Opening An I-Café Business
After knowing the kind of customers you would have and the business model type of i-café that you would like to engage in, you next step in the set-up of the business is to consider the following factors:
1. Initial Investment – At present, with low cost of computer hardware, the initial amount needed to establish an i-café business has really gone down. Using brand-new top-of-the-line computer units, it is possible to fully set-up an i-café at PhP25 – 30K per station including the PC unit with licensed software,computer accessories and peripherals, rent deposit, cost of renovations, LAN installations, tables, chairs, furniture and fixtures. This means you will need PhP0.500 to 0.600M of capital for a twenty (20) station i-café. I personally prefer a 20 units and up i-café for a venture into the business to be worthwhile. Anything less may not be worth your efforts in managing the business yourself.
2. Choice of Location – The availability of a suitable location for your i-café is of foremost importance in your decision to enter the business. Depending on the business model and the existing regulations in your area, an i-café must be located near a school, places with heavy foot traffic or in a commercial center although I also observed some successful i-cafés operating in residential area.
3. Internet Connection – Again depending on the business model that you like for your i-café, the Internet speed connection or bandwidth that you will need to subscribe on will vary. A mixed online gaming and internet access by your customers would require higher bandwidth than a pure Internet access only service. Make sure there is available Internet Service Provider (ISP) that can reliably and reasonably give the bandwidth that your i-café will need
4.LAN Set-Up – LAN means Local Area Network where your computer stations and at least one (1) server unit will be connected with each other. This should include a user-friendly time management software to monitor the computer usage and the revenue of your café. A good set-up by a competent technician is important for a trouble-free operation of an i-café. If you are not technically capable to set-up and maintain your computer network, be prepared to spend regularly for your computer repair and maintenance.
5. Shop Tender – For a 20-Station i-café, an experienced or a fast learner guy should be sufficient to tend your i-café if it will operate for 12 to 14 hours only. This is especially true if you will personally supervise its operation. A trusted relative or friend is usually your option for a shop tender. You must take note that he will be taking care of your sales and being trustworthy is very important.
Whether it will be a pure gaming, mixed gaming and Internet access or an Internet access only i-café that you would like to open, the above factors must be seriously considered before you decide to even spend a single centavo for the venture. Remember that the business is very competitive nowadays and the attrition rate of those already engaged in the business is very high. You might lose your pants in no time at all.