The Essence of the Issue
SimVenture simulation provided an excellent opportunity to practice how to run the business properly. Idleness was a major problem that the group faced stemming from a lack of proper ways to manage the workforce. There was also misguidance when assigning work; hence most employees found themselves idle or had little work to do. Moreover, the managerial staff had a low wage that affected their engagement. Lack of initial finance to manage the business led to this kind of situation. The rise in the supply price also reduced the already modest amount of money in the account by increasing the enterprise’s expenditure. Some staff had too many tasks to accomplish, resulting in overworking. Those individuals desperately tried to follow the plan, compensate for the time wasted with their additional efforts to ensure that the goods ordered were delivered on time. Customer confidence was falling due to the late delivery of goods, and also, they were not of the right quality.
Additionally, the working space was not enough for all the employees, thus reducing the efficiency. This was caused by overstocking, and also the floor plan was small, so it could not accommodate all the staff. This problem resulted in limited work and allegedly lowered their job satisfaction. Due to the poor performance of the business, many employees experienced a high stress level. This decreased overall concentration on work, causing unsatisfactory task completion. Although the group faced these issues, its members managed to end the simulation with positive financial indicators.
Effects of the Issue
Cramped workspace meant no room for movement, thus no room for efficient work to be done. The little work could be done, and there was also wastage of time, which meant a delay in delivering products, thus losing customer trust. Furthermore, idleness meant a dead time that could have been used to do another type of work. There was also a wastage of money as employees were being paid for the work that they did not even achieve. As mentioned before the staff was overworking, their efficiency was limited hence they could not fulfill their responsibilities as fast as needed. As a result, the goods produced and further deliveries were not according to the company’s standards.
Low pay for the managerial staff put financial stress on them. This resulted in limited work efficiency, and there was also wastage of time as their performance had reduced. Week economy meant fewer customers, thus little income. It brought about financial problems and losses as not all the products were sold because of lack of market demand. Due to the tiny amount of money in the bank account, suppliers were not paid for their services. It created a weak relationship between the suppliers and the company. It also contributed to a limited supply chain and increased dependence on major suppliers. The level of the financial problem brought about stress to each individual that decreased their work efficiency. Many working hours were lost as a result of this.
The Financial Group’s Achievements
Nevertheless, Group A managed to make some significant achievements. For instance, they showed strong leadership and organizational skills. Group members were able to manage and oversee others and work to ensure that all the deadlines were met. They also developed new and complex spreadsheets, which could help produce monthly management accounts much quicker, hence saving time. The group was successful in building client relationships. They created a long-lasting relationship with all the clients and ensured that systems and resources were put in place to deal with queries. This was an essential aspect as it enabled the business to receive a stable income. The hard work and tremendous efforts of the group were also identified.
Justification of Crucial Decisions
From the data provided, it is evidenced that the company made some noticeable adjustments. The firm is clearly seen to have increased the total sales from the first year to the last year. It shows the management’s proper preparedness to follow its initial plans in ensuring a discernible increase in the number of sales from its yearly activities. Performance of the company increased slightly during the first months of the first year. Then it stayed constant for the next five months. Following this period, performance has been continually increasing. This is accrued by the company’s proper management of the available resources and good marketing that increased sales.
The company purchased the marketing campaign of the 50 detailed leads in February 2021. This move made the firm register proper management of the systems and the available resources. The new standards-setting led to increased sales in that particular month compared to the previous month’s results. New target groups were set that month which made the business concentrate on standards and records. The firm recruited new part-time candidates who helped the enterprise to improve its net sales in that particular month. This decision also helped in the company’s advertising practices as it attracted new customers. The larger the number of customers (customer base), the more product sales a business can pursue. It also increases the rate of stock turnover since there is stable market demand for the products.
In August 21, the enterprise changed the supplier to ProSupply and shifted the production method to an in-house/contracted out one. This decision resulted in an improved supply of products and driven the rise of sales of goods. In the following month, the firm purchased more components and produced goods. All of them were sold, indicating that the products delivered were up to the required quality, which led to improved customer satisfaction.
In December 21, the owners working hours changed to 22 hours in a week, which signifies that more of the time was spent working. It had a positive association with sales increasing the number of orders and identified its success in management and product advertising. Sales contraction spotted on February 22 was caused by the lack of enough funds to pay suppliers. Fatigue among staffers due to excessive working hours reduced the overall efficiency. As a result, the enterprise lost about 10 hours of operation. Following training for the new course led to a significant increase in the production of goods. After the purchase of components in that month, all produced products were entirely sold to the customers. This indicates the importance of new technology and innovations in a business which generally increases the company’s competence in the market.
By May 23, the firm had increased the working hours per week up to 65 hours. The marketing campaign gave it more leads, resulting in more selling of the available stock. Although the company has increased its sales, this has led to the owner overworking, affecting his health. Low pay should be corrected by paying employees the required amount of money, which will lead to better performance. Increasing the workspace was also seen as an essential factor. A larger workspace should also be considered to accommodate staff adequately.
Critical Decisions Made In
Marketing does not only involve advertising and promotions; it also involves multi-layered strategies, which are commonly referred to as marketing mix. The Four Ps, as discussed, are price, products, place, and promotion (Quesenberry, 2019). In terms of price, it is vital to offer an affordable product and balance the volume of sales and margins. Selling at a lower price is a strategy used in decision-making to make it difficult for new competitors to venture into the business. The place is a marketing aspect that focuses on where the company will sell its products or services. Once management conducted proper market research, identified what customers demand, it should devise a unique selling proposition, set the range of price and the best place for selling the products. Only following these particular actions, the company should turn to promotions and ad campaigns.
The primary marketing activities in June 21 and September 21 boosted sales for the consecutive months. Direct marketing campaigns and small advertisements involving radio and newspapers resulted in the rise of orders and sales inquiries that generated higher income. Promotional material designed in-house and using local media allowed to reduce costs. However, after looking at the activities spreadsheet, it becomes clear that the firm spent more time on marketing during the first year. For instance, 36 hours were dedicated to promotion efforts in June 21 and almost the same amount in September 21.
In comparison, marketing activities during the next two years have been more evenly partitioned between months. It could be a good strategy if the company had proper customer research, product design, and offer before the promotion. A comprehensive and robust marketing campaign may be crucial for new enterprises that enter the market to attract and convince more potential customers. In this particular case, the firm failed to identify the most suitable target groups and allocate enough design effort. In retrospect, it seems that the order of activities has been disrupted.
Many businesses usually have their ideas about how best they can handle their credit control and ensure that all debts are collected timely from the clients. Credit control requires initial research on the customers regarding their ability to pay debts, proper documentation and contracts, building a rapport, and providing convenient payment methods. In the current situation, the business should propose more payment options than the use of cheques in the post. The more payment options available, the more is the likelihood of early payment. In the beginning, the firm’s credit control strategy was chosen to be “threaten legal action.” In general, it was not compelling enough concerning early payments; thus, in July 23 credit control strategy was changed to a “debt collection agency.” Despite paying a percentage to the debt collectors, this option led to a better collection of delinquent debts.
It is widespread that businesses have different ways of segmenting their markets, and the optimal method will vary from a company to the other. Good market segmentation will start by identifying the target groups for all the products. This includes all the individuals who might be in a position to purchase the software (Quesenberry, 2019). The decision made in August 22 to change the target segment to corporations seems to be crucial. The shift from professional services helped the company to increase the number of customers interested in its products.
Nevertheless, the firm lacked timely and extensive customer research for an extended period; thus, this change occurred lately. More time and efforts had to be dedicated to this action during the first year. Instead, only 16 hours were spent during the first year to indicate which products and their features are valued by potential customers. The importance of customer research seems to be underestimated by the group. Only in July 22 significant efforts had been directed to research amounting to 59 hours.
Design And Customer Research
Different businesses are having a hard time doing research about what the customers want and designing the product. In this case, the limited time was dedicated to designing activities. New product design had been completed three times resulting in the ultimate design of products with quality 79, performance 79, features 65, and style 85. Compared with the previous one, the final product design is inferior in terms of features that the final user can use without paying additional fees. It may lead to decreased demand since competitors offer similar products with more features at the same price range. However, it reduced the cost needed for production and selling. It also turned out that net profit has started to rise since August 22 and continued to be comparable until the simulation end. On the other hand, a new design effort is needed to attract more customers by satisfying their additional needs in computers and software.
As it was earlier mentioned, proper customer research has been done too late. If more hours and efforts had been directed to customer research during the first year, the firm could earlier select corporations as its leading target group. It also would lead to a better initial product design affecting demand, sales, and ultimately profits. Research and development should not be underestimated even by small businesses to achieve a competitive advantage, stable growth, and reduce costs. In this case, the group failed to follow the natural way of doing business that starts with proper research and ends with product delivery.
Reflection on Simulation
In general, it was a great experience of business decision-making and working in a group. I have learned that research and development are crucial for every business, especially at the beginning. Customer research gives valuable insights into product design and features customers expect to receive when purchasing a particular product. The proper research would see the company offering a more suitable and required quality product at the beginning. In turn, it would lead to more sales, higher net income, and more significant growth during three year period. If I had a chance to change something, I would stand for earlier and more profound customer research. I would also hire more workers and expand the company’s premises to accommodate them and decrease the stress level. It seems that these timely actions would boost the enterprise’s growth, and the company would be more robust.
The running of the virtual enterprise using SimVenture simulation software was a great time as it allows students to learn more about starting and managing a business. According to the cash flow report, Group A managed to increase sales income and net profit following the simulation. Other financial indicators, including cumulative cash flow, had also increased. The latter means that the firm generated more cash than it spent. In general, the group members were able to go through all challenges and upheavals during the course. Ultimate decisions resulted in proper customer research, product offer, and positive financial indicators.
Nevertheless, some crucial issues and decision-making mistakes were hindering the company’s development. Many hours have been lost due to overworking and related owners and staff fatigue. The main reasons for it were small wages, lack of recruitment, and excessive workload. For instance, the owner’s working time had increased from initial 22 to 65 hours per week. The low pay decreased the quality of life and raised the level of stress. It seems that more employees were needed to fulfill required tasks reducing the workload of others. One more issue was a lack of workspace that limited work and consumed another portion of activity hours. The timely enlargement of premises and better workspace design could avoid negative consequences.
In terms of marketing, the conducted campaigns were effective due to applying in-house promotional materials and collaborating with local media. It simultaneously reduced related costs and promoted the firm’s products among the local population attracting more consumers. The credit-control strategy had been eventually changed to a debt collection agency from threaten legal action resulting in more early payments. Regarding the target segment, the group failed to identify the most suitable customer base during the first year. It was ultimately shifted to corporations that increased the number of orders and deals. The main problem here lies in the lack of initial customer research efforts that negatively affected the product design and targeting.
Quesenberry, K. A. (2019) Social media strategy: Marketing, advertising, and public relations in the consumer revolution. 2nd edn. London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.