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Another Business Plan

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User offline. Last seen 12 years 2 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10

This really isn't an official business plan, but I wanted to throw out some ideas you may not have thought of with your FOSS startup and I hope it inspires you. Note the $$ means it's a charge item and you can come up with your own price.

PHASE 1
* Free software downloads

PHASE 2

Add:

* $$ media kit = free media + 2 email support incidents + bound manual

* $$ usb kit = same as media kit but with a bootable Ubuntu Server on 4GB memory stick, complete with preloaded software. Also comes with web-based database admin tools and Webmin + attractive Webmin Tiger interface. The "trick" here is to offer it so close in price to the media kit that one considers that for only $20 more, they can get the usb kit.

* $$ 5 pack email support incidents

* Google AdSense (a decent bit of it) or alternative

PHASE 3
Add:
* $$ rackmount kit = same as usb kit but comes on an attractive, logo'd rackmount server. Costs a good bit, but not too much.

PHASE 4
Add:
* Free Weekend VAR Training. Value-Added Resellers (especially government contract consulting firms) fly out to a nice location such as a beach hotel or some exciting location and learn about the product in great detail over a weekend. They pay for hotel, meals, and flight, although the training and face-time with the main software developer is free. At the end they get the pitch that for a renewable annual franchise fee ($$) they get to be marked down on your website as "Product X VAR Certified" and will get warm leads from you. They will also get 50% off media and usb kits, free marketing materials, and 5 free email tech support incidents. In return, you get some great consultants and salesmen for cheap who can not only spread the gospel of your business to help it gain marketshare, but provide a way for you to continue upselling other goods and services. You also make a decent amount of money on the annual franchise fee which is small in the first couple years and then goes up 6% in cost after that.

{ Note you don't quit your day job yet. You can still moonlight the business while you hold down a day job. }

PHASE 5
Add:
* Verticals for your horizontal. If you've made your app as a horizontal app, you can turn around and customize it into a vertical app and sell it to customers who would not normally consider you. For instance, if you built a generic calendar app, you could customize it into a doctor's scheduling app and sell that in doctor magazines. However, stay with the FOSS model and for those doctors who are clever enough, they can download it for free. Get it?
* Government and private grants. See how you can customize your app in order to qualify for government or private grants, as long as you don't violate your obligations to the GPL or the FOSS principles.

PHASE 6
Add:
* Weekend developer workshops. Devs fly in at a pretty decent fee for you. (Hint +$1000 is a good idea.) They get trained over a weekend in a really great location they would enjoy. They learn the philosophies of the software and its design, get to look under the hood and do minor and major customizations, and get a question/answer time with a real developer of the software. If you do the math on this, you could make a decent chunk of change on this if you do just one of these a month or every other month.

{ Keep your day job outside of your moonlight startup and teach this stuff on the weekends. }

PHASE 7
Add:

{ Hopefully at this point you can quit your day job because enough business is already coming in to warrant it. }

* ?? I'm sure you can think up more from here on out.