Setting Up Internet Cafe
- Formulate an idea of how you want to run your Internet Cafe and write it down, the different amenities and services you want to offer and the audience you wish to cater to.
Research the feasibility of your plan in the area you wish to open your Internet Cafe. Look specifically at the demand for an Internet Cafe and competitors in the area and estimate how much money you will require as an initial investment.
Create a comprehensive business plan. Enumerate every detail for your Internet Cafe from computers that you will need to purchase to the type of atmosphere you want to create to long-term operational costs. Incorporate the results from your previous market research and explain how your Cafe will stay afloat over time. Make sure to make it clear and understandable and be able to explain it to anyone, especially those who do not know the technical jargon.
- Obtain permits. Check with your local municipality for the types of permits required. Get a legal adviser if you don't know how to fill out the forms - better to pay small costs up front and have peace of mind than to have expensive complications down the track.
- Choose an Internet service provider (ISP) for your Cafe's Internet connection which will most likely need a higher grade, more robust connection than a normal household set up. Negotiate with the ISP as they may offer special deals for businesses, especially Internet Cafes.
- Design the layout to fit the space, and if possible, use a professional designer. Work with the designer so that they understand the special requirements of an Internet Cafe such as keeping food and beverage preparation and consumption from damaging computer equipment. Include an electrician in the design process to ensure that the infrastructure will be able to handle the load of all the electronic devices in your Cafe.
- Purchase all the necessary equipment according to your plan such as computers, network cable, routers, printers, crimping tools and RJ-45 jacks.
- Set up your Internet Cafe which includes all the construction and renovations, electrical work, network set up, computer and software installation, and security system set up as well as any other specialty services such as food and drink preparation.
- Hire and train any employees you will need. Not only should they be technically savvy, but also friendly and easy to work with.
- Promote your Internet Cafe in the neighborhood through fliers, advertisements in newspapers, word of mouth and any other marketing strategies to target your audience.
- Listen to and incorporate feedback from your customers. If they clamor for more bandwidth, inquire with your ISP, or if they complain about the amount of performance-degrading spyware, hire an expert to solve the problem. This is also an opportunity to expand your business into other areas such as color printing and copying or hosting computer game competitions depending on the demand in your area.
- Remember to always go the extra mile for your customers. The customer is your first priority.
- Your customers' job is to pay and your job is to serve them, making sure they are satisfied and being able to answer any of their questions.
- Continue to evaluate your performance as a business and keep track of what works and what does not.
- Anticipate and adapt to local conditions.
- Install a firewall on your router if it does not already have one to protect your network from worms, viruses and other outside attacks.
- Install some sort of basic network traffic monitors without invading your customers' privacy but at the same time, keeping an eye out for excessive bandwidth use.
- copyright infringement is a problem, educate your customers as to what is legal and what is not and consider blocking peer-to-peer ports if it gets out of hand.
Things You'll need:
- Business plan
- Computers (high-quality devices complete with monitors, mice and keyboards)
- Software (Operating systems, productivity software, gaming software)
- Networking equipment (routers, switches, cabling)
- Uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units to protect from power surges