Cambridge Strategy Group is a North Carolina-based consulting firm that responds to entrepreneurs' need for practical business and marketing services to turn their innovative ideas into successful business ventures. Through interaction with a number of aspiring entrepreneurs, the founders of the Cambridge Strategy Group discovered a ready market of clients who were eager to take advantage of the founders' skills, understanding, and insight into their businesses. The Cambridge Strategy Group is exclusively focused on small businesses. Our goal is to own the idea "small business" or "small business consulting" in the minds of our target market.
The Cambridge Strategy Group has identified a real business opportunity that has been neglected by earlier consulting firms due to its complex customer base. Below, we have identified the opportunities and threats in the environment, as well as our particular strengths and weaknesses that will enable us to succeed:
OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS
The Cambridge Strategy Group has analyzed the market and believes that a real opportunity exists to provide services to small businesses. The following paragraphs describe the environment in which the company will compete, and the key success factors necessary to perform well.
Opportunities – The number of new businesses starting each year in the U.S. and specifically in the Triangle Area of North Carolina create a sizeable market. Many of these businesses are started by an entrepreneur with a solid idea, but little experience in creating the formal business strategies or marketing deliverables necessary to turn their idea into a successful business. With recent IPOs giving back much of their initial valuations, companies are now being forced to demonstrate profitable business models in order to maintain strong valuations. Venture capitalists need to focus on making their existing companies successful instead of simply prospecting for the next great idea. To accomplish this, founders need to effectively define and communicate their value propositions. Since this is not a core competency for many entrepreneurs, there is an opportunity to provide this skill set through outsourcing arrangements. Additionally, founders need experience in sales and marketing to exploit market opportunities and create early revenue wins. Finally, no business currently exists with dominant mind-share as a "small business consulting" firm.
Threats – Businesses in the early stages of their life cycles, usually through the Angel funding stage, tend to have extremely tight budgets. Once the business reaches the venture-funded stage, it often has more cash to devote to outsourcing of non-core competencies. Barriers to entry in this market are extremely low. Successful consultants will have to work to earn a few client successes and then aggressively build a reputation as the "small business consultants." Building a reputation will require funding. High-profile consulting firms could quickly enter this market. In order to keep costs low, it is assumed that they would begin out of a major office, leaving the Triangle Area of North Carolina available. However, low cost of living in the Triangle Area may facilitate expansion. Establishing area contacts will be critical to hedge against new firms entering the area.
The following chart and table show the start-up expenses for Cambridge Strategy Group.