Online Custom «Investigating Entrepreneurial Opportunities» Essay Sample

Investigating Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Question 1a

For a long time, companies have been focusing on the significance of their human resources. There has been an impressive shift in the perspective regarding the relationship between an organization and its employees. There has also been a growing debate on the extent to which a company should go in order to appease its stuff. Employee motivation is considered expensive and, for the most part, small companies are opting to use more subtle packages as a way of retaining their best talents. When it comes to providing r employees with lunch, a lot of employers are willing to do so, but they are limited financially, which depends on the size of the company in question. Considering the benefits of offering lunch and snacks within the working place, it is important for the management of small companies to consider outsourcing their catering to a small affordable company.

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In this case, the business idea is to provide affordable, but high quality meals and snacks to a medium sized company. The catering industry may be relatively large and expensive to operate, but making and serving food to a small or medium sized company’s staff is a relatively manageable task for a small start-up. For this particular business, the idea is to provide a balanced meal and snacks for the staff. This would imply hiring a few people skilled in the handling, preparing, and presenting food. The new business will be focusing on providing food and soft drinks at the workplace so that the company in question does not have to spend too much resources or time, worrying about the food aspect. As a result, the company’s staff gets a fast access to affordable lunch and snacks without having to leave the premises. This means that lunch breaks will be shorter and the employees can even have working lunches at no extra cost.

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The capital for this business is minimal, depending on the size of the first company that the service provider will be serving. An average medium sized company will have up to a hundred employees. This means that the service provider will be preparing and serving meals and snacks to about a hundred people during each working day. The meals will have to be balanced, they must include proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals, without forgetting soft drinks and salads. These meals will also consider the needs of vegetarians and those on special diets for one reason or another. The main goal is to offer affordable but high quality and healthy food to the staff. The initial market is the SMEs within the area as the business seeks to establish itself and start handling more companies. This means that the first target market will have to be a young SME with a staff that the service provider will have not to struggle with. At first, it will focus on serving lunch but eventually, breakfast and dinner may also be options for companies that operate 24 hours or where employees have to work late.

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Question 1b

In order to implement the idea of catering services to small and medium sized companies, the marketing mix that will be applied as the business targets small and medium sized companies with an ideal number of staff members up to a hundred people. The applied marketing mix will thus follow the 4Ps including price, place, promotion, and product. The product is the food and soft drinks that the business will be serving the employees in the client company. To ensure that the business is successful, there is a need for the management to get the best quality food and drinks for their clients (Byrd & Megginson 2013). It must be taken into consideration that these clients have high expectations since they may have opt to have lunch at any restaurant. In order to satisfy the clients, the business will have to be sensitive to the quality of the products as well as the duties.

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The price also has to be friendly. SMEs fail to provide lunch for their employees mainly because they can barely afford the cost of hiring an in-house catering unit. The incurred costs would cripple their operations. The purpose of outsourcing is to cut costs and allow the employees to get lunch at their convenience but without hurting the company financially. The first consideration would be to find a relatively cheap supplier that will make the business sustainable with its lower prices. Also, buying in bulk to get discounts will keep the prices at a minimum without killing the business.

As for the place, outsourcing catering services is mostly about convenience and savings. The company in question may not be able to afford additional space for a kitchen. This means that the business will require their own kitchen off the premises and only deliver the food and snacks to the office when ready (Byrd & Megginson 2013). Here, the employees can eat in their own offices or even in the break room, depending on the layout of the building. Companies that have conference rooms may even allow the employees to eat there. The role of the catering team in this case would be to take the orders of the employees and deliver their meals as fast as possible. Saving time is part of the reason why serving lunch in the office is a great idea for any company. To boost promotion, the company has to provide impeccable services and products to the clientele so that they can be recommended to other SMEs in the area (Pearson 2014). The company will also print a few brochures and flyers and deliver them to other SMEs that may be interested in hiring catering services, for instance,  for a conference or a meeting.

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Question 2

To identify the target market, the first step would be to study the corporate world and establish their attitude towards the provision of lunch in the office. Larger companies often have no problem with providing a kitchen and a canteen where the employees can get food and snacks without leaving the company’s premises. However,  smaller companies that are operating in limited space may have a hard time in this context. The service provider will thus have to focus on these small and medium sized businesses in order to understand their tastes and preferences for lunch and snacks. Having determined that the most likely group interested in the catering business is the small and medium sized companies, the next step is to investigate how these SMEs work with regard to the lunch break (Moore & Pareek 2010). Some companies do not have a designated lunch break and the staff members can just go out whenever they need to eat. Other companies are a bit strict and thus they have a very small window of time when the employees are able to rush out and buy something or order a take-out and eat at the office. The idea behind this investigation is to find out how the business may have to operate in order to satisfy the specific needs of the identified customers. For the companies that do not have specific time for a lunch break, the catering team would have to arrive early with the food so that whoever is ready to eat can just make their orders and get the food served and delivered to their location.

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As for companies with a strict timeline for lunch, the caterers would also have to get to the location on time and avoid delaying the lunch break and inconveniences to the employees. The market research will be focusing on the specifics of the SMEs in the market. There are companies that operate in the same building as a food establishment where they can order and get their food delivered to the office or where they can just walk in in less than five minutes and get the food that they need. Such companies may not be interested in the catering business unless they consider the cost of the food and the impact on employee motivation and productivity. The business in this case would have to be engaged in research through observation, surveys, and interviews so as to gather enough data on what the companies expected when providing food to their employees and what the employees are comfortable with when receiving lunch within their workplace. The most important information here also concerns the type of the menu that these potential customers might appreciate. While the company may use the existing data on the Internet, it is better to conduct some original investigations.       

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Question 3

Susan Southerland could have used layered financing in order to save her company. She should have basically manipulated the stock exchange market to be at an advantage. Alternatively, Susan would have used equity and debt capital to save her company. Equity capital is invested funds that are not remunerated to investors in the normal course of the business. Equity financing epitomizes the risk capital risked by the stockholders through the procurement of the company’s ordinary shares. The value of equity capital is then calculated by approximating the contemporary market value of everything possessed by the company from which the liabilities are subtracted. The remainder is termed as the owner’s equity in the company. In simple terms, equity capital is therefore the remainder of the money used in the business after total liabilities have been subtracted from the assets of the company without paying the potential investors. On the other hand, debt capital is a section of the company’s assets, which generally comprise loan capital and short term bank loans such as overdrafts (Mariotti & Glackin 2013). Susan Southerland had also the alternative of borrowing short term loans from banks, which would help to sustain her company in the recess period. For instance, if Susan had used equity capital at the first place when she had four full time wedding planners, she would have invested the money in the company to pay off her liabilities and hold back on paying the contractors, refunding them during the boom season. Such a plan would have saved her company. Nevertheless, these two main sources of capital have their pros and cons. Equity capital has the following advantages: the funding is committed to one’s business and intended projects, the owner will not have to keep up with servicing bank loans, which enables him/her  to use the capital for business purposes. This allows the owner to explore and realize ideas as the outside investor will expect the business to deliver value (SINGH 2012). The disadvantage of this scheme is that raising equity finance is demanding and time consuming. It may make the management take a diversion from the core value of the business. The owner may also lose power in decision making, depending on the investors of the company.

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Question 4

Capital is a fundamental aspect in any business. Without adequate capital, owners are unable to run their business properly. During recession, a lot of small companies experience a problem in raising the capital to fund their operations. In most cases, this happens because most of their capital is always based on one source and when the source lacks experience, it cannot acquire capital. Banks shun away from offering loans to small companies during a recession period because the payment may be cumbersome and the business may sometimes not be able to pay off those loans. The income that small companies receive is barely proportional to their liabilities as work output in the recession period is always low (Mariotti & Glackin 2013). In the case study, “just married” company experienced such a problem because they relied on the output to get their capital. When the output dropped during the recession period, Susan Southerland found it hard to manage her company and had to cut off some liabilities. She found herself at a crossroads and had to decide whether to fire Michele Butler or not. Considering the state of the company, I think Susan should have opted to do the best for her company. So, if firing Michele Butler would have saved her company during the recession period, then she should have fired her and when the season had been in the boom period she could have rehired her. This is a reasonable option because the business comes first if it is to succeed. Tough choices have to be made to make the business  thrive.  If friendship is the cause of the collapse of this business, Susan must sever links with Michele and concentrate on rebuilding her firm.

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