Music Center Business Plan

Overview Of Business Model
Music has enjoyed phenomenal success online. Due to the file type called MP3, a myriad of Web sites such as CDNow, Napster, and Kazaa have proved there is no question that music on the Internet is an award-winning combination. Selling of musical items online has the advantage of providing users with a huge selection that spans a wide diversity throughout the music industry. This leaves plenty of space for businesses to avoid competing with each other.

You will make money with your online business by selling musical items online. What you sell can vary from store to store, but the inventory often includes CDs, musical instruments, related paraphernalia, and sheet music.

You will have an easy-to-use online storefront and include many features on your Web site to encourage repeat visitors, encourage your visitors to stay awhile, and encourage visitors to tell their friends about your site.

Skills Needed
A music center is not just about selling music items and instruments online, but also about providing a wealth of useful information to your customers. To provide the level of information your customers will expect, you will need to be familiar with the types of music and instruments that your music center sells and services.

Cost To Start This Business
The cost to initially set up your music center will range from $5,000 to $20,000. These costs include a computer, administrative and e-commerce software, a printer, a scanner, and a digital camera. Your Web site will need to be designed, developed, and hosted. Other initial costs (not included in the amount above) to consider include your inventory and the advertising of your Web site.

Number Of Employees Needed To Start
Depending on the way you begin the venture, this can be a great part-time start-up business for one individual. If you wish to provide a more comprehensive service or begin to sell high volume, you would have to increase your staff size accordingly.

International Potential
Using the Internet, you have access to the global market. However, high shipping costs and the different musical tastes between continental markets may limit you to your home continent.

Important Business Issues To Be Addressed
You will have to be competitive with your pricing, as your customers will be looking for the best price online. Be aware of sites like Amazon.com and CDNow.com that offer generous discounts.

Sites like MP3.com, where music can be downloaded to a local computer and then burned to a CD, will have an impact on CD sales online.

Online Marketing Techniques

  • Developing a comprehensive affiliate/associate program would not only increase the awareness of your music center site, it would also send referral business to your site.
  • You could run a daily or weekly contest on your site for a free music product. You could ask people if they would like to be notified of the winner via e-mail. This would encourage them to return to your site and re-enter your contest, thus re-exposing them to your products.
  • Develop as many links as possible from appropriate music-related Web sites, directories, meta-indexes, and Web rings frequented by your target market.
  • You could develop a Featured Product page on your site. You could change this product every week. People will continue to return to your site to see what the featured music product is. You could even ask people if they would like to be notified of your featured product via e-mail. This would be a great way to encourage repeat traffic.
  • Developing and distributing a great music newsletter or being the moderator for a music-related discussion group will build up a sense of community with your users. This will help create an affinity for your Web site in the hearts of your hardcore music fans. In other words, it is a great way to generate repeat customers.
  • Launching a strategic banner advertising campaign on Web sites frequented by your target market would be a great way to increase traffic to your site. Sites that you could place banner ads on include non-competing music sites and other Web sites that would be of interest to your target market.
  • You can develop a discount center or offer coupons giving customers a deal, thus enticing them to return. Both discounts and coupons also allow your customers to join your permission-marketing campaign.
  • Host live chats with local talents and store live audio recordings on the Web site of jam sessions, concerts, and so on.

Additional Income
You can expand your product line. If you are selling just CDs or just musical instruments, you could expand your service to include the other one. The music industry is renowned for product endorsements, so you can capitalize on this by selling musical paraphernalia such as T-shirts, hats, or other items with band logos.

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