Marketing Strategy Business Plan
Last year the doors to 898,000 new businesses opened in the United States for the first time. Most of these businesses were created by entrepreneurs who envisioned an opportunity to develop a new product or service, and pursued that vision in search of independence and financial reward. While these visionaries started with solid ideas to form the foundation of their new ventures, most do not have many of the skills necessary to transform their ideas into reality. Additionally, the scarcity of talent in today’s market makes it extremely difficult for small business owners to attract and retain those skills.
The Cambridge Strategy Group (CSG), L.L.C. is dedicated to providing marketing and management consulting services to small and emerging businesses looking for opportunities to increase their potential for success. Unlike traditional management consulting firms that focus on analyzing problems for large customers, CSG works exclusively with small business clients to develop concrete, practical, short-term action plans that will start moving their businesses in the right direction. The Cambridge Strategy Group takes advantage of the small business owners’ need for marketing and management skills, the scarcity of those skills in the market, and the lack of any major competitor owning the concept of “small business consulting.”
The CSG management team brings a broad range of industry experience and training from both energetic small firms and experienced industry leaders.
John B. Gordon, Executive Director: John has worked in marketing, business development, and corporate strategy for a number of small and large firms, including EMC Corporation, IBM Corporation, and Larscom, Incorporated. John’s participation on the North Carolina Council for Entrepreneurial Development, plus his experience providing consulting services to small businesses, catalyzed the formation of the Cambridge Strategy Group.
Todd D. Kuczaj, Managing Director: Todd has worked in Internet consulting, Web design/development, financial services, and media publications for a variety of companies, including a Big Five consulting firm, Integrated Information Systems Inc., SunAmerica Securities Inc., and the Foothills Sentinel. Todd currently functions as an experienced analyst for a Big Five consulting firm, working with Fortune 100 and Fortune e-50 firms to solve their business and technology issues.
Ben S. Cordell, Managing Director: Ben has worked in business development, account management, systems engineering, marketing, and product development positions at LifeServ and ONE Co. (formerly DC Systems). Ben currently functions as a corporate strategy specialist at LifeServ, discovering and developing merger, acquisition and strategic partnership opportunities.
1.1 Keys to Success
UNIQUENESS OF SERVICES
The Cambridge Strategy Group is focused specifically on helping small and emerging businesses maximize their potential for success. We combine Blue Chip training with small business experience and local presence. We differentiate ourselves in the following ways:
Focus on small business. We place our best people on small business customers. Our mission is to help small businesses of today become the leading corporations of tomorrow. Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to own the words “small business” in the minds of our potential clients.
Cost-effective personal interaction with local consultant presence. Personal interaction provides small businesses with a level of comfort not available with remote consultants. There may be many occasions where the small business founders may ask the consultant to simply “stop by,” to react to a new development, or to answer a question. While this local presence and personal interaction is highly valued, business owners are often unable to afford the cost associated with bringing consultants to them from other areas.
A diverse network of consultants and alliance partners. Solving the unique problems that face small businesses today demands a wide range of skills and experiences. By relying on a nationally distributed talent base coordinated to work together remotely, Cambridge Strategy Group will be able to bring together the skills required by a particular client without incurring the expense of physically bringing all of the individuals together. In the book, 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, authors Al Ries and Jack Trout note that being first in the customer’s mind is more important than being the overall leader. In the world of small business, this is particularly true. With 898,000 small businesses starting each year, there is a significant opportunity for a consulting firm such as Cambridge Strategy Group to become the “first” consulting firm dedicated exclusively to small businesses in the minds of a number of these potential clients.
The firm has very small capital requirements. Any capital that the firm obtains will be used to promote the “small business focus” of the firm and cover basic operational costs. For the firm to realize its full potential, the founders would require compensation equivalent to full-time employment while pursuing initial clients and creating a backlog of work requests. This would most likely need to cover at least one year’s salary for each of the three managers. Additionally, funding for initial marketing projects would help to ensure that the firm could establish a claim to the “small business consulting” concept in the target market. In exchange for the funding, CSG would provide an equity stake to the funding company. Ideally, we would like to work with the funding company to help its other clients succeed.
Cambridge Strategy Group is a North Carolina-based consulting firm that responds to entrepreneurs’ need for practical business and marketing services to turn their innovative ideas into successful business ventures. Through interaction with a number of aspiring entrepreneurs, the founders of the Cambridge Strategy Group discovered a ready market of clients who were eager to take advantage of the founders’ skills, understanding, and insight into their businesses. The Cambridge Strategy Group is exclusively focused on small businesses. Our goal is to own the idea “small business” or “small business consulting” in the minds of our target market.
The Cambridge Strategy Group has identified a real business opportunity that has been neglected by earlier consulting firms due to its complex customer base. Below, we have identified the opportunities and threats in the environment, as well as our particular strengths and weaknesses that will enable us to succeed:
OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS
The Cambridge Strategy Group has analyzed the market and believes that a real opportunity exists to provide services to small businesses. The following paragraphs describe the environment in which the company will compete, and the key success factors necessary to perform well.
Opportunities – The number of new businesses starting each year in the U.S. and specifically in the Triangle Area of North Carolina create a sizeable market. Many of these businesses are started by an entrepreneur with a solid idea, but little experience in creating the formal business strategies or marketing deliverables necessary to turn their idea into a successful business. With recent IPOs giving back much of their initial valuations, companies are now being forced to demonstrate profitable business models in order to maintain strong valuations. Venture capitalists need to focus on making their existing companies successful instead of simply prospecting for the next great idea. To accomplish this, founders need to effectively define and communicate their value propositions. Since this is not a core competency for many entrepreneurs, there is an opportunity to provide this skill set through outsourcing arrangements. Additionally, founders need experience in sales and marketing to exploit market opportunities and create early revenue wins. Finally, no business currently exists with dominant mind-share as a “small business consulting” firm.
Threats – Businesses in the early stages of their life cycles, usually through the Angel funding stage, tend to have extremely tight budgets. Once the business reaches the venture-funded stage, it often has more cash to devote to outsourcing of non-core competencies. Barriers to entry in this market are extremely low. Successful consultants will have to work to earn a few client successes and then aggressively build a reputation as the “small business consultants.” Building a reputation will require funding. High-profile consulting firms could quickly enter this market. In order to keep costs low, it is assumed that they would begin out of a major office, leaving the Triangle Area of North Carolina available. However, low cost of living in the Triangle Area may facilitate expansion. Establishing area contacts will be critical to hedge against new firms entering the area.
The Cambridge Strategy Group portfolio is designed to provide targeted marketing and management services to small businesses. From helping entrepreneurs define their business plans to improve their chances for obtaining venture funding, to creating concrete marketing deliverables to promote their original ideas, the Cambridge Strategy Group seeks to help small businesses at various stages of development. Our services fall into four major categories.
The Cambridge Strategy Group helps entrepreneurs build a solid managerial foundation from which the rest of their business can expand and grow. We construct organizational development blueprints for young firms searching for a solid structure to build upon, and assist in constructing business plans for fledgling companies to improve their chances of obtaining venture funding. CSG offers insights and ideas for how small businesses can discover and sustain their competitive advantage in today’s business landscape where a lack of continuous and constant innovation can be fatal. Furthermore, we offer expertise in other areas such as profit modeling to assist small businesses in their future planning, especially in today’s market where heavy emphasis has been placed upon a company’s ability to show profits rather than pure growth.
Deciding how to present an innovative idea to the market is critical. We have expertise in turning that idea into a successful business venture. Our market planning services help small business founders determine the best messaging for their companies through market and competitive analysis.
We then take the information gained in our analyses and create an effective marketing mix encompassing all of the elements of product or service definition. Finally, we can help our clients develop a launch plan to give their product or service a good chance at success. When necessary, we will help to develop marketing or business development partnerships.
Through our past experience in media operations, CSG provides expertise in a variety of communication formats. CSG composes professional press releases for the media as well as business proposals of all types for both clients and partners. Furthermore, with our understanding of how important company name recognition is to the initial success of small businesses, we help companies create and establish their image through proven branding techniques. CSG can also create marketing/sales collateral, business cards, and other business materials when needed by our clients.
3.1 Service Description
The Cambridge Strategy Group offers four types of services to help small and emerging businesses at various stages of their business development. Our services range in scope from helping to turn a business strategy into a detailed set of concrete actions and milestones, to creating websites and writing collateral for businesses lacking marketing expertise. These tailored services solve the problem of finding marketing talent while minimizing costs.
Management consulting: business strategy, organizational development, profit modeling, sustainable competitive advantage identification;
Market planning: market analysis, value proposition creation, partnership identification, marketing mix development, launch strategies, messaging;
Communication services: press release development, proposal writing, image creation, marketing/sales collateral construction;
Technology: website development, Web hosting, email enablement.
The Cambridge Strategy Group understands the importance of implementing the technological components of a small business as soon as possible in order to facilitate communication between the company and its clients, employees, and partners. Therefore, we offer assistance in email enablement as well as phone and fax set-up. CSG also offers expertise in constructing an Internet presence through Web development and Web hosting.
3.3 Future Services
The Cambridge Strategy Group has a three-part strategy for managing business growth. Initially, CSG will be based out of the Triangle Area of North Carolina, which was ranked #3 on the sixth annual listing of Dun and Bradstreet’s “Best Cities for Small Business” from Entrepreneur magazine.
Starting from North Carolina, our three-part growth strategy is as follows:
- Expansion of Consulting Team: We will add new consultants in other U.S. and foreign cities to increase our skill base and provide more “points of local contact” for our clients.
- Introduction of New Services: New team members will bring new skills and potentially allow us to offer new services to our small business clients. One possible example is helping small businesses expand their operations overseas.
- Evolution of Business Operations: While our initial clients will be obtained through our consultants, ultimately we will create alliances with Venture Capital firms. Our goal is to work with clients and Venture Capital firms to help turn business ideas into successes.
Market Analysis Summary
The Cambridge Strategy Group intends to enter the market for providing marketing and management consulting services to new and emerging small businesses. The sections below discuss our analysis of the environment, the target market, our competitors, and the company.
The environment is well suited for the Cambridge Strategy Group. While the market for startups and skyrocketing IPOs appears to be cooling off, this slowdown provides an opportunity for CSG to establish a presence in the small business arena before the next growth period.
4.1 Market Segmentation
The following factors define the environment in which CSG hopes to succeed.
Physical: New businesses are being formed across the United States every day. Providing consulting services to these businesses will require local presence. North Carolina’s Triangle Area has recently been rated as one of the top three metropolitan areas for small businesses by Dun and Bradstreet’s Entrepreneur magazine.
Legal: The creation of the Limited Liability Company has made it very simple for new businesses to organize as formal business entities. Limited Liability Companies are ideal for small businesses as they avoid the double taxation characteristic of C Corporations, while providing limited liability for the company members.
Economic: Current economic conditions are continuing to challenge investors’ views regarding the potential for return. The market is no longer rewarding entrepreneurs solely on the strength of their ideas. Instead, business owners and Venture Capitalists are expected to show profitability before they will be allowed to reap the rewards of their hard work. While small business owners bring innovative ideas and possibly leadership qualities to their organization, they will need to rely upon skills from other disciplines, including marketing, to succeed.
Social: According to a Small Business Administration report, U.S. small business is at an all-time high (The Facts About Small Business, 1999) “interest in owning or starting a small business has broken new records [between 1993 and 1998].” While recent stock market corrections may have frightened a segment of potential entrepreneurs, the opportunity for financial reward keeps many small business owners diligently chasing their dreams.
Technological: Recent advances in technology have greatly enhanced the ability for distributed teams to work together on common projects. The proliferation of the Internet facilitates data sharing and communication. Voice-over-IP technology reduces the cost of conversation between CSG members working across the country.
With these conditions in mind, CSG will concentrate on initially building clients in the North Carolina area before expanding into other areas. We will be concentrating on all businesses that employ less than 100 individuals. CSG will not segment its market to any greater degree since the company wants to build clients as quickly as possible.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
The target market is defined by the customer needs that create the market, the structural forces that govern operation within the market, and the attractiveness of the market based on strategic value, market size, market growth, and potential for profit. Each of these areas is described below.
Particular market forces affect the ability of the Cambridge Strategy Group to succeed. These forces are identified below:
Buyer Power: With almost 900,000 new businesses starting each year, there is ample demand for consulting services. If any particular business chooses to work with another consulting firm, there are still a large number of firms that can be targeted by CSG. Buyers have power in this market, but the size of the market makes it unlikely that buyer power will have any significant negative impact on the consulting firm.
Threat of Conventional Competitors: No other conventional competitor owns the idea of “small business consulting” in the minds of today’s business owners. A number of high-profile management and marketing consulting firms exist, yet most of these firms have a reputation for being expensive and much too theoretical for small business owners who have practical, short-term concerns. Still, there is potential for these firms to open distinct teams of consultants focused on this market place. These teams would have particular strength in an area where the competitors already have an established consulting presence, such as the major U.S. cities. By beginning our efforts in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, Cambridge Strategy Group will exploit an area that has a very strong market of small businesses, yet does not have many high-profile competitor offices outside of tax specialists. No smaller competitor has emerged in this area.
Supplier Power: Suppliers have minimal power over a consulting firm. The www.cambridgestrategy.net website URL as well as all of the Cambridge Strategy Group email addresses are owned by CSG. Our Web-hosting provider can be changed quickly in the event of any disruption of service. CSG intends to work with third party alliance partners to fulfill client projects. For example, CSG is in the process of entering into an agreement with a Web development firm. This supplier will provide website development for the www.cambridgestrategy.net website in exchange for first right of refusal for future client projects. Contractual stipulations have given the Group legal remedies to terminate the contract due to cost, quality, or time issues with the supplier. By crafting supplier contracts in a careful manner, we hope to limit our exposure to risk due to suppliers’ power.
Threat of Substitutes: Potential substitutes are a very real threat. Venture Capitalists could add more consulting services to their portfolio in order to have more points of contact with the new business. Additionally, non-profit groups such as the Council for Entrepreneurial Development offer basic business plan services, primarily focusing on pre-Angel businesses. Cambridge Strategy Group intends to form relationships with each of these potential substitutes. By working with Venture Capitalists, CSG is able to provide a set of core competencies in marketing and business strategy that complements the VCs funding and business model assessment competencies. Also, by becoming more involved with the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and other non-profit organizations, CSG will gain access to a number of firms who will be potential prospects for marketing consulting once they receive their initial funding.
Threat of New Entrants: This threat is significant as there are very few barriers to entry in a consulting market. Consulting firms do not normally have significant intellectual property that can be patented, and the requirements for creating these firms are minimal. Fortunately, the size of the new business market should sustain a number of firms in this area. The Cambridge Strategy Group will focus on gaining ownership of the idea “small business consulting” in the mind of the market. By owning that idea, CSG will minimize its exposure to new consulting firms with similar targets. Owning this idea is an expensive task that will have to start locally and move from one city to another as the company expands.
4.2.1 Market Growth
According to recent research from the U.S. Small Business Administration office, a record number of new small businesses opened their doors in 1998. This record was broken again in 1999 as the overall small business market grew 1.5%. The growth of the market is not nearly as important to the Cambridge Strategy Group as its size. CSG will need to focus on how to capture the most out of the existing market, even if it declines in size, before thinking about expanding. Potentially, the low growth may dissuade some competitors from entering the market, providing the Cambridge Strategy Group with an opportunity to capture market- and mind-share before more competitors enter.
The Cambridge Strategy Group is entering the market for small business marketing and management consulting services. The growing number of small businesses in the United States, particularly in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, constitute an enormous potential client base that demands the skills provided by the Cambridge Strategy Group.
Strategic Value: The small business consulting market is a strategic, and available, segment for the Cambridge Strategy Group. Many companies are able to get customers to associate a particular concept or idea with their firm. To date, there is no clear association for “small business consulting.” Over time, the Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to capture this association.
Market Size: The size of the market is an important factor. While the large number of small businesses starting each year will make it difficult to gain significant share of the market in the near term, it does help to ensure that there will be initial customers available to the Cambridge Strategy Group.
Potential for Profit: The potential for profit in this segment is very high. The operating costs required to address this segment are minimal, allowing a majority of service revenue to be turned directly into profit. While the barriers to competitive entry may be fairly low, no clear leader has gained the mind-share of the potential client market. Additionally, based on the overwhelming size of the market and the distributed nature of the potential clients, it is unlikely that any competitor will be able to dominate the market in the near future.
4.2.2 Market Trends
The industry is ideal for the emergence of a firm such as the Cambridge Strategy Group. The following facts were listed in a November 1999 report published by the U.S. Small Business Administration:
In 1998; 898,000 new businesses opened in the United States – the most ever.
Interest in owning or starting a small business has broken new records over the last five years and part-time entrepreneurs have dramatically increased.
From 1994 to 1998, about 11.1 million net new jobs were added to the economy. According to Cognetics, Inc., virtually all were generated by small firms with fewer than 500 employees. Microbusinesses with 1-4 employees generated 60.2 percent of the net new jobs over this period; firms with 5-19 employees contributed another 18.3 percent.
Of the 4.5 million workers in high-technology occupations (scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and analysts), 37.9 percent worked in small firms in 1996.
Firms were started for very traditional reasons. Entrepreneurs had a clear perception of an opportunity to develop a business through a new product, coupled with a desire for both independence and financial reward.
The marketing strategy most frequently cited by respondents was either to be the first to the market with a new product or to find a market niche and develop it. These companies much less frequently wait for a market to develop.
Additionally, the fact that the stock market has been slowing during the past year will likely take some of the glitter off of the small business market. This will allow the Cambridge Strategy Group to establish a market presence and prepare to grow during the next period of rapid investment.
4.2.3 Market Needs
Within the small business market, there are a number of segments, each with distinct objectives, resources, and needs.
4.3 Service Business Analysis
The Cambridge Strategy Group is poised to take advantage of the trends identified above. By combining the marketing and management experience, small business focus, and local presence in key markets, the Cambridge Strategy Group will help the growing number of small businesses increase their chances for success.
The Cambridge Strategy Group is a Limited Liability Company designed to offer limited liability to the members. CSG is incorporated in North Carolina where it will initially focus its operations. The rapidly growing Triangle Area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Research Triangle Park, was recently ranked #3 on the list of large metropolitan areas in Dun and Bradstreet’s Entrepreneur magazine’s sixth annual listing of the “Best Cities for Small Businesses.” CSG’s initial address is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. However, with consultants distributed across the nation, CSG can easily expand its target client base to encompass other regions through the use of existing and tested technology. Currently, our consultants live in or near Phoenix, AZ; Chicago, IL; and Boston, MA in addition to Chapel Hill, NC.
4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
Competitors to the Cambridge Strategy Group fall into four categories:
- Segment Rivals: Segment Rivals offer the exact same services as the Cambridge Strategy Group. These firms must focus exclusively on small businesses and offer marketing and/or management strategy services. While the market is certainly large enough to sustain multiple segment rivals, the Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to ensure that its name is well known in all its target markets.
- Market Rivals: There are a number of available Market Rivals who compete with the Cambridge Strategy Group while having slightly different business focuses. Examples of market rivals include start-up focused branches of Big Five Consulting Firms, Management Consulting Firms, and Venture Capitalists who also provide business services. The Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to compete with these firms by demonstrating its focus on “small business consulting.”
- Generic Rivals: Generic Rivals represent alternative solutions. The main alternative to outsourcing work to a consulting firm is performing the work in-house. The Cambridge Strategy Group will attempt to demonstrate the value of outsourcing marketing and management work to a consulting firm in order to (1) utilize the core competencies of the consulting firm and (2) reduce the costs associated with hiring full-time employees.
- Structural Rivals: Structural Rivals are the forces inherent in the market through which the firm must operate. These forces were described in the previous section entitled Target Market Analysis.
4.3.2 Business Participants
A number of other firms will compete with the Cambridge Strategy Group. Due to the size of the available market, it will be exceptionally difficult for any of these competitors to gain significant market share. However, it will also be difficult for the Cambridge Strategy Group to control the market.
Security Guard Business Plan Sample
Protect your community by starting a security business using a security guard business plan similar to this one.
Protect your community by starting a security business using a security guard business plan similar to this one to compile your own.
1. Executive Summary
Batten-Hatchez Security is a start-up security company founded by Chindit Batten, an experienced former police sergeant and security company manager.
Located in Coastalburg at its launch, the business will provide security guards, security audits, and referrals to equipment providers to commercial buildings, retail businesses, and, eventually special event venues and other clients.
The business seeks to acquire capital from an angel investor and will expand to additional cities in our state and beyond if successful.
Related: Free Business Plan Template Download
In the current political climate, with increasing fears of terrorist activity, and the current economic climate, which promises an upswing in general and in outsourced services especially, this business is launching at the right time.
The business will target large retail stores and building management companies first in order to establish a strong base of clients in Coastalburg.
Batten-Hatchez will grow its employee base of security guards carefully, based on client contracts, and use both full-time and part-time guards. The business expects respectable sales of in the first year, almost doubling by the end of the third year. Gross margins will be similar to the industry average, based on guard labor costs vs. billings.
After the initial investment and launch, a lean first year, and the establishment of an office and training space in the second year, the business will be poised to expand through its own financing after three years. After the business is proved replicable in additional cities, the business may be sold to provide an exit for the initial investor and founders.
Batten-Hatchez Security will base its success on meeting the following objectives:
- Employ 25 full-time equivalent security guards by the end of the third year of operation
- Supply security guards to 15 buildings on a full-time basis by the end of the third year of operation
- Earn $2 million in revenue with net profit over $300,000 in its third year of operation
Batten-Hatchez Security will remove worries for clients who require security guards for their buildings, facilities, and events by providing excellent customer service for clients and in-depth training for their employees.
Keys to Success
Batten-Hatchez Security believes the keys to success in its industry include:
- Listening carefully to client concerns and objectives to create customized security guard packages
- Knowing what the client does not know (bringing deep security expertise as well as knowledge of legal regulations and liability to the table)
- Training security guards carefully and maintaining their training and certifications (e.g. to carry firearms)
- Monitoring the quality of security guard service to offer quality assurance
The creation of SAB KickStart, SAB Foundation, SAB Accelerator and SAB Thrive, provides the opportunity for a tangible and sustainable future for South Africans by providing invaluable guidance and support to new business.
2. Company Summary
Batten-Hatchez Security is a startup security company founded by Chindit Batten, a former police sergeant and security company manager with fifteen years in law enforcement and ten years in security work.
Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up
The business will provide security guards to commercial buildings, retail businesses, and special events. The business will launch in Coastalburg but will expand to additional cities if successful.
Chindit Batten is CEO and founder of Batten-Hatchez Security.
He currently owns 60% of the business and the remaining 40% of shares are owned by his partner and co-founder, Viipuri Hatchez, COO. The business is incorporated as an S Corporation to enable additional investment for its launch.
The founders shares will be diluted as up to 40% of shares will be given to investors.
Batten-Hatchez Security will launch as a home-based business out of the home office of Chindit Batten. Initially, this will reduce the cost of rent and equipment.
Training for security guards will be provided in temporarily rented office space as needed.
Other start-up costs include the costs of incorporation and permits, such as concealed weapons permits, business license, and police clearances (legal fees), the initial website and brochure design and printing, and the first insurance premium for the business, including liability insurance for the guard’s work and carrying of firearms.
Long-term assets include mobile phones and headsets for all guards and employees, as well as two-way radios for guards working as teams.
Batten-Hatchez Security will provide well trained guards for one or more of the following purposes:
- To guard entrances and screen guests/employees
- To monitor clients’ premises with video surveillance equipment
- To protect clients’ assets, employees and guests
- To deter crime with visual presence
- To organize response in the case of fire, evacuation, or other emergency
- To respond to customer and employee health emergencies and accidents
- To eject unwanted customers or trespassers
- To liaison with police and city emergency responders
In addition, the principals of the firm will offer the following:
- Security audits and recommendations for security plans
- Referrals to providers of security technology (camera systems, etc.)
Batten-Hatchez will be a licensed, insured, and bonded business and will offer both armed and unarmed guards, based on client needs and budgets.
All guards will be certified for security work and to carry firearms. Whenever possible, the same guards will be sent consistently to the same clients. However, substitutes will be necessary from time to time and the business will ensure that detailed data about the job is transmitted to substitute guards on those occasions.
Batten-Hatchez Security will build trust with clients as a partner, rather than simply in the specific guard or guards they grow comfortable with. Guards will keep in constant communication with their team via portable two-way radios and with the Batten-Hatchez office, as necessary through mobile phones.
The Batten-Hatchez office will be not be staffed full-time at launch, but the CEO and COO will be within reach by phone wherever they work. Guards who encounter criminal activity will alert the authorities immediately rather than going through a communications centre.
Once the Batten-Hatchez office is established outside of the home of Chindit Batten, it will be staffed full-time with a rotation of three call centre personnel who will cover the dispatches. Guards will either be stationed at desks or patrol on foot at all facilities.
Clients must provide vehicles if their jobs require vehicle patrol (i.e., a facility with several buildings), but this will not be a focus of Batten-Hatchez Security.
Knowing how to write a funding proposal properly can make or break your business idea before it even gets off the ground.
4. Market Analysis Summary
The market for security guard services includes building management companies, retail businesses, event venues, and other businesses. IBISworld.com reports that the security services industry as a whole was $29.7 billion in 2008.
While this number includes investigative services and armoured car services, it is estimated that security guards accounted for $22.3 billion. This represents approximately 540,000 employees in the security guard industry.
While market revenue has dropped 2% in 2008 due to the recession, it is expected that the market will rise again due to increasing outsourcing of security services by companies who will delay hiring their own full-time employees as the recession ends.
The continuing and growing concerns about security brought on by international terrorism are also expected to contribute to growth in the industry.
Of the potential targets available in Coastalburg Batten-Hatchez Security will focus on building management companies and retail businesses at the outset.
These businesses require steady security needs and serving them is simpler than serving special events.
The market analysis table shows the market segmentation for Coastalburg among the major market segments for security guard services. Growth is slow among these markets as new development is not prevalent in Coastalburg currently.
Building management companies generally install surveillance equipment and employ security guards to monitor that equipment, to staff front desks/security checks, and sometimes for general patrol.
These companies often work with a number of commercial or residential buildings and look to establish a relationship with one reliable vendor for all of their security guard needs. While some buildings require night-shift guards, others require only day coverage.
Large retail businesses use security guards to deter theft and to provide safety. These include department stores and other retail stores over 4,000 square feet, although some smaller stores may use security guards if they sell high-priced items (designer fashion, jewelry, technology, etc.).
Retailers require more guards during the day. Some simply lock the store at night while some larger department stores use night patrols as well.
Event venues use security guards to monitor guest lists and fire capacities and to organize emergency response. Nightclubs and bars may be included in this category. However, most nightclubs and bars employ their own security personnel (or “bouncers”) directly and do not use vendors.
Event security has the same risks as other security, but there is limited time for security audits and situations change fast, making this a higher stress business that requires better trained guards. Events tend to happen in the evenings with weekday nights for corporate events and weekend nights for private events.
Educational institutions, such as primary and secondary schools and colleges, generally employ security officers to guard and patrol their buildings and campuses. Often these institutions employ their own in-house security staff, but they will sometimes use outsources security vendors. These institutions require night and day patrols.
There are two kinds of security companies, one that sells products and one that sells services or you can combine both.
Target Market Segment Strategy
Batten-Hatchez Security will target the first two of these target markets initially, building management companies and retail businesses. Both segments require ongoing security vendors and are eager to establish long-term relationships.
Once relationships are established, good customer service, quality assurance, and competitive pricing can ensure that the relationships are retained and that the security provider is considered a true partner in the protection of the building or businesses’ assets and people.
Furthermore, the other two target markets listed will be taken on at a later date, if at all. Event venues require more specialised services and may be a slower market to tackle.
Related: Target Market Worksheet
Educational institutions are often eager to establish their own security staffs, making this a difficult market to establish a strong foothold in as well.
Service Business Analysis
According to IBISWorld, there were 41,000 security services firms in the U.S. in 2008 running 56,000 establishments. The average size of a firm was $700,000 revenue per year based on these numbers, meaning that the industry includes both small and larger companies.
There are few barriers to entry, as long as basic legal requirements are met, as the capital investment in the business is very low. The industry depends on a supply of labor, often using retired police officers as security guards.
As security guard services are sold business-to-business, marketing and advertisement is generally targeted on the markets and industries the security companies seek to serve. Businesses generally search for security guard providers on the Internet or through referrals from other companies they trust.
Competition and Buying Patterns
Top players in the industry include Securitas AB, Allied Security LLC, The Brink’s Company, and G4S plc.
Huge players provide services for a huge range of markets, including governments, chemical and petrochemical, colleges and universities, commercial real estate, financial institutions, health care facilities, manufacturing and industrial, residential communities, shopping centers, and temporary security services.
Smaller security companies achieve success based on the expertise and reputation of their founding managers and the growth of a team with a similar track record. The continued success of a company depends on client satisfaction, leading to referrals.
Larger institutions and governments may receive several bids for security contracts, while smaller businesses (such as many that Batten-Hatchez Security will target) often prefer to try out security companies and move on if they do not meet expectations.
The smaller the amount of assets being protected, the more willing a company will be to risk their security on educated hunches about a security company without feeling the need to do due diligence on a number of options.
IBISworld reports the following about the security industry:
- While the public’s perception of the rising crime rate assists revenue, the most significant factor which increases the demand for this industry’s services is a breach of an existing security system, a break-in or a near break in. The economic crisis has hurt demand over the past two years but things will soon begin to improve.
- In Coastalburg, security guard service competitors include securityguard.com, Top Guard Security, US Security Guard Services, and Trend Security Corporation.
Vending Services Sample Business Plan
Every start-up business that offers vending services requires a professional business plan.
Vending Services Business Plan
Chef Vending, LLC is a family start-up business that specializes in importing vending machines and commercial food & beverage equipment from Spain. We will penetrate the vending industry with innovative, first to market, high quality vending machines. We will establish our own vending routes in the Southern and Central Florida region. We also plan to participate in the $321 billion food & beverage industry by supplying high-quality innovative equipment. With the establishment of one strategic alliance with a national brand name in either of our vending lines, we expect to easily exceed our financial forecasts.
Chef Vending’s mission is to be the leader in introducing innovative, quality vending machines and restaurant equipment to the market. Through close customer contact and excellent relationships, we will meet the needs of our customers wherever we can.
Chef Vending, LLC, is a privately-held Florida corporation and maintains an office and a small warehouse in a mixed-use area of North Miami Beach, Florida.
Three of the four investors in the company have full operational responsibility. Mauricio Ordonez and Javier Palmera, the co-founders, have both entrepreneurial and industry experience. Charles Mulligan brings operational management and financial skills to the operation.
Chef Vending will have two product lines, each for the various markets it serves. Our vending products line will include our unique Sandwich Express machine, our Fresh Orange Juice machine and our Multi-line Dispenser. Our restaurant equipment products will be toasters, espresso makers, and fresh juice squeezers.
Most of our products, such as Sandwich Express are innovative machines that have functions and advantages not found in today’s common vending machines, thus providing Chef Vending a competitive advantage over more established competitors.
We plan to aggressively enhance our existing line in the future. Our immediate plans are to include a larger model of Sandwich Express that will offer a greater variety of sandwiches, and a more diverse product line, such as pizza. Other products are in the exploratory phase.
We are also pursuing supplier relationships with large nationally-branded juice and sandwich manufacturers, to customize our machines to their products. This would enable Chef Vending to supply machines to national companies and allow them to brand the machines with their product lines.
Revenue from U.S. vending consumable merchandise was $24.5 billion last year, an increase of 4.9% over the previous year, according to the Automatic Merchandiser magazine’s latest State of the Vending Industry Report. Small companies, with sales of less than $1 million, accounted for 5.8% of the market and had projected sales of $1.35 billion. Three quarters of all vending operators are classified in the small category.
Within the industry, snacks and cold beverages are the largest product segments and these two categories are the driving force of the industry. The food category grew at a rate of 7% last year, according to the Automatic Merchandiser. Cold storage machines grew at an even more impressive 42% last ylear, with this growth coming at the expense of shelf-stable products.
According to the National Restaurant Association, revenues from restaurants are expected to reach $321 billion. This is a large and healthy industry in our economy, and suppliers to this industry are expected to benefit from this growth.
All of this indicates that a fast moving, innovative company that can introduce enhanced products to vending machine/restaurant equipment customers stand to gain significant market share in a relatively short time span.
Chef Vending will market its machines to three distinct market segments including; distributors, branded sandwich and juice manufacturers, and end users. For our restaurant equipment business we will focus on restaurants and hotels and equipment supply companies.
Chef Vending’s objectives in our first year of operation are:
- Sell 400 vending machines.
- Directly place 10 vending machines, that we will operate, in the South Florida area.
- Achieve $500,000 in sales in our restaurant equipment line.
For the following two years our growth objectives are:
- Grow our vending machine and equipment business by 20% each year.
- Grow revenues by 25% in our directly operated vending machines.
Chef Vending’s mission is to be the leader in introducing innovative, quality vending machines and restaurant equipment to the market. Through close customer contact and excellent relationships, we will meet the needs of our customers wherever we can. Chef Vending will secure sufficient profits from free cash flow from operations, to sustain its stability and finance future growth. We will add value to our community by maintaining a friendly, familial work environment.
1.3 Keys to Success
As a start-up company, new to the industry, and introducing new products, we must be focused and work hard to create acceptance for ourselves and our products within the marketplace. The keys to our success are:
- Quality support and service, recognizing that Chef Vending’s success depends most critically on the relationships it’s able to create.
- Innovative, quality products that are able to both expand existing markets and create new ones for our customers.
- Steady, disciplined pattern of growth.
- Our customers and keeping them happy.
Chef Vending, LLC, is a family-owned and operated import company that focuses on importing innovative vending machines and restaurant equipment from Spain. By serving a niche segment of the $24.5 billion dollar vending industry, we will position Chef Vending as a high-quality, innovative company, that creates value for its customers.
Located in North Miami Beach, Florida, three of the four investors have full operational responsibility. Mauricio Ordonez and Javier Palmera, the co-founders, have both entrepreneurial and industry experience. Charles Mulligan brings operational management and financial skills to the operation.
2.1 Company Ownership
Chef Vending, LLC, is a privately-held Florida corporation. Chef Vending is owned by three of its key employees, and one financial investor. The ownership breakdown is as follows:
Mauricio Ordonez- 40%
Javier Palmera- 20%
Charles Mulligan- 20%
Pedro Herrera- 20%
2.2 Company Locations and Facilities
Chef Vending maintains an office and a small warehouse in a mixed-use area of North Miami Beach, Florida. We maintain a showroom, where we provide customers with product demonstrations, a warehouse, where we keep an inventory of machines and supplies, and an administrative area to handle the business functions.
Chef Vending imports a variety of innovative products that serve the needs of special segments of the market. These machines all aim to expand existing sales and open new lines of sales for our customers.
3.1 Product Description
Chef Vending has three vending machines and three lines of restaurant equipment.
Our vending products are:
- Sandwich Express- This machine stores, in a refrigerated unit, up to 140 pre-packaged sandwiches. When an order is placed, the machine sends a sandwich from the refrigerator to the toaster, toasts the sandwich for a pre-determined time, and at a predetermined temperature. In approximately 60 seconds, a fresh, delicious, hot sandwich is served.
- Fresh Orange Juice (OJ) Machine- This machine, as its name implies, delivers a chilled 7 oz. cup of fresh squeezed orange juice. In a refrigerated unit, the machine stores up to 140 lbs. of juice oranges. This will yield approximately 110, 7 oz. cups. When an order is placed, the machine will dispense, from its refrigerated container, whole oranges that will be sliced in half, and then each half is pulverized for its juice. The juice will run through a filtering system to keep out the seeds and most of the pulp, to finally provide the customer with a 100% all natural cup of OJ in approximately 30 seconds.
- Multi-line- These versatile, low-cost, easy-to-maintain machines provide the end user with a variety of vending options, from phone cards to disposable cameras. Chef Vending is able to provide customers with machines that have either two, three, or four product lines; this will provide flexibility to maximize unit revenue.
Our restaurant equipment products are:
- Toasters- Coming with either a single or double toaster, these panini-type toasters provide the commercial establishment with an automatic machine that frees up service personnel for other customer service tasks. These machines will toast sandwiches, pastries, and a variety of other menu items, in a predetermined time and temperature, automatically dispensing the food item when done.
- Espresso Maker- This high-quality espresso maker makes single-serve cups of delicious gourmet coffee from pre-packaged coffee pods. These pods provide great benefit to the owner by reducing the cost of measuring for each new order, and eliminating the waste associated with the traditional methods.
- Fresh Juice Squeezer- This commercial grade machine will squeeze fresh, whole-juice oranges to allow the owner to sell a cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice.
3.2 Competitive Comparison
Both our Sandwich Express and Fresh OJ machines will be first to market. Currently, the market only provides a sandwich, or other hot meals, that must then be microwaved. We will be the first to market a vending machine that both toasts the sandwich, and then delivers it hot to the customer. Our machine’s products will enjoy a qualitative advantage over microwaved products as well.
For juice drinks, the market only offers bottled or canned juices for a customer to purchase. Our OJ machine will literally squeeze a fresh cup each and every vend. A qualitative advantage over other machines is the fact that the product is free of additives and refined sugars.
There are a number of similar multi-line machines on the market today. We will offer the customer a quality product at prices below the prevailing market rates. Our machines also enjoy distinctive packaging that will compete favorably with the products currently in the market.
We will also be first to market a fully automated line of toasters. Currently, the toasters on the market require the food service worker to manually monitor the cooking process, where ours automatically toast and dispense, freeing the service worker to engage in other customer service tasks.
Our espresso coffee makers will compete with the existing espresso makers on the market today. Our machines will offer the pre-packaged coffee pod which will be a cost savings to the end user. We will also compete with an aggressive pricing strategy.
Our fresh juice machines will be priced aggressively as well, in order to better compete in the market.
3.3 Sales Literature
Sales brochures have been developed as part of our start-up expenses.
Chef Vending imports its machines from Spain. For oranges and sandwiches, we contract with local suppliers.
Chef Vending’s mission is to be the company that introduces innovative products to the market. To achieve this, we will search out the latest in food preparation technology in the vending and equipment business. As first to market, we currently enjoy a technological advantage over the competition.
3.6 Future Products
To enhance our existing line, we are looking at a larger model of Sandwich Express that will offer a greater variety of sandwiches, and a more diverse product line, such as pizza.
We are also pursuing supplier relationships with large nationally-branded juice and sandwich manufacturers, to customize our machines to their products. This would enable Chef Vending to supply machines to national companies and allow them to brand the machines with their product lines.
As we increase our presence in the equipment business, we will continuously search out products to expand our existing line. A key component of this will be the feedback from our customer base.
Market Analysis Summary
Revenue from U.S. vending consumable merchandise was $24.5 billion in 1999, an increase of 4.9% over 1998, according to the Automatic Merchandiser magazine’s State of the Vending Industry Report in August 2000. This figure includes both machines and products. Small companies, with sales of less than $1 million, accounted for 5.8% of the market and had projected sales for 1999 of $1.35 billion. Three quarters of all vending operators are classified in the small category.
Within the industry, snacks and cold beverages are the largest product segments, representing 29% and 25% of the industry, respectively. These two segments are the driving force of the industry. The food category grew at a rate of 7% last year, according to the Automatic Merchandiser. Cold storage machines grew at an even more impressive 42% in 1999, with this growth coming at the expense of shelf-stable products.
Broader economic and cultural trends are also positively impacting the industry. Food sales away from home have become a larger part of total food sales in the U.S. since the 50’s, according to the Department of Agriculture. Technomic, a Chicago-based research firm, reports an increase in demand for takeout meals as the percentage of two-parent households declines, along with the decline of the three regular sit down meals per day.
Consumer preferences about taste, price, nutrition, convenience, and technology are changing. These changes favor the vending industry, which now has the opportunity to spot these trends and develop their markets.
According to the National Restaurant Association, revenues from restaurants are expected to reach $321 billion in 1999. This is a large and healthy industry in our economy, and suppliers to this industry are expected to benefit from this growth.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Chef Vending will market its machines to three distinct market segments:
- End Users- Operators that have their own vending routes who wish to expand their product selections. Included in this category are large institutional food service companies that engage in vending operations as part of their overall food service business.
- Distributors- Companies that supply operators with machines and supplies for their operations.
- Branded Sandwich Manufacturers and Branded Juice Companies- By working closely with these companies, we will customize our machines to meet their specifications and to allow them to “brand” our machines with their products. They will either supply the machines or sell them to their customers who will buy product supply for the machines from these companies.
We have two markets for our equipment business:
- Restaurants and Hotels – End users who benefit from the equipment purchased.
- Equipment Supply Companies- These are large supply houses that offer a variety of equipment to the food & beverage industry.
4.2 Industry Analysis
The U.S vending industry is divided into three main segments:
- Operators- Companies that buy and place vending machines on their routes, sell the product and service the machine, and range from small family businesses to large national companies.
- Manufacturers- Companies that manufacture machines for sale to operators.
- Distributors- The link between the manufacturer and the operator. Supplies the market with both machines and products for operators.
The food & beverage industry is divided into similar segments:
- Food & Beverage Establishments- This segment covers the entire spectrum of bars and restaurants.
- Suppliers- Companies that supply the establishments with all of their food, paper, and equipment needs.
- Supply Houses- Acting as a distributor, these firms supply an area with their required supply needs.
4.2.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
Both the food & beverage and vending industries are highly competitive. Price, Return On Investment (ROI), reliability, and customer service are the factors most effecting a buying decision.
There are many large name brand companies with vending machines in the market. We will focus on creating a niche market for our innovative machines, to compete with larger more recognizable names. By being first to market, we have a unique opportunity to brand ourselves and our machines.
Buying patterns are fairly consistent across the year.
4.2.2 Distribution Patterns
Distribution in the vending industry typically runs through a distributor. These distributors will carry a brand of machine for sale in a defined geographic region. In some instances, manufacturers sell direct to operators or end users. Another form of distribution is to be a supplier to a nationally branded company. Similar distribution patterns are established in the food & beverage industry.
4.3 Target Market Segment Strategy
Chef Vending’s initial strategy is to offer all of our products to all segments of the market. We will focus on both the end user and the distributor initially, as the strategy to secure accounts with the nationally branded companies will take some time to realize. We will reach our target market in one of three ways. First, we have begun a small advertising scheme in industry trade publications highlighting the many features and benefits of our products. Secondly, we have joined the National Automatic Merchandiser Association (NAMA) and have introduced ourselves and our products to distributors and end users at the NAMA annual convention in October, 2000; we will also participate in their Southeast regional show in South Carolina and in their national show next year. Finally, we will pursue personalized relationships with contacts developed at these shows and with regional companies in the South and Central Florida area.
For equipment sales, we will focus on end users and distributors in the South and Central Florida regions. As we gain market share in these markets we will expand geographically.
4.3.1 Market Needs
The principle market need we will be addressing will be revenue. Each of our machines will act to expand existing sales for operators, and in many cases will create new markets entirely. For the operator that is already vending snacks, a high end sandwich will enable this operator to expand his or her sales without cannibalizing existing sales. For the coffee vendor, a perfect compliment to a gourmet cup of vended coffee will be a fresh cup of orange juice. By creating a new untapped market, the operator will be able to expand revenue streams beyond their existing accounts. Another important need we will fill with our multi-line machines and our equipment, will be price. As we will be competing with existing supplies already in the market, we will price our products to be highly competitive in order to attract clients.
4.3.2 Market Trends
Growth rates in both the vending industry and the restaurant industry remain strong. This growth is fueled by the changes in the workplace and workforce that are causing workers to consume more of their meals away from home. Away from home food sales are expected to increase by 53%, according to NAMA.
As more and more consumers eat away from home, the demand for higher quality is also growing. Vendors are now offering a full line of packaged frozen meals in their machines. Margins will increase as premium prices are being placed on branded, high-quality products.
Demographic trends are affecting the industry. A large group of young adults, who mainly grew up on fast food, have emerged as an economic force. This group’s perceptions on fast food, technology, and vending, will have a positive impact in the vending business. Furthermore, overall population growth rates, and immigration trends particularly, will also have a tremendous economic impact on the vending industry. Much of the growth in both of these areas will be in the Southeast, where Chef Vending is poised to capitalize on these trends.
4.3.3 Market Growth
Studies by Automatic Merchandiser reflect an industry growth rate of approximately 4.8% over the last five years, matching the overall growth of the U.S. economy.
Gift Baskets Sample Business Plan
If you are beginning a business that specializes in gift baskets then you will find this sample business plan most useful.
Gift Baskets Business Plan
Basket of Goodies (BOG) is a premier gift basket retailer. BOG is concentrating on making gourmet gift baskets out of a wide range of high-quality ingredients. In addition to having several flagship baskets, BOG will also offer the option of a custom basket allowing the customer to choose the ingredients themselves. BOG will be selling to individuals as well as corporations. Initially the bulk of BOG’s business will be generated by individuals from word-of-mouth referrals, but as time passes, corporations will become a growing percentage of sales.
Once up and running with some momentum, BOG will be steadily producing profits. It is projected that BOG will be making a profit by December. By the end of year three, it is projected that BOG will be generating a net profit of approximately $21,000.
The Basket of Goodies’ mission is to create the finest gift baskets available. BOG, soon to be located in Salem, OR, will be hand assembling our products out of premier ingredients, local when possible. The business will be based out of Susan Presento’s home. Although this will be a home-based business, toward the end of year one Susan will have an employee.
Susan Presento, founder and owner, managed a flower shop in Salem for three years and this has given her insight to the gift giving practices of Oregonians. The primary gift baskets that will be offered are: smoked fish basket, fruit basket, pasta dinner basket, and picnic basket that has caviar, crackers, fruit, and smoked fish. BOG also offers a custom basket which allows customers to pick items from a list and BOG will assemble the basket with its custom ingredients.
The purchasing of gift baskets is very “seasonal.” More than half of the gift basket purchasing occurs during a wide variety of holidays.
BOG’s competitive advantage will be based on two factors, low overhead which allows reasonable prices, and an unrelenting desire for the highest quality product and service.
- Low overhead
- Highest quality product and service
BOG’s sales strategy will be targeted at obtaining both the individual and corporate clients through word-of-mouth referrals. Customers will be able to place an order at the office, over the phone or via the website.
The Basket of Goodies’ mission is to create the finest gift baskets available. We exist to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Our products and services will exceed the expectations of our customers.
The objectives for the first three years of operation include:
- To create a home-based company whose primary goal is to exceed customer’s expectations.
- To increase the number of clients served by at least 20% per year through superior performance and word-of-mouth referrals.
- To develop a sustainable home business, surviving off its own cash flow.
BOG, soon to be located in Salem, OR will offer a wide range of gourmet gift baskets, production as well as custom units. BOG will be hand assembling the baskets out of premier ingredients, local when possible. The business will be based out of Susan Presento’s home. Although this will be a home-based business, toward the end of year one Susan will have an employee. If the business goes per the forecasted plan, the business will achieve profits by the end of year one.
2.1 Company Ownership
The Basket of Goodies will be a sole proprietorship, owned by Susan Presento.
2.2 Start-up Summary
BOG’s start-up costs will include all the equipment needed for the home-based office, legal fees, website creation, and start-up advertising. The home office equipment will be the largest chunk of the start-up expenses. This equipment includes a computer system, fax machine, office supplies, cellular phone, and pager. The computer should have a 500 megahertz Celeron/Pentium processor, 64 megabytes of RAM (preferably 128), 6 gigabyte hard drive, and a rewritable CD-ROM for backing up the system. Additionally, there will be the expense installation of a broadband connection. While a broadband connection is not totally necessary, it only costs between $40-50 per month for service and will make working on the Internet significantly faster and easier.
The home office will also require a few pieces of furniture such as a desk, chair, and bookshelf to transform a standard room into an office. Lastly, an additional land phone line will be required. The legal fees are used for the formation of the business as well as for reviewing/generating standard client contracts. The Web creation fees at start-up costs are for design and creation of the website. The start-up advertising will be the production of brochures.
BOG sells gourmet, hand-assembled gift baskets. Their premier baskets are: smoked fish basket, fruit basket, pasta dinner basket, and picnic basket that has caviar, crackers, fruit, and smoked fish. BOG also offers a custom basket which allow customers to pick items from a list and BOG will assemble the basket with their custom ingredients.
For the customer baskets, BOG will provide a list of options grouped into four different categories. The customer then chooses two items from each of the four categories and the gift basket is made for them. BOG highlights four previously mentioned premier baskets. In addition to these, BOG will typically have one or two specials, often seasonally based.
Market Analysis Summary
BOG will be going after two distinct market segments, individuals and corporations. Both groups buy gift baskets as a goodwill gesture, typically for different reasons. Individuals typically buy the baskets as a present with over half of sales occur during holidays. Corporations buy the baskets as presents as well, but usually for events unrelated to the holidays. By going after both of these groups, sales will be less seasonal (relative to if only the individuals were targeted).
There are many different “gift basket” retailers in Salem. BOG will differentiate themselves through the use of premium ingredients in their baskets. The gourmet baskets, coupled with a custom option and reasonable prices (attributed to low overhead) will spell success for BOG.
4.1 Market Segmentation
BOG’s has two distinct groups of customers, individuals and corporate customers:
- Individuals- The individuals are people who are looking to give a friend, relative, colleague, etc., a gift basket as a gesture of goodwill. These customers typically do not have a specific type of gift basket in mind when they look at BOG’s product offerings, they just want to give a gift.
- Corporate- The corporate customer is typically buying the basket for a colleague at work, either as a sign of appreciation, for a special event, or as a thank you for a customer. The corporate market can be further broken down to banks, health care, employment gifts, real estate, apartments, special events/promotions, corporate headquarters, hotels/vacation resorts, and automobile dealerships.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
BOG is focusing on individuals and corporate customers because they are the largest segments of purchasers for gift baskets. Individuals are the target purchaser of gift baskets. They purchase baskets typically as a thank you in response for something the recipient did or just to be nice. The gift basket is unmistakingly a gift so upon receipt there is no ambiguity why it was sent or at least what it is trying to accomplish. Within the individual category, women are 69% more likely to be the purchaser of a gift basket compared to men. This is not to say that women more often purchase gifts, it just indicates women are more likely to buy gift baskets.
BOG is focusing on the corporate customers as they currently represent approximately a third of the purchasers of gift baskets. The corporate customer could be buying the basket for someone within their company, or they could be buying it for a customer, vendor, etc. The trend for the corporation to purchase gifts is not a new phenomenon and therefore would appear to be a solid market segment to pursue.
4.3 Industry Analysis
There are many different forms of competition in the gift basket business:
- Similar gift basket type retail stores: There are several of these stores located in Salem. These competitors offer a wide range of gift baskets, however none of them are concentrating on the higher end, gourmet product line.
- Nut/fruit companies: There are several stores that concentrate on nuts and or fruit baskets.
- Bath product gift basket companies: There is currently one gift basket company that concentrates on bath products. Bath products have a slightly smaller population of people who appreciate these products (as women predominately appreciate bath products more then men do).
- Regional gift basket: There is one retailer that sells gift baskets composed of local products. These type of baskets tend to appeal to people that are buying gifts for people that are not from this area.
- Candy gift baskets: There are several candy stores that offer, as one on their products, a candy gift basket. Similar to the bath products basket, candy typically appeals to women a bit more so then men.
- Florists: Flowers are a similar product that competes with gift baskets. Once again flowers tend to appeal to women more so then men.
The purchasing of gift baskets is very “seasonal.” More than half of the gift basket purchasing occurs during a wide variety of holidays.
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