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Author Topic: [Funding Project] - Low Budget PC's  (Read 4409 times)
Stephen66515
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« on: April 29, 2012, 11:10:10 PM »

I have decided to get back into business, and I am hoping to do this via funding through my IndieGoGo project.  IndieGoGo is a great alternative to Kickstarter for people who do not live in the USA.  It also allows people to fund small business ideas.


Quote
Short Summary

In this economy, we understand that upgrading your computer is difficult, as finding the funds to pay retail prices, is close to impossible for most people.  We understand this, and are able to setup a Discount Computer Store, allowing people in our area (And online once we open)
What We Need & What You Get

We need to raise $5000 in order to buy our stock and pay for the lease on a retail outlet. Those who contribute will get a discount via our online store (For Life!) and anybody who lives close enough can pop in, and receive the same benefits!

What Else?

 Well...We understand that sometimes, people simply cannot afford to own a PC, or getting a basic repair done...This is why we are going to be running a "No Fix, No Fee" service, so if we cannot fix your machine, we won't charge you for the time it took us to find out.

We also want to help our local community, so when we get hardware we don't need, or could be useful to somebody, we will provide them to local organizations that help people who have nothing!

We Love Our Community!

We love our local community, which is why, every few months, we will be GIVING AWAY FREE STUFF to people who truly deserve it! 

If we reach enough funding (Enough for the property we know has enough room), we will also be providing on-site computer training with free introductory courses and programming lessons!

Free Wi-Fi will be also available during our opening hours!
Help us fulfill our dream by contributing today!

I have plenty of perks available for people to claim! cheesy

http://www.indiegogo.com/lbpcs

Any comments or contributions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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justice
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 04:04:05 AM »

Good luck smiley
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 05:31:47 AM »

Stephen, did you pick the "ad copy" for the perks, or is that standard from Indiegogo? "Free Gift", "Free gift of a higher value", and "Amazing gift"? What are those?

And what are the specs and prices of a "Low Budget PC"? See my adventures with Linux vs Drivers over on the other thread. Turns out, some of the specs of that box were on the casing doubling as sales copy.

Survey says:
AMD Sempron 3400+
NVidia GeForce 6150 LE
512 Megs Ram
120 GB HD
2007 price about $350 with sales floor discounts from Best Buy.

Business plan wise I'd love to know what you will be able to do that Best Buy/your big chain can't.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 05:37:34 AM by TaoPhoenix » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 06:09:53 AM »

Leaving aside specifics -- I wish you well and I hope more members of DonationCoder experiment with these kinds of funding sources.
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 06:51:53 AM »

Yeah, best of luck Stephen!

I had similar queries to TaoP. I reckon it will be hard to compete with online or big-store offers. OTOH, these days I'd prefer to buy from a local small supplier, even if it meant paying a little more.

And lately I had the frustration of spending a lot of time and also some money trying (without success) to find the problem with a machine. So your no fix no charge offer sounds good.

Re the gifts, I prefer the Kickstarter approach where you get something physical & known for your money. Could you give a voucher towards a machine? or towards hardware; or repairs. A lot of that would probably never be cashed in. Redeemable in 6 months, to give you a bit of time to get off the ground. Just thinking off the top of my head here.


PS it would be good to put some info in the about me link.
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Tom
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 07:05:24 AM »

Best wishes with your endeavor, Stephen!  You might look at this blog post on creating a Kickstarter campaign- it has a lot of information that you might find useful.  As it is, your offering is a bit spartan, and I'm not sure if it will draw the attention you might want/it might deserve.  Another thing that I see is that IndieGoGo seems to have changes so that the offering doesn't fail- you get all of the funds at the end of the drive.  This does have less obvious downsides - if there's no goal, people aren't really pressed to give.  The risk does give a reward.  Just a few insights I thought I'd offer- hope it helps!
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2012, 07:58:40 AM »

More notes:
"Free Gift" sounds too much like generic sleazy marketing. That's one of the reasons I asked if you get to change that ad-copy or if it's stuck there by Indygogo.

More generally what's bothering me is that unlike a loan, this is "gimme money", where the only payback is some percent off in the store - which means spending more. And the last two options don't scale well *at all* - someone can get an entire PC for $1000 and a Netbook/Budget PC for $500. So "an amazing gift" at the $1,000 level threatens to cross over into scam territory at worst and the appearance of scam territory at best.

My instinct at this point is not to try to outgun the big box stores on price alone, but maybe hit the custom service side - we know what a scam Geek Squad is, so that's expertise that customers really need, and at legit rates, not $60 an hour. I could have used some consulting in my linux adventure over on the other thread rather than just going the blind guess route. So that leads into my suggestion for your value for the Indiegogo - maybe 3 hours of consulting for the $25 level and 8 hours of consulting for the $50 level.

Edit: maybe that rate schedule is a bit too aggressive, but the more I think of it the more it can give the appearance of a scam if you weren't a DC member. Maybe I've read too much O. Henry but straight up it looks like you just get to sit on $4000 of money doing nothing "awww, shame, I didn't meet my goal, so I won't start my business". The reason I made that rate schedule above so aggressive is to create a Wow factor where the donor essentially can't lose with a tech support coupon like that. Let's say they all sell at the $50 block level. "Yikes - you're in the hole for 800 hours!" - so since we all know starting a business isn't 9-5, 10 weeks at 80 hours a week will drill off that consulting and then the money is yours.

This next part is a guess: Are you unemployed right now? (Why else would you kickstart a business if you had a better job funding it?) So that's 4 weeks you can spend serving off the coupons while the kickstarter runs. But not everyone will cash all their coupons in - I'd save mine until I really needed it, which could be months away.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 08:25:52 AM by TaoPhoenix » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 01:03:23 PM »

i wish you the best of luck Stephen. i hope you don't give too much weight to the naysayers. and i'd ignore the cynics too. it's important to remember that those who try and fail still get more accomplished in their lifetimes than those who already *know* what isn't possible.  :-)
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 01:04:46 PM »

i wish you the best of luck Stephen. i hope you don't give too much weight to the naysayers. and i'd ignore the cynics too. it's important to remember that those who try and fail still get more accomplished in their lifetimes than those who already *know* what isn't possible.  :-)

+1
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 02:44:49 PM »

I type a lot, but I'm not naysaying per se. More of "take the following steps to avoid potential trouble".
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 04:04:05 PM »

hehe Thanks for all the well wishes and constructive criticism guys.

On the ideas given, I shall certainly try implement some of them as they are things I didn't really think about, so certainly some food for thought.

Somebody asked about perks, they are all what I wrote, nothing there is stock smiley
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 04:21:22 PM »

One other thing that I thought of that you want to keep in mind- if the funding doesn't reach your goal in an open-ended funding drive, the assumption is that you have the funds to make it succeed- so you still have to fulfill the rewards for people that donated.  Something else to keep in mind.
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 04:33:13 PM »

One other thing that I thought of that you want to keep in mind- if the funding doesn't reach your goal in an open-ended funding drive, the assumption is that you have the funds to make it succeed- so you still have to fulfill the rewards for people that donated.  Something else to keep in mind.

Yes, this is one thing I considered, and is not a huge problem as finding the funding if this fails, shouldn't be too much hassle smiley I figured it was worth experimenting with this, and if it works, all the better  cheesy
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 04:41:20 PM »

Cool!  All the best again with this... its pretty cool to see someone from DC doing this on there!  If I think of anything else, I'll let you know!
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 10:59:05 PM »

Stephen, did you pick the "ad copy" for the perks, or is that standard from Indiegogo? "Free Gift", "Free gift of a higher value", and "Amazing gift"? What are those?

And what are the specs and prices of a "Low Budget PC"? See my adventures with Linux vs Drivers over on the other thread. Turns out, some of the specs of that box were on the casing doubling as sales copy.

Survey says:
AMD Sempron 3400+
NVidia GeForce 6150 LE
512 Megs Ram
120 GB HD
2007 price about $350 with sales floor discounts from Best Buy.

Business plan wise I'd love to know what you will be able to do that Best Buy/your big chain can't.


By Low Budget, I am trying to figure out how to let people know that this doesn't actually mean "We build low spec only" - We literally mean, we will build to the best spec we can, for as little money as possible (just enough profit to pay the bills)

For Example - We could build the following system, for around £300 GBP (Inc VAT) - No OS (Or a OS with no COA {30 Day Trial thing})

AM3 Soc Motherboard - mATX Form - 6 Channel Audio - VGA
AMD Athlon II X4 640 Socket AM3 3GHz 2MB L2 Cache
8GB 1333MHz DDR3 RAM  (2x 4GB)   
ATI Radeon HD3000 Graphics, On Board Graphic Max. Memory Share Up to 512 MB
450W PSU   
DVD R+RW     
500GB 3GB/s SATA HDD  (OR) OCZ 60GB SSD
Case Included

Obviously that is just an example (not something we actually stock, but could if requested)

Anybody think £300GBP is overpriced for that?
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 12:31:57 AM »

By build, I mean "Sell"
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2012, 06:45:23 AM »

I'll leave that price comparison to my betters, and that becomes part of my answer.

An interesting question is "who is your audience". (Hoping this next part won't be insulting!) *Very* generally someone looking at "Low Budget" might be a less informed user who may not need intensive apps. But they'd want to know from someone they trust that they're not getting ripped off either. It somehow makes me want to suggest getting some independent reviews of your machines for quality.

I still think "Budget IT support" is going to be a key component. In a sense, if you do your job right "you'll never see that customer again" (because the machine will last forever and not fail an 8 cent dumb switch from a third rate batch by Dell). So then people want to try new things, but they don't have many places to turn except "their tech buddy" (who then begins to feel double duty).

So IT support for what initially feels like a low price is more of a loss leader to help customers/future customers know that the machine you build has support behind it and that you're not one more huckster. Trading example for example, I'd pay $5 for a detailed answer related to my Linux Adventure thread on exactly why the regular build of Ubuntu fails to boot on my machine but a tweaked sub-build worked. ("Probably a driver or something, but which one and why?")
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2012, 07:15:57 AM »

When it comes to linux support, that is something I cannot do, due to my complete lack of understanding on how to do even the most basic task in any distro lol

Support in the store will come wish a 'If we can't fix it, we won't charge you a penny' type view, and if we can fix it, we will do, for the least amount of money possible, without bankrupting ourselves.

I am trying to stick away from 'Support' based business due to the sheer knowledge I would have to have.  We will be providing in-store support, and full returns/refunds policies (We aim to only sell NEW products, so will always have a manufacturer warranty to fall back on)

Our customers, first and foremost, will be the local community, who, currently pay, WAY more than they need to be doing, for the ability to be able to go in store and purchase (A lot of people in my area are still against online purchasing) - Through basic research (Past and recent needs to visit local computer stores) I know full well, I can sell products they sell, for a LOT less, and still turn a pretty decent profit. (The cheapest you can buy a stick of 2GB DDR3 RAM here in shops, is about £25...which...is ridiculous!)

On another note, when I say 'Low Budget' I do not want that to be mixed up with 'We supply crappy Chinese imports with odd brand names you will find no support for" - When we say 'Low Budget' we simply mean, if you want something good, but don't have a big budget (Who does these days?!) then we will be able to offer you KNOWN brands (nvidea, gigabyte, OCZ, Kingston etc...) for a fraction of what you are able to buy them elsewhere (OFFLINE - LOCALLY) - I have no intention, and no possible way to undercut online stores that buy all their stock in quantities of 1000+ per item (Which...I COULD do, but...really...where would I store it all...and it would also mean I have a HUGE amount of "Dead Stock" as offline selling will never reach the quantity of sales that an online distributor can handle)

We will also ALWAYS provide after-sales support either in the store, or over the phone (Obviously depending on what the question is...if somebody says something like "How do I connect to a porn website on this thing", then, I won't feel very inclined to help (Although, that will basically mean your guaranteed to have to clean that computer of who knows how many viruses, which, yeah, I could charge for) - Again though, if they called up asking things like "How do I get online" or something reasonable, then yeah, I would be more than happy to provide that information for nothing (At the end of the day, it doesn't cost me anything to answer a question if they called me).

Where we can reasonably NOT charge a customer, we will do exactly that.

I more than understand the implications and complications of doing everything I want to do with this business, but...why start with a "Charge stupid sums, just so I have to sell less to cover the most basic costs" - I would much rather people know I am low priced, reliable, and fair...because...at the end of the day...all that will get me good 'Word of Mouth' advertising, which, almost always leads to more customers.
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2012, 08:15:07 AM »

Sure - that's pretty good progress! If you think your local stores are scalping and you think you can duck underneath them, sure, that's fair attempt at a model.

"All it takes" to avoid the "Cheap Chinese Crap" image is some smart advertising, maybe using words like "old time quality at old time prices", calling on the days when everything was made better or such.
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« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2012, 11:56:50 AM »

"All it takes" to avoid the "Cheap Chinese Crap" image is some smart advertising, maybe using words like "old time quality at old time prices", calling on the days when everything was made better or such.

Assembled with pride in the USA! ...Would definitely get my attention.
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2012, 02:01:42 AM »

"All it takes" to avoid the "Cheap Chinese Crap" image is some smart advertising, maybe using words like "old time quality at old time prices", calling on the days when everything was made better or such.

Assembled with pride in the USA! ...Would definitely get my attention.

But but but, I don't wanna move to the USA Sad lol  Grin
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« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2012, 07:02:46 AM »

"All it takes" to avoid the "Cheap Chinese Crap" image is some smart advertising, maybe using words like "old time quality at old time prices", calling on the days when everything was made better or such.

Assembled with pride in the USA! ...Would definitely get my attention.

But but but, I don't wanna move to the USA Sad lol  Grin

Oh yeah, duh! ...I was just trying to play off of Tao's CCC comment and forgot that particular detail. Never the less, that type of (support the locals) pitch does tend to resonate well with some folks.
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« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2012, 08:48:09 AM »

I think negative copywriting isnt good. If you want effective tagline without much negativity. Try this- 'Frugal computing? Not with chinese products'.#ting tong#
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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2012, 07:23:39 AM »

Well, looks like time is running out on the struggling Indiegogo campaign. Did you get any feedback from site visitors?
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