Table of Contents
- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- 1 – VENTURE OVERVIEW
- 1.1 Company Background
- 1.2 Mission and Vision
- 1.3 Legal Form of Business
- 1.4 Proposed Entry Strategy
- 2 – MARKET AND COMPETITION ANALYSIS
- 2.1 Market Analysis
- 2.2 Target Market
- 2.3 Achieving Competitive Edge
- 2.4 Industry Analysis
- 2.4.1 Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
- 2.4.2 SWOT Analysis
- 2.4.3 Ansoff Matrix
- 2.4.4 PEST Analysis
- 2.5 Marketing Strategy
- 2.5.1 Marketing Mix
- 2.6 Strategic Business Plan
- 3 – MANAGEMENT TEAM AND KEY PEOPLE
- 3.1 Organisational Chart
- 3.2 Policy and Strategy
- 4 – OPERATIONS
- 4.1 Supply Chain Management
- 4.2 Location and Facilities
- 4.3 Inventory and Quality Control
- 4.4 Working Profile
- 5 – FINANCIAL PLAN
- 5.1 Personnel Plan
- 5.2 Projected Cash Flow
- 5.3 Break-even Analysis
- 5.4 Financial Statements of 3 Years
- 5.4.1 Projected Income Statement
- 5.4.2 Projected Balance Sheet
- 6 – CRITICAL RISKS
- 6.1 Internal Risks
- 6.2 External Risks
- 7 – FUNDNG REQUEST
- 8 – EXIT STRATEGY
- 1 – VENTURE OVERVIEW
- APPENDIX A – Mock Layout for Print Advertising for Chinese Collectivist Consumers
- APPENDIX B – Mock Advertising Concept for Thinker Segment
- APPENDIX C – Business Development Plan
Tea Infusions is a start-up company offering a wide variety of rare and common Chinese teas to the greater Brighton area. The business will be established as a private limited company generating start-up capital through personal resources and bank loans. The business’ competitive edge will be achieved through differentiation, emphasising exclusivity and superior quality using targeted, integrated marketing communications.
Tea Infusions has low fixed and variable costs and opportunities for making substantial revenues that will result in pay back of bank and shareholders liabilities within first two years of business start up. Particularly, cash flow forecast indicates Tea Infusions will sustain cash reserves of £0.18 million at the end of Year 1 of operations. This is achieved by keeping labour costs low, procuring cost-effective raw product from China, and the high mark-up rate on finished product compared to raw materials costs.
The business anticipates long-term profitability and will have substantial retained earnings throughout the first year of operations to pay salaries to executives and employees working in the organisation. Payback of all start-up capital will occur within Year 2 of operations. The business is proactive in identifying potential risks, including information technology failures, equipment failures and issues with supplier competency in delivering timely and fresh products. The company, to explore all potential risks, will be creating a steering committee that reports directly to the Board of Directors as a means of establishing a competent and well-developed risk management system.
1 – Venture Overview
1.1 Company Background
Tea Infusions recognises that there is a gap in the market for distributing Chinese teas with limited suppliers selling foreign teas. In Brighton, on England’s southern edge, there are 480,000 citizens that are not being serviced with different Chinese tea products. In the UK as a whole, there is a substantial increase in the population of Asians and the Asian tea culture has gained popularity in the country in recent years. Hence, this illustrates an opportunity to bring top quality Chinese teas to a market with demand for these products and where many rare Chinese teas are unfamiliar to consumer demographics.
In Brighton area, rare teas include Dragon Well Tea (Long Jing Tea), Bi Luo Chun Tea, Keemun Black Tea and Ba Bao Tea. Common infusions which accompany a well-bodied cup of tea include the foreign goji berry, lyceum berry, and the red jujube, each with a sense of mystical intrigue and physical wellness. Tea Infusions will identify suppliers of these intriguing teas to bring a taste of China in the Brighton region. More common teas will also be provided such as Tie Guanyin Tea, Jasmine Tea and Puerh, tea varieties with an established reputation for quality and flavour. Different Chinese teas will be packaged disparately, in smaller packages and larger packages, each with a different established pricing structure based on rarity, alleged health benefits and costs to the business related to production and procurement.
On an average, the UK tea buyer personally consumes approximately 1.9kg of tea every year (FAO, 2014). This is significantly more than consumers in other countries around the world. Tea, in the UK, is considered to be a sign of consumer sophistication and style (Guerty and Switaj, 2004). Hence, the United Kingdom market provides an opportunity with high demand for tea and where tea maintains a socio-cultural significance for consumers who are dedicated to tradition and using the product to illustrate their personal elegance and panache.
1.2 Mission and Vision
Tea Infusions has a simple mission: To become the most reliable multi-channel provider of quality Chinese teas that promote physical and spiritual wellness and a remarkable tea-drinking experience. To fulfil this mission, Tea Infusions has a vision of becoming the most trusted and recognised distributor of Chinese teas in the United Kingdom, bringing a taste of China into the homes of discriminating tea drinkers.
1.3 Legal Form of Business
Tea Infusions will be established as a Private Limited company, Tea Infusions Pvt Limited., which is one of the most common legal forms of business in the United Kingdom. One of the major reasons of establishing a private limited company is that it allows separation of corporate income from personal income of the owner, which will be beneficial personally. The private limited business is only taxed on its earned profits, which is substantially less than the tax burdens placed on sole traders; 21 percent versus up to 40 percent respectively (Tricker, 2009). In addition, the private limited legal structure allows easy borrowing of money from banks and financial hedgers and while ensuring personal protection. A sole trader structure maintains significant liabilities for the owner while the private limited company structure is more effective for ensuring the longevity of the business, as the company continues to function even at the death of its owner/director/founder.
1.4 Proposed Entry Strategy
Briefly, the Tea Infusions will acquire a differentiation strategy to enter into the UK market, particularly, Brighton tea market to focus on the target population of 31-40 year old Asians living in the identified area of the UK to market Chinese teas as an exclusive tea product in the region. Particularly, the company will import tea products from the Chinese manufacturers through contracts and will then sell exclusive Chinese tea virtually on the internet, as well as through physical sales centre.
2 – Market and Competition Analysis
This section of the business plan identifies the micro- and macro-level factors, which will impact business decision-making. Issues of sustaining competitive edge will be addressed along with market size and growth estimates, and industry factors, which Tea Infusions believes will provide sustainable growth opportunities and factors which make the industry attractive for the proposed entry.
2.1 Market Analysis
As indicated, the greater Brighton region maintains 480,000 citizens. Fortunately, the statistics indicate that tea drinking is not restricted to a particular demographic. A recent study found, in reality, that 73 percent of all consumers between 15 and 34 years of age drink tea daily (DSR, 2014). Tea is often consumed throughout the entire day: for breakfast, as a lunchtime staple and even prior to dinner. Furthermore, 88 percent of individuals over the age of 65 drink tea regularly in the United Kingdom (The Research Pedia, 2015). It is projected that the industry has evolved at eight percent between 2008 and 2010 and that this growth rate will remain steady if industry players are able to capture more attention from the younger consumer demographic.
Sluggish growth levels in the tea industry are attributed to rises in tea prices in the supply chain, in some instances nearly 41 percent (Mills, 2012). There is also evidence that the post-recession consumer is much more concerned, today, with frugality and thrift in their consumption patterns and more willingness to trade-off for lower cost products as thrift becomes chic and trend (Flatters & Willmott, 2009). Hence, pricing of teas will be a consideration for the operational model of the business and in terms of properly marketing to price-sensitive buyers and those with a new set of values related to frugal consumption.
However, despite new price-conscious buyers, specialty teas in the UK have witnessed a growth rate of approximately 12 percent in recent years (The Research Pedia, 2015). Consumers are beginning to recognise the potential health benefits of specialty teas which is attracting more niche markets to non-traditional tea products. The specialty tea market is expected to experience significant growth levels in the next three to five years (The Research Pedia, 2015). There is a trend in the UK, according to Euro Monitor (2014), for consumers to trade up when they purchase teas; an emphasis on demanding premium tea products.
Hence, the market is disparate. Of the potential 480,000 consumers in Brighton region, the business expects that there will be niche markets demanding specialty teas, demographic demanding more top quality teas, and those with price-sensitivity. Hence, in order to attract all of these segments, the business will require strategies that appeal to the characteristics and lifestyles of many different consumer segments with emphasis on pricing, quality and wellness. Overall, the trends point toward an attractive market in Brighton area where growth will be experienced and demand appropriate for sustained profitability. The tea market is estimated at between 700 and 800 million pounds annually, illustrating that consumers are still spending substantial resources on tea consumption, both traditional and specialty.
2.2 Target Market
The most viable markets, in an environment where all age demographics consume tea, include:
- Asian consumers – There are over 4.1 million Asians living in the UK, an increase of 7.8 percent between 2001 and 2011 (ONS, 2011).
- Strivers – Those with moderate resources, yet have a socio-psychological demand for style and emulating the sophisticated.
- Thinkers – segments that have high resources and are motivated by ideals and show more loyalty to companies that are responsible and can provide superior quality and value.
Because tea is a status symbol for many, the product will be marketed to the Strivers’ segment utilising a social appeal. Furthermore, Asians hail from collectivist countries where peer sentiment and opinion drives a significant volume of purchasing decisions, hence integrating promotions to target both groups can be accomplished with integrated marketing communications focusing on the social benefits that Chinese tea con provide. Appendix A includes a mock-up of promotional strategy critical to building consumer loyalty and brand recognition.
The thinker group will be targeted with promotions that illustrate high quality, health benefits and Tea Infusion’s commitment to promoting corporate social responsibility. For example, Papanga (1999) found that just three cups of tea provides the same antioxidant benefits as eating six apples. This and other important information about the benefits of Chinese tea will be provided on Facebook and also the company’s established website with an opt-in newsletter to remain informed about how Tea Infusions products can enhance wellness.
Lastly but most importantly, analysis has shown that all the existing companies are targeting the abovementioned diverse group of potential customers, and therefore, the Tea Infusions will need to consider a particular target population as the basis of company’s functioning and performance. For this purpose, Tea Infusions identifies 31-40 year old Asians to be target customers living in Brighton area of the United Kingdom. One of the major reasons of identifying this demographic group finds its relevance with the evidence. For instance, according to ONS (2011), Asians were the third largest ethnic group living in Brighton area that indicates the need of a differentiated product market in the region. In addition, to establish relevance of tea product with Asian population, PRLog (2011) reported in their research that only in the year 2010, the domestic population of China consumed approximately one million tons of tea that does not include the international tea market and participation of Chinese buyers in it. This shows the relevance and significance of a Chinese tea product in Brighton area. Moreover, the reason behind choosing 31-40 year old Asians is that according to World Tea News (2014), Asians consume approximately more than five cups of tea each day. Whereas ONS (2011) confirmed in their census that the ratio of identified age group of target population is comparatively higher than the other age group of Asians in the Brighton area, which provides the evidence behind choosing the target population of 31-40 year old Asians besides identified groups of thinkers, strivers, etc.
2.3 Achieving Competitive Edge
The industry is scattered in terms of competition, with smaller organisations emerging into the market and established tea distributors maintaining a long history in the UK. Tetley Tea maintains 21 percent market share in the UK and Unilever at 19 percent (Euromonitor, 2014). In 2013, Tetley was ranked first in UK market share in the specialty tea market (Euromonitor, 2014). Tetley is innovative which accounts for much of its market share success, offering blended traditional and specialty teas to appeal to a more discriminating consumer.
Differentiating the product (brand) will be significant to outperforming major players with long-standing brand recognition in the market. Successful differentiation is illustrating a unique sense of value to desired consumer segments (Aaker, 2001). For instance, Folgers, a major international player in the coffee industry, differentiates its products by emphasising the crystalline structure of its products (Carpenter, Glazer, & Nakamoto, 1994). In a market environment where products are relatively standardised, flaked crystal emphasis gives Folger’s its competitive advantage.
To achieve competitive edge, differentiation will be key for Tea Infusions. The business will not only emphasise the specific dynamics of its tea products that represent quality, but also serve to inform consumers about why Chinese tea varieties are a unique beverage experience. For instance, the Puerh can only be procured in the Yunnan province in China, thus giving it an air of exclusivity. This variety is fermented over a period of years and even decades which gives the product a very earthy quality (Falkowitz, 2015). The Keemun variety is also exclusive, found only in the Anhui Province of China. This variety oxidizes slowly and produces a strong floral scent after its own fermentation process (Harney, 2008). Competitive advantage, therefore, will be emphasising exclusivity of the product and using integrated marketing communications to educate consumers and illustrate the firm’s commitment to selecting suppliers with the most elite processing focus to produce superior quality teas.
2.4 Industry Analysis
2.4.1 Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
Michael Porter (1985) asserted that there are five forces, which affect an organisation at the micro-level. These forces are supplier power, buyer power, threat of new market entrants, competitive rivalry, and threat of substitute products.
- Power of Buyer
Buyers in this market have little power, as supply chain-related price increases on tea are strategies utilised by virtually all producers of Chinese tea. Therefore, the analysis showed lower power of buyer in the UK tea market.
- Power of Supplier
Suppliers, however, have much control as there are limited suppliers of Chinese tea products and many are found only in certain regions of China. Therefore, the business will always have to be diligent about recognising supplier price fluctuations and utilising investment hedging appropriately to ensure that these risks are offset.
- Rivalry Competition
The most significant threat to Tea Infusions is competitive rivalry with significant economies of scale. Tetley is adept at marketing and utilises many strategies to gain consumer attention. Brands Tell (2011) describes how Tetley utilises sweepstakes strategies to promote its tea and incentivise making purchases. Boone and Kurtz (2007) iterate that sweepstakes and contests are effective marketing methods that often gain consumer interest in a brand. Furthermore, Tetley utilises product placement to continue to improve brand visibility. In 2010, Tetley launched celebratory tea tins co-branded with the film Alice in Wonderland to promote the tea brands. Tetley was also highlighted in an empirical study, which showed that Tetley maintained the lowest levels of microbial elements as compared to other tea brands (Hossain et al., 2013). Tetley is capable of promoting the safe consumption elements of its tea products, which is a valuable resource in a market where it is difficult to differentiate competing tea brands. Hence, this competitor builds confidence, trust and superior recognition, which have made Tetley such a potent competitor for Tea Infusions. The company, therefore, to compete with major competitors, will require benchmarking of these activities or identifying opportunities to differentiate in order to build strong brand recognition and brand trust.
- Threat of New Entrants
Threat of new entrants is only moderate to Tea Infusions, as it requires significant capital and labour to enter this market, therefore serving as a barrier for new market entrants. Moreover, the UK government is strict when it comes to acquire licensing related to food products, such as that of tea products. Yet, one cannot ignore the possibility of new entrants in the market, which is quite low according to the analysis.
- Threat of Substitutes
Threat of substitutes is also significant for Tea Infusions. Coffee is the main product with strong consumer demand in the UK, followed by other energy drinks available in supermarkets and various convenience stores throughout the country. Costa Coffee and Starbucks are two organizations with strong sales and demand. For instance, Costa has nearly 1,600 stores in the UK and this company has boasted an operating income of over £340 million (Whitbread, 2011). Starbucks in the UK boasted sales of £1.2 billion in 2012. Additionally, UK consumers can purchase tea at famous restaurants such as McDonalds, in vending systems, and small stores. Wallop (2011) found that tea sales were declining as a result of growth in demand for espresso, which illustrates a changing consumer demand for substitutes of tea. Again, Tea Infusions will require strategies, which promote tea as a preferred drink to avoid consumers defecting to the plethora of substitute products available in the UK market.
. There are more opportunities for building a strong brand in the UK than risks and with quality customer service systems, marketing, logistics strategies, and technology, the business can create a viable business model that attracts consumers, seeks development of customer loyalty, and establishes relevant channels by which to target consumers and distribute product with the most viability for sales growth.
2.4.2 SWOT Analysis
This section of the report will present SWOT analysis of the Tea Infusions that will provide a critical perspective to different aspects of the business formation.
One of the major strengths of Tea Infusions is its attractive market as the company maintains significant managerial knowledge about all value chain activities and the ways to establish inter-dependent systems effectively that can combat market threats. Another strength that came under analysis was its legal structure that offers various advantages in comparison to other legal structures, such as proprietorship and public limited company in the UK. Lastly, the company has ample supply opportunities along with technological equipments and capable labour that makes it a strong contender to enter in the UK market successfully.
A common weakness that every new business confronts is no brand recognition of the company at the time of entry in the UK tea market. Moreover, although the report will propose an organisational structure; however, it has not been tested in the UK market, which can come across as a weakness of the company. Another weakness identified during the analysis is absence of any partnerships or alliances currently in the international supply chain.
Tea Infusions can benefit by getting involving in co-branding and product placement strategies in popular culture media, which is a great opportunity for the company. In addition, the company can also get into joint ventures in China to lower costs of distribution and manufacturing of teas. Moreover, the UK is not the only market that has tea consumption; a various number of markets in the European region make use of tea products, and thus, Tea Infusions can also expand their business activities by seeking sales in other foreign markets along with diversifying their product line to include more than just Chinese tea.
A major threat for Tea Infusions will be alteration in preferences of consumers’ tea consumption in the UK market, as various organisations are endeavoring to illustrate disadvantages of tea consumption that seems as a threat to the company. Besides, global exposure to the Chinese market might gradually result in increase of prices in the Chinese market and that may cause increment in the overall pricing in coming years. Lastly, ‘currency fluctuations’ between UK and China is another threat to the company.
2.4.3 Ansoff Matrix
The Ansoff Matrix provides strategies to achieve growth. Figure 1 illustrates this matrix. Tea Infusions will utilise a market penetration strategy, which is growing existing products in an established market. As a start-up company, Tea Infusions must identify attractive target demographics most likely to be attracted to the product and establish communications, which will build relationships to make the brand of Tea Infusions stand out amongst competitors; utilising aggressive promotion strategies.
Figure 1: Ansoff Matrix of Tea Infusions
2.4.4 PEST Analysis
Fortunately, importation of foreign tea is subject to only a 2.7 percent tariff (Gov.uk, 2015). This is much lower than other nations and as the UK companies cannot produce the same exclusive varieties of Chinese tea domestically, as a result, the government induces incentives to import in a taxation structure that is conducive to profitability in this activity.
At the economic level, the UK is rebounding from the 2008 recession; however consumers are not witnessing significant increases in their disposable income levels. This might also account for the frugality and thrift, which is becoming a chic consumption trend. Unfortunately, the cost of tea in the international supply chain has increased significantly, which will be a concern in controlling operating costs and also establishing relevant and attractive pricing structures.
Socially, tea is a staple for many demographics. Tea drinking reflects refinement and sophistication to many and might be a status symbol under conspicuous consumption. This illustrates a socio-psychological need to consume products to reflect to others in society their status, wealth or social refinement. Shakula and Shakula (2009) conducted a study of British consumers and found that being noticed by others was a predictor of UK consumer behaviour. Hence, this represents opportunities to appeal to the socio-psychological dynamics of tea consumption to give Tea Infusions a more potent brand identity over competition.
Lastly, the technological environment is favourable for Tea Infusions as the UK has an environment where procurement of relevant production and business support technologies is promoted by a well developed supply chain. In this regard, technological aspect illustrates a positive and encouraging perspective for the company.
2.5 Marketing Strategy
2.5.1 Marketing Mix
Place in the marketing mix is providing convenience to consumers to have home delivery via the Internet, supported by a well-developed website that provides opportunities to engage with the company. All three-target segments shop at specialty stores and supermarkets, in companies with established brand names and some dimension of consumer loyalty.
Tea Infusions will emphasise the quality benefits and wellness benefits of its quality Chinese teas. This will be reinforced on packaging which reflects a quality-oriented product as well as in all print and electronic promotional communications. Periodically, in conjunction with our channel partners, taste testing of the tea will occur to gain customer interest with a supplementary coupon strategy to incentivize purchases.
The following represents the pricing structure for Tea Infusions, in line with knowledge of consumer price-sensitivity, raw shipment costs from the supplier and competitive pricing activity and considering the costs of marketing:
|Tea Products |
Cost-based pricing >>>
|Year 1 |
|Year 2 |
|Year 3 |
|Rare blends Loose Leaf Box at 0.2 kg –||£29.99||£35.99||£35.99|
|Rare blends Loose Leaf Box at 0.35 kg –||£47.99||£53.99||£53.99|
|Common blends Loose Leaf Box 0.2kg –||£19.99||£25.99||£25.99|
|Common blends Loose Leaf Box 0.35kg –||£37.99||£43.99||£43.99|
This pricing structure does not discriminate against the rarer tea blends, instead utilising a consistent pricing method to illustrate the value that Tea Infusions provides to consumers economically. Many competitors price rarer blends, such as Dragon Well Tea and Ba Bao Tea, at much higher prices. However, keeping prices consistent will represent price-based differentiation (making the product attractive) and ability to outperform the many disparate small competitors in the UK; as well as Unilever and Tetley. With raw product costs generally consistent with the selected supplier, the company can establish a unified pricing structure on all varieties of tea without incurring any economic losses.
Figure 2 – Average Weekly Household Expenditure on Tea in the UK (Statista, 2013)
The above given Figure 2 shows the average weekly household expenditure on tea in the United Kingdom, which shows that on an average, a householder person aged 30-49 years spent an average of 40 pence a week on tea products, which enabled the Tea Infusions to set abovementioned prices for the UK tea market.
- Promotion and Communications
Promotion is significant to the business establishing a preferred brand name. The business, in Year 1, has devoted £100,000 for the promotional function, including print advertising, direct mail, and an electronic opt-in newsletter to build customer relationships in the Brighton Hove area. In Year 2, if the business requires more promotion, retained earnings will be utilised to increase the promotional budget. Appendix B illustrates how integrated marketing communications will target the thinker segments.
More particularly, Tea Infusions will make use of different promotional strategies to raise brand awareness along with building brand loyalty in the UK tea market. In this regard, Tea Infusions will make use of internet, particularly sports websites such as that of cricket, which is one of the most popular games in Asian continent. Collaboration with sports websites will enable the company to enhance its promotion and at the same time, reach more customers in the targeted market.
Since Tea Infusions is looking forward to enter into the market with the tool of ‘differentiation’, therefore, an attractive promotion strategy would be to allow customers to customize their tea flavors along with customization of their tea timings on the website, which will enhance customers’ mobility, and subsequently, company’s performance. Another efficient promotional strategy will be to sponsor events, such as sports, fashion, etc since tea is all about style and elegance, and thus, sponsoring similar events will help Tea Infusions create an attractive and elegant brand image in the market, which will gradually provide a competitive edge to the company.
Nowadays, one cannot overlook the significance of user-friendly mobile applications that businesses are using every day to reach to a wider audience and to involve customers in different business activities (Chakravorti, 2004). In this regard, Tea Infusions will utilise the tool of mobile applications by offering mobile order customization, as well as different campaigns using mobile technology to enhance customer loyalty. Lastly, social media has now become one of the most essential platforms to reach targeted population and thus, Tea Infusions will also have to endeavor to integrate its website, as well as different advertisements with social media that will be effective in reaching to a wider audience, especially the youth population who are very active on social media.
The product will be distributed, upon packaging, via the company website (virtual channel), in specialty Asian grocery outlets, and supermarkets, such as Tesco and Sainsbury. These channels are the most viable for reaching a broader segment of consumers who regularly patronise these channel outlets.
2.6 Strategic Business Plan
Abovementioned SWOT, PEST, and Porter’s analyses helped this report to understand different aspects of the UK tea market, as well as elements that will be essential during the proposed entry strategy of Tea Infusions in the UK.
Figure 3 – Strategic Positioning of Tea Infusions in the UK Tea Market
As Figure 3 illustrates above, the Tea Infusions will make use of ‘differentiation’ and at the same time, ‘cost leadership’ strategy to position itself during its entry in the UK tea market. In this throat-cutting competitive era, the Tea Infusions will not be able to succeed while relying on only one positioning strategy. Therefore, the business plan includes both strategies that will help Tea Infusions in ensuring successful revenue growth for quick payback and enhanced profitability in the market. The following Figure 4 illustrates holistic business plan of Tea Infusions:
Figure 4 – Business Plan of Tea Infusions
3 –Management Team and Key People
Outside of the Board of Directors, the company will require five executives to manage the business successfully. Senior management will consist of an Operations Executive, Finance Executive, a Procurement Manager, Marketing Director and Human Resource Executive.
3.1 Organisational Chart
As a Private Limited Company, the founder along with his colleagues and known shareholders will own Tea Infusions. Since it is ‘private’ limited, therefore, the company’s shares will not be traded publicly and will be run on the principles of corporate governance (Tricker, 2009). In specific,’ corporate governance’ is characterised as a framework by which an organisation is regulated and driven, involving a range of various regulatory structures, business evaluations and management practises consistent with board-issued agendas and strategies (Tricker, 2009). The company, to improve its consultancy capabilities, will establish steering committee, which will govern areas of risk management, establishing compliance control systems, and managing corporate social responsibility efforts. This committee will be benchmarked against Sainsbury’s Steering Group model that reports to the board of directors in bi-annual meetings to better position the business in order to build relationships with important stakeholders and guiding general corporate strategies more effectively.
As Figure 5 illustrates, the board of directors will operate under stewardship theory or the ideology that managers throughout the organization are competent and proficient individuals that can successfully manage the business and ensure profitability (Turnbull, 2000). Cooperative leadership values and removing thick layers of bureaucracy between senior executives, the board and junior-level management will provide a more harmonious governance system that allows for open expression of ideas for how to improve the business’ position. Stewardship theory will be promoted in all communications with internal and external stakeholders who approve board appointments to allow cooperation and shared decision-making in Tea Infusions.
Figure 5 – Organisational Hierarchy of Tea Infusions
This aligns the business as a model similar to the functional structure, whereby members are organised based on their task responsibilities and promotes more efficiency. Governance, steering committee and senior-level executives make the majority of decisions based on recurring feedback and consultation with other management team members, which will provide more proficiency in productivity, creating new strategic concepts and direction, and ensuring that all business units work harmoniously in a cooperative, stewardship-based culture. Having specialised teams focusing on risk evaluation and mitigation and examining external trends in the micro and macro-level will provide the business with greater competitive advantages.
The Procurement Manager, reporting directly to the President of the company, will maintain a Master’s degree in Procurement and Acquisitions Management. Key responsibilities will include monitoring inventory control, maintain supply contracts and relationships with suppliers, and ensure successful coordination of data in ERP technologies.
The Marketing Director will maintain a Master’s in Marketing Management and will coordinate all corporate advertising campaigns, prepare budgets for all marketing activities, manage the sales team, and ensure a successful brand positioning strategy. This role is critical in establishing a brand identity (personality) for Tea Infusions and will be integral for the competitive success of the company.
The Human Resource Director will hold a Bachelor’s Degree (or superior) in HRM and will handle all training program developments, create incentive programs for employees, ensure compliance to the UK regulations in labour relations, and maintain the internal Intranet to facilitate communications with employees. This role focuses on building a unified and cohesive organizational culture and ensures superior human capital proficiency as an internal competitive edge.
The Operations Executive will hold a Master’s in Operations Management and will coordinate production-planning, work cooperatively with the Marketing Director, and maintain budget compliance in key areas of customer service, manufacturing, inventory management, and facilities management. This role is instrumental in ensuring that the business maintains control systems in operations and produces metrics by which to alter operational strategy to best meet external market conditions.
The Finance Executive will report to the Finance Executive, and will maintain key academic credentials in accounting and finance. This role will maintain responsibility for coordinating alternative investment strategies for the company, control purchasing of information technologies required to support the business, comply with accepted international standards of accounting and financial record keeping, and will produce quarterly financial reports delivered to the internal and external stakeholders.
3.2 Policy and Strategy
Employees will be managed under a horizontal leadership structure, encouraging rewards for top performing employees and those who contribute to profitability and productivity. The company will not, however, consider bargaining with labour groups, but will offer employees various incentives to illustrate company commitment. Highly competitive pay structures, bonus schemes and transactional leadership will ensure that the firm retains top quality employees and works to create an environment that compensates superior employees who illustrate substantial effort. These programs will be implemented and altered as determined by the human resource manager and will be a promotional tool in recruitment to ensure only the most competent and driven employees are selected.
4 – Operations
4.1 Supply Chain Management
The main supplier will be Hubei Shuangshi Tea Company, Ltd. in Hubei, China; a company with 10 years’ operating experience in China and annual revenues of approximately $40 million USD. Contracts will have a 35-day lead time from placing order to receipt, with a minimum order of five tonnes per shipment, at an average cost of $1.70 USD per kilogram. Five tonnes is equivalent to 4,536 kg. Hence, each shipment, on average, will cost £5,452 GBP for each variety of tea packaged and distributed by the company.
Figure 6 – Supply Chain Management at Tea Infusions
Five tonnes of each variety encompasses approximately three months of inventories for packaging and distribution. With a five tonne shipment, the supplier pays the costs of shipping materials using container vessels from China to the United Kingdom. Upon arrival, materials will be inspected by the Brighton Port Authority and will make contact with Tea Infusions that materials are to be inventoried or picked-up by the company. Tea Infusions will coordinate physical movement of these materials via traditional roadway transport at low cost with a consolidation carrier and delivered directly to Tea Infusions via the receiving department.
Upon receipt of these materials, they will be moved into the production environment for packaging and labelling; as well as any specialty additives (such as berry infusions) that will accompany different products. Cycle time from receiving inventory to ready-to-ship packaging is one full day (on an 8 hour operating shift) to allow for Quality Assurance Testing of each batch. On a single 8 hour (standard) day, the following output is expected:
- 200 Rare Blend Loose Leaf Boxes – .35 kg
- 300 Rare Blend Loose Leaf Boxes – .2kg
- 200 Common Blend Loose Leaf Boxes – .35kg
- 300 Common Blend Loose Leaf Boxes – .2kg
Tea Infusions has determined that an 8 hour operating day is sufficient based on current market presence for these products, demand expected from target consumers, and also to satisfy controlling production costs (i.e. utilities, inventory management labour, and salaries). If the organisation spreads more than anticipated, the standard 10-hour day will be increased to 12 or 24 hour operations, which will be determined through financial and sales analyses conducted monthly. The business will open its doors for staff at 8am and will close at 4pm daily.
Tea Infusions will maintain a dedicated staff of two customer service employees who will handle some elements of relationship management with suppliers and also communicate with various retailers carrying the product. This team will also field calls from consumers throughout Brighton and broader parts of the UK, keeping metrics on complaint volumes, nature of complaints and conduct monthly telephone surveys to assist in improving service ideology and proficiency. These metrics will also be forwarded to the Steering Committee that will discuss deficiency in service methodology to make regular adjustments to how better to service stakeholders under superior service models.
4.2 Location and Facilities
The company will be renting a 2,618 sq foot commercial property at 16/17 Market Street in Brighton BN1 1HH at a price of £80,500 annually (Property Link, 2015). The business location was previously a restaurant and will require some refitting to fit the business’ production and office needs. On the ground floor, the 747 sq. ft. seating area will be converted into packaging space which is sufficient for quality checking and packaging of tea products according to varieties. The business maintains a storage area of 160 sq. ft. and a basement of 467 sq ft, which will serve as inventory storage capacity. Whereas, the backside remaining area of the rented 2,618 sq. ft. will be used for production of tea products from the imported raw material.
The second floor, once a kitchen, will be converted into a 571 sq. foot office space to accommodate management and executives. Because the business does not maintain substantial room for refurbishing a full office, the president, finance executive and marketing director will telecommute and be fitted with company-paid technologies needed to facilitate remote responsibilities from their home environments. When the business expands, as a capital expenditure, the corporation would suggest buying a bigger plant, however with the minimal technologies and labour required to conduct daily packaging and production, the facility is sufficient for sustaining the business’ short-term needs. Each three months, the board of directors meets will manage their negotiations and consultations via virtual meeting networks facilitated by low-cost cloud systems.
4.3 Inventory and Quality Control
Production consists of a sorting and mixing chamber, which pours raw content onto a conveyor which feeds to a single production worker who inspects and sorts based on quality and defects. The worker manually controls the speed of the conveyor, slowing after sorting to weigh product on a scale. When sufficient .2 or .35kg of product are weighed accordingly, the materials move down the conveyer to a packaging chamber, controlled by a second production worker, who physically moves the product into the relevant boxes and secures with appropriate labelling and sealing procedures. Product is periodically transported into the basement and first floor storage areas until ready for physical distribution, which will occur via small cargo transport vans to regional retailers. In event of excess inventories, the business will consult with port authority administration to provide temporary port storage in standard ocean container boxes. The company will also be making use of ERP technologies to monitor production and sales for efficient inventory management.
4.4 Working Profile
One part-time employee managing floor maintenance, storage handling procedures and other needs for production will assist two full-time employees working Monday-Friday. Competitive compensation for these employees is:
- Part-time handling employee £11 / hour
- Full-time production labour £15 / hour
- Customer Service Labour £12 / hour
- Quality Control Agent £12 / hour
Training will be coordinated by the HR Director and facilitated experientially in areas of production, service and quality assurance. Because the nature of the raw product is that it requires little transformation and technology support to become a finished product, there is little training requirements other than completing a competency exam indicating that all concepts related to service, QA and labour job roles have been understood. Training costs under the current business model are quite minimal.
5 – Finacial Plan
Because this business maintains very little overhead, return on investment is substantial.
In Brighton Hove, 4.13 percent of the total population is Asian, representing 19,824 Asian people in the region alone. Since people of all ages drink tea in the UK, this represents, potentially, at least 15,000 potential Asian consumers that could be attracted to Tea Infusions.
Of the 480,000 residents of the greater Brighton region, determining which markets would be considered the thinker and striver segments is uncertain. An in-depth market research project would be required using a large sample of random Brighton consumers of varying demographics to determine their tendency toward conspicuous consumption, tea-drinking and attitudes about corporate social responsibility. However, the business assumes at least 30,000 consumers that would lean toward these behavioural characteristics.
The literature suggests that many demographics consume tea regularly (DSR, 2014). Hence, the key is coercing consumers to select Asian tea as a discriminating alternative to traditional tea bags, which is the fundamental of the marketing methodology described in this plan. Fortunately, tea is not a seasonable product; hence demand fluctuations are not likely to occur.
5.1 Personnel Plan
Figure 7 – Personnel Plan
Total payroll obligations exclude the president and the board of directors, which are compensated in decision-making opportunities in the market.
5.2 Projected Cash Flow
Figure 8: Monthly Projected Cash flow for 2016
|Cash from Operations|
|Subtotal Cash from Operations||₤600,000||₤655,000||₤700,000|
|Additional Cash Received|
|Sales Tax, Value Added Tax||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|New Current Borrowing||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|New Other Liabilities||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|New Long-term Liabilities||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|Sales of Other Current Assets||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|Sales of Long-term Assets||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|New Investment Received||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|Subtotal Cash Received||₤600,000||₤655,000||₤700,000|
|Expenditures from Operations|
|Subtotal Spent on Operations||₤469,000||₤547,000||₤591,000|
|Additional Cash Spent|
|Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Paid Out||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|Principal Repayment of Current Borrowing||₤4,100||₤4,100||₤4,100|
|Other Liabilities Principal Repayment||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|Long-term Liabilities Principal Repayment||₤0||₤4,250||₤4,990|
|Purchase Other Current Assets||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|Purchase Long-term Assets||₤0||₤2,000||₤2,000|
|Subtotal Cash Spent||₤473,100||₤557,350||₤602,090|
|Net Cash Flow||₤126,900||₤97,650||₤97,910|
5.3 Break-even Analysis
The break-even analysis above illustrates a 29 percent increase in raw material costs. Based on projected monthly revenues, the company can sustain a significant increase in raw product cost based on low fixed and variable costs.
5.4 Financial Statements of 3 Years
5.4.1 Projected Income Statement
As illustrated on the income statement below, it is estimated that the business will have higher revenues as a result of competent marketing practices. Maintenance and repairs show a major disparity between 2016 and 2017, which recognises the one-time expenditure to refurbish the rental property in Brighton. Tea Infusions expects significant return on investment by keeping labour costs low over the next several years, utilising marketing which appeals to consumer demographics at the socio-psychological level, and ensuring that cost of goods sold remains low by identifying low-cost suppliers (in 2017) and ensuring production is streamlined to support only a minimal production staff.
|Projected Income Statement|
|Direct Cost of Sales||₤210, 500||₤135,800||₤254,400|
|Total Cost of Sales||₤210, 500||₤135,800||₤254,400|
|Gross Margin %||60 %||60 %||60 %|
|Sales and Marketing and Other Expenses||₤27,000||₤29,000||₤33,000|
|Utilities / Phone||₤10,000||₤10,700||₤11,200|
|Total Operating Expenses||₤265,900||₤294,400||₤314,190|
|Profit Before Interest and Taxes||₤123,600||₤224,800||₤131,410|
|Net Profit/Sales||14.2 %||28.3 %||12.3 %|
If the business finds that the rental property in Brighton is insufficient, long-term, for the needs of the company, Tea Infusions will find a larger property (a capital purchase or rental) that can sustain a larger operational model. This will incur more costs for 2016 or 2017; however it will also increase economies of scale which will reduce many operational costs currently being incurred by the business during its first year of operation.
5.4.2 Projected Balance Sheet
|Projected Balance Sheet|
|Other Current Assets||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|Total Current Assets||₤199700||₤378258||₤294599|
|Total Long-term Assets||₤63,700`||₤71,500||₤56,600|
|Liabilities and Capital||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Other Current Liabilities||₤0||₤0||₤0|
|Subtotal Current Liabilities||₤33,400||₤30,190||₤27,200|
|Total Liabilities and Capital||₤263,400||₤449758||₤351919|
6 – Critical Risks
6.1 Internal Risks
Internally, the most significant risk to the business is production equipment failure. Procurement of new equipment entails a 30-day lead-time, which could seriously disrupt the capability of the business to continue production operations. New equipment required for production is a significant capital investment and will range between £30,000 to £75,000 depending on what specific processing and packaging equipment is permanently scrapped. To mitigate this risk, the business will identify alternative procurement sources which can provide equipment in a shorter lead time and work on contracting independent maintenance experts in Brighton who can be prepared to fulfil the business’ immediate maintenance needs in the event of equipment failure.
Information technologies are also critical to the business. The company faces continuing risks that software and web-based systems become non-functional due to programming problems or service provider failures. It would be the responsibility of the information management manager to perform regular auditing of these processes, conducting test activities to ensure the integrity of technological support software. Reporting metrics will be delivered, bi-monthly, to the Operations Executive who will assess the reliability of these systems. In the event of system failure requiring significant maintenance, the company will identify relevant technology experts in Brighton Hove who can assist the IT Manager with programming, viruses, or other detriments that can significantly influence such divisions as procurement, customer service, business planning, and inventory/replenishment systems.
6.2 External Risks
It is a fact, furthermore, that the business is reliant on the capabilities of the external supplier and the Port Authority to conduct efficient and timely delivery. With the product being procured in China and with a 30-day lead-time, the company will be reliant on the delivery of fresh product that arrives according to our production schedule. The business’ Steering Groups will be given responsibility for identifying alternative suppliers in the event of significant cargo shipment delays and establish contingency plans for ensuring adequate inventory of product. With the facility, during the first year of operations, being incapable of housing excess inventories, alternative storage and warehousing will require examination as a temporary fall-back measure to ensure that production is not interrupted.
7 – Funding Request
As discussed earlier, Tea Infusions will be a private limited company, which means that although it will have shareholders but the company’s shares will not be traded publicly. In addition, liability of both the owner and the shareholders will remain limited to their investment.
In this regard, this business plan proposes a capital investment of £25,000 by the owner himself along with anticipation of funding of £75,000 by the private shareholders involving family, friends, and colleagues interested in this plan. The owner will endeavor to arrange additional funds in the form of low-interest loans of £115,000 through bank and mortgage loans that will allow start up of this private limited company as per the strategies discussed in earlier sections of the business plan.
8 – Exit Strategy
The most viable strategy for exiting the market is sale of the business. The business has established a model that will not be supportive of incurring significant debt and even at the time of start-up, the company will have substantial assets, which include equipment, inventories, and long-term investments in the market. The business has substantial retained earnings, which will be utilised for loan payments and salaries for executives and employees of the firm. Hence, it will not be a difficult task to identify buyers interested in buying a business with limited liabilities and ample corporate assets.
The business is also considering a potential leveraged buy-out, procuring a loan to purchase a business in a different market or industry. In the event that the business does not meet the anticipated revenues or capture a high share of the market in the Chinese tea industry, the business has options of entering a new market. Initial considerations for a leveraged buy-out include entering the financial services market or convenience store and petrol station development. The business will maintain the human capital and expertise needed to enter these markets and both options are lucrative opportunities if a proper business model is developed.
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Appendix A – Mock Layout for Print Advertising for Chinese Collectivist Consumers
The Taste your Friends will Remember – Tea Infusions
Appendix B – Mock Advertising Concept for Thinker Segment
Tea Infusions: Take a Break and Enjoy All That Life Has to Offer.
Each year, Tea Infusions procures only the finest teas from exclusive regions of China. Not only does this include an impressive cup of premium tea for our clients, but it boosts the lifestyle of staff.
Appendix C – Business Development Plan