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Small Business Development: Reflection Report

Summary of the Group’s Business Idea

Our group developed a business idea of introducing a unique product within the food and beverage industry in China. The main focus of the group was to offer a beverage that will be unique and healthy to ensure that the consumers of the new product maintain a healthy lifestyle. The group focused on the production of a Chinese milk tea. The product was referred to as Panda Kung Fu milk tea. The contents of the products were basically a Chinese tea base and fresh Milk. We were to develop our own milk tea shop in Greenwich next to the college. As such, the group members were to solicit for funds needed in the start of the business, that is, the funds needed for the acquisition of the raw materials as well as paying for the rent of the milk tea shop acquired. To ensure that the cost of production is reduced to minimal levels, the group members were to emphasize on the use of a simple packaging material and developing a website to further market the business idea and attract a large clientele.

The reductions in the cost of production as well as acquiring a large clientele base through effective marketing are suitable approaches that when adopted by the group will make the business sustainable. Nevertheless, in my view, some of the plans that were generated are likely not to be achievable. According to Blank (2013) the possibility of any business start up to manage effectively the business modalities and be engaged in active marketing is minimal. This is to say that it is basically impossible for the group members to start up the business and be engaged in active marketing through the website due to the huge capital needed. Moreover, engaging in a business activity that requires the use of a perishable raw material is likely to complicate the production process (Hatten, 2015). It is observed that huge start up costs is required in business that deals with perishable raw materials (Dhliwayo, 2014). This is due to the fact that there must be funds allocated for emergencies in case of any spoilage of the raw materials prior to the production of the product (Prajogo, 2016). The capital required for starting up this business is likely to be higher that will require the group members to extensively seek for funds making it a bigger challenge in the start-up of the business.

Idea Initiation Process

Many people consume beverage products within the United Kingdom and other regions. The consumption rate is even higher in areas where colleges and universities are located. Moreover, it is observed that the rate of consumption of any beverage product is likely to be higher in regions where tourist visits (Bigliardi & Galati, 2013). The increase in consumption rates of beverage products within the University and its surroundings inspired us to settle on a beverage product. According to Nguyen, Newby & Macaulay (2015) the introduction of any new product into the market should be based on the demand presented by the consumers for the said product. Thus, a higher profit is likely to be achieved from a product that has a higher demand from the consumers within the targeted market.

There are different kinds of beverage products that can be offered to the consumers. Coffee drinks, fruit juices and tea based products are some of the beverages that we thought of in our development of the business idea (Wu, Huang & Chou, 2014). However, we ruled out the chances of offering coffee since it is availed by a number of shops in the region. Consequently we did not settle on the fruit juices and soft drinks since the multinational corporations dealing in their production have managed to distribute the products effectively making it difficult for a new entrant into the market to compete with them (Bamiatzi & Kirchmaier, 2014). We settle on the production of tea based beverage products. Instead of just offering normal tea as other players within the industry, we decided to offer a Chinese milk tea to the consumers within the University and its environs. We noticed that there are a larger number of Chinese students who study in the Greenwich University as well as those living in the surrounding towns, yet there are few shops that offer the Chinese tea. We were convinced that these Chinese students and others from different parts of the world who would want to enjoy the Chinese beverage will consume the product. In addition, the nutritional benefits of the Chinese tea influenced us to settle on the product since it will be acceptable to those who need to stay healthy. The name that we gave to the product {} also indicated that the product will be highly acceptable to the individuals who are interested in martial arts. The Chinese milk tea was therefore the most appropriate beverage product that we could settle on in comparison to the other available beverage products.

Team Work

There was a maximum level of corporation amongst the team members. We managed to clearly define the role of every member of the group. This division of labor was only observed at the idea searching stage where every member was expected to carry out research and come out with the information on the nature and kind of product that we can offer. Discussions and brainstorming sessions were promoted as the group progresses to the development of comprehensive information needed to select and justify the suitability of a single product. The discussions and brainstorming sessions promoted the sharing of information among the members contributing to their effectiveness in making an appropriate decision (Lerner & Malmendier, 2013). After gathering all the information needed for the business plan, the report writing session was then divided equally amongst the group members. There were certain challenges that were experienced such as poor time management; nevertheless, with the high commitment levels of the group members and their focus on ensuring that the aim of the activity is accomplished, we managed to come up with a suitable business idea and a comprehensive business plan on how the idea will be actualized.

Presentation Experience

Communicating the contents of a business plan in form of a presentation is vital in convincing the audience on the viability of the business idea. Since the presentation involves a face-face discussion with the panel, one is given an opportunity to engage with the audience and thus ensure that the message is passed across (Mason & Brown, 2013). The flexibility nature of the presentation process also enables an individual to make changes during the communication process that will ensure that the plan being communicated is acceptable to the audience (Nguyen, Newby & Macaulay, 2015). Building of trust and developing positive relationships with the audience is also likely to be accomplished through presentation other than the provision of written documents (Mason & Brown, 2013).

Focusing on our case, presentation enabled us to communicate the contents of the business plan effectively to the panel. There were certain errors that were presented in the written copy however; we managed to clear them during the presentation process thus ensuring that the communicated business plan was accurate. The questions that were raised by the panel provided an opportunity for us to make clarification on our business idea and plan. It is observed that there were certain statements in our plan that needed clarifications for better understanding to be accomplished; this could not have been attained if we just presented the written document to the panel. Apart from just improving our presentation skills, the presentation of the business plan enabled us to convince the panel on the viability of the business and respond to their queries that further enhanced their understanding on the nature of the business plan that we had.

Alternative Scenario  

We projected that the business will have a net profit of 9800 pounds in the first year operation. This can only be achieved when the organization sells at least 400 cups of the Chinese milk tea per day. It is expected that the net profit will increase in the subsequent years owing to the strategies that the organization is to the intense marketing strategies that the organization would put in place as well as the provision of discounts as a promotional strategy to attract more clients.

This projection of the growth of the business may not be realistic. I think we overestimated the amount of sales that we can report on each day. Selling 400 cups per day for a newly introduced product may not be realistic owing to the fact that the product is new to most of the consumers apart from the Chinese students. In addition, the marketing strategies such as development of websites that we put in place are not realistic. They are likely to be costly and it is a platform that will require the customers to have trust of the organization prior to making online purchase. Thus achieving a higher clientele base through this approach is unlikely. I think we ought to have clearly identified our target customers, for instance, the students of Greenwich University and focused on selling the products to them. We then ought to have considered the use of flyers and social media platforms to market the product to these target customers. These approaches will ensure that we obtain a higher clientele base that will translate to higher sales and consequently higher amounts of profits being generated from the business.

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