be charged at the rate of $20,000 per day; market research at $7,500 per day; retainer consulting will cost $35,000 and strategic (market) reports will cost $20,000 for every report
With these figures, by estimation (using lower ranges), sales for the first year (2016) will be as follows:
The sales for retainer consulting is projected at $620,000
The sales for project consulting is expected to be $ 1,180,000
The sales for market research is projected at $1,550,000
The sale of strategic reports at this stage will still be $0. This is because in the first year the business will still not have enough money to finance extra research except those that are directly tied to client assignments. However, this is expected to change in the second year (2017)
The break-even point is $35,000.
Essentially, this is the plan for the Mark-Tech Consultants Inc. However, this business cannot come to fruition without the necessary financial base. We believe in the ability of this business to set off right and grow in the future. We need your expertise and experience in business in general and tech-consulting, as well as help raising capital for this business.