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Small Business Model Series Entry # 5 – Whew!

Whew!  That was a world wind first week.  I took yesterday off to get some rest and spend time with the family.  So now I’m back at the project.  I’ve lost some wind in my sails because I didn’t fathom the depth of all of this when I started out.  For some strange reason I thought for sure this would be easier, and it is turning into quite a little project for me.  So my goal this week is to start the process of identifying locations and where the competition is located.  I’m also going to crunch some preliminary numbers and see if I can financially get into this. 

So my goal today is to lay out a plan to identify existing locations and see if there are some possibilities for me to locate an ATM.  This is beginning to feel like I’m going to need a business plan.  So I decided to do a little more reading and I found this:  http://businessecon.org/2012/11/do-i-need-a-business-plan/ .

The article explains that I really need to break my thoughts down into the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ of doing this.  Based on my thinking so far, I’ve completed the ‘who’ and ‘what’ parts.  So I’m actually on the right track here working on the ‘Where’ aspect.  I decided to follow the article’s suggestion of jotting down my thoughts to date on a legal pad.  So now onto the location aspect; I went ahead and read the second part in his business plan series that addresses the ‘where’ question.  See:  http://businessecon.org/2012/11/research-your-business-plan-part-ii/ for more information concerning how to determine where to locate your business.  Of course my primary location will be my home and the business activity spots will be out in the community somewhere.  But to find these spots, I need to know where the existing ATM’s are located.  It isn’t like they show up in the phone book and I can’t write down the addresses.  I need to actually find them.  There must some form of a pattern here.  I don’t have the time or the money for gas to drive around.   That would be crazy.  I need an army of folks to help me.

When I explained this to my wife, she chuckled and said to use our family and friends to help us.  They spot them and send me an e-mail with the location and the business type.  I record the data and a pattern will develop.  In addition I could post a local map on my wall and use push pins to pin point the addresses and develop a pattern. 

I like this.  So I sent an e-mail asking for help.  I sent it to everyone I know.  It was straight forward; I’m interested in knowing where ATM’s are located.   I explained how to spot a private one versus a bank ATM.  I needed the exact address and what type of business had the ATM.  I needed one more fact, is the machine inside or outside.  This way I could create a database of business types that prefer ATM’s.  I asked everyone to not go out of their way, but to just jot it down and send me an e-mail.  I further explained that I could not use the ‘I think I saw one here’ or ‘I’m pretty sure ….’  I needed the actual physical address and visual confirmation that you saw a machine.  This project would last one week and will help me immeasurably. 

I then created a spreadsheet.  I broke the area where I live into 19 zones using the zip code map.  I then created 5 columns in my spreadsheet and it looks like this:

 Zip Code   Address   Inside/Outside   Store’s Name  Business Type

Of course it is surprising the volume of help you can get out there.  I figured that I sent the e-mail to no less than 70 folks.  Of course my family is the most vested into this.  Knowing my Dad, he’ll spend the entire day tomorrow working one zone area.  I asked him not to do this, but he will anyway.  He’s my Dad and that’s what Dads do.

So now I wait for the information to start coming in to me.  While I’m waiting I’ll start crunching some numbers just to see how much this is going to cost and about how much I could and will most likely make by setting up ATM’s. 

Entry #5 – Whew!             Invested Time:  4.00 Hrs.                 Cumulative Time:  24.75 Hrs.

About David J Hoare (389 Articles)
I spent 12 Years as a Certified Public Accountant, Over 20 Years of Practice in Accounting and Consulting, Controller in Management of Closely Held Operations, Masters of Science in Accounting, Prepared over 1,000 Business Tax Returns and Hundreds of Individual Returns

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