I have written 35 complete business plans for call centres over the years. The advantages of writing a business plan for any kind of business is well-documented and this article is not looking at those general ideas.
The format for a business plan for a call centre outsourcing firm is fairly similar to other types of business but there are a number of factors you need to consider. Contrary to what some might tell you, the call centre business is a tough, highly competitive business with tight margins. Many call centres go out of business due to unprofitable project, unrealistic revenue expectations and non-paying clients. Your business plan therefore needs to focus on the following areas:
(1) What is your differentiator? What makes you different to the 1000s of other call centres out there? If you don't have one, then you will fail. If you aim to rely on doing things cheaply, you will always find someone willing to do things cheaper. Always remember that youre differentiator should be unique. It's no point thinking that your differentiator is that you are in The Philippines. There are tons of call centres in The Philippines. Location is not a differentiator.
(2) Ensure you have a budget. Know how much it costs to set up and don't rely on 100% of revenue from day 1. I always advise clients to consider writing off any revenue within the first 6 months as a "bonus". Be realistic about your expectations. Remember that you have to win this business. Also, remember that very few call centres are full 100% of the time and if they are, it's because they are looking to expand. Work out a budget based on 70% capacity being filled. You should always allow a percentage for non-payment or late payment and remember that it may be 60 days from when you start a project until you get paid. If working in an overseas call centres, account for fluctuations in the exchange rate between the currency most of your expenses are paid and the currency or currencies you receive payment in. I have yet to meet a new call centre company which doesn't over-estimate the short-term profitability of their company.
(3) What is your message and how do you plan to get this message out to potential clients? Working through brokers is a very poor way to go. You need to ensure you have a powerful, clear and consistent message which is delivered through all your channels; website, presentation materials, calling. Most small centres are very weak in this area. You are in a crowded marketplace and you need to be seen.
If you need assistance in developing a business plan, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me in The UK on 077400 96598