The industry analysis on Business Bridge focusses on internal factors as well as the external factors. Through the micro analysis, the report highlights the unique organisational structure of Business Bridge, the relationship between the partner organisations and Business Bridge. The micro analysis examines the strategy currently employed by Business Bridge; through the value chain analysis the report highlights all the processes involved in delivering the Business Bridge final product. The employment of the SWOT analysis is directed at identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the model and threats and opportunities that the external environment presents to the model and strategy.
Marco analysis looks at all the elements of the external environment and the effects that they have on Business Bridge. The Political factor looks at unemployment as a government issue in South Africa and therefore business training as something that the government is taking interest in as a ways to develop entrepreneurship in South Africa, in hopes that the skills will help develop small businesses, for them to be able to create employment opportunities. The economic factor examines entrepreneurship as means of economic development for South Africa and business training as means to develop entrepreneurship; this ties in together because in order for entrepreneurs to be in position to develop the economy, they need skills to develop their businesses into profitable entities. The social factor look at the social issues surrounding entrepreneurship and how the business bridge can alleviate these issues through providing skills development to small business entrepreneurs.
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Technology is one way companies develop their services, within this factor lies opportunities of innovation and development and this is something that Business Bridge is looking at, developing their service and become market-leaders. Environmental factor is examined as one of the ways that the business budge can give insight to entrepreneurs, by teaching them about the effects of the actual changes in the environment, the opportunities and threats that this represents in their businesses. Legal factor
The financial analysis only focuses on past events to review the current state and this information is then used to plan for the future. The report presents information about the actual project the student was involved in, role played, responsibilities, and it also
This report looks at the company Business Bridge. This industry analysis focuses on all the aspects of the business operations, the micro environment, macro environment, market environment and market challenges and leadership. The analysis contains factual information obtained from the company and other sources, such as the web and interviews, etc. Then it provides a take on the effects of the different environmental factors, furthermore it gives recommendations on how the company can counter the bad effects of the different environments and develop strengths to become market leaders.
This is an industry report focussed on the company called The Business Bridge Initiative. It is aimed at developing insight on the company beyond the normal observation; the writer has done a thorough investigation on the company through spending time at the company and devised a report that contains the findings, opinion of the analyst on the findings and their recommendations.
This report is developed to highlight the findings that have been established through an analysis done on The Business Bridge Initiative. This analysis served as a developmental learning for a business student, in order for them to engage with the business environment on a more practical level.
1.3. Scope and limitations
The opportunity to spend time in the actual business environment that was being analysed opened the scope of information availability and its accuracy but reduced the limitations. There were some confidentiality and some facts that needed to be concealed to the general public but this did not limit the knowledge of the writer on their ability to form opinion or make recommendations.
To develop an opinion on the analysis of the business environment of Business Bridge.
To present the findings on Business Bridge.
To give recommendations on the findings.
The overall object of this report is to give an opportunity to gain practical experience to business student to develop an analysis on a developed business.
2.1. Micro analysis Company background
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
This micro analysis looks at the Business Bridge initiative structure and conduct. It also focuses on the day to day running of the company, the partner organisation's roles and influences. There is a use of the SWOT analysis to look at the internal and external opportunities and threats to view how the company can improve its structure to be more competitive.
2.1.1. Company background
The Business Bridge was initiated in 2008 by Professor Michael Hay. Professor Hay is a professor at the London Business School one of the leading business schools in the world according to Expansión, Mexico's leading business magazine. Professor Hay realised the opportunity missed by those people that cannot afford formal training to develop their business skills. The Business Bridge was initiated to afford the less fortunate an opportunity at high quality training at virtually no cost. The pilots of the training were launched in South Africa and Ghana.
2.1.2. Company activity
Business Bridge initiative is a company that provides business training to entrepreneurs at low cost. The training that they offer is designed by the London Business School. The training is designed to give skills to entrepreneurs that can assist them in developing their businesses and increases the success rate of SME's, the measure of success is the increase in job opportunities that these SME'S provide after having gone through the Business Bridge training . The offer skills training on the following areas:
How to win sales
Managing business finances
The business training sessions are conducted by experienced business professionals, they also provide the entrepreneurs with a platform to learn from those around them, an online learning session that gives an opportunity to entrepreneurs to practice what they learnt in class and develop it through practical training within their businesses.
2.1.3. Vision and Mission
"Our vision is to provide high quality business education for virtually no fee on a global scale to those individuals who would benefit."
This vision is realised through the assistance of many support systems, some of the lectures that take part in tutoring in the courses that TBB provides are doing it on voluntary basis.
"Business Bridge aims to widen access to business education for entrepreneurs across the world. It has a scalable model for delivering high quality, low cost business education to tens of thousands of people worldwide for whom access is otherwise denied by virtue of cost or lack of local provision."(www.thebusinessbridge.org)
2.1.4. Organisational Structure
The Business Bridge does not have a physical structure or company building. "Business Bridge we don't have a set in stone model this means that we adapt to change easily and we are currently revaluating our strategy to undertake those strategies that work best and seem to show better results, we constantly looking at improving." (Janine Van Tonder, Manager)
Their business activities take place mostly at the partner companies; these are the trainings and registrations to the trainings. These activities are those that are directly linked to the clients (entrepreneurs), meetings and other activities that involve the running of the company by the management take place at various places that suit the occasion at a given moment. This means the relationship between The Business Bridge and their umbrella companies is very important because the partner companies are the face of Business Bridge outside what the person gets from the internet.
22.214.171.124 The organisation Team
Figure : The Business Bridge organisational structure
The companies that house the Business Bridge trainings are companies that are in the same industry meaning that they also work with entrepreneurs and that is, for the most part, the basis of the relation with the Business Bridge. In the Macro analysis we going to look at the broad influence of these companies to the Business Bridge but for this micro analysis we are only going to focus on the influence of the one company that I have been able to observe and that is The Business Place.
126.96.36.199. The Business Place partnership
The Business Place is a support structure for entrepreneurs they provide services such as free internet to all entrepreneurs for business research, assistance to entrepreneurs in getting their businesses registered, free consultation with a lawyer regarding business issues and many more. They are one of the companies that house The Business Bridge Initiative. They have a database of clients which are part of the Business Bridge Initiative's target market, and through this relationship business Bridge has in great part benefited by being able to connect with that target market.
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So how does The Business Place code of conduct or organisational culture influence the culture of Business Bridge in dealing or working with the same clients? Because The Business Bridge conducts its businesses at The Business Place premises and also in the most part deal with the same clients as The Business Place, they have had to adopt the same conduct in dealing with their clients as The Business Place. The Business Place clients have certain understanding of how The Business Place works and these expectations are conveyed to the Business Bridge regardless of the fact there are two companies.
So it's safe to assume that with all the other companies Business Bridge has a different conduct that is influenced by the conduct of the company that it's housed by in each branch?
During an interview with Janine Van Tonder, Manager of Business Bridge, 5 September 2012 she said, "In terms of our Research Administrators in this current project, who are not formal employees of TBB but contracted employees, there is a difference in the way they approach their work within these different institutes, and some branch managers have shown more commitment in guiding the Research Administers, the Business Bridge employees, and some have been left to find their way, which has been the disadvantage as their manager having to manage people in different branches it's difficult to be pay attention to everyone evenly and still conduct my own work this where the support of the branches would come in handy, but this in no way affects our conduct of towards our employees, but we have observed the deference in how they conduct or approach their work."
2.1.6. Value chain analysis
In order to develop a service that would appeal or need the customer needs Business Bridge needs to develop a value chain analysis, to establish the process that they need to employ in order for their service to meet the client effectively and efficiently. Based on the view of the company strategy and activity, their value chain would resemble the following structure:
Figure : Business Bridge's value chain
2.1.7. SWOT analysis
The focus of this swot analysis is to examine positives and negatives of having such a structure for company like Business Bridge.
Figure : SWOT analysis
Easy access to existing data of target market
Because they are in partnership with companies that work with entrepreneurs they have access to the data.
Because the Business Bridge has such a model, they can revise and restructure without upsetting a whole lot of structures, this means they can chop and change to continuously improve their offering.
Especially in the case of Business Place, because they also have sessions for business training, this might hinder the growth of the Business Bridge brand as clients may confuse Business Bridge with Business Place.
This may be turned into an opportunity because of the fact that business place is well exposed and has many platform that reach entrepreneurs and thus The Business Bridge can use these platforms to make themselves more visible, hopping on the already moving wagon rather than having to build one from scratch.
Being part of a massive project that involves the support of The World Bank, this give recognition to the work that the Business Bridge does and therefore may open doors in terms of financial support.
Because they are associated by other companies so much specially to their clients they could fall victim to collateral damage, if maybe one of the umbrella bodies is overshadowed by a scandal, then that would also affect the image of TBB
This then goes back to the distinctiveness of the brand, the brand "The Business Bridge" needs to be so loud that it screams beyond their Umbrella Bodies.
The organisational structure and the internal operations and contribute to the overall success of the organisation but not in isolation. The internal structure also affects other environmental factors. How other environmental factors influence the overall strategy of the company is driven by the internal environment. In essence the effects of the macro environment can be defined by the micro environment to some extent, for instance changes can be made to secure the company from the bad effects through changing the strategy, or due the current internal environment there they can be evaded. What happens in the micro environment therefore needs to be linked to the macro and market environment, to prepare the company of unforeseen changes.
2.2. Macro analysis: The Business Bridge Initiative
This macro environment analysis focusses on the effects of the external environment on Business Bridge. This is the environment that Business Bridge has no control over, the elements of the macro environment can affect the strategy of Business Bridge and therefore the changes that they need to implement internally.
Figure : PESTILE analysis
This diagram just highlights the link of all the macro environment factors to the Business Bridge internal environment.
2.2.1. Political Factors
The political factors in this analysis, relate to how they affect the opportunities of Business Bridge to develop. Political issues are issues that directly affect the government and one of those issues is the Government Policy Priorities, this is the list that the government provides with the list of top priorities and a time frame of the their strategic plan. The current list contains:
More inclusive economic growth, decent work and sustainable livelihoods
Economic and social infrastructure
Rural development, food security and land reform
Access to quality education
Improved health care
The fight against crime and corruption
Cohesive and sustainable communities
Improving public service delivery
Sustainable resource management and use
Support for the creation of a better Africa.
(www.worldbank.org, September 2012)
Some of the factors above speak of economic development and community development and sustainability. These factors are generally in support of assisting communities through creating opportunities and one of the ways that the government plans to employ to achieve this, is skills development (www.kznded.gov.za, 2012). This idea then presents an opportunity to organisations such as Business Bridge
2.2.2. Economic factors
The economic factors feature in all industries, although the impact varies. In some industries the economic upturn is the only opportunity that exists for them and as soon as the economy takes a down turn, these industries experience a huge hit. The environment, in which Business Bridge exist, does however differ in this aspect, the entrepreneurship training industry is experiencing great recognition especially in recession period. Economist predictions are a directed towards economic development through entrepreneurship. This then gives an opportunity to companies such as the Business Bridge, which provide skills training to entrepreneurs, the goal is to develop entrepreneurs and one of the ways to that is through developing their skills.
188.8.131.52. Entrepreneurship impact on the economic development.
It's difficult to see any positive impact in any sector when there is an economic down fall or recession. The focus does however shift to the sectors that show positive results in terms of growth, in recent years that sector has been the entrepreneurial sector. Experts predict that the entrepreneurial sector will be the sector that supports economic development going forward "Academics, business leaders and government decision makers are largely in agreement that entrepreneurship plays a critical role in an economy's wellbeing and its ability to compete on a global scale"( Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2011 South Africa). The model below demonstrates the effects of entrepreneurship to the economy, on all levels.
Figure : The Wennekers and Thrunk model
3.1.3. Social Factors
Beyond lack of employment there is a greater issue in South Africa and that is the skills shortage in all sectors. As a developing country the lack of skills has made it very difficult to develop at improved rate for South Africa. This is also a social issue because even if there are sectors that have employment opportunities, the skills shortage makes it difficult to employ people for those roles, which mean service delivery also falls, leaving some basic and otherwise needs unmet, "Only 0.32% of South Africa's working adult population is involved in entrepreneurial activities within their organisations. This compares with Sweden, the highest ranked country, with 13.5%; the lowest was Bangladesh with 0.09%. South Africa is also the lowest among its participating BRICS counterparts, with China having an EEA rate of 1.73%, Brazil and Russia each with a rate of 0.84% and 0.44% respectively." (www.skillsportal.co.za)
2.2.3. Social Factors
Beyond lack of employment there is a greater issue in South Africa and that is the skills shortage in all sectors. As a developing country the lack of skills has made it very difficult for South Africa to develop at an improved rate, this is due mainly to the poor education rate from the primary level, and that being the profile educational profile of many small business owners in South Africa, "The quality of South Africa's education system ranked 131st for primary education out of 141 countries." (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2011 South Africa). This is also a social issue because even if there are sectors that have employment opportunities, the skills shortage makes it difficult to employ people for those roles, which mean service delivery also falls, leaving some basic needs unmet. This also affects the development of small businesses, because the entrepreneurs that engage in most of these businesses are previously untrained, they do not have the skills to execute adequate strategies to development to their businesses.
184.108.40.206. Skills development
Business Bridge has identified the need that exists within the entrepreneurial world to develop the skills in order to have the knowledge and ability to develop their businesses. The skills training that they provide is not specific to any industry, the programme is designed to be universal and in that way it can be wide spread, and reach an even wider market. The skills shortage that exists within all industries is an opportunity for Business Bridge to be the main providers of these skills training, and fact that they offer high quality training at low cost is a their competitive advantage. Their contribution to this social issue is beyond the fact that they designed these courses, but they offer the courses that are affordable cost, this allows them to really reach the people that are in real need of these skills development programmes.
2.2.4. Technological Factors
Technology is the driver of development in all sectors and all industries. Companies that show signs of developing show signs of improved technology. Through improved technology they are able to reach a wider market, deliver their products and services faster and take the lead in innovation, this is supported by the following quote, "Nowadays, the development of various innovations in town brings about a lot of changes in the industry. These auspicious devices deliver excellent services to new generation customers by answering their needs for greater convenience. On top of it all, with the use of technologies, several industries have increased their income, sales and revenues in a thousand folds." (http://ezinearticles.com1, 2012)
220.127.116.11. Competing technology development
Business Bridge does not have a physical structure, in conducting their trainings. They are housed by various companies that have similar operations as offered by Business Bridge. The companies that house Business Bridge (SEDA, TSiBA and The Business Place) offer similar services therefore are also direct competitors of the Business Bridge. They use the same facilities and resources that they offer to the Business Bridge. This means that the Business has no competitive edge over its competition in terms of faster processes and improved technology.
The Business Bridge offers on-line learning resources as part of their training package, this allows entrepreneurs that are taking the training an extra time to go on-line and further familiarise themselves with the lessons learnt in class, this improves the compact offering of just attending classes at a specified venue and time, but it's by no means innovative. They can further develop this offering to make it much easier, accessible by employing the growing technology of social networks that are available to the people that they are targeting.
2.2.5. Legal Factors
The legal factors compromise of legal issues between parties, legal constrains from legal enforcement structures. This then examines the factors that exist in the business environment that could bring about challenges for the development of Business Bridge, some these potential challenges include, partnerships contracts.
The Business Bridge model is designed around the use of existing organisational structures of partner organisations as their training centres, in making use of these facilities Business Bridge can cut their cost and this contributes to their ability to provide their quality training at low cost. The fact that Business Bridge is in contract with so many organisations, TSiBA education, SEDA and The Business Place presents lots of obligations for them. Dependency on other organisations may hinder their delivery of their services, because the organisations that they are in partnership with have their own policies they clash with Business Bridge's policies.
2.2.6. Environmental Factors
All industries are currently affected by the environment directly and indirectly. This has led to great transformations for many companies and industries; they have diversified to suit the current environment of global warming and Climate change. Going green, recycling, reducing carbon foot print, etc. these are just some of the changes that many companies have undertaking to better position themselves in the current environment.
18.104.22.168. Environmental Impact
It's really hard to think of any environmental impact that directly affects the Business Bridge, but the environment has influenced many industries and many industries are developed by many entrepreneurs which in term affects the delivery of the Business Bridge. In delivering their services they need to be aware of the environmental changes that affect the different sectors and industries, as entrepreneurs are a pool of people that will or have ventured in all kinds of businesses which are affected differently by these environmental changes. Business Bridge needs to have the ability to advise or equip entrepreneurs in dealing with all forms of change, including the environmental change which is one of the 21st century's most demanding trends.
The macro environment extends opportunities and threats for a company. The development of an internal structure needs to be revised based on what the external environment can allow. To ensure a company has solid formed strategy, it has to know how the external environment looks and what challenges will have to fight against in future and equip self for that, or the opportunities that might be presented. Business Bridge exist in an environment that is enabling, the factors that have been discussed in the macro environment provide an opportunity to Business Bridge by opening a gap. The role of Business Bridge is to formulate a competitive strategy, because as demand increases many companies will develop to cater to growing demand and work towards being industry leaders. Through the micro analysis it has been established that the current external environment allows for the development of Business training institutions.
2.3. Market analysis
The market analysis examines the organisations strategies to develop their market share. It looks at various sections such as the market growth to see the potential growth that is represented to the company. In looking at the market analysis, some ideas are developed to formulate the best strategies that can be employed to ensure the organisational growth, the external environment is once again a challenge in the development of this strategy or an opportunity, devising a marketing strategy requires the knowledge of the market and competitors. The potters five forces employed here examine the five factors that influence the outcome of the marketing strategy which Business Bridge choses to develop.
2.3.1. Defining the Market
The Business Bridge initiative offers business training to entrepreneurs. Their target market is small business entrepreneurs and people that want to start their own businesses but do not have much knowledge or former training in terms of how to run good business. These are the people that have passion for business and want to pursue entrepreneurship but cannot afford the kind of training that is offered in top universities and other places that offer training at low cost or no cost at all offer inadequate training, which does little to contribute to the development of these companies . The Business Bridge has packaged the very best training to make it accessible to these kinds of people.
2.3.2. Porters Five forces
In developing a marketing strategy a company needs to assess the elements that affect them in terms of reaching their clients with the product. The Porters fives forces model identifies these factors as:
The threat of the new entrants by potential entrants this element examines the ease of new competitors to enter the market within an industry. The bargaining power of buyers, this element examines the power that the buyers have over the seller to bargain for a better price. The threat of substitute products, this element examines the existence of substitute products to what the company offers and how much better or how much they are preferred by the customers. The bargaining power of the supplier examines the power that the supplier has to negotiate for a better price through competitiveness in quality and efficiency and price. The last is Industry competitors; this element examines the competitiveness amongst the existing organisations.
Figure : The Porters Five Forces model
22.214.171.124. Potential entrance
In the business training industry and in the current state, where
2.3.3. The Market Attractiveness and Growth
The market is made up of people that seek to develop their business skills, people that want to grow their skills for future adventures, people that need assistance in formulating their business document, people that are looking for advice, etc. This market is growing rapidly due to factors that include lack of employment, improved support from the government for entrepreneurs and BBBEE. These factors have increased the rate of people that seek to start their own businesses through motivation, lack of options and broaden opportunities. In most cases and for all of the three types of people that seek to start their own business, the element of skill development is crucial factor and they can sometimes influence the success of a business.
The following quote testifies to the great need for entrepreneurial development and therefore the skills development for entrepreneurs.
"Global development is entering a phase where entrepreneurship will increasingly play a more important role" (Published by University World Institute for Development Economics Research, 2011 March), the properties of this development were highlighted in the macro analysis
2.3.4. Business Bridge competiveness
The Business Bridge's training is developed by the professors from the London Business School, one of the world's leading business schools; this presents their clients with an opportunity to get information that is usually accessible to only people that can afford to study at The London Business School. The element of international influence gives substance to the level of the trainings, because this means that they have experience in the international environment through various studies of the macro environment in the international contest and can provide information that some of their competitors do not necessary have.
Business Bridge Quality measure
The Business Bridge offers business training to entrepreneurs. They provide learning to all small business entrepreneurs and people that want to start their own businesses. The training that they provide is a very low cost so that they reach the people that really need the skills development training. The courses that they provided are designed by processors from the London Business School in collaboration with UCT professors. The Business bridge market base is Africa, so in designing their training they not did only use the London influence but also used the knowledge of South African professors, this means that they can offer a product which has been designed and based on the measure of the international standard but also on the knowledge on the needs of the local market that being the burgeoning entrepreneurs that have never been afforded opportunities to develop their skills.
Companies are looking to gain international opportunities, like providing international services. These opportunities are specialised and offered only to those companies that can deliver on services and international business skills, so companies are equipping themselves and developing to compete on the international level. This provides an opportunity to companies that provide training to entrepreneurs to develop their service offering by providing international based training and only focus on the local level.
2.3.5. Business Bridge Growth Strategy
The Business Bridge growth strategy is focussed on three factors, "We have developed an innovative model for creating and delivering business education courses combining three elements: world-class e-learning content, face-to-face sessions led by a trained business school alumnus (or other professional) working pro-bono and delivery through a national network of 3rd party operated physical hubs." (www.thebusinessbridge.org, 2011). They have identified these factors as means to growing their brand, market share, their visibility and their support structure. Not only is Business Bridge looking for entrepreneurs to take part in the training but they also want support from relevant stake holders, tutors that will invest their time to giving the training to the entrepreneurs and organisations that will put in financial support. The following mediums are targeted the various stakeholders of the Business Bridge to serve a suitable purpose.
126.96.36.199. Reaching the market through low costing of high quality education.
The Business Bridge offers quality business training and they are targeting the African market, because their provision of the services is not based on making maximum profits through providing the services but to provide very needed skills to the people that need them the most at very low cost.
"Our vision is to provide high quality business education for virtually no fee on a global scale to those individuals who would benefit"
This element of social impact means that the business bridge exceeds the "basic provision at no cost" to offer quality education at limited cost, the quality of their education ensure that the clients get more value out of it.
These are the areas that the Business Bridge gets to cut costs and therefore be able to offer the high quality training at as little as R150. The Business Bridge cost structure is based on the three things:
The tutors mostly offer the training pro-bono; this eliminates the cost of hiring tutors who would be very expensive.
They offer their training at partner organisation which in most cases is at no charge.
The support from other organisations which support the Business Bridge financially. Without the support from these organisations it would be impossible for business to bring the kind of training, which is valued at R15000 per person, at just R150.
The business Bridge uses various platforms to market them and to market their services
Websites: The website provides a face to the company; it speaks of who they are (vision and mission) and what they do and the services that they offer. This communication is mostly directed to the tutors and sponsors.
They feature in websites such as the Activa website; Activa connects organisations that support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs. Such organisations offer their services at low or no cost, which also limits the cost involved in the marketing for Business Bridge but with maximum benefit. This communication is designed to reach the existing database of clients that within those organisations
Local radio stations and local newspapers: They use the local media to reach the kind of clients that they want, going to local radio stations and talk about the services that reach local people
Business Bridge provides their trainings at partner organisations, these organisations have a database of clients that they offer to the Business Bridge to connect with and offer their services to them, and this provides the Business Bridge with exactly the kind of market that they seek the people that are in need of support and skills development.
The market analysis does not ultimately focus on the marketing strategies of the organisations, it also review the macro environment that being the external factors, like what the industry leaders are doing, the market opportunities that are developing. These factors are then used to develop the marketing strategy of the organisation, so that they can develop their market share.
2.4. Market Leaders in Business Training and Skills development Industry
This section focuses on the market challenges and the market leaders in the business training and skills development industry. We going to observe the Business Bridge's strategy. We zoom in on the challenges that The Business Bridge face with the strategy that they employ in climbing the leather of developing their market base. We will be looking at what Business Bridge is currently doing in relation to the industry leaders. We also looked at the industry life cycling and The Business Bridge lifecycle not necessarily to compare the two but see where Business Bridge in terms of development and delivery alongside the industry leaders,
The market leaders have close the gap of just providing the Business training, because they have revolutionised the industry by offering a more diverse service pool. The Skills development industry is very diverse industry as there are different types of entrepreneurs and in need of very diverse skills. This is one of the industries that actually tap in the various industries because it provides training to people that offer services in the different sectors. So market leaders would be those companies the can provide skills training to this very diverse group, provide more than just the training but also offer some kind of support to entrepreneurs, guidance in terms of development . How they reach their market would have an influence on how far they get in terms of market share so the different methods they employ in communicating with the market would determine how much market of the market they tap into. Resources can determine the strength that the company has in reaching farther than the competition, so the resources such as technology give an added ability provide a better or even faster serves to the client.
2.4.1. Industry leaders in the business training industry and why?
In light of the definition of what it takes to be the market leaders in this industry, this means that this company provides diverse service which includes:
Business Training courses (Diversified)
Consultation and advice
Free services such as consultations with Lawyers
Business to business networking opportunities
Consultations with financial institutions
Resources like business registration, business plan development, etc.
List of competitive companies that offer more or less similar products
Name of organisation
TSiBA ignition centre
They provide mentorship and micro MBA trainings to entrepreneurs. They also offer free resources to entrepreneurs like use of internet.
The Business Place
The have free services that they offer to entrepreneurs, like use of internet, training space, workshops, mentorship.
The Raymond Ackerman Academy , GSB
They offer training to entrepreneur and aspiring entrepreneurs in a form of micro MBA and they also provide free services like use of their facilities for meetings to their former trainees.
Table : List of competitive organisations
188.8.131.52. The Business Place as market leaders
"The Business Place aims to promote entrepreneurs and the creation of sustainable business in doing so it contributes to job creation, wealth creation and the promotion of economic equality in Southern Africa." (www.tbp.co.za, 2012)
They are a one of the companies that provides a more diverse offering to entrepreneurs, they are small business support centre for people that ant to start their businesses, people that are running small business and want to grow, they assist by providing information, referrals , training, workshops, networking and business opportunities to name just a few. Most of the services that proved are at no cost at all and some are at a basic of R20. The business Place has branches across the country and has an open door policy to all entrepreneurs. They have over five branches just in Cape Town; this means that they can reach quite a number of entrepreneurs just based on multiple locations.
Some of their attributes include keeping a record of all the clients that enter the building, until clients request to be removed from their system, this allows them to reach and communicate with their clients whenever opportunities arise that match a particular clients profile.
2.4.2. Industry Leader's competitive edge over Business Bridge?
If you compare the services that Business Bridge offers and the services that The Business Place offers you will notice that the Business Place's exceed what the business Bridge offers but let's not focus on the services but let's look at all the elements that make these two companies competitors and one would be better than the other.
184.108.40.206. Business Bridge's offer
Business Bridge offers business training to small business entrepreneurs in a packaged form, in sense that they have two basic courses that they offer to a whole pool of entrepreneurs. Their courses are designed by professors from the London Business School (Top business school in the world). They work in collaboration with other entrepreneurial centres, in communicating with the clients (besides their website), reaching the clients and conducting their training sessions. This means that their schedule with the clients is designed around their partner organisations and not the client's preference. The Business Bridge has made an impact in some small businesses, view impact assessment, (www.thebusinessplace.org, March 2011), but we need look at the scale of the impact in relation to size of the market and impact of the market leaders.
220.127.116.11. The Business Place offer
The business place offers various serves that include the following:
Free access to TBP Navigators who provide one-on-one consultations to help entrepreneurs work out their next steps towards starting or growing their businesses.
Access to business opportunities and linkages.
Relevant business information and resources.
Referrals to quality business development service providers, government resources and financial institutions.
Free internet access for business research and idea generation.
Legal advice, by appointment.
Micro-MBA practical training programme.
Business-to-business networking opportunities.
Regular business and information workshops on a wide range of business-related topics.
Free use of meeting and training rooms.
Unlike the Business Bridge, The Business Place identifies the difference between the entrepreneurs, their businesses, the level of understanding and the different needs of entrepreneurs. "Our approach is to keep it simple. Each client is unique, has an individual learning style and is at a different stage of their business development. Anyone is welcome at any stage of development; each step forward is a measured success."(www.tbp.co.za)
2.4.3. Impact assessment
The Business Bridge
The Business Place
Has delivered training to over two hundred small business entrepreneurs in the past two years in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Has helped to create employment, 22 jobs have been created to date.
Is currently training 500 entrepreneurs in five locations around Cape Town
Has delivered a range of services to thousands of entrepreneurs across South Africa.
Has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs to develop their business and created employment opportunities to hundreds of entrepreneurs, E.g. Silulo Ulutho technologies were initiated at The Business Place facilities.
TBP Is currently providing, training, facilitation, mentorship, free services to hundreds of entrepreneurs across South Africa on daily basis.
Table : impact assessment on Business Bridge and The Business Place
2.4.4. The Business Bridge's Development plan
The Business Bridge identifies the Growth of technology and the role that it might have on the future of their development but this does not take away from the benefits of direct learning. The future of Business Bridge Course delivery will follow closely the technology development or whatever sources that delivers the best results.
Developing their offering: They are currently offering a packaged learning and this does not give them much gap with the market because is limited and the need of the market are so vast.
Developing their Image: The Business Bridge as a company is not that well known and their business model, not having a physical structure, makes clients sceptical of the genuine nature of Business Bridge and this led to them loosing lots of client that would have been otherwise interested (Personal observation during the period of working with Business Bridge)
Making use of the partner organisations: The Business Bridge has been afforded an opportunity by the partner organisation to use facilities and also make use of their database of clients.
2.4.5. Business Bridge's life Cycle in relation to the industry leaders life cycle
The Business Bridge as a company may seem to be growing or developing, but in relation to the rate of growth of the industry it will appear that the Business Bridge has not quite done that much, to actually be in the competitive level with the industry leaders.
The business training and skills development industry is growing at rapid pace but due to the rapid growth of entrepreneurs (market) who do not necessarily have previous skills, not exposed to resources like technology and who still need to be thought the basics in terms of the business skills, it is therefore impossible for this industry to accelerate its growth. If the industry moved fast in implementing new technologies, like using online teaching, they could end up alienating a big chunk of their target market. The Industry remains in the Growth Stage in terms of development, but due to the rapid growth of the market, they need to move faster in employing new resources(technology being at the forefront) and make them available the market that cant accesses the resources on its own. This will assist them in meeting the growing demand.
In relation to the industry The Business Bridge is still in the initiation stage in terms of growth, when business Bridge was first initiated they plan was to offer online learning in business training, but they soon realised that they overestimated the use of technology by their target market and so they have had to go back to the drawing board and improvise their strategy , they kept their target market, as it is the largest , but revised the way in which they deliver their service to the target market.
Introduction Growth Maturity Decline
Figure : The BB lifecycle and industry lifecycle
2.4.6. Emerging trend in the industry
There is a great link between technology developments of all industry; technology will have a great influence of the delivery of business training. The increasing growth of entrepreneurs' means that information should also be easily accessible and attending classes is always the most convenient way to access knowledge for busy entrepreneurs; these are some of the trends that will emerge with the growth of this Industry.
Networking, entrepreneurs rely of each other to learn ways to develop their businesses, they hold seminars to give each other ideas and support.
Online learning, online learning may take a while to be accessible to all entrepreneurs because of the different profiles of the entrepreneurs but the growth in demand for business training will prompt the use of more accessible means and this means this should be a provision by the institutions that offer these training, they should make available the necessary resource that is not available to most entrepreneurs.
Social media, plays a huge role in platform for business owners and business training companies to meet and interact (www.modernmethodsmarketing.com)
The development of these trends will create further opportunities for BB, in identifying the trends that are developing Business Bridge can initiate strategies making use of the trends to their developmental advantage.
The market leaders and challenges analysis highlights all the things that the Business Bridge has to overcome to be market leaders and also all the things that the current market leaders are doing to be market leaders. Along with using the internal environment analysis (micro) and external environment analysis (macro) they can develop their growth strategy. The analysis then serves to develop the plans that are implemented in the micro environment, these are plan within the internal environment to combat the negative factors of the external environment and but also anticipating the opportunities in devising the strategies.
2.5. Financial Analysis
THE BUSINESS BRIDGE PROJECT
The Business Bridge recently undertook a massive project working together with the London business School and the World Bank. This project was develop to see the effects of the 8 week training course, whether or not it works in developing the small businesses, do they develop to increase their revenue and employment capacity. The nature of the project required high levels of confidentiality from all parties involved. The Research Administrators and Assistants played a crucial role, bringing on board the entrepreneurs that were signed up to take the training.
3.1 Project description
The project was about signing on over 3000 small business entrepreneurs to take part in a business training offered by Business Bridge as part of a study to sample whether the business training model works or not. They required number of Research administrators and their assistances to go out and sign up the required number of entrepreneurs. The project resumed on the in first week of July 2012 and with 18 month overall duration. Over 2000 entrepreneurs were signed up. 1500 entrepreneurs were selected to take part in business training in two consecutive trainings, one in 2012 and the next in 2013. The entrepreneurs received training in five different locations in Cape Town on two deferent courses, the one group got "how to win sales" and the other got "managing money"
3.1.1. Project deliverables
This project had specific deliverables that had to be met in order for it to be a success, because it's part of a study, that meant that all the deliverables had either time or quantity specifications.
Over 2000 entrepreneurs had to be signed up by the 7th of September 2012.
Over a 1000 entrepreneurs had to be selected and registered by the first week of October.
First training graduation at end of November 2012 for 500 Entrepreneurs.
At least 450 entrepreneurs expected to graduate.
Second training will take place next year, date not specified yet, for the second group of entrepreneurs.
3.2. Acceptance Criteria
The acceptance criteria differed in every level of the project. Each stage was different from the last and the RAs played a new role in each stage. The measure of in each level was also different.
3.2.1. Role of Research administrator/assistant
The research administrator and the assistants had various roles which included the following:
Signing up entrepreneurs
Initially he entrepreneurs had a meet the profile identified:
The entrepreneur is in operation for more than six months.
The entrepreneur has at least one employee.
The profile was later revised as means to make sure that the targeted number of entrepreneurs was met;
Entrepreneurs who were operating and had no employees were also registered.
Marketing the work that Business Bridge and its partner organisations does.
While on the process of signing up entrepreneurs RA's were tasked to also market the channel partners through speaking about their work.
Calling entrepreneurs that have been selected for the training in for the registration session.
The entrepreneur had to deliver a message according to the script that was provided, at the end of the phone call the following had to be achieved:
The entrepreneur is booked for registration at one of the five venues.
The entrepreneur is clear on the following details: Time, Day and venue.
Conducting the registration session.
The Assistant roles were:
Welcome the entrepreneurs.
Have them sign the attendance register.
Brief them about the day proceedings.
Have them feel in the first part of the registration form.
The role of the RA included:
Welcoming the entrepreneurs on the second part of the registration.
Telling them about the way forward in the program, providing the information on the selection, the competitions, telling them about the who BB is and what they do
Showing them the video, on past trainees testimonies.
Having the rest of the registration form.
Call entrepreneurs to tell them when the getting their training, this year or next year, and book those that are getting their training this year into their classes.
Calling the entrepreneurs and delivering the massage according to the script.
Table 3.2.1: Roles and Acceptance Criteria
3.3. Initial Risks and Risk Management Plan
Not enough entrepreneurs were walking in the partner organisations to sign up for the training.
Not enough entrepreneurs signed up at the end of three months=project failed
The Sponsor sent out invitation via local media to entrepreneurs to come and sign up at the partner organisations.
The entrepreneurs made phone calls to entrepreneurs, from the data provided by the partner organisations.
The sponsors revised the initial plan and decided to let the RAs go out with the registration forms and sign up entrepreneurs at their place of businesses.
Not meeting the targeted amount of entrepreneurs
Not enough entrepreneurs signed up at the end of three months=project failed
It was the RAs duty to find and convince entrepreneurs to sign up: This required time commitment, travelling and presenting information.
It's was the sponsors duty to motivate the RAs.
The Sponsor offered incentives to motivate RAs to go out there and get as many entrepreneurs to sign up.
Travelling allowance was offered so that RAs can travel to destinations that were far.
Notices were sent out to RAs that were underperforming; those who failed to reach a minimum of five sign ups a week.
Entrepreneurs finding out that, the project is actually a study
Entrepreneurs were not meant to find out that the program was the study as this might influence their response to the program, and refuse to take part =Project failed
The RAs had to conceal the some facts about the program, all the intentions are realistic and honest but the information was for research purposes
The RAs had to sign a confidentiality contract, which prevented them from disclosing some facts about the project to anyone.
Not having the required amount of entrepreneurs complete the course.
If entrepreneurs fail to complete the course that means the project fails because there will not be enough entrepreneurs to do sample study on.
RAs had to make sure that entrepreneurs were motivated to complete the course through constantly calling to remind them about class.
Management made sure that the RA's had enough airtime to make the phone calls on daily basis.
Table 3.3.1: initial risk and Management Plan
This project was about signing up entrepreneurs to take part in a business training course offered by Business Bridge. The fundamentals of this project were to do a study on the business training model this investigation is conducted by the London Business School. The process of conducting this research was designed as a usual signing up of entrepreneurs, on a practical training, and then offering them the training at the cost that they would pay on normal basis. The scale of the project was very high, this was one of the most important fundamentals of the project, the number of entrepreneurs signed up.
3.5. Project lay out and timeline
The entire project is 18 months (01 July 2012- December 2013)
01 July 2012 project resumed.
01 July 2012-07 September 2012 sign up process by Research Administrators and their assistants.
10-12 September 2012, Research administrators and their assistants call selected entrepreneurs for the registration session.
13-20 September registration process by RA's.
24-28 call sessions by RA to tell entrepreneurs about their training dates.
01 October 2012-November 2012 training.
End of November first group entrepreneurs graduate from the training.
There various stakeholders involved in this project:
The Business Bridge, they are a company that provides high quality business training at low cost to entrepreneurs and were selected to conduct the training in this project. Their roles were developing the modules for the training, employ and manage the RAs, manage the trainings, assign tutors for the various training sessions, manage refreshments for the training sessions, find locations for the trainings.
The London Business School, they are the ones conducting the study, they employed the business bridge to offer the training to the entrepreneurs, they manage the project, make sure that the study is not polluted in any way.
The World Bank, they funded the study.
The entrepreneurs, they are subject of the project and they are the ones that are going to benefit from the outcome of this project.
The Business Partner organisations, they provided facilities to the Business Bridge, provided data of the entrepreneur information, for the Business Bridge to recruit their entrepreneurs from their list of entrepreneurs.
The RA's, they are the ones that went out there
R 350 per day
RAs initially were loaded with R200 per call session, but more airtime was loaded if more airtime was needed.
R20 a day per 7 entrepreneurs signed up
For the 1st three weeks no transport money was granted to RAs and this restricted them in terms of getting to other area and so it was requested that transport fare be issued. Then the consensus was that RAs will be refunded transport money for every day they work, provided they managed to sign up & entrepreneurs a day.
Table 3.5.1: Budget
Learning's from the Research assistant's perspective
In this report three things have been highlighted, the industry analysis which is based on research and observation, the project definition which by the student who took part n working in the company environment and the financial analysis which is based on the
The recommendations are devised into two sections; the one section is focused on giving recommendations to the company based on the findings on the industry analysis. These recommendations are developed to help the company in its developmental strategy. The findings roughly illustrate that Business Bridge has an advantage through its high quality and low costing model and at a time when the environment is enabling of the
Business Bridge needs to focus of developing their image:
Because they depends on the support of other organisations to finance their courses while offering them at low cost to entrepreneurs=, they need to be a well-known and trusted company to gain the kind of support that they need and that can be achieved through a strong brand.
They need to be identifiable/set apart from their partner organisations