Netcafe nearly a month on

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           As most of you are aware after having and still got problems with the internet connection the internet cafe was going to be a problem for sometime. So what has changed in the last week to really get things moving? Firstly the net connection has become more stable but still very slow. I’m tempted to just cancel one of the connections and run it on 1mb simply because it will save me P1000 a month for a service that isn’t working properly in the first place. The other reason being that most people have gone about 90% split onto Xbox machines as I worked the Xbox’s on 2 players for the price of one. As lets face it there is only one bit of electricity being consumed regardless if its one or two player so why not let them take advantage of the situation. End result being we now have 3 Xbox’s running which are pretty much on all of the time as the players seem to split the cost or should I say pay twice. Counter strike has taken off finally after a few bug fixes which now has people spending half the time on PCs and half on Xbox. Which pretty much means most people actually don’t use the internet connection at all except for Face book. We still have a long way to go but the point is the income is going up and more players are coming as we are the cheapest in the area.

I haven’t invested heavily in marketing and advertisements simply because most of the players it wouldn’t make any difference with. What does though is that we are cheap and will keep the same price structure for as long as the internet is poor. The other major factor we have got is that we can expand by another 3 Xbox’s and 2 Nintendo Wii which I’m looking to phase in over time to allow the customer base to build. We are running the machines on P10 an hour compared to P15 by the cafes on the main road. Difference being obviously they have got a fast connection due to location. Bad news for them though is we don’t have rent costs and will continue to upgrade. There has been a lot of cafes opening in the area and no doubt the fierce competition against each other will take its toll. But people are already complaining of the charges at the other cafes if we can build on the customer loyalty and fill the seats for at least 5 hrs a day I will be happy. What is a bit disappointing is most people don’t buy snacks but seems we end up with the money in the machines anyway. There is also another add on I’m currently looking at which is the peso-peso coin operated attachments to the Xbox’s as this would no doubt maximise the income on the machines even if I just buy one and leave the others on regular timers. This project has taken a lot more time to setup than I had expected with travelling to the city for parts as well as generally waiting for customers. But now its in full swing I am getting to the point another couple of weeks and we can sit back as things develop around us and start looking to the printing and photocopy side of business. As well as starting to advertise “free" training for off peak hours to get some of the older generation people in and start teaching how to do accounts, emails, web chat etc. as I think the 40+ age group would be hooked into using the cafe once they get over the initial shyness of not knowing how to use the PC.

After all that we will look to the PC sales and repair business as well as Wii, Xbox, PSP upgrades and unlocking mobile phones as well as uploading games onto the phones. But currently the customer base is young and mainly don’t have phones or money to buy any equipment. But it doesn’t mean we cant run some trials locally and look to open up in a mall.