Global Curios will be dealing in artifacts. The main shop location has been identified as Chicago city, in the United States. The suppliers of the curios will be from Africa, Asia and South America. At the start, it will be a one-man business. This means it will be operating on the administration theories and management philosophies of a sole proprietorship. There is however great hope that more investors will get on board. This is the reason why this business plan is not only detailed but also presented in a way that clearly portrays the enormous potential in the curio business.
Upon the entry of more investors, the management style will shift to that of a partnership with shared responsibilities. The objectives of the business include the supply of curios to Americans, the financial security of the investors, and getting a productive activity in the post-retirement period. Appropriate strategies will be adopted as a way of ensuring that the business copes with national and international pressure (Porter1980, pp. 29-30).
Company Formation and Objectives
Global Curios will be the name of the company. At the time of formation, it will take the format of a sole proprietorship with the readiness to assume the formation of a partnership upon the entry of more partners. As a sole proprietorship, Global curios will be under the management of one individual. This is the best alternative at this point (Pinson & Jinnet1999, pp.103-104). Family members are the major source of alternative labor. The business is expected to be operational within three months from now. All legal requirements that the state of Illinois expects businesses to comply with before they can be licensed will be observed (Aaker1995, pp.71-72). The documentation containing all the details pertaining to the business is supposed to be complete within a three-month period. In this documentation, the organizational structure and operational theory will be duly explained. The source of the initial capital will be stated. For clarity in this plan, I will provide my initial funding for the business from my retirement benefits of HK$ 30 million. The flexibility to incorporate more members and therefore make the business a partnership will be made clear in the documentation (Miles 2003, pp.54-55). Indeed, my intention is to allow more people to join me in this ambitious plan to explore a widely neglected business field whose potential for growth is enormous. I am ready to share the anticipated prosperity and great promise of the curio business with others in a genuine, well-structured and focused partnership.
At the time of addition of new membership, the capital injected by the incoming members will constitute the shares held and therefore the profits to be earned at the end of each trading period. The aim of this is to observe the basic rule of capital in a shared business.
Like any gainful undertaking, this business is formed with a set of objectives that are to be achieved as a way of fulfilling the main goal. The following are the major objectives for the formation of the Global Curios Company.
- Bringing Quality Curios To The American People
The American curio supply is big but the American market is bigger. What does this mean? This means that the size of the curio market in the United States is not fully satisfied due to the limited supply of curios. The human spirit is always longing for something new. The saying that a change is always as good as a rest rings true in this case in the sense that the American curio market is thirsty for curios from other parts of the world. Most of the available curios are from the local heritage. It is therefore the objective of Global Curios to go out into the wider world and search for curios of high quality and bring them to the American people at competitive prices.
- Financial Security At Retirement
It is always a rational consideration that leads to the establishment of a business. As I start my retirement period, it is necessary that I find a sound investment plan for my retirement benefits so that my nest egg is in a position to take care of me for a long time. Keeping the HK$30 million in a bank can be a good idea but it will only be reduced as I withdraw and spend. Opening a business on the other hand will enable me to make some profit which will make the capital not only be around a little longer but also generate more cash that will assist me to meet my ever-swelling financial commitments. These commitments have the potential of stressing me up given that I am not employed anymore. But with a running business, I will be able to evade this financial stress.
The financial commitments that stand to gain from the business include taking care of a sick family member whose medication needs a substantial sum of money annually for medical attention and meeting the college expenses of my lastborn son who is a sophomore in Law school.
- A Means Of Keeping Myself After Retirement
The sudden change of lifestyle from an employed man to a retired one can be a challenging event if there are no sufficient plans on how to spend this retirement period. Given that I am used to a busy lifestyle, the reality of not doing anything after retirement is a difficult one to face. What then do I do as a way of dealing with this challenging time? The solution to this is to start a business that will give me a relatively busy schedule so that I have a soft landing in the world outside formal employment. The Global Curios idea will give me a chance to keep my mind active and my body engaged so as to avoid the health complications that come with a non-engaging lifestyle that most people lead after retirement.
- Job creation
The ultimate aim of this endeavor is to create jobs for more than ten people. How is this going to be done? I initiated the idea with the hope that I will be able to convince more people to pump more capital into the business. More capital means that the business will change from being a sole proprietorship to a partnership. The increased capital will lead to expanded operations, a larger market and therefore need for more labor. More labor will definitely call for the employment of more people to help run the business. With the troubled economy at both the national and global levels, any opportunity to create even a single job is something that must be encouraged. This is especially important for our young people who have successfully finished college but have difficulty getting jobs. Note that this element of job creation will happen faster if the capital base is expanded through the inclusion of more people contributing to the operating capital of the business. At the individual level, the business, which will be a sole proprietorship, will take a much longer period to attain the required size to employ more people.
Industry Analysis: Past, Present and Future Competition Locally, Regionally and Globally
The curio business has not begun today. It will therefore be false to assert that this business is a pioneering move. In the past, Americans had to rely on locally manufactured curios or buy some whenever they traveled abroad; mostly to African countries such as Kenya and South Africa. The businesses dealing in curios were few and there was a lack of variety. At the regional level, the curio business is still an unexplored area in the region with countries such as Mexico showing little interest in the area. At the international level, I can speculate that Europeans were and still are ahead of most parts of the world in terms of curios. What does the future hold for the curio business and how will this affect Global Curios? The future of the curio business looks promising. The increase in interest in African and Oriental art in the western world will act as the driving fuel for the expansion of the curio business. It is not harsh to say that the western world has little to show in terms of curios. The only well-known artwork that the western world has produced are the paintings of ancient or medieval painters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The paintings by these great artists are the only major works of art that the wide western world has to show the world. The Oriental world and the African continent on the other hand have a variety of curios. The Kenyan curio makers for instance are globally respected for the quality of their work. The soapstone curios from the Kisii district in Kenya are known all over the world while the Makonde people of Tanzania have a reputation for their high-quality work in curios. With sufficient initiative, these two regions can act as a great source of the products and the western world will serve as the curio market. Market identification is crucial to business success and this will be done carefully by the management of Global Curios (Pearce & Robnson2008, pp.32).
It is hard to think of a business field that does not have competition in the modern world. The Chicago area where I intend to locate the business has more than twenty-seven curio shops. But this is a small number when the size of the city of Chicago is considered. This means that there will be competition but not stiff enough to spoil business. The other perspective of competition in this business is on the side of suppliers. The Global Curios establishment will have to deal with more established European curio dealers who have been in the industry for a long and therefore have the business experience. These dealers are in a better position to extend competitive prices to the suppliers. Global Curios will have to make bold business moves at the initial stages so as to gain a foot in the business.
At the commencement, the business will be under the management of one person. But the door is wide open to more investors. The operational and management theory that will be applied in the beginning will be sole proprietorship with one person making all the decisions and the labor coming from this one individual with or without the assistance of family members, friends or few employees. Besides the ease of decision making due to the lack of many competing and conflicting voices and the ownership of all the profits by this one individual, this management philosophy has its shortcomings such as the lack of more perspectives in decision making. This can lead to poor decisions. Other shortcomings associated with this management style are limited labor supply, shouldering of losses as an individual and limited capital base.
Will this management philosophy hold forever? The answer to this question is no. This is because the business is welcoming more investors. The new investors will give the business a new identity and consequently, a new management style. In the event that it becomes a partnership, the management will rest on the shoulders of the partners instead of the single individual. In this case, decisions will be mostly a group function and capital will increase. Ideas will be more; which will be beneficial to the business. But the decision-making process will become longer and harder as more deliberating will be inevitable, a process that takes more time.
Organization Structure and Staffing
At the commencement, the business will be a sole proprietorship as identified elsewhere in this plan. The Chicago main shop will be in the hands of either a family member or a helper while the purchasing of curios from various parts of the world will be in the hands of the business owner. There will be agents in the various supplying countries whose responsibility will be to identify quality curios and book them. The business owner will be paying these agents. Three agents will be enough for the start with one of them working in the South American continent, one in the African continent and the other in the Asian continent. The upward progression of the business will call for more employees while contraction will definitely lead to downsizing.
The above organization will take a new turn in the event that more capital is pumped into the business. The added capital will call for more purchases from the suppliers which will call for more agents at the various supplying centers. The Chicago curio shop will also call for a full-time employee or even two of them. This will change to more shops around the Chicago area and other cities and states around the country. As the business grows, the management will carry out strategy meetings to decide on the best way to venture into new markets and introduce new products.
The strategy for taking the curios to the market will involve the adoption of very competitive prices. This is because this is a new business that will have to try and attract the attention of customers if it is going to have a chance of commanding a share of the market. Other initiatives that will accompany the product include:
Curio Handouts: These will be small booklets with detailed explanations on each and every curio. The booklet will be accorded a certain value for example $ 15 but will be given free of charge to any customer who purchases the curio. The details to be contained in the booklet include the method of production of the curio; the cultural beliefs attached to the curio, the people who are responsible for making it and its use. The booklet will also carry color images of the curio from all dimensions as a way of giving the customer a comprehensive view of the curio.
The survival of any business is dependent on how well the services or goods offered are marketed. The marketing strategy for Global Curios will entail the following:
- Buying Advertising Space in Newspapers, Magazines and Journals: Space in the daily papers whose circulation in Chicago is high will make the business more visible to the residents of the city. Magazines that are popular with the residents will also be targeted for space.
- Radio and Television: The radio stations that have wide reception within the Chicago locality will also be used as a marketing method. Television spots will also be used as a way of ensuring that people have a picture of what the Global Curios shop looks like. The ability of these media to reach many people will be advantageous to the business (Komenar1999, pp.25).
- Online Marketing: The concept of e-marketing has taken a mainstream position in the whole business of marketing (Choi & Whinston 2000, pp.12-13). Therefore Global Curios will have a well-designed website that will be accessible to the public (Deitel, Deitel & Nieto2001 pp.34). The public will be able to view the stock of curios in the shop and even place orders online. Still, under e-marketing, popular websites that people visit frequently will be identified and advertising space will be purchased so that people who visit these websites will have a chance of seeing what Global Curios sells.
This is the most important segment of the entire plan for establishing Global Curios. The financial plan entails a careful investment of HK$30 million. Translated into American dollars, this makes approximately $ 3.9 million. The areas of spending that have been already identified are as shown below:
Start-up Requirements : Start-up Expenses
Design of Business Logo and Emblem $100,000
Travel and Lodging $100,000
Rent of Business Premise $100,000
Labor/Staffing (Annual) $200,000
Expenses before Opening $200,000
Office/Miscellaneous Expenses $200,000
Initial Stock and Marketing/Advertising $1,900,000
Total Start-up Expenses $3,000,000
With the heavy traveling that is required by the nature of Global Curios, the Chicago shop will be in the hands of a family member of a paid employee at the initial stages. The owner will be traveling around the world particularly in the supplying countries to establish supply chains and identify agents. This operation plan will change in the event that more investors will get into Global Curios. More partners will mean more capital, more stock, more shops or outlets and more employees. This will lead to shared duties.
Non-Business Issues That You Would Like To Draw the Attention of Investors
Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Protection
As a business that operates in a society, it is very important that the business participates in community life by giving back to the people. This can be done in a number of ways. For example, Global Curios can donate some money to a few well-performing schools in the countries where curios are purchased form. Also, Global Curios can fund a project where young men and women are taught how to make high-quality curios. In this way, the business will have participated in the community life by appreciating the role the community plays in the success of Global Curios (O’Neill1998, pp.66-67). Also, poor neighborhoods in the location of the outlets of Global Curios can be given donations in terms of books to support children from poor families. What about environmental protection? Issues pertaining to the environment are very sensitive in the current setting. The fact that trees are a major raw material in the production of curios complicates matters for Global Curios. The best way to negotiate this tricky business bend is to finance extensive reforestation efforts in the countries where curios are purchased from. This way, an accusation by environmentalists will be warded off since they will understand that Global Curios has the sense to replace the trees that are cut to produce curios (Stacks2002, pp.31-32). The way to go about this is to finance tree nurseries in the concerned countries and identifying the places where trees are cut and ensure that new ones are planted. Collaboration with local communities will make this undertaking more successful. This will take place after the business has taken off.
Measurement of Success
The indicator for Success will be profits. The absence of profits over a long period of time will mean that the business is not making progress
In the event that the Global Curios business does not take off, the stock will be cleared by either selling it slowly or negotiating with an established Curios dealer to pay for it as a new business is identified.
As shown from the plan, Global Curios has great promise due to a huge market and little competition. Partnering with other investors will provide the opportunity to benefit from the economies of scale that a sole proprietorship cannot access.
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