Egyptian Delights

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In their first year of operation, 79 percent of all small companies thrive. However, half of these companies fail within the first five years of operation, and only one-third prosper after ten years (Small Business Trends, 2015). Such shortcomings are due to concerns such as a lack of rigorous market analysis prior to launching the company, insufficient financing, and noncompliance with vital federal regulations. According to Productivity Teams (n.d.), doing adequate market analysis will help an entrepreneur determine the right opportunities to transform a business concept into a profitable investment opportunity. it aids in gathering the data required to give guidance on the potential of success of the business idea in the locale of operation. According to Productivity Teams (n.d) proper research directs entrepreneurs on how to adopt the information in finding a competitive advantage for their businesses. The current study seeks to present a small business consultancy report to the Smarts based on the challenges facing small businesses, forms of businesses, marketing techniques for startups, financial management, and the role of research activities in developing small businesses.

Background

The Smarts have been driven to start up a small eatery business by their passion for baking and travelling. In their business idea, they seek to duplicate two desserts (Umm Ali and Qatayef) they saw in their trip to Egypt. The couple lives in Raleigh-Durham; one of the most lucrative towns for business activities in North Carolina. The two work as college professors at North Carolina state University and have a lot of time to engage in business activities. The planned venture will be a mobile coffee café dealing in desserts and Egyptian coffee. The couples are now undertaking the research stage of the project whose name shall be “Egyptian Delights”.

Discussion

Challenges facing startup businesses

It is important for the Smarts to be informed of the hitches faced by startups to operate competitively in its areas of engagement. The challenges of small businesses tend to vary with the stage of growth of the enterprise. According to Small Business (2013), the issues that affect small ventures range from steady cash flows to support from stakeholders to making the right choice of partners to hiring the right employees to drive the entrepreneurial agenda. The Smarts need to change their lifestyle and finances in such a way that they are fully dedicated to running the business to ensure high levels of effectiveness and efficiency.

One of the most notable challenges faced by startups is their ability to meet market needs while fixing the gaps presented in their areas of engagement. The Smarts must present their products and services to their markets of engagement in such a way that they meet the critical customer requirements with high levels of uniqueness. According to Newtek (2013), a business tends to succeed if the products and services it delivers meet the crucial needs of the populace.

Competition from established ventures is one of the greatest challenges affecting startups. While competition is one of the greatest challenges in ensuring that a startup survives in its areas of operation, it plays a significant role in keeping these ventures on toes to ensure that their operations are not flawed (Small Business Trends, 2015). They compete for customers, establishment of strong brands and market awareness. Therefore, startups must act aggressively to gain a competitive advantage over the established and expanding ventures.

Proper management of finances is one of the causes of failure for many startups. According to Newtek (2013), the levels of business expenditure tend to increase with increase in income. Most startups rely on investors for financial backups. At times, this may result in cash influxes making it hard for these ventures to manage their financial flows with efficiency. Small Business (2013) advices that any startup needs to engage the services of reputable consultancy agents to manage its financial challenges.

Winning the trust of customers is a great challenge to many startups. It is important for the Smarts to be aware of the fact that customers act like the blood of the business. Winning the trust of customers plays a significant role in increasing the levels of satisfaction and loyalty for the products and services offered by a venture. It is important to use critical techniques like the word of mouth, social media platforms and the mainstream media to win the trust of clients. Startups should develop a working customer-centric philosophy in their endeavors (Productivity Teams, n.d).

Importing goods and its effects on the U.S. economy

The Smarts’ business deals in goods sourced from Egypt. While considering the financial issues involved in acquiring these raw materials, it is also vital that the entrepreneurs should assess how they impact the American economy. While imports are meant to fill the supply chain gaps of an economy, they have great negative effects. An increase in the extents to which businesses in a country import increases its levels of dependency in instances where the commodities under consideration are foods industrial materials and oil (Small Business, 2013). While the key raw materials required for Egyptian Delights are of foreign origin, there is need for the Smarts to look for substitutes to drive their agenda.

Imports have a significant effect on their extents of contribution to international trade and gross domestic products of different countries. According to Small Business Trends (2015), many countries attribute great economic value to international trade based on their contributions to creation and strengthening of social, political and economic ties among nations.

Forms of Businesses

There are different legal forms of businesses and entrepreneurs need on make the right choices based on aspects like capital base, size of enterprise and number of people pooling their resources. Putting the Smarts’ case into perspective, it would be advisable that they adopt a partnership as a form of business. Partnerships require pooling resources by two or more members and more capital can be raised by increasing the number of partners or allowing the two partners to increase their levels of investment. On the other hand, this form of business requires few legal engagements and each partner makes equal contributions based on their investments. By adopting a partnership, the Smarts will not be free from the burden of double taxation evident in corporations and limited liability companies (Newtek, 2013).

Team building

The Smarts are professors at the North Carolina State University. This calls for immediate hiring of team members to help them in running the business. On the other hand, the café business is highly involving and calls for an outgoing workforce for effectiveness. The entrepreneurs need to look for the right candidates for these positions by posting the job opening announcements on social media and professional sites like Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn.

According to Productivity Teams (n.d) establishment of a venture’s core values at an earlier time goes a long way in guiding the stakeholders on the right members to fit in their teams. There is business risks associated with hiring new employees in a startup. The Smarts need to give their new employees an orientation of the organization’s culture of operation for smooth operation. According to Small Business (2013), early definition of the values and standards of a business goes a long way in ensuring that current and future employees are well guided.

Leadership and motivation

Leadership plays a significant role in aligning the operational activities of any venture. Being a startup, the Smarts need to take the overall leadership of Egyptian Delights to get acquainted with the processes of business operation in the venture. On the other hand, delegation of roles can be adopted as the business grows towards sophistication.

There is no single leadership style considered to be perfect for any startup. However, adoption of the transformational style of leadership places Egyptian Delights at a better place in its activities. According to Small Business Trends (2015), transformational leaders are charismatic, highly inspiring and expansion-oriented. They have the ability of surviving the less promising business times and can easily take advantage of the good instances presented to their enterprises. Such qualities ensure higher levels of adaptability all through the business cycle.

Motivation is considered as a very crucial tool of leadership in the business environment. A motivated team tends to develop high levels of self-responsibility. This leads to maximum and efficient use of resources presented to the venture; an aspect that steers profitable operations. Motivated employees maximize their extents of productivity. This is attributed to the fact that employees become satisfied; leading to the development of morale (Newtek, 2013). On the other hand, organizations that avail both monetary and non-financial forms of motivation to their employees tend to minimize disputes and strikes which are known for their detrimental effects on the operations of a business

Marketing

All marketing decisions can be classified into four key categories which include product, price, place and promotion. The Smarts must be aware of the fact that the product dimension of the marketing mix comprises the tangible objects and services generated by the venture. When coming up with business products, the Smarts need to consider issues like diversification of portfolio to avail a wider variety as a way of meeting the diversified customer needs. On the other hand, a wider product portfolio does not only increase the customer base but also supplies them with variety. Further the Smarts must uphold quality in delivering the café products. For effective brand development, a business must deliver high quality products. Issues like proper packaging and after sales services go a long way in building the brand of any business (Small Business, 2013).

Product promotion is an element of the marketing mix that looks into the communication procedures undertaken by marketers to increase the levels of awareness. Advertising, sales promotion, public relations and personal selling are the four aspects of promotion which need to be considered by the Smarts in their business activities. While advertising put a lot of emphasis on showcasing the products of a business to potential customer niches, sales staffs are considered as useful instruments of socializing the products and services of a business through personal selling and stirring positive public relations (Newtek, 2013).

Operations management

Organizational structure and culture are important aspects of operations management which must be embraced by the Smarts in their business. According to Productivity Teams (n.d), the kind of organizational structure adopted by a business helps in demystifying the flow of command, organization of activities and distribution of roles. Putting into consideration the fact that Egyptian Delights is a startup, a functional organizational structure is the most suitable. In this case, the venture will be categorized into sections based on the functions to be accomplished. For instance, there could be a marketing section, production section and the sales department. Each of these sections should rely on aspects like talent and levels of experience in driving business activities. On the other hand, organizational culture defines the values upheld by a business. Adoption of a good culture leads to business success since all stakeholders are confined to certain set traditions governing the venture.

Technology management

Technology management is an array of policies and practices aimed at influencing the technologies adopted by a firm for maintenance and building of the organization’s competitive advantage (Newtek, 2013). The Smarts need to identify the most suitable technologies based on the nature of their operations for easy management of business activities. For instance departmental customization of technologies in such a way that each functional area of the venture is effectively served will play a significant role in minimizing inventory. There is need for the Smarts to adopt technology management techniques which complement the strategies adopted by the venture.

Accounting

Accounting is one of the most important instruments employed by business owners in scoring the operations of their enterprises. It gives room for businesses to create financial records which can be compared with other ventures and industrial yardsticks. Business operators can use accounting data to assess the efficiency of their activities. Further, accounting plays a significant role in keeping accurate records of the cash flows of a venture (Productivity Teams, n.d).

The Smarts need to consider initial high quality supplies and equipment to avoid exorbitant maintenance costs. For instance, a good truck should cost the couple about $35,000. They need to engage a reputable organization for maintenance services of the truck. While the key ingredients are sourced from Egypt, the entrepreneurs need to consider local supplies for commodities like coffee and sugar to minimize the costs of operation.

Finance

There exist varied methods of financing a new business. Loans from financial institutions like credit unions and banks can be used to spearhead business operations. On the other hand, businesses can adopt venture capitalists as sources of finance. Venture capitalists invest in businesses with high returns and are not afraid of taking risks like banks. Friendly loans are sources of startup finance in which the business owners borrow from family and friends who have investment interests in the business (Small Business, 2013).

The business investment considered by the Smarts requires heavy investments. With $75,000, the entrepreneurs need to source out for more finances for efficiency. The business will involve importation of products, buying automotive, recurrent expenditure, maintenance and acquisition of equipment. Such activities require heavy monetary investments. Having proposed a partnership as the legal form of business for the couple, a bank loan would be the best source of finance for this venture. One of the advantages of taking a bank loan is that it does away with the manipulation of other parties who are not partners of the business.

Conclusion

The study sought to present a consultancy report to the Smarts on the challenges facing small businesses, forms of businesses, marketing techniques for startups, financial management, and the role of research activities in developing small businesses. While the challenges are vast, it is advisable that they adopt a partnership as a legal form of business because of its double taxation exemptions and ease of management. The entrepreneurs need to effectively adopt the 4Ps of the marketing mix to ensure that their products are well marketed with the best channels of delivery to clients. Putting into consideration the financial demands of the new enterprise, it is advisable that the couple should adopt a bank loan to foster its startup agenda.

References

Newtek (2013, February 26). 7 habits of great small business owners. Retrieved from Forbes at https://www.forbes.com/sites/thesba/2013/02/26/7-habits-of-great-small-business-owners/#7c1523f334b3

Productivity Teams (n.d.). 11 challenges startups face. Teamwork.com. Retrieved from https://blog.teamwork.com/11-challenges-startups-face/

Small Business (2013, October 1). Ways for small-business owners to maintain work-life balance The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/ways-for-smallbusiness-owners-to-maintain-worklife-balance-1380648257

Small Business Trends (2015, April 20). 3 challenges small business owners face. Retrieved from https://smallbiztrends.com/2015/04/3-challenges-small-business-owners-facee.html

November 17, 2022
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