This is Part 2 of a 5 Part series. Part 1 is here:
Top 5 things to consider when starting your own Internet café:
2. Study your niche/market
See to it that there is a great demand for an Internet café in your area. Obviously, the urbanized areas are the ones you would target. Well, the not so urban areas will do, just like in the provinces, as long as the place is busy with people and they will have a need for the services you’re offering.
As a foreigner, one thing I have noticed is that Filipinos absolutely love contests, promosd and “gimmicks”. If I had my eye on a certain area here are a few of the steps I would take to decide if it was worth an investment or not:
- Competition: If there are a lot of cafe’s in the area it proves there is a market. Stop in at each one you find, use a computer, evaluate how decently run the shop is, prices, connection speeds, etc. This will tell you right away if the existing shop is really competition, or if it is a place you can attract customers from by doing a better job.
- Talk to the owners of existing shops. You probably shouldn’t tell them you are planning to open a competing cafe’ . But business owners like to talk about their business. Find out how long they have been in business, what they think about doing business in their current barangy, etc. You’ll learn a lot and you might make a friend or two.
- If you have a spot that now looks halfway decent I would have a thousand little half or quarter page fliers printed. You can get either amateur or professional flyer distributors to stick them in people’s mailboxes or gates for a peso each or so.The fliers should say something like “Coming soon the latest and greatest Internet cafe , sales copy, sales cop, sales copy, and then close with a teaser like “text your name and email to (your cell phone) for a free 10 hour introductory special”. If you get a lot of texts you know you have a ready market (plus emails to market to), if you get very poor response, you’ll find the the couple thousand peso market survey was a lot less expansive than opening a shop that won’t succeed.