We know many of our readers have their water cooler businesses solidly in place. But what about those readers who have found our blog because they are potential researching equipment and product providers? For those of you who are germinating a new business idea. This article is for you!
Being in the POU business can be profitable, but without a proper business plan and water cooler/filtration offering, you won’t get very far. How do you develop your plan? Keep reading for all the steps!
Entrepreneur defines a business plan as a “written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement.”
Although they are all very similar, business plans can serve several different purposes. They can be a road map that directs a business into its future. They can be instruments to attract investors.
Either way, every business needs to have a written business plan. And according to SBA.gov, it should look something like this:
- Executive summary — a snapshot of your business
- Company description — describes what you do
- Market analysis – research on your industry, market, and competitors
- Organization and management — your business and management structure
- Service or product — the products or services you’re offering
- Marketing and sales — how you’ll market your business and your sales strategy
- Funding request — how much money you’ll need for next 3 to 5 years
- Financial projections — supply information like balance sheets
- Appendix — an optional section that includes résumés and permits
We’re sure you have a handle on the basics like the:
- Executive summary
- Market analysis
- Organization and management sections
But if you don’t, there are plenty of experts in those areas to enlist for support. In this post, we are going to focus on what we know best- businesses that focus on POU water dispensers and distribution. The specifics of the water cooler business plan.
1. Determine your target customer.
The first step in any business plan is to determine your ideal customer. Not only does your ideal customer define your marketing and sales plans, but they are crucial to the creation of your business plan as the equipment you select will be based on your customer’s needs and their specific geographic locations.
Who is the POU target market?
Your target market will likely be a combination of commercial operations, such as retail businesses, large non-profits, office buildings, and large corporations.
2. Keep your customers tightly grouped.
Firstly, choosing customers in a tightly grouped geographical area will help keep costs down and reduce service response time.
3. Determine installation costs.
First, you will need to decide whether or not you will hire an employee to install systems or if you will be contracting out.
Your equipment vendor would be able to provide you with an estimate of the time required to install their products. Also, get estimates from outsourced technicians on how much they would charge for this service.
4. Determine monthly equipment rental fees.
Contact equipment vendors and determine the initial cost per unit along with the cost of the filtration that will be added to cooler if applicable.
So, to determine longer-term service costs, get suggestions on what parts may need to be exchanged or upgraded over time and any additional equipment you will need to keep on hand. Add in the cost of a technician’s time, and you will know how much to charge per month.
5. Decide what services you will provide.
After the products are purchased and installed, your customer will require a certain amount of follow-up maintenance and other services. Decide now what level of monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or annual service you’ll provide and work it into your contract and fees.
6. Obtain a thorough knowledge of regulations and codes.
Every state is different. Most importantly, be sure you understand the regulations and plumbing codes surrounding installation and sales of POU coolers in all the states that you serve. The Water Quality Association is a good resource for lots of information.
7. Include appropriate training and continuing education in your plan.
A POU water cooler business not only requires the basic knowledge that any B2B company requires, but it also requires specialized knowledge to run ethically and profitably.
You and your team will need to get specialized training in all aspects of water treatment methods. Organizations such as the Water Quality Association provide these types of training as well as classes in ethical sales methods.
8. Be selective about who you hire.
In addition, make selectivity a part of your plan from the start. You will need employees who are knowledgeable in refrigeration, electrical, and plumbing.
Importantly, sloppy installation can cause serious damage that will come back to you as large damage claims. Avoid this from the beginning.
Although this is not our expertise, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to put a strategic marketing plan in place.
Above all, you will need a strategic and aggressive marketing plan for your business to succeed. Make sure to include the following in your plan:
- The introduction of new products.
- A sales boost for particular products, markets, or price ranges. Be specific about where this business will come from.
- The bundling, or cross-selling, of one product with another.
- A plan to find desirable clients and enter into long-term contracts with them.
- A plan to raise prices without cutting into sales.
- The refining of a product or products.
- A content marketing strategy.
- The enhancement of manufacturing and product delivery.
- The golden rule.
And, when in doubt, seek out professionals. Their combined expertise and wisdom are invaluable for your business to become and remain successful in this endeavor.
We’re Here to Help
So, by following our suggestions, you’ll be better:
Not only that, but your customers will be pleased with your reliable service and professionalism.
Above all, developing relationships with your equipment suppliers is imperative as we are your single most important resource in providing:
- Online technical guidance
- Selection of products
- In-house training
And, that’s why we offer excellent customer service from your first contact with us. We want you to have the tools to make your business successful.