Business Development Business Plan
We are currently in a highly lucrative market in a rapidly growing economy. The current trend towards an increase in the number of entrepreneurs and competition amongst existing companies presents an opportunity for an increased demand for market information and services that will enable companies to stay ahead of the pack.
Our services will be positioned very carefully: they will be of extremely high quality, relevant, timely and accurate, tailored to the clients’ needs so as to enable them to make the right decisions, in turn leading towards growth of their companies, benefiting the overall economy.
Palms and Bonds offers the expertise that a proactive-oriented and market-opportunity seeking company needs to develop and enter new product distribution and new market segments in new markets. We intend to provide a number of necessary services to the business community and to the public. These can be summed up in two main divisions — Business and Training Services. Our business services can be taken as marketing research, market research reports, project-based consulting, business and marketing plans, plan consulting and writing, high-level retainer consulting and company registration. Our training services include workshops and seminars on such topics as sales and marketing, as well as in-house training of receptionists, secretaries, and sales and marketing personnel.
Our marketing strategy will be based mainly on ensuring that customers know what needs the services are able to fulfill, and making the right information available to the right target customer. We intend to implement a market penetration strategy that will ensure that we are well known and respected in our respective industry. We will ensure that our services’ prices take into consideration people’s budgets, and that these people appreciate the services, know that it exists, and where to find it. The marketing will convey the sense of quality in every picture, every promotion, and every publication. Our promotional strategy will involve integrating advertising, events, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing and Internet marketing, details of which are provided in the marketing section of this plan.
Our target markets will range from persons in the corporate towers, small or medium businesses, to home institutions needing information on their particular area of concern. The common bond will be the appreciation of the importance of quality information that will enable correct decisions to be made, holding all things equal. Palms and Bonds prides itself on its analytical ability, its value-added service, competitive fees, its high standards of quality and its adaptability to changes in the market and in the method of its practice.
Palms and Bonds intends to provide the client with more than just information and planning tools. We intend to provide quality information that is customized to the client’s needs, in the process assisting them on how best to use the available information. By employing our services, our clients are assured of consultants dedicated to finding the right answers for their business and enabling them to benefit long after we have finished our work. We are in this line of work because we like efficiency and because we understand and believe in problem solving and market/marketing research.
As we grow we want to grow right. For example we recognize that we have to be in constant touch with our stakeholders to ensure market knowledge at all times. This is the nature of the channels we deal with. Also, we intend to build our management team correctly. We need the right people in the right place at the right time if we are to ensure optimum growth. We intend to develop our team so that our people can grow as the company grows — a mutually beneficial relationship.
In a nutshell, we don’t just intend to market and sell our service, but to market and sell customized information, solutions and a total-quality environment. This will ensure we establish a reputable corporate image.
Our business strategy will revolve around the need to provide quality information to our various target clients/customers, in the process fully satisfying their needs. This shall be undertaken through recruitment of a professional marketing research and business consultancy team and the production of good quality reports designed to cater to the client’s needs. These reports/proposals shall be professionally done so as to be reflective of our intended image and reputation. We shall position ourselves as a quality service provider that strives to provide accuracy, relevancy and specific information. We intend to establish a good rapport with all the relevant government agencies and private institutions that may in turn refer us to aspiring entrepreneurs.
With time our presence on the World Wide Web will increase the knowledge of our services to the various market segments we shall be targeting. This is particularly so with foreign firms looking at establishing themselves in Botswana, hence providing them easy access to local information. In such a case Web presence is a natural objective in reaching the appropriate potential customers. We also intend to have brochures that will enable clients to have an understanding of the types of services we offer and advantages of doing so. In addition to well-done brochures, company profiles and business cards often have a triggering effect on clients contemplating investing in Botswana. These will undoubtedly generate increased sales of our products.
1.2 Keys to Success
The keys to Palms and Bonds success will undoubtedly be effective market segmentation through identification of several niche markets and implementation strategies. Along these lines the company intends to implement personal selling and direct marketing strategies to the target markets. Our personal selling marketing strategies will rotate around keeping in touch with investment and finance bodies for major clients and word-of-mouth for more individual investors. our key success factors will include the following:
- Excellence in fulfilling the promise: completely confidential, reliable, trustworthy expertise and information. This dictates that we have the latest technology and software.
- Uncompromising commitment to the quality of the work: that is, quality data, information and solutions.
- Developing visibility to generate new business leads.
- Leveraging from a single pool of expertise into multiple revenue generation opportunities: retainer consulting, project consulting, market research, and market research published reports.
- Successful niche marketing: we intend to find and target the quality-conscious customer in the right channels, making sure that the customer will find us through aggressive marketing.
- Timeous response to clients orders: we cannot afford to delay the client’s order for whatever reason as this will have a negative bearing on our image and reputation, including future business. We need to be continually communicating with the client.
- Marketing know-how: in an increasingly competitive market there is need to aggressively market our business and the services we provide so as to be continuously at the top of our prospective and current clients minds.
- Entrepreneurial Flair: market volatility and increasing duplication of business ideas advocates that we continuously keep abreast of new trends and our competitors.
Palms and Bonds offers clients reliable, quality information and proposals for business development, market development, and channel development that will maximize business development. A true alternative to in-house resources we offer a very high level of practical experience, know-how, contacts, and confidentiality. At Palms and Bonds we are able to provide comprehensive solutions to our clients’ problems that will foster business development. Clients must know that working with Palms and Bonds is a more professional, less risky way to develop new areas even than working completely in-house with their own people. Palms and Bonds must also be able to maintain financial balance, charging a competitive and realistic value for its services, and delivering an even higher value to its clients. Initial focus will be development of the local market clientele.
Our mission statement is:
“We endeavor to understand our customers’ business so well as to be able to offer comprehensive solutions to their problems.”
Palms and Bonds is a relatively new company providing high-level expertise in local business development, market identification and development, channel development, distribution strategies, and marketing strategies for all types of products and services. It will focus initially on providing and satisfying two kinds of markets:
- Providing market research to local clients looking at developing their businesses for the increasingly competitive markets, be they new or established.
- Providing market research services to foreign investors looking at investing in the local markets.
As it grows it will take on people and consulting work in related markets. It will also look for additional leverage by establishing relationships and representations with international market research organizations.
2.1 Company Ownership
Palms and Bonds is a Private Limited company. Its fiscal year is the calendar year. Messrs. TTT. and SSS. equally own the company.
2.2 Start-up Summary
Total start-up capital and expenses covered (including legal costs, logo design, stationery and related expenses) came to approximately P49,600. Start-up assets required and utilized included personal computers, vehicles, office furniture, and other office equipment.
Palms and Bonds offers expertise in market research, channel distribution, channel development, and market development that allow clients to choose their preferred relationship: these include retainer consulting relationships, project-based consulting, sales representation and market representation, project-based market research, published market research, information forum events, business plans, and marketing plans.
Palms and Bonds offers the expertise a proactive-oriented and market-opportunity seeking company needs to develop and enter new product distribution and new market segments in new markets. We intend to provide a number of necessary services to the business community and to the public. These can be summed up in two areas — Business and Training Services. Our business services can be taken as high-level retainer consulting, market research reports, project-based consulting, business and marketing plans, plan consulting and writing, and company registration. Our training services include workshops and seminars on such topics as sales and marketing, as well as in-house training of receptionists, secretaries, and sales and marketing personnel.
3.1 Service Description
Our business planning services include: assisting companies with the research and structuring of comprehensive, written business and marketing plans; providing a written business plan package, which delivers a complete, detailed business plan to the client, specifically designed to meet their needs, that is, FAP applications, bank loans, NDB loans, restructuring, new product development, market expansion, etc.
In many cases, small businesses often consider next year’s budget an acceptable business plan. Any investor or banker will disagree and insist on much more information prior to making a financial decision regarding funding a business. We want to provide the opportunity for businesses, which have potential to receive the funding that would help them become solid employers.
Market research: (Discussion omitted in this sample business plan)
Retainer consulting: (Discussion omitted)
Cash Flow Analysis: (Discussion omitted)
Project consulting: (Discussion omitted)
3.2 Sales Literature
The business will begin with a general corporate brochure establishing the positioning. This brochure was developed as part of the start-up expenses including the business cards and Company Profile, mainly for the large organizations that often recommend services to potential investors. Compliment slips are also on the cards so as to raise awareness of the company and its services.
Literature and mailings for the initial market forums will be very important.
Palms and Bonds will maintain the latest market research software and Windows capabilities including:
- Complete email facilities on the Internet for working with clients directly through email delivery of drafts and information.
- Complete presentation facilities for preparation and delivery of multimedia presentations on Windows machines, in formats including on-disk presentation, live presentation, or video presentation.
- Complete desktop publishing facilities for delivery of regular retainer reports, project output reports, marketing materials, and market research reports.
3.4 Future Services
In putting the company together we have attempted to offer enough services to allow us to always be in demand by our clients. However, economics has provided us with a new era of opportunities for the small business in which we can only guess at the needs. The most important factor in developing future services is market need. Our understanding of the needs of our target market segments is one of our competitive advantages. It is critical to our effort to develop the right new services. We also have what we call a “core service engine” (market research) that will be the foundation of future products. In the future, Palms and Bonds will broaden its coverage by expanding into additional markets (e.g., the whole of southern Africa) and additional product areas. However in doing so we will strive to ensure that it is compatible with the existing services.
Now we have the possibility of new money being loosened for entrepreneurs and that means there will be a substantial increase in the number of feasibility studies and business plans. This provides additional business for virtually every area of business service we provide.
We are also studying the possibility of newsletter or electronic newsletter services (for the international market), or perhaps special on-topic reports, pending further research on client needs.
Market Analysis Summary
We are today experiencing a rapid growth in the economy of unsurpassed nature. This has been brought about by amongst other things, the relaxation of foreign exchange policies and macro economic policies geared towards attracting foreign investors into the country. The fiscal and monetary policies of the government geared towards maintaining growth with social justice have largely contributed towards this, evidenced by our economy averaging a growth rate of 7% since 1990 — very high by international standards.
The current drive and emphasis by the government on diversification of the industrial base away from the minerals sector presents an opportunity for Palms and Bonds to make a valuable contribution towards achieving this goal. This will result in implementation of modern market research techniques and transfer of knowledge. Having undertaken a thorough and comprehensive research of the market we realized that there was a need for a specialized market research firm that focuses on producing market research reports that are tailored to the clients needs. Though there are business consultancy firms currently on the market, some of whom have been in existence for a relatively long period of time, we believe that there is a market need for one (ourselves in this instance) that particularly focuses on market research. We intend to provide services of extremely high quality — something that cannot be over-emphasized in the international arena with the current drive towards globalization.
We appreciate that entering such a market is not a bed of roses and intend to implement an aggressive marketing strategy, well supported by the other business functions. The above prognosis influenced our decision to enter the business consultancy industry.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Palms and Bonds will be focusing on local businesses and foreign investors looking at investing in the country. These will be small, medium, and large-sized companies looking for a total service and quality work.
Our most important group of potential customers are foreign investors. These are potential investors who want to have a feel and understanding of the local markets and the opportunities, and constraints they present to them. They do not want to waste their time or risk their money looking for bargain information or questionable expertise. As they go into markets looking at new opportunities, they are very sensitive to risking their company’s name and reputation.
Large corporations: one of our most important market segment is the large organization looking at penetrating new or existing markets. These companies will be calling on Palms and Bonds for development functions that are better spun off than managed in-house, for market research, and feasibility studies.
Medium-sized growth companies: particularly in rapidly expanding markets, Palms and Bonds will offer an attractive development alternative to the company that is management constrained and unable to address opportunities in new markets and new market segments.
Small-sized companies: in an increasingly competitive environment entrepreneurs are becoming more cautious in the markets they seek to enter and on establishing new market opportunities. They are often seeking for prior research to be done to identify possible markets that are suited to their resources and capabilities.
Hence the most likely types of businesses to require our services would include:
- New businesses seeking investment or start-up capital
- New firms looking at investing in the country
- Existing companies which are expanding or introducing a new product/ service.
4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
Our marketing strategy will be based mainly on making the right information available to the right target customer. We will ensure that our services’ prices take into consideration people’s budgets, and that these people appreciate the service and know that it exists, including where to find it. The marketing will convey the sense of quality in every picture, every promotion, and every publication. There is already a sense of segment strategy in the way we define our target market. We are choosing to compete in areas that lend themselves to local competition, service and channel areas that match our strengths, and avoid our weaknesses.
Our strategy calls for the development of relationships with investment bodies, attorneys, accountants and financial institutions to support our business with referrals. Interviews with commercial loan officers have indicated that there is a serious need for a professional firm like ours to help their clients in market/marketing research, and development of comprehensive and concise business and marketing plans.
4.2.1 Market Needs
Palms and Bonds intends to provide the client with more than general market information. We intend to provide accurate, relevant, specific and timely information that will enable our clients to make more accurate decisions. This information we intend to be available to our clients at competitive rates.
We understand that our target markets need more than just information but information that will enable them to make more informed decisions. Our target client wants information that is relevant to their needs and easily understandable so as to make the right decisions. We don’t just intend to provide a service, but to provide one of unparalleled nature relative to the market.
4.2.2 Market Trends
Our intended markets are increasingly growing towards recognizing the difference between poor quality business consultancy service and that of high quality. This development is an important trend for us as it represents our target market, and hence opportunity. We now are having an increasing number of people who appreciate quality information and the importance of having comprehensive and concise market and business plans undertaken.
Another trend is the one toward greater use of specialized and focused consultants, instead of in-house resources. Companies are looking for out-sourcing (but unfortunately few offer such a service) and, in general, a preference for variable costs instead of fixed costs.
4.3 Positioning Statement
Although there are a number of attorneys and accountants who write or assist in writing a business plan, the reality is that these professionals provide invaluable services in the areas in which they specialize, but lack the imagination to write a comprehensive and effective business plan. The attorneys tend to dwell on the legal aspects and contractual arrangements while accountants sweat over the balance sheets, cash flow statements, product costs and income statements. Additionally, these vitally necessary professionals cannot afford to spend the many hours necessary to work on a business plan when they could be earning much more per hour concentrating on their particular field of expertise.
Our expertise lies in the ability to listen to a business owner and perceive their vision for their company over the next few years. We can envision what the business person is looking for in the future, then put it in writing and at a cost they can live with.
4.4 Service Business Analysis
The consulting “industry” is pulverized and disorganized, with many smaller consulting organizations and individual consultants for every one of the few dozen well-known companies. These other organizations often offer a service, which is not to the client’s satisfaction. In addition they often claim to offer a service, which they are not fully capable of providing satisfactorily.
Consulting participants range from major international name-brand consultants to hundreds of individuals. One of Palms and Bonds’ challenges will be establishing itself as a real consulting company, specializing in market research, positioned as a relatively risk-free corporate purchase. The business consulting industry may be segmented by economics and needs patterns. This incorporates some of the service type differences, but in a more practical sense:
Mainline Services: these include marketing/market research undertaken through advertising, direct mail, referrals and sales literature. Essentially these will be customized to the client’s needs.
Ancillary Services: these include services such as trading licenses and company formation, which tend to be similar with not much to differentiate amongst providers except speed of execution. We intend to have an extremely efficient and ‘state-of-the-art’ business centre that will cater to our clients’ needs. Service provider decisions don’t tend to be major decisions/events covering relatively insignificant amounts.
4.4.1 Distributing a Service
Consulting is sold and purchased mainly on a word-of-mouth basis, with relationships and previous experience being, by far, the most important factor.
The major name-brand houses have locations in the main mall, and executive-level managers or partners develop new business through industry associations, business associations, chambers of commerce and industry, etc., and in some cases social associations such as country clubs.
The medium-level houses tend to be general in terms of services and specific in terms of target market — targeting FAP seeking clients/individuals. They are not easily able to leverage their business through distribution, which we intend to be one of our competitive advantages.
4.4.2 Competition and Buying Patterns
The key element in purchase decisions made at the Palms and Bonds client level is trust in the professional reputation and reliability of the consulting firm. The most important factor in this market is the quality of the service. The majority of the investment referrals said they were not satisfied with the current plans often submitted for their approval as they were of poor quality.
4.4.3 Main Competitors
There are numerous companies operating in Gaborone who classify themselves as “business consultants”. However, upon contacting these, it appears that the vast majority of these companies are bookkeeping and secretarial services companies. There are some companies that provide services similar to those offered by us and that is good, but none of them specialize in market/marketing research. The following are some of our main competitors:
The high-level prestige management consulting firms
Strengths: Prime locations managed by owner-partners with a high level of presentation and understanding of general business. Enviable reputations, which make purchase of consulting an easy decision for a manager, despite the very high prices.
Weaknesses: General business knowledge doesn’t substitute for the specific market, channel, and distribution expertise of Palms and Bonds, focusing on local markets and products/services. Also, fees are extremely expensive, and work is generally done by very junior-level consultants, even though sold by high-level partners.
General Business Consultancy firms
Strengths: Expertise in certain functional areas particularly bookkeeping. Palms and Bonds intends not to compete with general business consultancy firms in these markets.
Weaknesses: The inability to spread beyond a specific focus, or to rise above a specific focus, to provide actual marketing and market research expertise, experience, and wisdom beyond the specifics.
The most significant competition is no consulting at all, companies choosing to do market research, business development and channel development in-house.
Strengths: No incremental cost except travel; also, the general work is done by the people who are entirely responsible, the planning is done by those who will implement it.
Weaknesses: Most managers are terribly overburdened already, unable to find incremental resources in time and people to apply to incremental opportunities. Also, there is a lot of additional risk in market and channel development done in-house from the ground up. Finally, retainer-based antenna consultants can greatly enhance a company’s reach and extend its position into conversations that might otherwise never have taken place.
Attorneys and Accounting firms
Strengths: Able to provide sound accounting or legal advice and services with the plans being done by the partners.
Weaknesses: They often lack the imagination to write a comprehensive and effective business plan. The attorneys tend to dwell on the legal aspects and contractual arrangements while accountants sweat over the balance sheets, cash flow statements, product costs and income statements. Very little market research, if any, is often undertaken, and often ineffectively.
4.4.4 Business Participants
At the highest level are the few well-established major names in management consulting. Most of these are organized as partnerships established in major markets around the world, linked together by interconnecting directors and sharing the name and corporate wisdom. Some evolved from accounting companies and some from management consulting. These companies charge very high rates for consulting, and maintain relatively high overhead structures and fulfillment structures based on partners selling and junior associates fulfilling.
4.4.5 Competitive Comparison
We have sought to identify competition in terms of companies that satisfy the same client needs that we intend to. Our competitors are few in our main service, and, including Government agencies, numerous in our ancillary services. There will be a need to strongly differentiate ourselves from these other businesses. However on a broader scale our competition comes in several forms:
The most significant competition is no market research consulting at all, companies choosing to do market research, business development and channel development in-house. Their own managers do this on their own, as part of their regular business functions. Our key advantage in competition with in-house development is that managers are already overloaded with responsibilities, they don’t have time for additional responsibilities in new market development or new channel development. Also, Palms and Bonds can approach alliances, investment bodies, and channels on a confidential basis, gathering information and making initial contacts in ways that the corporate managers can’t.
The high-level prestige management consulting: XXX and international firms. These are essentially generalists who take their name-brand management consulting into specialty areas. Their other very important weakness is the management structure that has the partners selling new jobs, and inexperienced associates delivering the work. We compete against them as experts in our specific fields, and with the guarantee that our clients will have the top-level people doing the actual work.
The third general kind of competitors are the various trading and Investment bodies. These companies are formidable competitors for published market research and market forums, but cannot provide the kind of high-level customized consulting that Palms and Bonds will provide.
The fourth kind of competition are the business consultancy firms, which undertake business plans for various organizations. For example: LLL, MMM, NNN, and OOO Consultancy.
The fifth kind of competition are the numerous “fly-by-night” business consultants that claim to offer the same services as we do. Often they offer a below par service with no qualified personnel.