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What problem does your solution solve?
As golfers improve (meaning hit the ball more than 20 feet), they need to learn which club to use based on their abilities and how far away the target is on each shot. The only way to know how far you hit the ball is to know the distance between where you started and where you ended up. And the only way to know how far away the target really is, is to measure it.
Laser rangefinders do this well, but cost hundreds of dollars and only tell you the distance to a tall object like the flagstick or a tree. GPS apps can be inaccurate by 10 yards and kill your battery quickly. And neither allows you to keep notes about how to play each hole.
These player's guides will provide many yardages to a golfer at-a-glance. They will also provide the slopes of the green for approach shots and putting. The books are the same style used by professional tour golfers each week - but now public course amateurs can have them too.
As a bonus, we have included an illustrated rules guide in the back.
What’s the market potential for your solution?
Minnesota boasts one of the highest counts of golf courses per capita. 390 courses in total, and almost none of them have a yardage book today. 250 of these courses are within 100 miles of downtown Minneapolis.
A StarTribune article from September 2015 says,
"The most recent figures available for public and private golf this summer place Minnesota, and notably the Twin Cities, at or near the top nationally in growth in rounds played, compared to 2014.
By the end of July the number of outings in Minnesota had grown by 15 percent over the same period in 2014, according to Michael Abramowitz, spokesman for the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) of America. Nationally, the number of golf rounds played was up by 1 percent."
We estimate the ability to create books for 10-20 courses per year, with 50-100 golfers buying a book each year. This would allow for growth of 500-2000 books per year. If funds allow, there is also an opportunity to reach courses beyond Minnesota.
Who are your customers?
We are B2B selling directly to each course. The primary customer is the golf shop manager with the consumer being the local golfer. The manager's interest is to make his golfers happy, and our aim is to help him do that in this new way.
Players who are there for a tournament or competitive league or high school competition are very interested in having any advantage they can get. Knowledge of the hole layout, distances, and slopes are critical information for every shot.
Players who have a book for a course are also more likely to return to that course because they can really work on their shot distances as they practice.
We do have the opportunity to sell directly to leagues, but we want each course to share in the profits if they are helping to market the books at the golf shop counter.
How will you reach your customers?
Our go-to-market strategy has consisted of two main pieces:
* Generating interest/pull from the active league and tournament players at a course
* Direct contact with golf shop managers
The managers are very interested in products in their shop that will sell as well as increase interest in their course compared to others. If golfers are already coming to them asking about a yardage book, they will be much more inclined to carry our books in their golf shop.
We do provide each course with promotional photographs for use in social media and newsletters.
One creative strategy would be to work with one of our early customers on submitting a success story to the Minnesota Golf Association (MGA) and National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) which provide periodicals and social media to our target market. That would help to quickly spread the word to many more courses.
How will you make money?
Our revenue will come from book sales as well as advertising.
The cost of producing and shipping is currently $2.50 per book. We can sell the books to courses for $5-6. So, if we sell 1000 books across 10 courses each year, we would estimate margins over $3000 per year.
Our company has also recently been contracted by a 15-year veteran PGA/LPGA caddie who produces books for the semi-professional tours. He asked us to create all of the drawings for his books. We can't share the specific fee details, but we would see additional revenue of $2000-3000 per year.
Our ongoing administrative expenses will be moderate. We are providing all the labor ourselves. Our drawing software, storage, and computing fees are about $500 per year. And our other transportation, accounting, and marketing expenses will also be about $500 per year.
So we would see earnings of about $4000-5000 per year with this business model which will be paid to us as sales commissions and hourly wages.
What kind of partners will you need to make, support and distribute your solution?
Our key supply chain partnership is with our print shop to keep our biggest expense low, our deliveries on-time, and our print quality high.
Our next most important partnership is with our technology vendors to make sure our books can be created quickly and easily and then are protected in storage. Currently, we use Microsoft and Google applications and services. We plan to contact both of them to share our experiences with their software because we see ways that their products could be even better.
Our key marketing partnership is with golf leagues and associations who will generate the buzz for our books at their courses. They will also share their experience of our books with their friends at other courses.
What will your expenses include?
Our original startup costs were about $1200. This included LLC registration, website/email hosting, sales samples, and marketing costs. Those costs were mostly covered by a very successful Kickstarter campaign this June.
Now that the business has been established and we have agreements with six courses, we need additional funds to sustain and scale-up the business until revenue can be received. Our first courses are carrying our books on consignment. So we won't see any revenue there for the next few months until the books have sold.
Our most recent agreements include an actual purchase by a golf league for every member of that league, as well as a big purchase of 100 books by a premier public course in the Twin Cities that hosts many tournaments.
But we still need funding to travel to more courses, print the books, and continue to improve our online presence and product quality. We especially need better publishing software and digital levels to measure putting green slopes.
Who is your competition and how do you differ?
Our primary competition is the electronic device designed for the golf course - laser rangefinders, smartphone apps, GPS watches.
Our challenge is to be seen as more convenient to use and more comprehensive with the information needed. We should also be seen as more accurate than these devices. Each type of device has limitations that a printed book will easily overcome at such a low price point. And many people would still rather not use an electronic device at all while golfing.
Our secondary competition consists of companies printing their own idea of a yardage book. But these "course guides" are not really useful to the golfer beyond pretty pictures and a few basic yardages. Our books will be much more comprehensive.
We will have more yardages, include the green slopes that the competition lacks, and we will include our rules reminders with graphics in partnership with a best-selling golf author in exchange for mention of his excellent book, "Golf Rules Made Easy".