Starting a new/ successful business can be one of the hardest things that a person can do in their life. The business can come second to nothing in life , not even your family. This is often where people make the mistake and get in to deep. Planning is just the beginning but is the most important aspect of the whole process. According to Uggla and Filipsson developing a company brand is one of the most important aspects of starting a business also. They used examples like Adidas, H&M and Microsoft as good companies to look at as examples. A strong foundation to a business will be a huge help in making the business successful and profitable as quickly as possible.
This being said the business that I would love to open is a garden center or nursery. Marshalls is going to be a leader in indoor tropical houseplants and foliage. We will not only sell the plants but offer landscaping services and free classes to customers on how to maintain the plants that they do have. I have worked in this field my entire life and have seen many businesses of this type come and go for many reasons. I feel that after working in the field for 12 years I have a good grasp on the reasons why people were successful and unsuccessful. This alone will help me dramatically in the formation of the business because I will not make many of the same mistakes that other companies I have worked for made in the past.
The vision that I have for Marshall’s nursery is to have broken even within the first two years of operation and be not only profitable but also the largest nursery in southeastern Michigan. I also want to introduce hundreds of uncommon types of plants to this region for in home growing. Being the biggest importer of tropical orchids and foliage is also very important to the successes of Marshalls. Anyone can sell the basic impatient and marigolds, I would love to go one step above this and show people it is possible to grow tropical and unique plants indoors.
At Marshalls nursery our mission statement for this is simple: We want to sell unique tropical plants to our consumers at fair prices. Our consumer will not only gain the plant when they come into Marshalls but they will also gain knowledge. We will have only people that have experience in the field working hands on with the customers. Marshalls offers “how to” clinics on the weekends and for a small fee will also come out and help you plant whatever is bought at the store. The company will also sell only organic pesticides and fertilizers to consumers to ensure the safety of the environment and families. We will be leaders in the community by not only donating plants but also donating our time to serve the community.
The management style will have to evolve as the company gets bigger over the first 5 years or so. In the first couple years while I build my staff the management style will most likely be autocratic. I personally will be in charge and tell everyone what to do. I believe that you shouldn’t give employees to much say in things till after they have shown not only competency but also built trust with the people they are working with. I believe this is also fair considering that I have sunk all of my self emotionally and financially into the business and I want it ran this way until I at least start profiting. After I have started profiting and have built a good core of employees it will without a doubt turn more in the way of being run permissively. Employees should have the ability to make adjustments and choices in certain situations that may take place within the business. I will also work side by side with my employees. I have a strong belief that you should never tell someone to do something that you wouldn’t want to do yourself.
The company will have a structure that starts with the CEO at the top and then down to two assistant managers. The assistant managers will be the ones that are responsible for all of the handling of cash in the mornings and at night and dealing with serious issues throughout any given day. The next level will be three yard managers. Yard managers are responsible for ensuring that everything is completed in the yard and that all of the plants are looking healthy. The will have the ability to delegate to any of the 10 employees working under them. The basic employee will be hourly and do all of the daily task such as helping customers to their cars and watering all of the plants.
I believe that by setting up Marshalls nursery in this type of management structure it will greatly benefit the company. Everyone will know what the hierarchy is in the company and know who they can go to for help. Many people would say that this is almost a form of micromanagement but it is needed when you have a company with so many different variables. This structure will also utilize all of the employees’ strengths and eliminate tasks that they may be weak in.
Overall, this is just a brief description of the company that I would like to start and how I plan on going about starting it. In weeks to fallow I will slowly build on these values that I have set forth to make for a much stronger company. This is just beginning of the planning. Planning is often the make or break in a company of any type or size. When you own and operate your own business your code of conduct is going to be one of the most important things that you will ever create. This is going to set an ethical standard for how your business will be run and how the employees should act well at work.
This all starts with a core set of values. The Values that Marshalls will use include Honesty, fairness, integrity and using all of these traits to reach the company goals in the near future. All of these things are going to be considered highly, not only in hiring but also keeping a safe and friendly atmosphere for everything.
We will not tolerate any unethical behavior in our business by an level of employee. All documents will be checked by our third party accountant that will ensure that all paperwork is done properly and accurately. Marshalls will have zero tolerance for unethical behavior and will be punished by job termination and involvement with the law if the situation dictates.
Marshalls will be able to work this code of ethics into everyday practice and will not affect how things are run. This is something that we will need to have in order to be a successful business. A marketing plan is interracial to the success of any business. Regardless of size or what you’re trying to sell it’s going to the back bone of profitability. There are many different aspects that go into making a market plan including: market research, SWOT analysis and the 4 P’s of marketing. All of these things are going to add up to a small portion of what is in a thorough marketing plan but all are important in ensuring a successful business. Market research like I explained in the previous paper is going to explain market trends, competitors and environmental factors. All of these can have huge impacts on how well your company is going to do. You should know your market extremely well. You wouldn’t want to put A steak house in the middle of a vegan community and expect it to succeed.
Sometimes however stepping outside the box can be extremely profitable if you can find a niche market that has not been tapped. This is where Marshalls is going to be since were selling tropical plants in a cold climate. A lot of people would say this makes little sense but people in general want what is different for their households and businesses and we can provided that. The first thing that needs to be done when creating a market plan is the 4 p’s of marketing. This is going to include everything that is going to be involved including product, price, place and promotion. All of these things make up what is called the marketing mixes. The marketing mix is the basics of the business without these you would not even have a business. To be successful Marshalls Nursery is going to have to fallow all of these very to be successful. The product that Marshall’s Nursery is going to be offering is an exotic plant nursery.
The plants are going to be from around the world and from many different growers and all have very specific needs. Marshalls will be able to not only sell the plants to the customer but also help them place them in the home where they will flourish. This service will be at an extra charge but to ensure that the plants will do well and produces blooms it will be very helpful. If we can try and get every customer to use our in home care service than it will take the company to a new level of profitability. Price is going to be the most difficult thing for Marshalls. It’s very expensive to ship plants in a heated truck during the winter, but it’s crucial to the success of the business to do so. This will drive the price up a lot. With a lot of the connections with vendors I have made in south Florida I should be able to keep shipping lower. Also teaming up with other stores that are not in close proximity to my store would be another way to order more plants to eliminate shipping costs. The fact that the plants are rare and people will not be able to get them anywhere else is going to make it easier to keep prices a little bit higher.
I strategically picked the location for Marshalls. The area outside of Metro-Detroit is loaded with wealth and the home to over 50 major companies which are potential clients. Also by keeping it in a cold climate we eliminate a lot of competition. The majority of these plants can be bought in warm climates but are nearly impossible to find in Michigan. I have also looked at the growth potential and have found that because of cheap real estate people have been moving to this area quickly. The cheap real-estate also helps because I can afford a better location and building for Marshalls. Promotion is going to be vital to the success of the business. This is going to start with advertising and led directly into the customer service that we give our clients. We are going to do many different types of advertising. This will start with using yellow pages and direct mail. With the yellow pages site we can also hit the internet marketing with a pay per click campaign. This means that we only pay when people click on the ad. Often its five cents per click and you pay depending on how many people click.
We have also been working with a lot of local gardening magazines to advertise to our local customers and let them know we are now in town. We will do a free orchid campaign to the first 500 customers at the store to draw people in. This may cost us a lot at the start but in the long run will get the word out that were open and have a quality location. As a company we will also be performing a SWOT analysis on the business before we start. The advantage to this is that it really shows you where your business is and what needs to be improved on. SWOT consists of four things your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Marshalls Nursery has many strength’s. The first thing that is very evident is that I have worked in this type of business for over 12 years and have seen where other companies have succeeded and failed. With this knowledge I should be able to be proactive and not reactive as much. Stopping a problem from the start is huge advantage.
I also have made a lot of connections in this type of business that will help me with prices and shipping. Majority of the potential weaknesses that I see are things that will be able to be stopped with proper planning. The first thing that I see as a problem is the lack of working capital that has to start the business. I need to have more capital on hand in order for the business to run to its full potential and for me not to put my own lively hood at risk. Also the lack of reliable workers is another thing that will be difficult. When dealing with exotic plants it will be important that my staff is well trained and knows a lot about the plants and how to care for them. Since we will have mostly tropical plants it will be hard to find adequate candidates. Opportunities that Marshalls may have are being the first business in the area to sell this product and offer in home services to go along with it. Also Michigan State University is the United States leading agriculture and horticulture school.
This will help because I can use interns that are studying the field and even get potential job applicants straight out of college. We can also open many different locations down the line if the initial location does well. The biggest threat to the company is going to be the climate in Michigan. If we have an extremely cold winter which has happened several times in the past it’s going to make quality shipping very difficult. Most tropical plants can’t tolerate temperatures under 40 degrees for longer than a couple minutes before getting damaged. Also, if we start doing well it will be very tempting for our competition to start replicating what we are doing. This will be a potential long term threat for the company.
This marketing plan is just the beginning of success for the company. It may be the most important part of the process however, this is going to make or break your company. If we realize not only our successes but also our failures and act on them before they happen than we will be a much better company. Daily operations for a business are going to be the bread and butter of your business. A company is often made profitable on how they are run. This can be anything from giving serving customers to obtaining product from vendors half way across the country. The more streamline, efficient and friendly you are will increase margin and in the long run profitability. Often the company that is around in five years is the ones that have figured out how to have the best daily operations.
Marshall’s nursery is retail and a services business. Making Marshalls not only a retail but service business will make the operations more difficult but also a lot more profitable. Being able to not only offer to sell items to people but also maintain and pot the exotic plants. I will list how general operations will go for the retail side of the business and the service side.
The operations for the store aspect of the business are pretty simple and just like most other retailers. The most important aspect of the business is going to be a good shipping method. We will use heated/cooling trucks that will be able to keep the plants at an exact 75 degrees for the entire tripe to ensure maximum freshness and quality for the customers. Shipping will be very important can have a huge impact on inventory levels and the amount of plants we can carry. We have decided to go a different route than most other nurseries in the area and do all of our own shipping in house. The reason for this is the ability to not only ensure quality but be able to pick select plants and stay in face to face contact with our growers.
Our Growers are going to consist of four different companies. We have selected these companies because they have a great reputation and I also have contacts with them that will get us a lot better deal than going elsewhere. The first company that we are going to use is Costa Nursery. Costa is a large scale nursery selling anything from rare plants to the common marigold. I have dealt with them for over 6 years and love their product. They will provide us with mainly orchids and bromeliads. The second is going to be Florida tree farm, they have a large selection of indoor palms that you cannot buy anywhere else in the country. Dewar’s nursery is going to be our primary rose and citurs fruit dealer. Windmill farms will give us the basic everyday 6 packs that people will buy for their outside landscaping. We will only use windmill farms for the summer months to gain a little bit of extra business to sell outdoor plants.
Now that we have gone over how and where we will get our product the next aspect is how the actual store is going to be set up. The approximate size of the store will be 1500 square feet inside and 1000 square foot outside area for summer plants. The store will be organized by type of plant on both the inside and the outside.
Our staff on any given day will include me and one other manager and at least three other employees to help out the majority of the customers. The store hours will be from 9-7 Mon-Saturday and 10-6 on Sundays. The managers will be the ones that run the registers the majority of the time well the associates help customers find and load what they need into the car. One other responsibility that everyone will have is making sure all of the plants get watered every single day.
Watering is the number one reason the nursery’s have shrink so it will be everyone’s job to do this At the end of every day the managers that close will be responsible for counting down all of the registers and making sure the store is clean and ready for business the following day. These roles can be modified if need be due to call offs or any other issues that may come up. We will also have at least two traveling care takers for homeowners and business owners that will go from place to place and take care of people’s plants. These will also be the individuals that make long distance runs to the nursery’s to pick up product.
Monday will be a very crucial day for the business. The managers will do inventory and decided what we are going to need for the next couple weeks. They will then call it in to the different vendors and set up a Thursday or Friday pick up time. Monday and Tuesday will also be the days that our traveling plant specialists will go to appointments to take care of people’s plants. This will all be going on behind scenes well the store is operating its daily business. Wednesday the plant specialists will leave in two boxes trucks and travel to Florida where they will load up the two trucks and return home before Saturday so that the store can be replenished with merchandise.
Upon returning on Saturday the associates will unload the truck and the managers will do a second check to make sure everything has arrived not only in good shape but also the proper quantities. This seems like a lot of work but it is very important to only have the freshest product for our customers and will also make it so that we can keep prices lower. This will be a typical week at Marshalls. I have found that over my years of managing similar businesses nothing is every set in stone and adjustments will have to be made as we go. This is just a general blueprint for what a week will look like.
We have been looking at the idea of getting several of our products from the Caribbean islands. There are many pros and cons of doing this. The first thing that we noticed was that we were able to get products a lot cheaper per plant but will have to pay almost three times the shipping to get them back to the U.S. The reason that they are so much cheaper is because the labor to grow them is less than half what we pay people in the United States. Countries like Haiti pay people only dollars a day. Many of the growers also do not fallow the laws of the U.S and use pesticides and fertilizers that have been banned. This is especially relevant when trying to ship fruit trees that are going to potentially be consumed by people.
Dealing with the government of some of these other countries is also very difficult because they want to control what is being shipped and often times will confiscate things at the border that they feel is odd. When this happens there is no guarantee that we will ever get what we ordered and can often times result in huge losses. A typical order can range anywhere from 2000 dollars up to 20,000. One lost order can ruin a half of month’s sales. Like any business networking is key in success so by gaining overseas contacts it can greatly increase sales and even potential locations to expand to. We have even looked at opening our own greenhouse and fields in some foreign countries to produce our own plants.
This is just a basic overview of what the operations for Marshalls will look like. Many things will come up that may change how the company will be run. Many factors such as weather and war may dictate what will happen. If we are able to stick to this plan as close as possible we should be profitable within the first two years of being open.
A cash flow analysis is an important part of any business that is planning on succeeding and growing in the future. Marshalls is no different than any other business in that it needs to have an accurate cash flow statement. This will give us a better idea of how the business is doing and where the cash is flowing in the business. It is important as a small business to prepare these documents as frequently as possible. This can be done anywhere from monthly to annually. In this paper we will look at what goes into a cash flow analysis and what some of the benefits are for keeping an accurate cash flow analysis.
The first part of the cash flow statement that you will need to know is the net income. The net income is the total amount of money that will be brought in. This will be a base number with nothing taken out for liabilities or money that was spent. Marshalls had a net income of 545,000 in the first year of doing business.
Operating activities is the first thing that needs to be analyzed for a cash flow analysis. This will include anything that will produce direct revenue or any of the costs that may come up when producing a good or a service. When looking at what might cause cash inflow, you would consider thing like customer sales from primary products. For Marshalls this would be anything that we would sell to the public. The main out flows that we will have to consider for operating activities would be paying suppliers and employee payrolls. The money that will go out to our suppliers will be around 100,000 and our payroll for the year will be around 300,000 all together for our employees.
Investing activities is the next area of that we will look at when making a cash flow analysis. This will be higher for the first year because of the property that we will be buying. This is a noncurrent asset that will generate a lot of money for us over time. The property is we bought is 200,000 and will only have to be deducted for the first year of the cash flow statement. Equipment for the company is also in this category because over time we will make money from this. The total cost of this is going to be 20,000.
Financing activates is the final area on the cash flow analysis that Marshalls will have to take into consideration. This area will be anything from having to barrow money for new equipment to using cash to pay off a property loan. Marshalls will have to be making payments on equipment and also on the cost of the mortgage for the building that they will be located in.
There are many benefits to preforming a cash flow analysis and is necessary for any size business. The first thing that we need to consider is that this is the final report that is prepared. This means that it takes into account everything that was in the other financial statements. This statement will show accountability and validity of all the other kinds of statements. This is a great way to analyze how healthy a business is when you are considering doing business with them or investing with them. This report will also make the company a lot more credible when trying to entice investors and other financing.
Many problems will arise if this report is not done properly and in a timely manner. Cash flow statements are the overall performance of your business and by not knowing where you’re sitting it can have terrible future implications. Including, overspending and not being credible to potential investors.
Information technology can be a make or break of a business. It can not only save the company a lot of money but also at the same time protect valuable information. This information can include anything from business account numbers, customer information, vendor lists and product margins. All of this is going to be information that you would not want to lose or get stolen by potential competitors. The first thing that we are going to look at is going to be types of hardware that we will be using at Marshalls to make it as safe and user friendly as possible.
The hardware that we are going to be using for this business is going to be pretty simple because of the nature of the business. We will have two computers that will be for ordering information and managing the website online. These computers will also field all email questions by customers from the website. We will also have a laptop for the delivery guys to use to make sure that all of the products they are picking up are correct and for lite personal use on two and three day trips. In the office there is a multipurpose printer that has the ability to copy, fax and print. To stay up with the times we have decided to also integrate two I-pads into our company to take credit card sales on the spot and make answering questions easier for the customer.
Software is going to be an area where we will not need to spend a lot of money to start out. I figure that we will get QuickBooks to do our accounting and the Microsoft office suite to do the majority of the other features. In office suite there is a program that is called accesses and will build a database of customers and we will use that heavily for direct mail and contacting potential customers over time. The one area that we will not skimp in is anti-virus protection the reason that I say this is because it is going to be important to protect all of our information.
Marshalls is going to use email very heavily for their business not only to stay in touch with customers but also to order product and keep in contact with the delivery people that are on the road 3 days a week. Marshalls Email is [email protected], the reason that we decided on this email is because people will easily be able to distinguish us when looking through their emails. We also used Google as our home for our email because it is not only free but can hold the most amount of emails.
We will have a basic network that will link all of our electronic devices to the main desktop PC in the manager’s office. All important documents will then be stored in external hard drives as well as on the device that it was transferred from. This will ensure that we will never have an issue where we lose paper work or information that we will need at a later time. For the laptop and I-pads we will have wireless internet at the store and the ability to have AT&T 3g for the laptop on the road.
Our website is going to be very simple in design with a basic landing page that will search engine optimized to increase relevance and raise our spot on search engine pages. The page will have a spot where customers can get basic information and see approximate in store quantities. The main concern for www.Marshallstropical.com is going to be that due to the ability to order, schedule appointments and get plant information on our site it will have high volume of people at the site at any time making it slow if not shutting it down.
This concern for heavy usage on the website has made Marshalls staff decided to implement cloud technology. Cloud technology is a somewhat new technology that eliminates the need for multiple servers. This alone is going to save you a ton of money in basic server costs. Normally a server is going to have to have a host and you will be charged no matter how much you actually use it. You also will have to buy more servers as the site gains popularity or it will slow down dramatically. Customers hate not being able to streamline across a site and will often not even consider a site that is not in fast working order.
What cloud technology will do for us is not only eliminate the need for servers but also increase our scalability. Meaning the site will be able to handle more people when needed and scale back down when traffic is slower. This makes it very convenient because you never have to worry about your site being slow due to high traffic and potentially losing sales. Cloud technology is also a performance based asset. The reason I say this is because you are only really paying for it when people are using it. This being said when people are looking at your website that is creating leads and the potential for customers so you are really only paying when it’s being used. This can all be done from one computer and is a very simple. With the little bit of time I will have on my hands running the business simple is better.
This is just the start to what we can do with information technology in our business. Since we are so small we will be able to run lite in this area for a while. When we start to get bigger and open up new locations the need for information technology expansion will be needed. The most important thing overall is our security and the ability to protect our information yet stay streamlined for the customer’s needs.
Management in any business is going to be an important factor. A business that is not ran properly will often times not be around for more than a couple years. Poor management will affect customer satisfaction as well as employee satisfaction. It is often a trickledown effect with an end result of customers not wanting to shop at that place of business and the business not being able to hire potential qualified candidates.
At Marshall’s nursery we will have four managers that will run the business. One of the managers is going to be the owner and will have the final say in any issues that may arise. This is going to be somewhat of an autocratic management style but since the owner has the final say. I feel that I should have the final say on this because it I am solely taking the entire financial risk in the business. Not only am I taking the entire risk but I also have more experience running the business than any of the other managers that are fresh out of college. Marshalls will also have an offsite accountant that will be responsible for the weekly reports and making sure all the books are kept up to date and correct. We also have the ability to bring in outside consultants that will help train our employees about the different types of plants and plant care.
All of the employees at Marshalls will have to be team players, when you are running a large business with a staff of 12. Employees will have to learn how to work together in order to get everything accomplished that needs to be done. I stated that it was going to be an autocratic work place for the first couple years but I hope to move more to a democratic type of management style when we get established. I want all of the managers to have a say in how the business is run and implement things that they feel is going to help the business out over time. Only fallowing ones persons ideas and direction will eventually hinder its ability to grow into a unique business.
Communication at Marshalls is going to be very important because of the nature of the business. We will be running three different shifts that will only overlap by a couple of hours. Since the overlap is so little, we will have to utilize emails, texts and interpersonal communication in order to get our daily business done. Information that is business sensitive will only be available to the managers and accountant. Many things over the course of any given day will have to communicate. Some of these things will be watering logs, work lists and schedule changes. All of this information will be emailed to each employee.
Organizational culture is how the employees interact with each other with in an organization. An organization can be defined as anything that a group may partake in. Organizational culture can be how people interact with each other and their beliefs, habits, values, visions, norms and many others. Since it is very hard to match people up that have the exact same traits we will have to ensure that here at Marshalls we will have to do the best we can in the interview process to get a good mesh of people. No business can handle people bickering and fighting every single day.
In the event that a labor strike were to happen in the middle of my peak season it would very difficult to keep my plants supplies up. The first thing that I would need to do is find out what I have exactly on hand and figure out how long mu current inventory would last. After figuring out my current inventory I would then have to start shopping around for the next best suppliers that have similar prices and adjust my prices accordingly. I would probably have to bring on a couple seasonal drivers so that I could utilize several different vendors for the season and keep the orders coming.
Competition in this business is already fierce and I have found a niche market. If more of the same types of businesses pop up around me. The first thing I will have to do is get a hold of my suppliers and let them know that if they want me to keep ordering than they will not supply to any of the surrounding areas. This may seem harsh but they will understand since I have done business with them longer and most likely am ordering bigger quantities. After doing that I would have to scope out the competition and see if they are similarly priced to me. Slight adjustment in prices may be needed to ensure that we are the best priced place in town. This will also have to be monitored closely over time to make sure that we stay the cheapest.
Laying off employees is never an easy thing to do especially when you have built a tight group like we have at Marshalls. The lingering affect can be the worst part of a large scale layoff. The most important thing that you have to do is ensure the people that do still work for you that their jobs are safe and they don’t have to worry every day about losing their jobs. After you have reassured them of that I would then offer them the ability to have a couple extra days off when needed to cut payroll and let them know that you will be able to work around their schedules better. This may seem crazy considering you just laid employees off but it’s an easy way to shed parole and give a small morale booster to the current employees.
Managing a small business is not an easy thing to do. Often times it can be stressful, sad, fun and overwhelming. The monetary payouts and the feeling of success within the business can often times make the job very desirable. You will come across millions of different customers and situations over the course of your carrier, some easy and some hard but in the end all gratifying.
Wilkinson, M. (2009). Small is good. Charter, 80(11), 23-25. Retrieved from
Business Source Complete Database. http://www.quickmba.com/marketing/research/
Intuit, Inc. (2008, June). Intuit, Inc. SWOT Analysis. 1-10. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database. http://www.inc.com/guides/201107/how-to-write-an-operational-plan-for-your-small-business.html Wooldridge, J. (2008). When outsourcing finance and business operations makes sense. Associations Now, 4(10), 16-17. Refrences:
Dibrell, C., Davis, P., & Craig, J. (2008). Fueling innovation through information technology in SMEs. Journal of Small Business Management, 46(2), 203-218. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJncFirhjPg