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Palms and Bonds

Executive Summary

Opportunity

Problem

Botswana has increasing number of entrepreneurs and competition amongst existing companies which presents an increased demand for market information and services. Companies need market research and info to stay ahead of their competitors.

Solution

Palms and Bonds is based in Botswana and offers the expertise that a proactive-oriented and market-opportunity seeking company needs to develop and enter new product distribution and new market segments in new markets. We intend to provide a number of necessary services to the business community and to the public. These can be summed up in two main divisions — Business and Training Services. Our business services can be taken as marketing research, market research reports, project-based consulting, business and marketing plans, plan consulting and writing, high-level retainer consulting and company registration. Our training services include workshops and seminars on such topics as sales and marketing, as well as in-house training of receptionists, secretaries, and sales and marketing personnel.

Market

Our intended markets are increasingly growing towards recognizing the difference between poor quality business consultancy service and that of high quality. This development is an important trend for us as it represents our target market, and hence opportunity. We now are having an increasing number of people who appreciate quality information and the importance of having comprehensive and concise market and business plans undertaken.

Another trend is the one toward greater use of specialized and focused consultants, instead of in-house resources. Companies are looking for out-sourcing (but unfortunately few offer such a service) and, in general, a preference for variable costs instead of fixed costs.

Competition

There are numerous companies operating in Gaborone who classify themselves as “business consultants”. However, upon contacting these, it appears that the vast majority of these companies are bookkeeping and secretarial services companies. There are some companies that provide services similar to those offered by us and that is good, but none of them specialize in market/marketing research. The following are some of our main competitors:

Why Us?

Palms and Bonds offers clients reliable, quality information and proposals for business development, market development, and channel development that will maximize business development. A true alternative to in-house resources we offer a very high level of practical experience, know-how, contacts, and confidentiality. At Palms and Bonds we are able to provide comprehensive solutions to our clients’ problems that will foster business development. Clients must know that working with Palms and Bonds is a more professional, less risky way to develop new areas even than working completely in-house with their own people. Palms and Bonds must also be able to maintain financial balance, charging a competitive and realistic value for its services, and delivering an even higher value to its clients. Initial focus will be development of the local market clientele.

Expectations

Forecast

The annual sales projections for three years are included in the table below. It should be noted that as we become established and known on the market we project sales to increase at a faster rate than the initial year.

Financial projections are in Botswanan Pula (P).

Financial Highlights by Year

Chart visualizing the data for Financial Highlights by Year

Financing Needed

The co-founders will each contribute $35,000, for a total investment of $70,000. Total start-up capital and expenses covered (including legal costs, logo design, stationery and related expenses) came to approximately $49,000. Start-up assets required and utilized included personal computers, vehicles, office furniture, and other office equipment is an additional $20,000.

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Opportunity

Problem & Solution

Problem Worth Solving

With the increase in the number of entrepreneurs and competition amongst existing companies presents. We see an opportunity for an increased demand for market information and services that will enable companies to stay ahead of the pack.

Our Solution

The keys to Palms and Bonds success will undoubtedly be effective market segmentation through identification of several niche markets and implementation strategies. Along these lines the company intends to implement personal selling and direct marketing strategies to the target markets. Our personal selling marketing strategies will rotate around keeping in touch with investment and finance bodies for major clients and word-of-mouth for more individual investors. our key success factors will include the following:

  1. Excellence in fulfilling the promise: completely confidential, reliable, trustworthy expertise and information. This dictates that we have the latest technology and software.
  2. Uncompromising commitment to the quality of the work: that is, quality data, information and solutions.
  3. Developing visibility to generate new business leads.
  4. Leveraging from a single pool of expertise into multiple revenue generation opportunities: retainer consulting, project consulting, market research, and market research published reports.
  5. Successful niche marketing: we intend to find and target the quality-conscious customer in the right channels, making sure that the customer will find us through aggressive marketing.
  6. Timeous response to clients orders: we cannot afford to delay the client’s order for whatever reason as this will have a negative bearing on our image and reputation, including future business. We need to be continually communicating with the client.
  7. Marketing know-how: in an increasingly competitive market there is need to aggressively market our business and the services we provide so as to be continuously at the top of our prospective and current clients minds.
  8. Entrepreneurial Flair: market volatility and increasing duplication of business ideas advocates that we continuously keep abreast of new trends and our competitors.

Target Market

Market Size & Segments

Market Segmentation

Palms and Bonds will be focusing on local businesses and foreign investors looking at investing in the country. These will be small, medium, and large-sized companies looking for a total service and quality work.

Our most important group of potential customers are foreign investors. These are potential investors who want to have a feel and understanding of the local markets and the opportunities, and constraints they present to them. They do not want to waste their time or risk their money looking for bargain information or questionable expertise. As they go into markets looking at new opportunities, they are very sensitive to risking their company’s name and reputation.

Large corporations: one of our most important market segment is the large organization looking at penetrating new or existing markets. These companies will be calling on Palms and Bonds for development functions that are better spun off than managed in-house, for market research, and feasibility studies. 

Medium-sized growth companies: particularly in rapidly expanding markets, Palms and Bonds will offer an attractive development alternative to the company that is management constrained and unable to address opportunities in new markets and new market segments.

Small-sized companies: in an increasingly competitive environment entrepreneurs are becoming more cautious in the markets they seek to enter and on establishing new market opportunities. They are often seeking for prior research to be done to identify possible markets that are suited to their resources and capabilities.

Hence the most likely types of businesses to require our services would include:

  • New businesses seeking investment or start-up capital
  • New firms looking at investing in the country
  • Existing companies which are expanding or introducing a new product/ service.

Target Market 

Our marketing strategy will be based mainly on making the right information available to the right target customer. We will ensure that our services’ prices take into consideration people’s budgets, and that these people appreciate the service and know that it exists, including where to find it. The marketing will convey the sense of quality in every picture, every promotion, and every publication. There is already a sense of segment strategy in the way we define our target market. We are choosing to compete in areas that lend themselves to local competition, service and channel areas that match our strengths, and avoid our weaknesses.

Our strategy calls for the development of relationships with investment bodies, attorneys, accountants and financial institutions to support our business with referrals. Interviews with commercial loan officers have indicated that there is a serious need for a professional firm like ours to help their clients in market/marketing research, and development of comprehensive and concise business and marketing plans.

Competition

Current Alternatives

There are numerous companies operating in Gaborone who classify themselves as "business consultants". However, upon contacting these, it appears that the vast majority of these companies are bookkeeping and secretarial services companies. There are some companies that provide services similar to those offered by us and that is good, but none of them specialize in market/marketing research. The following are some of our main competitors:

The high-level prestige management consulting firms

Strengths: Prime locations managed by owner-partners with a high level of presentation and understanding of general business. Enviable reputations, which make purchase of consulting an easy decision for a manager, despite the very high prices.

Weaknesses: General business knowledge doesn’t substitute for the specific market, channel, and distribution expertise of Palms and Bonds, focusing on local markets and products/services. Also, fees are extremely expensive, and work is generally done by very junior-level consultants, even though sold by high-level partners.

General Business Consultancy firms

Strengths: Expertise in certain functional areas particularly bookkeeping. Palms and Bonds intends not to compete with general business consultancy firms in these  markets.

Weaknesses: The inability to spread beyond a specific focus, or to rise above a specific focus, to provide actual marketing and market research expertise, experience, and wisdom beyond the specifics.

The most significant competition is no consulting at all, companies choosing to do market research, business development and channel development in-house.

Strengths: No incremental cost except travel; also, the general work is done by the people who are entirely responsible, the planning is done by those who will implement it.

Weaknesses: Most managers are terribly overburdened already, unable to find incremental resources in time and people to apply to incremental opportunities. Also, there is a lot of additional risk in market and channel development done in-house from the ground up. Finally, retainer-based antenna consultants can greatly enhance a company’s reach and extend its position into conversations that might otherwise never have taken place.

Attorneys and Accounting firms

Strengths: Able to provide sound accounting or legal advice and services with the plans being done by the partners.

Weaknesses: They often lack the imagination to write a comprehensive and effective business plan. The attorneys tend to dwell on the legal aspects and contractual arrangements while accountants sweat over the balance sheets, cash flow statements, product costs and income statements. Very little market research, if any, is often undertaken, and often ineffectively.

Our Advantages

We have sought to identify competition in terms of companies that satisfy the same client needs that we intend to. Our competitors are few in our main service, and, including Government agencies, numerous in our ancillary services. There will be a need to strongly differentiate ourselves from these other businesses. However on a broader scale our competition comes in several forms:

  1. The most significant competition is no market research consulting at all, companies choosing to do market research, business development and channel development in-house. Their own managers do this on their own, as part of their regular business functions. Our key advantage in competition with in-house development is that managers are already overloaded with responsibilities, they don’t have time for additional responsibilities in new market development or new channel development. Also, Palms and Bonds can approach alliances, investment bodies, and channels on a confidential basis, gathering information and making initial contacts in ways that the corporate managers can’t.
  2. The high-level prestige management consulting: XXX and international firms. These are essentially generalists who take their name-brand management consulting into specialty areas. Their other very important weakness is the management structure that has the partners selling new jobs, and inexperienced associates delivering the work. We compete against them as experts in our specific fields, and with the guarantee that our clients will have the top-level people doing the actual work.
  3. The third general kind of competitors are the various trading and Investment bodies. These companies are formidable competitors for published market research and market forums, but cannot provide the kind of high-level customized consulting that Palms and Bonds will provide. 
  4. The fourth kind of competition are the business consultancy firms, which undertake business plans for various organizations. For example: LLL, MMM, NNN, and OOO Consultancy. 
  5. The fifth kind of competition are the numerous "fly-by-night" business consultants that claim to offer the same services as we do. Often they offer a below par service with no qualified personnel.

Keys to Success

Keys to Success

The keys to Palms and Bonds success will undoubtedly be effective market segmentation through identification of several niche markets and implementation strategies. Along these lines the company intends to implement personal selling and direct marketing strategies to the target markets. Our personal selling marketing strategies will rotate around keeping in touch with investment and finance bodies for major clients and word-of-mouth for more individual investors. our key success factors will include the following:

  1. Excellence in fulfilling the promise: completely confidential, reliable, trustworthy expertise and information. This dictates that we have the latest technology and software.
  2. Uncompromising commitment to the quality of the work: that is, quality data, information and solutions.
  3. Developing visibility to generate new business leads.
  4. Leveraging from a single pool of expertise into multiple revenue generation opportunities: retainer consulting, project consulting, market research, and market research published reports.
  5. Successful niche marketing: we intend to find and target the quality-conscious customer in the right channels, making sure that the customer will find us through aggressive marketing.
  6. Timeous response to clients orders: we cannot afford to delay the client’s order for whatever reason as this will have a negative bearing on our image and reputation, including future business. We need to be continually communicating with the client.
  7. Marketing know-how: in an increasingly competitive market there is need to aggressively market our business and the services we provide so as to be continuously at the top of our prospective and current clients minds.
  8. Entrepreneurial Flair: market volatility and increasing duplication of business ideas advocates that we continuously keep abreast of new trends and our competitors.
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Execution

Marketing & Sales

Marketing Plan

One core element of our strategy will be that of differentiation from our competitors. In terms of marketing, we intend to sell our company as a differentiated strategic ally, not just our services. In price, we intend to offer reasonable and competitive prices in comparison to competition and we need to be able to sustain that. Market penetration through lower prices shall be undertaken where need be whilst premium pricing in the case of high quality services targeted at the upper-end of the market. Our service marketing will recognize more that our product. Service and establishing long relationships with clients will be key to our future service marketing. We primarily intend to sell a relationship more than services.

Our service marketing will emphasize the benefits of conducting adequate planning and the use of quality information and identification of ‘windows of opportunity’. We intend to sell access to market knowledge and quality. This will come out in our advertising, delivery and collateral such as sales literature and business cards. Our service marketing’s most important challenge will be the problem of being accepted and appreciated on the market as a provider of quality marketing research services and business plans. Hence we intend to not only meet client’s expectations but to exceed them.

We intend to focus on the individual or group who wants information that may not be readily available, specially customized to their requirements. However not wanting to limit our horizons in the initial period we intend to serve other clients requiring services such as company registration and trading licenses.

In all cases we intend to provide a thorough understanding and appreciation of the service to the client as well as follow up to ensure customer satisfaction. We also intend to inform the customer on how best to maintain and/or improve their market positions.

Sales Plan

Palms and Bonds will be competitively priced in relation to the dictates of the market. The pricing fits with the general positioning of Palms and Bonds as providing high-level quality expertise.

We intend our income structure to match our cost structure, so as to ensure that the salaries/consultants fees we pay to assure good reports and service are balanced by the fee we charge. We will make sure that we charge for the service, workmanship and any delivery with our aim being to achieve a gross profit margin of at least 50%. Naturally services targeted at the higher end of the market will have higher mark ups as these clients are less price sensitive. All in all we intend our prices to be extremely competitive on the market.

Consulting will be based on Pula per hour per project in the initial year for project consulting, market research, and retainer consulting. With time and as we become known on the market we foresee an increase in our consultancy fee — tempered by market dictates. Market research reports should be competitively priced which will, of course, require that reports be very well planned, focusing on very important topics, and well presented.

Operations

Technology

Palms and Bonds will maintain the latest market research software and Windows capabilities including:

  1. Complete email facilities on the Internet for working with clients directly through email delivery of drafts and information.
  2. Complete presentation facilities for preparation and delivery of multimedia presentations on Windows machines, in formats including on-disk presentation, live presentation, or video presentation.
  3. Complete desktop publishing facilities for delivery of regular retainer reports, project output reports, marketing materials, and market research reports.

Milestones & Metrics

Milestones Table

Milestone Due Date
Implementation review
Apr 20, 2020
Implementation Review
May 24, 2020
Implementation review
July 19, 2020
Implementation Review
Sept 20, 2020

Key Metrics

Our keys to success are: 

  • # of new business leads generated 
  • # of business leads that were referrals 
  • amount of time it takes for the customer to get a phone call or email. we are aiming to have our customer service people trained to return within the hour, within 15 or 20 min are even better. 
  • # of facebook pageviews and Linkedin and google shares 
  • # of tweets and retweets sharing expert consultant advice 
  •  

 

 

 


     
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Company

Overview

Ownership & Structure

Grizzly Bear Financial Managers is a sole proprietorship owned by Meghan Malcolm

Team

Management Team

Meghan Malcolm received her Bachelor of Arts from Reed College.  While at Reed College, Meghan supplemented her school loans with income from being an accounting clerk for Hollywood video.  While Meghan learned accounting backwards and forwards from this job, she found it boring.  After graduation Meghan took the GMAT’s in preparation for getting her MBA.

Meghan decided that she needed to take at least a year off between school so she worked for a bicycle touring company that took clients on mountain bike trips through the Rocky Mountains. Meghan developed people and communication skills on this trip.  It was her responsibility to make sure that the clients were always happy.  Although at the time Meghan did not know how valuable these communication skills would become, she did recognize that they were useful.

Meghan entered Willamette’s MBA program a year after graduating from Reed.  During the second year Meghan was allowed to choose her courses and she took a concentration of finance, investing, options, etc.  She enjoyed the investing of money, and it was at this point that she realized that this is the type of work that she wanted to do.  She figured it would be initially tough to start her own financial planning company by herself, but with all of the contacts that she has made over the years, first at Reed then at Willamette, she was prepared to go ahead with her dream.

Personnel Table

2020 2021 2022
Meghan $43,200 $44,064 $44,945
Admin Assistant $33,600 $34,272 $34,957
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Financial Plan

Forecast

Key Assumptions

  • Stability in investment markets
  • No significant change in regulatory environment
  • Trackable, provable performance results
  • Good word of mouth bolstered by social media

Revenue by Month

Chart visualizing the data for Revenue by Month

Expenses by Month

Chart visualizing the data for Expenses by Month

Net Profit (or Loss) by Year

Chart visualizing the data for Net Profit (or Loss) by Year

Financing

Use of Funds

Grizzly Bear Financial Managers will incur the following start-up costs:

  • Desk, chair and file cabinet.
  • Couch and table.
  • Fax machine, copier.
  • Computer with printer, CD-RW, and Internet connection.
  • Legal fees for business formation.

Please note that the items which are considered assets to be used for more than a year will labeled long-term assets and will be depreciated using G.A.A.P. approved straight-line depreciation method.

Sources of Funds

Meghan will invest $23,000. 

Statements

Projected Profit & Loss

2020 2021 2022
Gross Margin $117,849 $174,600 $271,600
Operating Expenses
Salaries & Wages $76,800 $78,336 $79,902
Employee Related Expenses $15,360 $15,667 $15,981
Sales and Marketing $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Insurance $1,800 $1,800 $1,800
Rent $18,000 $18,000 $18,000
Startup Expenses $900
Interest Incurred
Depreciation and Amortization $456 $456 $456
Gain or Loss from Sale of Assets
Income Taxes $833 $14,785 $38,566
Total Expenses $118,994 $135,644 $164,304
Net Profit $2,500 $44,356 $115,696

Projected Balance Sheet

2020 2021 2022
Cash $22,229 $39,904 $12,001
Accounts Receivable $0 $0 $0
Inventory
Other Current Assets
Total Current Assets $22,229 $39,904 $12,001
Long-Term Assets $4,560 $4,560 $4,560
Accumulated Depreciation ($456) ($912) ($1,368)
Total Long-Term Assets $4,104 $3,648 $3,192
Accounts Payable $0 $0 $0
Income Taxes Payable $833 $3,696 $9,641
Sales Taxes Payable $0 $0 $0
Short-Term Debt
Prepaid Revenue
Total Current Liabilities $833 $3,696 $9,641
Long-Term Debt
Long-Term Liabilities
Paid-In Capital $23,000 $23,000 $23,000
Retained Earnings ($27,500) ($133,144)
Earnings $2,500 $44,356 $115,696

Projected Cash Flow Statement

2020 2021 2022
Net Cash Flow from Operations
Net Profit $2,500 $44,356 $115,696
Depreciation & Amortization $456 $456 $456
Change in Accounts Receivable $0 $0 $0
Change in Inventory
Change in Accounts Payable $0 $0 $0
Change in Income Tax Payable $833 $2,863 $5,945
Change in Sales Tax Payable $0 $0 $0
Change in Prepaid Revenue
Investing & Financing
Assets Purchased or Sold ($4,560)
Investments Received $23,000
Dividends & Distributions ($30,000) ($150,000)
Change in Short-Term Debt
Change in Long-Term Debt
Cash at Beginning of Period $0 $22,229 $39,904
Net Change in Cash $22,229 $17,675 ($27,903)
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