Cultural industries are today the most thriving businesses offering wide business opportunities that are yet to be exploited. This follows the changing of today’s societies which have transformed to be multicultural. Taking advantage of these opportunities requires the investors to employ the talents and the skills of the local and indigenous people to make differentiated products which are required in these markets. This business plan has chosen to explore the craft section of the cultural industries by investing in the making of differentiated cultural products from sisal fibers. The business plan intensifies on this section since it is knowledge based, labor intensive, cost effective and is a source of employment to many local people. The company plans to invest in the foreign countries to take advantage of the availability of the quality raw materials and also experienced local labor. Investing in creativity of different products and innovation of different communities in a centralized manner will enhance the business prospects. The advantage of investing in this business is especially brought out by the inadequacy of the existing companies to efficiently satisfy the market. This is because there is an existing gap of linking different potentials with a centralized institution or company that can market their products (Howkins, 2007, p19).
The business plan starts by giving a description of the business opportunity giving details of the variety of products that the company intends to produce. This section also explains how these products will satisfy our customers and give a basis of competitive advantage over our competitors. It also gives an analysis of the industry citing the different trends in the industry, market forecast, and also the future outlook within the sector. The document also discusses the proposed methods of marketing the products in the local, regional and also in the international markets. It furthers gives a description of the production plan that the company intends to adopt. The company organizational plan is also discussed in detail describing the various roles of different department. The final section of the paper analyses the potential risks and measures to be adopted by the company.
Cultural industry is one of the fast growing industries today. This business plan proposes to invest within the cultural sector. The business will mainly be concerned with the production of the traditional products made from the natural fibers known as sisal. The company will basically be concerned with the sole process of processing the fibers which will be later used to make the products in the manufacturing sector. Most of the products made will be hand woven while a few will be machine woven. The company is intends to be based on the local grounds where we have growth of quality sisal in large quantities such as in the East African region. The major reason of investing in this area is to make use of the local labor which is more experienced and would require little training to make the products. The products made from the company will include the traditional regalia of different communities internationally which will include baskets, handbags, carpets, baby cots, mats, ropes, paintings and luxury products for home finishing. The market for these goods will be mostly targeting tourists in the international market as well as the local and the region markets in the European countries. Investment in this business requires low cost of production since the raw-materials and labor will be easily available from the local people. Most markets are today turning out to be multicultural and such a venture will be very beneficial in the near future. The market is also not very saturated since there still very many unexplored business opportunities within the cultures and tradition of different societies. The products are sure of fetching a good market and to give good returns.
The products made from the fibers are guarantee of customer satisfaction since the final product only depends on the quality of the sisal that is used in making the products. The products are usually very strong and very durable. Products made from sisal are not a subject to wear and tear for long periods of time. The sisal can also be dyed easily into different colors which make it very easy to produce products that have variety of colors. Customers in any market will also be looking for unique and interesting designs of the products (Farry, 2008, p33). Cultural industries are simply dependent on the creativity of the individuals. This means that if the company can hire and train individuals on how to create different designs the products will always satisfy the customers since they will always come in different designs and fashion. Products are also very beautiful and they always satisfy the customers for the scenery they create.
By investing in such a company in the developing nations, it will be beneficial since it will reduce the cost of production by a large margin (Howkins, 2007, p24). This on the other hand will give the company a competitive advantage since it will be able to offer the products in a lower price. Most of the competitors have also not invested in a centralized manner of production. The company is planning to take advantage of this by creating an avenue of linking the local talents with one institution. Another strategy is to fetch professional trainers from other local communities in Africa who can be hired in the company to train the production clerks how to make designs from other communities. Combining the cultural talents of making such products from different groups will give the company a good competitive advantage over the other companies. Basing the company in the local communities of these nations will also enable the company to produce the goods in large volumes since it be able to hire labor at a lower cost. Other strategy to win over competition is to invest in fashion and uniqueness of our products. The company plans to invest in very quality products that will come in a variety of colors and designs to win the market. It also plans to employ very high technological methods in production in order to penetrate the market in the shortest time possible. Other strategies include offering excellent customer service to our customers to ensure their loyalty to the market as well as attracting other new customers (Farry, 2008, p38).
The mission of this company will be to produce very high quality products that will be competitive in the local, regional and the international markets in terms of both quality and the price. Long-term objectives of the company include:
- To improve and maintain good industrial relations.
- To be the global market leader in the cultural and traditional products.
- To maintain and sustain the company’s competitive advantage over its competitors by taking advantage of the growth opportunities.
In the industrial analyses, historical records indicate the market is inadequately satisfying the customers since no major companies have specialized in the products. The small companies in the sector concentrate with products from specific cultures and the marketing of the products is usually linked to specific individuals. The competition in the market of the goods is therefore not very stiff as in other industries. The industry for the cultural products has also not captured the talents of many of the local communities and therefore their abilities are underutilized (Halgh, 2008, p12). There is also a need to provide an avenue of linking the individuals with these abilities of weaving the products with central institutions where they can explore their talents. In future, the industry is expected to do very well since most societies are becoming multicultural. Having these products in a variety in such societies will promote their culture and traditions and most individuals will want to invest in such products (Howkins, 2007, p29). It is therefore optimistic that new markets for these products will keep opening. There is the possibility of getting very many new customers especially in the tourist sector. This gives a projection of about 25% growth annually in the company. The market for the product is also expected to cover a wider coverage in the future. Today most markets are local and in the international field the products are normally sold in the U.S and the U.K markets. It is expected that in future there will be an opening in other international markets.
The company plans to market its products by investing in a very unique and appealing brand name that will attract our customers. It is also in the business plan to have a byline and a company logo to ensure that our customers can easily identify our products. To introduce the product to the market, the company plans to distribute business cards to our potential customers especially the cultural centers and the various tourist centers in the international market. This will give the company a potential market to exhibit our products and to establish contacts with potential customers whether individuals or other companies. Other strategies to market the product will include giving brochures which will have various pictures of the products that are produced by the company. Investment in advertising and promotions will also be featured in the trade magazines, the local newspapers of the potential regions and also in the internet. It is also the intention of the company to take advantage of the government incentives to promote the upcoming business. The company will therefore link with the government to exhibit its products in the international trade fairs and also cultural exhibitions. Marketing of the products will also be enhanced by hiring of various sales representatives to represent and market the products of the company in different markets. The sales representatives will be expected to link with other institutions mostly the tourist sector to market and display the products may be at a commission. The company will set various sales centers in the different regions where our customers can easily access the products instead of importing them from the competitors thus reducing their cost.
Production/ operation plan
The production plan of any company is the maintain determinant of the quality of products that will be produced by the company (Caves, 2004, p41). The company therefore plans to invest in very efficient methods of production to ensure that quality measures of the products are maintained. The production process is deemed to start from the processing of the raw materials in the processing department. The company will purchase high quality fresh sisal from the local farmers of the product. Once the sisal is in the factory, it will be processed to fibers through a process referred to as decortification. The extraction of the fibers involves the crushing of the sisal leaves under a wheel that is rotating with very blunt blades. This helps to separate the fibers from the pulps and then they are washed with clean water. From here the fibers are taken to the lab where they are dyed according to the desired colors. After they are dried, the fibers will then be combed to remove any impurities. The fibers are finally graded according to their quality and how they are intended to be used. From here, the fibers are taken to the production department where they are used to weave different products. In this section, the company plans to invest in many weaving clerks who can be able to produce at least 30 units per person per day. The production department also works with the designing clerks who are responsible of giving directions of which designs will be produced in a week. The department also has a section of trainers who are continuously involved in training new employees on the techniques to produce different designs besides making very high quality products.
Products leaving the weaving section of the department are taken to the finishing section where we plan to have experts to finish off the products and check on the quality of the product. Products will then move to the packaging section where they are packed according to the customer orders. Eventually they are transferred to the shipping department which is responsible for ensuring that the products have been shipped to the expected destinations according to specified time limits. Our supply chain is expected to have established different outlets of the products in the potential markets and the customers will place their orders through these outlets. The outlets will then contact the company on the required consignments. Outlets will not only serve customer orders but they will also be supplied with reserves of the most ordered designs to ensure that our customers get the products very easily. If this process is efficiently managed it will ensure a big competitive advantage over our competitors since our company will be processing its own raw materials and thus no compromise on the quality of the fibers. The company will also be training its own weavers and this will ensure that our designs are unique as opposed to the other companies who buy products with already made designs.
The organizational structure of the company determines how the day to day running of the company activities is operated. An efficient structure will ensure good authority delegation and also control of various systems (Fisher, 2006, p53). Our company structure is expected to take the following form:
Clerks/ General employees
The company intends to have two directors and at least two managers to ensure the smooth running of the company. The directors will have the sole responsibility of providing finances to the company while the managers will assume the responsibility of over seeing the running of the daily activities within the company from production to delivering of the products. The company will have various departments which will include the human resource department, the Processing department, production and finishing department, sales and marketing department, shipping and finally the finance department. The Human resource department will be responsible of hiring the personnel for the various departments and also handle the payroll matters. Production department will deal with the weaving of the different products and it will have different sections such as weaving, training, finishing and packaging sections. The sales and marketing department will concentrate with acquiring new markets and customers for the products. It will have sections such as the marketing, sales, customer service and advertising sections. Shipping department will be concerned with the distribution of the products to the outlet shops and also to the customers. The finance department will handle the purchasing of raw materials and other products, accounts and other financial services.
The business is a foreign investment and therefore is expected to meet a lot of challenges and risks. Some of the potential risks include the political and the economic stability of the company. If the country is not politically stable, business prospects will be affected by wars and other social unrest. There is also a credit risk where customers may not be able or they are unwilling to pay. The company may also face currency risk due to the fluctuations of the currency that is appreciation and depreciations. There is also the delivery risk where unexpected damage may occur destroying the goods. Other risks include settlement risks where the loaded cargo may not be according to customer description and also loss of consignments, loss of documents and custom problems (Fisher, 2006, p61). To curb these risks, the company plans to be involved in continuous assessment of the political and economic prospects of the host country and put measures in place in time. The company will also invest in technology such as computers and other modern methods of storing data to avoid loss of information. In transport sector, customers will collect their consignments from our outlets to avoid a lot of shipping charges and complications. Goods will be sold on cash and carry basis to avoid problems of creditors before the company has analyzed the credit worthiness of the customers.
John Howkins (2007). The Creative Economy: How People Make Money from Ideas. Penguin Global Press
Kristin A. Customer Centered Products: Successful Entrepreneurship. American association publication.
L Fisher (2006). Industrial marketing: an analytical approach to planning and execution.
Prof David Hesmond Halgh (2008).The Cultural Industries. Sage Publications.
Richard E. Caves (2004). Creative Industries: Contracts between Art and Commerce. Harvard University Press.