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The stages of a business plan development

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

This document is inclined to clearly stipulate and evaluate what I have contributed to the aim in taking place a realistically thought out business plan and what my intent and my involvement toward my fellow group members was. I am going to describe my own role in helping the team to achieve its goal in creation of the successful business plan. Also I will provide evidence of my contribution to the cohesiveness of the team and how I facilitated the completion of the team goals. My team includes Miss Stacey Coetzee, and Mr. Thokozani Nkambule. We three are good friends and we believe that running a business takes a lot of hard work and strong commitment. With that in mind, this is the individual reflective report of how the business plan for Coffi Bean came about, and how I have contributed toward it.

Team Work

A team is a group of people who work together on the same task. According to Dawson and Andriopoulos (2009), team formation and social dynamics go though five stages, called forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.

Forming

This is the initial stage of putting the team together where individuals learn about each other and the team requirements as well as the challenges, expectations, and the overall structure of the team (Dawson & Andriopoulos 2009 p:141).  This is also the information gathering and exploratory stage.  Anyone who has ever been put into a team or has been asked to form one will most definitely familiar with this phase and should be able to relate to it.

Storming

This is probably the noisier phase during which the members of the team all have their own ideas and directions that they want to go in (Dawson & Andriopoulos 2009 p:141).  Oftentimes team members debate, critique, and confront each other to decide on the best course of action.  I’m sure my group members can attest to the fact that we have definitely gone through our storming phase (or a few of them!).  This phase can be a bit uncomfortable and/or unpleasant but it’s still quite necessary for the growth and development of the team.

Norming

This is the phase where the team really starts to function and work together as a team.  Individuals start to understand each others work habits and ethic and everything seems much more natural.  Responsibility and roles are much more clearly defined, expectations are set, and collaboration is in full swing (Dawson & Andriopoulos 2009 p:141). 

Performing

Not all teams reach this phase but those that do are the high-performing teams which have grown to become both knowledgeable and efficient at what they do.  Supervision goes down as individuals are now capable of making appropriate decisions.  This is essentially where the team really starts shining and delivering superior results (Dawson & Andriopoulos 2009 p:141).

Adjourning

This phase refers to the team breaking up after the task has been completed (Dawson & Andriopoulos 2009 p:141).  Most groups in all different types of settings will go through most of the stages over the course of a team forming process.

When the lecturer first asked us to divide ourselves into groups in which we would have to develop a business plan, our group remained in the forming stage for quite a while.  It took us many days and many meetings to figure out what we were doing and make up a team.  We were four persons in the group but one of the members eliminated themselves for apparent reasons. In order to perform, I had to get persons which were somewhat more knowledgeable in certain aspects of business then I am, and unfortunately but gratefully everyone already had chosen people so the people that were left just decided to combine. Each member had or rather felt that they could specialize better in a field which they were more equipped in, and by this each member was automatically assigned to a specific part in the business plan. I was initially responsible for operations plan and the industry overview as I felt more fitted in this aspect of business, and as I always consider what people need and how things should be done. Stacey was assigned to concentrate on the marketing aspect, whilst Thokozani was granted doing the financial section and the position acquisition, because of his excellent capability in accounting field. We each typed out our own sections, as we felt we should all be present for explanation on the others disclosure and for approval reasons.

Although the forming stage did take a while, we were able to cover most of the norming stage at the same time because we started knowing each other quite well.  Once we finally formed our team, the rest of the stages went much easier.  We were able to finish up the norming and began performing rather quickly.  Our group performed quite well together and spent very little time, if any, in the storming stage.

We are currently finishing up the adjourning stage right now until the completion of our individual reflective reports.

Process of the Initiation

Firstly I came up with the idea of a coffee shop as my mother is always argumentative about how she likes her coffee and what she enjoys most about it. This was my sole inspiration, aside from the idea of a sports bar which I thought was a bit far-fetched as it required a lot of attention and reliable people. Each group member came up with an idea and we evaluated each, but our main focus was to concentrate on service, evidently we had to choose from an internet café, the sports bar, a mountain bike shop and the coffee shop, one member had suggested a casino and a clothing shop, we had brainstormed all these ideas and the next time we met we all gave our opinions on which would be more realistic and we decided on the coffee shop, we agreed upon the name Coffi-Bean which we felt is just a little “bean” about to erupt, solely because of its potential to grow extensively and because we had agreed on a slightly newly urbanized area Southdowns.

Industry and Competitive Analysis

I was responsible for the operations plan of the team and the analysis of Porter’s five forces. I was involved in decision making, providing ideas and opinions, running the sessions and the analyzing of Porter’s five forces. I motivated team members and myself to reach goals, and did planning before moving on to next parts of the business plan. Even though, this business plan was very hard and required a lot of work and was very time-consuming, our team worked very well together which made it easier.

Incorrect decisions can waste investment funding and delay time to market, or worse, create corporate chaos that affects the very foundation of the firm’s financial stability (Drummond, Ensor & Ashford 2008, p: 140). That’s why Stacey uncovered a market gap in the newly established location where the supply was smaller than demand. Relating to our business, gap analysis can be defined as an approach to identifying the unmet needs of consumers, in which respondents are asked to envisage the ideal coffee shop and then to rate various coffee shops on key attributes; if no existing coffee shop measures up to the ideal, a gap exists which could be filled by a coffee shop (Drummond, Ensor & Ashford 2008, p: 146). Through detailed research of local and national market demand curves, we identified market gap opportunities that aligned with our strategic and tactical business growth objectives. The gap in the market was identified after Stacey brought to our attention that the coffee and restaurant industry was booming at that present time, and that there was a demand for small cozy places that were not forming a part of the large generic chains. She also convinced us that the coffee business in general does not show signs of slowing down. And because of the new innovations such as flavorings and additives, the business would be viable and it should continue for some time.

Looking back at our business plan, I still believe that we have chosen the right industry to be in because; at present, time is right for opening a coffee house. I did some research and found out that Coffee houses were having a great deal of success, which was and still is evidenced by the full houses every day of the week. And because Southdowns is a new area in Centurion it had no such places yet.

A competitive analysis is a critical part of any business plan’s marketing plan. With this evaluation, we can establish what makes a product or service unique, and therefore what characteristic your business plays up in order to attract the target market (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson 2009, p:58). Competitive analysis can be defined as identifying the competitors and evaluating their strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to those of your own coffee shop (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson 2009, p:58). Looking back at the business plan, I have pin-pointed accurate key competitors. The biggest competition there was, was Mugg&Bean located all the way in Centurion Mall. And a customer from our area had to drive 10 to 20 minutes, in order to reach that coffee house. The majorities of these establishments were and are located on the central side of town. And only a few were beginning to open in the newly established area.

Presentation Experience

A professional and well-written business plan is the foundation towards the growth and success of a business. However a good and high quality business plan presentation is an essential for companies seeking for funds. A business plan presentation is usually a type of lecture, given by an individual or group, on a specific work-related topic (Scarborough, Douglas & Zimmerer 2009, p:217). The ideas presented should include industry research and plan outcomes, such as a new advertisement for a product designed to increase profits (Scarborough, Douglas & Zimmerer 2009, p:217). The success of a business plan often depends not only on its contents, but also the quality of the presentation itself (Scarborough, Douglas & Zimmerer 2009, p:217).

Presenting the business plan was a frightening task. While I have no problem speaking in front of large group of people on just about any topic, opening our business plan and individual thoughts for criticism was very nerve wracking. I felt like the panel was looking at me like a deer caught in headlights. Straight after the presentation I felt uneasy and uncomfortable that maybe the panel hated the presentation and that they would say, oh, don’t get him to speak again- he was boring! But after I have received the group’s feedback, I realized where our problems were. I as well as my team members were reading too much from the slides and at the same time failed to include many of the important aspects of the business plan into our presentation. That said, I have learned that for all my future presentations I will be more clear about my objective, I will understand my audience, I will focus on the content and not the add-ons, I will get the audience to relate to the content and to always try and convey my point without reading from the slides.

Alternative Scenario

Looking back, I think our predictions for return on our investment and for future growth were just about right. We did take into account the losses that might occur despite this we kept in mind what we had learned that risk taking is all about business and that’s what makes a success. Our chosen business was designed so that it could evolve with changing time, we focused on flexibility and constancy as our mere attraction was to seek loyalty in our market. We had researched coffee houses and concluded that they are viable; as people are becoming more demanding in our time on relaxation and a comfortable atmosphere, by identifying this we perceived that it is an ideal business opportunity. Although competition might be tight, we concentrated more on the fact that their aren’t any coffee houses in that specific shopping centre which also attracted us to that location and because Stacey is so keen on entertaining there aren’t any entertainment shops which we felt was a competitive edge the coffee house would have and although there is no cover charge for all entertainment events, Thokozani felt this was a good way to obtain funds on adding these extras. We might have disregarded our advertising costs a little, as we initially didn’t want to spend a lot on our first opening as we were uncertain of the outcome, but most certainly the potential of the coffee shop is considerably a good opportunity.

Even though I think that our business plan was just about right in order to achieve our growth objectives, there are still few points or alternative additions that I would have preferred to be included in it. No two business plans are alike, a business plan for one coffee shop – say a casual, fast-food establishment – will be much different than that for another coffee shop – such as a formal sit-down place. Therefore it is the unique aspects of a restaurant that help to give it a competitive advantage. First, the business plan should have had the section that carefully explained food and beverage production. Where will food be prepared? What safety procedures would be implemented to protect employees and customers from the dangers of food poisoning? In preparing certain menu items (dishes), how will consistency be maintained (i.e. computerized recipe file, use of requisition forms, etc.)? Secondly, when Thokozani prepared the sales projections for our business plan, he should have taken into consideration the estimated number of meals and/or drinks that would be served daily/weekly/monthly, as well the average daily seat turnover and the average check.

Usefulness of the Business Plan

The business plans usefulness is not limited to helping the entrepreneurs raise funds to support the opening of the business (Madura 2009, p:208). The business plan will be used as a guide for making business decisions throughout the life of the business. It provides a sense of direction for businesses future development (Madura 2009, p:208). The success or failure of any firm is partially dependent on its business plan. A complete business plan normally includes an assessment of the business environment, a management plan, a marketing plan and a financial plan (Madura 2009, p:208).

The restaurant business is a very challenging business field to enter. When starting a new business, we as owners will have a lot of decisions to make. Creating a high-quality business plan will allow an owner to have a guide to reference as challenges arise (Fullen 2005, p:184). A restaurant without a written and well-thought-out business plan runs an extremely high risk of failure in its first year of operation (Fullen 2005, p:184). In my opinion the part of the business plan which we didn’t really look into were our actions to take when and if the unforeseen competition has to enter the market, unexpected expenses has arise or if our financing opportunities has to change based on the current economic situation. If by some chance these hardships do not occur, it is easier to adjust a restaurant business plan for that than it is for dealing with situations we did not anticipate and plan for.

Conclusion

Overall, I really enjoyed going through all the stages of the business plan development, because I was able to apply what I learned in class to a real-world situation.  Many classes teach you a bunch of stuff but never give you the opportunity to see it for yourself.  For instance, I’ve learned so much about formulation of marketing, management and financial strategies, but have never had to go through that in real life.  Other classes teach you things, but you never use it until years later, at which time you have forgotten some, if not all of it.  I was able to take what I learned each week in class and use it to help me with the business plan.  I think this quick application of the principles allows for greater development as a leader will be able to use what I have learned now and years in the future.  I can also use our group formulation and development as an example when I’m in future groups and build upon the successes and learn from the failures.  This business plan made a big impact on me and the rest of my group.

Sources Consulted

Dawson, P Andriopoulos, C 2009, Managing Change, Creativity and Innovation, Sage Publications, London, UK

Drummond, G Ensor, J Ashford, R 2008, Strategic Marketing: Planning and Control, Butterworth-Heinemann Publications, Oxford

Fullen, S 2005, Opening a restaurant or other food business starter kit, Atlantic Publishing, Florida

Hitt, M Ireland, D Hoskisson, R 2009, Strategic management: competitiveness and globalization: concepts & cases, Cengage Leraning Publications, Ohio

Madura, J 2007, Introduction to Business, Cengage Learning Publications, Ohio

Scarborough, N Wilson, D Zimmerer, T 2009, Effective Small Business Management, Prentice Hall, London


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