Online Outdoor Company Business Plan
BUSINESS PLAN OUTDOORSMAN.COM
1400 Main St., Suite 3 Alpena, Michigan 49707
The success of this company will depend largely on the ability to attract its target audiences to shop online. E-mailed subscriptions and other marketing efforts will promote the Outdoorsman.com website and its targeted brand offerings.
- BUSINESS PLAN
- MARKET APPROACH
- FINANCIAL STRATEGY
- PLAN FOR COMMUNITY LAUNCH
- ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
- BUSINESS CHALLENGES
Vision & Mission
Outdoorsman.com will create an online community focused on serving and supporting the well established, easily identifiable market of the outdoor sporting lifestyle of anglers and hunters. The Outdoorsman.com web portal will serve the highly brand conscious and affiliation of loyal individuals and organizations whose members live the sporting lifestyle by providing a comprehensive clearinghouse of value-added, special interest content, valuable information resources, e-commerce capabilities, and user information sharing opportunities through the use of advanced technologies.
Outdoorsman.com will build an online consumer database of 7.5 million subscribers within the first 18 months of launch. The portal site will have four main areas of unique offerings:
- Maps, way-point marking through GPS and integrated wireless devices, including emerging PDAs used in the hunting and fishing lifestyle. Outdoorsman.com will concentrate on becoming the place to come for all location finding/recording devices and associated product information.
- The use of a subscription-based e-mail newsletter/news alert system will bring the subscriber's love of the outdoors to him/her on a daily basis or as the news breaks. This service would attain the status of the "CNN" of the sportsman's lifestyle to be known as Outdoorsman News Network (WONN) through cable, and traditional media/news reporting affiliations.
- The Outdoorsman.com consumer brand will also be built surrounding the pervasive availability of content and brand e-commerce/e-retailing aspects of the site. Unique negotiated equipment and service arrangements will be made with highly recognized brand sporting goods suppliers, where Outdoorsman will act as the members' advocate and generate commissions and fees. Affiliates will also be sought in the travel, lodging, and guide and related industries. In addition to the affiliate program, special purchases and auction type sales will be offered to the members.
- All the above items will be done with the concentration of effort focused at advanced and emerging technologies that can be used in the hunting and angling markets.
Market Sizing & Demographic Background
One in six Americans are anglers. Of these 34 million anglers, 75 percent are male and 80 percent are between 16-54 years of age. In 1996, $38 billion was spent on fishing equipment and trips. Half of the anglers in the U.S. have attended college.
Of the 14 million hunters in the U.S. 90 percent are male, 80 percent are between 16-54, and 85 percent have a grade 12 education or more. Hunters spend $10 billion annually on equipment and trips.
From a technology adoption perspective, of the 80 percent of anglers and hunters aged 16-54 (or 38 million individuals), approximately 60 percent (or 19 million) have Internet access today. This would suggest that anglers and hunters aged 16-54 who have Internet access today spend approximately $28 billion on equipment and trips. This is Outdoorsman.com's targeted and growing membership audience.
Additional demographics available regarding cross-section of multi-interest individuals and cross-community related interests demonstrate enormous market potential beyond the initially targeted user interest base. Essentially, the user base expands into lifestyle requirements that follow hand-in-hand with the fishing and hunting lifestyle.
Outdoorsman.com has engaged significant content and data research services to establish a profile for pursuit of potential/prospect user base.
1995 - 1998 Federal Bureau of Outdoor Recreation study on outdoor Activities and Interest. This report has enabled the leadership to establish a potential user group size and user demographic profile by general interests and cross-sport interests and specifically by region, income, sex, and financial/spending orientation.
Market data has also been acquired through the purchase of private mailing list services providing the subscription and user profile content of leading outdoor and sporting magazine readership.
Regional Market Considerations
The Outdoorsman.com primary user communities include the following U.S. states based on population density of potential prospects fitting the target market profile. These states are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, Texas, Florida, California, Missouri, Michigan, and Ohio.
These findings have been validated firsthand through focus group and interviews conducted with targeted users in the sporting and outdoor life communities.
Targeted Marketing Promotional Strategy
Initially, Outdoorsman.com marketing and awareness will rely on the power of targeted online messaging tools, strategies, and word-of-mouth references, followed up with directed traditional media promotional strategies, such as outdoor advertising, periodicals, and network and cable sponsorships.
Critical Success Factors to Successful Marketing Approach
- Ability to attract and leverage current outdoor industry leaders for content and co-brand association
- Leverage branding efforts in marketplace across multiple media and technologies
The following marketing model outlines examples of immediately available marketing and promotional opportunities consistent with targeted Outdoorsman.com user base. Promotional strategies must be executed at a high level for continuous top-of-mind coverage, but should be nimble and leverageable for seasonal and regional differences and user brand preferences.
|Periodicals||Traditional media||Print ads - in Fisherman/Bowhunter|
|Co-branding with demographics||Traditional media||Anheuser-Busch/ bar coasters, etc.|
|NASCAR events||Traditional media||Give-aways including bumper stickers, T-shirts etc.|
|Big Buck/Big Fish Contests||Online Media||Submit bragging photos|
|Win a free truck||Online Media||Subscribe and win truck with logo|
|Fishing Tournaments||Unique branding opportunity||National potential|
|Outdoorsman.com Boat||Unique branding opportunity||Logo covered boat visiting anglers giving stuff away at local lakes, etc.|
|Boat launch/wetland sponsorships||Unique branding opportunity||Goodwill to sportsmen and environment|
|Charitable Events||Unique branding opportunity||Lake Huron River Crab Salmon Stakes|
|Professional Speaker Sponsorships||National/Local||Jimmy Houston seminar series|
|Game Dinners||Local||Local restaurant promotions|
|Co-sponsorships||National||Ducks Unlimited, etc.|
|Giveaways||National||Matchboxes, bumper stickers, coasters, bottle coolers, key chains, coffee cups|
|Poster Campaign||Local||Tackle and bait shops, sporting goods stores, boat dealers, etc.|
These are the primary revenue streams that will sustain Outdoorsman.com.
- Specials Deals
- Commissions from travel, e-sales
- Advertising banners
- Advertising focused on special needs of recipients of outbound materials
- Private-brand Outdoorsman.com products
- Commissions from state and local governments
- Online commerce affiliations
Outdoorsman.com is requesting between $12-15 million for the development, launch, and 5-year ongoing expense outlook of the company expenses.
Additional funding requirements will potentially be required for consumer brand and related, currently unseen partnership development opportunity investments.
The Outdoorsman.com community strategy is centered around a targeted user demographic.
These targeted users have very specific interests and the site will have a high degree of credibility with the user base. Although users have specific interests, more often than not these interests change seasonally. The Outdoorsman.com site is designed to accommodate the interest shift.
As demonstrated in focus user group testing, a hard-core Bass fisherman using the Freshwater Fishing community found himself filling out an insurance quote form on the Boats and Marine section then purchasing a rod through an affiliate partner and then looking for a map to purchase through TopoZone.
The following growth/exit strategies indicate potential market opportunities for the Outdoorsman.com enterprise.
Concept: Develop operational concept site, build business plan, put concept and plan up for sale.
This type of relationship would allow investment and competitor community to leverage concept and work performed and would result in a one-time windfall for Outdoorsman.com partners and advisors. Potential for follow-up consultation and director-level follow-on employment possible.
Concept: Launch site, build independent consumer brand, put up for sale.
This type of relationship would primarily require launch and rapid deployment of brand awareness and gaining user base to make "attractive" to investment and/or competitor community to result in a sale of business and brand operations.
Concept: Launch site and build independent consumer brand (national/global).
This type of relationship would require significant effort with business incubation and relationship development for national marketing and rollout management. Effective development of consumer brand could result in enormous revenue opportunities through e-commerce from partners and advertising revenues.
Demonstrated success could result in follow-on execution of Options #3 and #4.
Concept: Launch site and build small-scale, independent consumer brand (national/ global).
Entirely dependent on private funding and development resource availability, this type of web enterprise would be dependent on resource commitment and grassroots marketing efforts. Although small in scale and development, this enterprise could have significant impact on the sporting community but would be much slower to grasp significant revenues based on slower user growth rate resulting from significantly lower market penetration.
Concept: Launch site and partner with name brand Internet portal/lifestyle community to extend content reach, community focus, and brand recognition, i.e., become a prime or sub-community within the established consumer brand. For example,
- Yahoo! Outdoorsman
- AOL Outdoorsman
- Excite Outdoorsman
The portal would reap benefits from having a preconstructed lifestyle portal ready-to-go and have intellectual capital in place, while enabling Outdoorsman.com to build an enormous user base and create opportunity for revenue potential in the form of stock equity, flat-out cash purchase, or privately funded operating capital.
Concept: Develop relationship with "privately" branded product manufacturer. Essentially create a private label portal focused around the sportsman lifestyle, i.e.,
- Jeep Outdoorsman.com
- Ford Outdoorsman.com
This type of relationship would result in loss of individual brand but would provide private funding and allow the private brand to leverage work done to date. Privately branded product company reaps financial reward by leveraging online product already in place and Outdoorsman reaps windfall for flat-out cash purchase, or privately funded operating capital and continued employment with product manufacturer while retaining direction and leadership for community integrity.
PLAN FOR COMMUNITY LAUNCH
Tactical execution activities will continue as follows in support of public Internet "soft" launch in March 2000 timeframe. Site will be launched no later than mid March. Site will have an estimated 75 percent portion of initial "look and feel" issues resolved, 75-90 percent portion of content/links available, 70 percent of interactive functional issues resolved, and 80 percent of revenue-generating affiliate partner programs in activation.
Outdoorsman.com was recently conceived and is in the development phase. Based on the current calendar year the following has been accomplished:
- A prototype site has been developed and is up and running in a privately hosted environment
- Prospective customer and partner lists have been developed and several have been contacted for establishing an emerging business relationship
- Agreements have been drafted with several vendor partners to offer ecommerce opportunities within the online community
- A business plan has been established and is being communicated to the investment community at large to acquire funding to proceed
- A core business management team has been created, consisting of business and technical professionals
- Focus groups have been established and are currently providing ongoing insight and consumer end-user feedback into the online community development cycle. Initial market acceptance tests have indicated a warm welcome of the concept for potential
The Outdoorsman.com organizational structure is intended to be a flexible version of a traditional organization structure. It is our belief that a learning and cross-functional organization is key to our success. Any one member of the Outdoorsman leadership or staff team community must be able to perform related tasks when business needs or technical crises arise. Following the list below you will find profiles of the founding partners and additional leadership team.
- Internet Commerce Management
- Sales• Marketing/Brand Management
- Legal (outsourced)
- Chief Technology Officer
- Application Development
- Technical Infrastructure
- Ongoing Technical Operations
The Outdoorsman team is made up of outdoor enthusiasts, and business and technical professionals. Our team is committed to the outdoor lifestyle. The following profiles of our founders, leadership, and advisory teams illustrate the outdoor experiences and professional expertise of the Outdoorsman team.
Dave Miller, Founder and President
Dave Miller is the founder and thought leader behind the Outdoorsman community portal. Dave has guided the Outdoorsman team to its launch and is the lead concept champion. Dave has 14 years of high-tech industry experience, specializing in sales and marketing concept development, consumer behavior, and user interface development. Dave has held many leadership positions within the high-tech community and concurrently holds a marketing management position with a leading high-tech services company. He brings his unique brand of creative talent and multiple years of professional business influences to the Outdoorsman creative and business strategy.
Dave has been a member of the sporting community for over 20 years and has extensive experience in fishing, boating, wildlife photography, and other outdoor activities. A Midwest native, he has also lived in northern California, western Montana, and his particular interests include pursuit of Pacific Coastal Steelhead, fishing western Montana's Blue Ribbon trout streams, exploring Michigan's Great Lakes, and preparing fish and game dishes for his family.
Robert Olsen, Founding Partner and Chief Technology Officer
Robert brings technology leadership to Outdoorsman. The Outdoorsman community portal is developed with Bob's Internet and implementation expertise. Bob's extensive, eleven-year career in application development, technical implementation, and database management has enabled our website and launch schedule. Throughout his high-tech career, Bob has held technical leadership and senior project implementation positions in bringing many web-based conceptual ideas into reality. His knowledge of digital technologies and development languages enables Outdoorsman to leverage his unique, "blue sky" perspective.
Bob has spent many years enjoying the outdoors lifestyle. Bob is a native of Michigan and brings knowledge and experiences of Michigan's "northern coasts" and communities.
Wendy Pepper, Design and Creative Development Director
Wendy brings creative vision and visual management skills to the Outdoorsman community. She has developed and manages the overall visual integrity and brand imagery of the Outdoorsman.com community. Wendy's eleven-year career in design development, brand image implementation, and technical management has enabled Outdoorsman to leverage its brand across multiple computing and media platforms. Her leadership, creative excellence, and professional expertise brings the visual energy of the Outdoorsman community to life.
A Midwest native, Wendy spends many hours in the outdoors of the northern Midwest, particularly Michigan's upper peninsula and outlying island destinations.
A highly qualified advisory panel has been established, and they have signed commitments for a period of one year to provide insight to users, sporting trends, and online ecommerce purchasing behavior of outdoor-type goods and services. Panel member detail and profile information is available upon request to a limited audience.
- Acquiring strategic investment and consistent funding stream
- Tactical and strategic site development and content planning
- Research and development of content/link generation
- User functionality and programming development and execution
- Development of identity and consumer brand acceptance
- Identification, development, and execution of effective marketing communications
- Identifying and executing ongoing affiliate revenue generation, advertising, and ecommerce revenue stream
Launch and Operating Investment Assumptions
|Business Operating Structure|
|Chief Executive Officer (CEO)||$175,000||$190,000||$200,000||$250,000|
|Chief Financial Officer (and support)||$225,000||$300,000||$350,000||$375,000|
|Chief Technology Officer (CTO)||$120,000||$120,000||$130,000||$140,000|
|Business Operations Leadership|
|Legal (outside counsel)||$500,000||$350,000||$250,000||$200,000|
|Marketing/PR (including salary)||$250,000||$300,000||$350,000||$400,000|
|Technical Operations and Facilities|
|Application Development Team||$200,000||$214,000||$228,980||$245,009|
|Space/Facilities (partner provided)|
Revenue expectations available on request.
Assumes company formed on 1/1/2001.