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Talking to others in the same business.

sdlewissdlewis subscriber Posts: 3
edited August 2007 in Grab Bag
Hello all.This is my first post after many weeks of reading SuN.I am in the process of writing my business plan and am at a point where I want to talk to other business people in the same or similar line of work but I am a bit apprehensive to just call `em up.Do any SuN folks have suggestions or ways to learn about existing businesses?My business will be dealing with IT equipment at the end of its useful life.  I have determined that there are no "established" businesses in my city doing what I plan to do. Thanks for any help and suggestions.
sdlewis2007-6-25 15:36:39

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    sdlewissdlewis subscriber Posts: 3
    Thank you CraigL for your reply and I agree these forums are great place to start. The end of useful life is relative to each client. For instance we contract with manufacturing facility that will be replacing 200 desktop PCs, 75 laptops and 10 laser printers. The problem is that the client can not put this hardware into the landfill and the data that remains on the hard drives of the soon to be replaced equipment must be destroyed and their own IT staff is stretched to the limit . While this equipment is obsolete in the clients view the hardware may very well be valuable in another market and this is were my company enters the scene. This is a vastly simplified view of what we do but I hope it gets the idea across. Our value proposition is that we free the clients staff to continue supporting their productive employees, we provide risk mitigation via effective data destruction and recycling thus providing disposal indemnification, and possible revenue sharing on items that are resold.
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    sdlewissdlewis subscriber Posts: 3
    Thank you CampSteve! Your suggestion is great.I agree that if a person does not perceive me as a threat they are more willing to share industry information with me.I am interested what others in my area of business are charging for similar services. This will help me in the financial areas of my business plan. I suppose I could pose as a potential customer and request their fee structure etc.
    sdlewis2007-6-26 11:17:54
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    sdlewissdlewis subscriber Posts: 3
    Thanks CraigL!I appreciate your sharing of experiences and your insight  into  your  needs as a home computer user with the need to dispose of a computer.This is all very helpful.
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    ObsidianLaunchObsidianLaunch subscriber Posts: 7
    This is an extremely interesting discussion.
    One word of warning - if you take used computer equipment, it may contain active or deleted data that can easily be retrieved or restored. I suggest you address this potential concern with clients, because when you take their old equipment you may also be taking some important (and expensive) data. 
    You may need to wipe storage media clean before redeploying it.ObsidianLaunch2007-6-26 22:3:15
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    sdlewissdlewis subscriber Posts: 3




    Thank you ObsidianLaunch.

    I agree with you 100% on your word of warning!

    Actually secure data elimination via data-wipe or physical destruction is the basis of my current rough-draft business plan with other associated services occurring after the elimination stage.

    Do you have any suggestions for acquiring intelligence about ones competitors? I would like to learn their pricing structure and how much product and services they are selling. I think this would be included in the steps of due diligence, or am I off base? I want to be very thorough but ethical in my business building.

    Thanks again.






    sdlewis2007-6-27 0:43:59
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    KinkadeOppKinkadeOpp subscriber Posts: 0
    I understand that you may be apprehensive about calling other businesses, but in my experience I have found that talking to other people in like businesses to be very valuable.  You will find that people will be open to sharing more information than you expect, if you give them a chance to talk about themselves. 
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    MarketcentricMarketcentric subscriber Posts: 0
    Some very good points mentioned previously.  A couple of new suggestions:1) interview the customers of your competitors as an alternative.  Sometimes they are happy to give up some very useful information (price, likes/dislikes, volume, etc.).  From a business planning perspective, you can leverage this visit to validate your unique marketing differentiators and even lock-in a commitment to try your service when launched.  Investors love to see actual market validation.2) Some other value-adds you might bundle into your offering:  a) reporting - give them an accurate inventory of the equipment they are disposing (the odds are they won`t really know the specifics and it will be useful in recording the asset/financial transactions)  b)  scan in the original operator/user manual into pdf  format  and  provide this as a value-add for the resale of the equipment  (there are companies in India that can do this for you).  Most manuals are hard to come by after a year or two.
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