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[Text from the body of a business plan submitted to the SBA,
and reviewed by the Harvard Sq. Business Association (01/03/94).]

The following sections will briefly describe the services and marketing approaches that will be used in each of Studio E's four main service areas. These profiles reflect the careful attention that Studio E will give to developing enhanced services that compliment each other, as well as what is available elsewhere in the marketplace.

Empowerment

This will be the most visible and heavily promoted service. It will consist of public access to basic word processing and business software. Stations will also be filled with extra resources such as handbooks, software training tapes and programs. The following are some types of software and services that will be supported:

Microsoft Office
Desktop Publishing with Special Fonts and Clip Art
Resume, Proposal, Grant Writing Resources

Market, Competition and Risk This service will serve many local customers. This will include professionals, college students and local residents who do not have adequate access to productivity software and resources in their existing computing situations. At the present time, they may be meeting their needs by using Kinko's and PageWorks Resource Centers. These businesses offer hourly computer station rental.

Location, Facilities and Environment Studio E will offer an inviting environment conveniently located a short walking distance for many students and professionals who live or work in the area. The highest utilization of this type of service is expected to be during typical 9-5 business hours. At these times, the atmosphere at Studio E will be dignified with low noise and activity levels.

Customer Service Management on duty not just be there to tend the machines. They will be actively willing to help in a courteous and instructive manner. Additional supplemental materials will often be provided free of charge, or for a small extra charge. Managers will also make sure that if something goes wrong with the machine or printer, customers will not be charged for the time.

Research and Development The main challenge for continuous keeping abreast of developments in the area of productivity tools is maintaining an appropriately current and broad array of software. Equipment such and scanners and high quality printers will be important to support desktop publishing.

Advertising and Promotion Local businesses, universities and residents will need to be made aware of available services. Flyers will be placed in visible locations at local businesses and colleges. Adds will also be placed in the Cambridge Chronicle.

Entertainment

This service will provide a large selection of popular game and hobby software that will be immediately available at prices significantly lower than cost of buying the package. This service will also provide Check-Out and preview of popular CD-ROMs.

Market, Competition and Risk Right now there are few commercially available sources of access to entertainment software besides buying it for personal use on home computers. High School and College students sometimes overcome the limited selection available at home or school by using video games in arcades. Studio E's will provide access to a great variety of software, on high quality equipment in an atmosphere of acceptance at a reasonable price.

Location, Facilities and Environment A recreation room or arcade like atmosphere will be encouraged during late hours on weekend evenings. Higher noise levels and festive music will be allowed at these times. During other times, customers will need to use headphones to avoid distracting other customers.

Customer Service Customers will value staff who are knowledgeable about the latest entertainment software, and have a sense of what is "good."

Research and Development A key piece of equipment to add early will be a triple speed CD-ROM capable of using KODAK Picture CD-ROMs.

Advertising and Promotion Most customers will be from the local Cambridge and Back Bay area. Flyers will be placed in visible locations at local businesses and colleges. Adds will also be placed in the local college newspapers.

Education

Instruction in computers and other subject areas for individuals and groups of all ages will be provided in a public learning lab environment. Instructional and Informational software will be available for rental and lessons will be provided in both computer topics and other subject areas.

Market, Competition and Risk This service will be appropriate for school age children, as well as customers of other ages. This service will be aimed at parents who want their children to have more experience in both computers and subject matter than they receive during structured school activities. Another type of customer who will be interested in this service will be teachers who wish to preview software they may want to buy. Competition will include area museums and schools, but they do not provide individualized instruction at low prices on a walk-in basis.

Location, Facilities and Environment This service will be the predominant type of service during early evenings and weekend mornings. Moderate levels of noise and activity will be allowed.

Customer Service Supportive and trained educators will always be available. Advanced education students from near by education schools will be recruited as part time helpers to gain experience while providing quality staffing.

Research and Development One important service added in first six months of operation will be a lego-logo system.

Advertising and Promotion This service will be marketed to the a broader population by addressing the entire Greater Boston Metropolitan area. One special forum for advertising this service will be a special "Learning" oriented edition of the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine in May.

Expression

This service will provide equipment and software to handle the input, manipulation and output of all forms of digital media. The following are some of the services that will be offered by the end of the first year:

Text Scanning and Manipulation
Sound Recording and Manipulation,
Picture and Draw Software for the Creation,
Manipulation and Output of Still Visuals
Screen Capture, Printing and Storage
Video Input and Output with Emphasis on Quicktime Support

Market, Competition and Risk The typical customers to use this service will be business people, students and residents who already own a personal computer and would like to scan an image or transfer a Color picture to a computer screen. This requires high end equipment and will also be a service likely to attract customers from a wider area. In some cases, multimedia professionals may find the expertise or facilities inviting. Currently typical avenues of access are highly controlled production labs and private facilities not open to the general public.

Location, Facilities and Environment The predominant demand for the advanced development station is expected to be during evenings and weekends. The environment maintained in the evenings will be relaxed, creative and even festive. This will compliment the other primary expected use at that time. There will be a relaxed view of general noise level as long as there are few customers working on productivity oriented tasks. There will also be complimentary coffee and snacks at times when the production station is reserved for a specific period of time.

Customer Service This is one service where expertise alone will probably play a critical role. While courtesy will still be maintained, people using the station will be more conerned about how fast and efficiently they can perform complex tasks involving multimedia. Customers will want and expect to have experts on the spot to provide accurate advice. This means staff on duty will need to be experienced as possible with all types of digital media production issues.

Research and Development This service will require an advanced station and peripherals. New services that are to be developed in first six months of operation include triple speed CD-ROM access, color scanning and printing, digital video screen capture and recording.

Advertising and Promotion This is the Studio E service least likely to depend upon casual walk by traffic and local awareness. A major source of advertising for this service will be specialty publications such as through the Boston Computer Society.

The following was an early proposed floor plan,
which closely resembled the final public space.

Mary E. Hopper [MEHopper] | MEHopper@TheWorld.com [posted 01/01/01 | revised 12/09/06]