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A Computer and Gaming Store, so many questions, so little time.

DCandGDCandG subscriber Posts: 1
edited January 2007 in Business Planning
Hi All,
I just found these forums today by requesting this type of forum in another forum!  I am glad I have found you all as I have just started to browse and love the information I have been processing.
First things first, I am in IT and my fiance is an accountant for a big corporation, we are both supervisors in our respective deptarments but have now decided to go out into the wild on our own.  Where we live the housing prices are insane, the stores are empty and the general infrastructure of the city is a wreck.  Where we are going is a smaller community of about 6000 with 20 000 people within 25minutes, a lot of rural. There is current one computer store that sells hardware and there stock is very limited, almost to cables and power supplies and 3 that do sevice.  We are going to sell Computer hardware, software, PC service, Console games and everything with that. 
Where we are at...
We have just completed our business plan and have submitted it to the bank.  Our company is incorporated and we have found a couple high traffic prospective buildings.
Questions, Questions, Questions...
We do have a distributor <Ingram Micro>, I was wondering if anyone knew any other good electronic distributors? Also do I have to contact Ninitendo and Sony to become a reseller or do they have their own specific distributors?
We are thinking of doing an E-commerce site, something along the lines of www.memoryexpress.com</A>, but I dont know if I would need a full time webmaster to keep it dynamic or if I can do it myself. I have used programs like PHPNuke and stuff but not HTML.  Also all the web design places I have found make very static, basic websites...not like my example.  I am in Canada BTW so not sure if it best top get a web design place close to me.
Does anyone know where a good place with inventory templates would be, or anything IT retail inventory related? I searched inventory on the site here but the results were varied and not what I was looking for (will continue to search here, of course).
I have kind of got negative and positive responses from family, and that has caused us to at time doubt ourselves. Bottom line is we are not happy doing what we are doing and in the long run will be forced to buy a 200k house for 400k, and the mortgage that goes with it, so the loss in income is not that hard to take.  We do not have kids yet so the risk is our at this point.
We hope to open in 3 months, with a marriage in Belize in Feb.
I have many more questions but this post is getting long, and i havent done near enough surfing of this wonderful website!
Anyways, all advice and tips are welcome and very much appreciated!
J & RDCandG2007-1-15 14:9:2


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    MNGrillGuyMNGrillGuy subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    Let`s evaluate the opportunity.
    You are looking to sell computers and gaming devices along with software and service to a community of about 25K whom currently you feel are underserved. 
    Is this community in fact underserved?  Perhaps most of them are getting hardware on-line.  Dell, Gateway, and others offer excellent on-line retailing.  If possible you should try get a pulse of the community to see if a brick-n-motar location is actually in demand.  You need to find out what your competitive advantage is over the existing market suppliers.  Then figure out how to leverage that advantage to bring value to your customers.   
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    DCandGDCandG subscriber Posts: 1
    Hey folks, thanks for the input. I will definately check out Vstore.ca , sounds like something i am looking for.
    GrillGuy, there are a couple things I should add, my family name has a large presense in the town(car dealership). Between my future wife and I we are related or networked to a large portion of the town, also going to high school there 16 years ago means I have many connections and peers that I know or know me by name.
    The thing is, I have been dealing with people from this town for many years and they have all complains about the terribly showdy<sp.> service they receive, but that they go to these same 2 or 3 service places because there is no alternative.  Just calling these places and asking about their prices and timelines for work to be done tells me that they are all very busy.
    Dell is pretty much all anyone uses for online system purchases. Clients have been disappointed with service wait times and the 8-10 people I have talked to say they will not go with Dell again.
    I have been kind of hard up for any type of solid information, but I guess that is the risk you take. As far as I am concerned within a year there will be less then 3 PC stores in the town, or so I hope.
    The risk isnt THAT big as we are both highly employable professionals, who will not find it hard to get a job later on.  Picking up a couple hundred thousand in debt would not be great but hey, debt..is the Canadian way.  Saying, "If I only tryed to start that business" for the next 40 years, is a thought much harder to deal with then debt, IMHO.
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    kgkg subscriber Posts: 3
    Hello J & R:
    I definately want to respond to your post.  While developing a tech museum for a town with a base population, 35,000 county base, and 2.1 million seasonl visitors from a 5 state region, I learned many positive and negative benefits to our plan.  Our board assumed internet providers would eventually change throughout the county from DSL to Cable.  Two years later, many residents do not have high speed internet access.  Satelite has it`s limitations.  My husband is an executive with one of the largest tech firms in the world but is not a technician.  We hired an executive director to guide our board, who had technical experience.  One board member`s husband was a website developer and insisted on Frontpage rather than HTML.  I had designed websites and enjoyed Flash, HTML, and Dreamweaver.  We developed a php/forum for our advisor board to get involved.
    My experience led me to the following conclusion.  Work on the strengths that are currently in the community and not what will come in the future as growth takes place.  More than half of our county uses Dial Up.  Businesses use a community website to advertise and have a one webpage on the community website.  Advertizing in the newspaper and having articles written by reporters will get you in columns where people read.  Unsuccessful computer businesses have closed their door in this community leaving the gaming, software stores to sell second hand items at a discount.  Walmart and Target sell games and electronics.  They do not have services or make service calls.  Gamestop in 45 minutes away and accepts trade-ins on games and hardware.  No one buys old computers, they must be donated or thrown-away.
    Now, if I were in your shoes, I would consider my business model based on communty needs rather than what I want to sell.  A small community is going to expect you to do much of your work for free or volunteer your services at non-profit fundrasinng events.  Creating a package of services, products, and solutions to a small business might be a great marketing tool and get you in the door.  Align your service and products with other stores, offering incentives to car buyers to recieve free or discounted items.  Then, you are certain to have a market.  Brand your own product and go statewide with your town`s name of the product is a huge success in most communities.
    Paying too much for a rural home is unfortunately the price we all pay when moving out of the city.  People see land as an investment now, regardless of it`s use.  Many people build storefronts on their property right next to their home to avoid higher property taxes and rent on retail space. Look for alternatives and you might be surprised.  Most importantly, think like a person from a small town and be determined to be happy with your move to a rural community.
    I wish you complete success,
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