An online dating business may seem like a relatively easy business to begin. Business owners should develop a sound online dating business plan to present to lenders or investors. This will ensure that the business idea is developed fully. Starting a dating site has very little overhead. Business owners will have minimal equipment to purchase; however, a web developer may have to be hired to develop a robust website. Dating franchises may also be purchased on the web for minimal costs.
Develop an Online Dating Business Plan
When starting an online dating business, business owners must write a sound business plan in order to convince investors or lenders to invest in the company. Business owners must demonstrate how the company will be profitable and show the viability of the company both short and long term. Dating sites are plentiful online. Business owners must demonstrate their competitive edge over other companies and delineate their services from the competition. Currently, there are over 10 major dating sites. Many of the major sites have over 1 million subscribers.
Bank Loans versus Venture Capital
Business owners planning to start a dating business from scratch may need to secure funding through bank loans or venture capital. Private investors may also provide funding for a dating site. To retain full ownership of the business, a business may want to secure a small business loan. With the help of the government, banks are able to help potential business owners obtain funding for businesses. Most small businesses needing $20,000 or less in funding may find that a small business loan is the best option.
However, if this new innovative dating site involves some sort of proprietary software or other large scale idea, venture capital or a private investor may be the best option for obtaining funding. Business owners who desire a large sum of money may want to consider venture capital instead of a small business loan. Investors may want a portion of the proceeds if investors are used.
An online dating business will require a robust website that will handle significant volume. Fortunately for small business owners, cloud computing allows business owners to host applications and websites at an off-site facility. With cloud computing, business owners do not have to incur server costs that are often associated with hosting a website. If the business experiences a spike in visits to the site, the hosting company automatically plans to redistribute traffic so that the website is not down during a volume spike. Without a hosting company, businesses have to purchase server equipment that will handle occasional spikes. Small business owners often do not have the capital in their budgets to afford servers that may be used occasionally.
Cloud computing is scalable to all employees of a particular company. When starting an online dating business, business owners need to ensure that they can provide their employees access to all necessary applications without excess spending. Cloud computing is a low cost way to complete this task. Cloud computing also allows business owners to save on energy costs related to running a server 24 hours per day and seven days per week. With cloud computing, the company’s sales people can access the applications from their Smart Phones, Netbooks or laptops. Companies do not have to invest in expensive equipment for all of their employees, since the applications are web-based. Each employee will simply need a computer that can handle basic web browsing capabilities and a fast Internet connection.
If an in-house web developer is hired, these individuals will need more sophisticated equipment to complete the development of the website. Since only a small number of these computers are required, the company will save a significant amount of money on equipment costs for a dating business.
Marketing, Sales and Customer Service
A new online dating business must demonstrate how they will attract subscribers through marketing campaigns, sales strategies and other promotional opportunities. Budgets for marketing and sales must be established. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others are low cost promotional tools that businesses may use to develop a following for their product. Many companies may purchase special Facebook and Twitter applications that may be used for customer service. In addition to traditional phone-based customer service through PBX systems, email and online social networking may also be used for customer service.
Companies must develop a budget to handle all customer related issues that may arise during the development of the website. As subscribership increases, a dating business will need to hire employees to field these inquiries and also pay their salaries. This will require substantial funding for the company.
Business owners should be prepared to handle each of these elements of the business before starting an online dating business. The online dating business plan is essential to developing a convincing argument for potential funding sources.