I have included the paper that has been written up to this point as a guide. The sections that need to be continued have been highlighted, which is also included in the Assignment Instructions document.
This Assignment will help you define who your customers are (and specificity is the key to success here), define why your company has a competitive advantage over others to attract and retain your customer base, and research regulations you will need to understand to get started as well as to maintain your enterprise.
3.3: Competitors (from business plan outline in course resources)
3.4 Competitive advantage
The below questions are not on the business template but need to addressed for the assignment.
Sweet Treat Stores (STS) is a family and homemade retail business based in Newnan, Georgia, USA. STS stores will be located strategically in areas such as schools, large shopping malls vehicular traffic, and central business areas. STS will specialize in a wide range of homemade cookies made from home comfort and not a factory with fresh, locally sourced, and high-quality ingredients. Cookies are the perfect size treat to share and are easy to make, sell, and purchase among customers. STS will focus majorly on cookies as they serve numerous purposes, such as providing a diverse target market. The business’s goal is to deliver happiness, sweetness, and Mom’s kitchen memories in a small package. This will offer customers a second home and a sense of belonging as they enjoy the fresh homemade experience and satisfaction. Products to be offered will include homemade molded, dropped, rolled, and pressed cookies, both conventional and healthy cookies with low sugars and calories.
The targeted market involves a diverse customer base characterized by demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and geographic segments (Gichuru & Limiri, 2017). Selling cookies provides an opportunity to exploit a diverse customer base, as they are great for family purchase, individual purchase, corporate functions, and gifting purposes. STS will provide indoor and outdoor services, whereby sales will be conducted in the brick and mortar store and distribute others to corporate customers. The business would also focus on partnering with local businesses to sell products to its customers, hence enhancing local presence. STS will also focus on collaborating with local businesses to sell their treats to consumers, improving local customer responsiveness, and increasing brand recognition. Moreover, a mobile application and website will be developed to provide e-services and easy ordering. The table below summarizes salient segmentation features.
(Clifford & Warner, 2017)
STS’s primary goal is to be recognized nationally and locally, become the most reliable and trusted brand, and the number one choice for residents in North America while providing the best cookies that create a second home experience for customers. STS is set to redefine the Cookies market and industry by creating unique products and services that differentiate and compete firmly. This will be acquired by using the best locally sourced raw and quality ingredients and friendly service. More importantly, STS aims to deliver happiness, sweetness, and Mom’s kitchen memories in a small package. STS will provide a second home where customers can enjoy consuming fresh and healthy cookies while also gifting friends and healthcare workers, to mention a few, to put a smile and incite joyful memories among consumers.
To be a nationally recognized brand and offer the best cookie experience in North America.
To use the best locally sourced raw and quality ingredients, and friendly service to provide the ultimate cookie experience worthy of returning and recommending.
2.2 Principal Members at Startup (In Unit 7 you will expand on this section to include medium and long term personnel plans for all team members, including the line staff.)
The success of businesses requires a strong foundation, requiring an integration of the most appropriate business structure. STS is set to compete favorably with leading companies such as Little Debbie, Nabisco Oreo, and Insomnia Cookies. Hence, the business will dedicate much investment in the workforce, hiring based on talent, passion, experience, skills, suitability, competence, and academics. A team of 13 employees will run STS, 6 top executives, and 7 staff, as seen in the table below.
2.2.2 Team Planning
|Leaders/managers (unit 1)||When needed (number of months/years after opening)||Responsibilities||Outside Services Needed|
|CEO, (Owner)||Full time||Creating, communicating, providing directions, and implementing corporate mission and vision||In house|
|Human Resource Manager||Full time||Overseeing smooth running regarding HR issues and enhancing the business’ reputation||In house|
|Administration Manager||Full time||Overseeing smooth running regarding administrative issues||In house|
|Chief Financial Officer (Accountant)||Full time||Preparing financial reports, statements, and budgets of the business||In house|
|Sales, Communication, and Marketing Manager||Full time||Marketing and promoting the products and business||In house|
|Merchandise Manager||Full time||Ensures proper record keeping and material storage among vendors and quality consistence||Third-party suppliers|
|Add line staff (Unit 7)|
STS business will operate as a partnership of three individuals from the family, as a family-owned business. Profits and losses will be shared equally among the three partners, with unlimited personal liability and joint liability for partnership obligations. A partnership is easy to create, maintain, and register due to minimal and less expensive registration requirements and startup capital sharing since each partner contributes (Clifford & Warner, 2017).
3.1 Industry (from SBA, Business Guides by Industry, and Bureau of Labor Statistics)
3.1.1 Industry Description
The Global Cookie Industry keeps growing in terms of market size, share, compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), and revenue. The value of the cookie market as of 2018 was $30.62 billion (MarketWatch, 2020), with an expansion and growth estimate of 7.37% CAGR within 2020-2025, as illustrated in Figure 1 (Mordor Intelligence, 2020). The growth and expanded market share are perceived through the increasing market competitors such as the cafés that have boosted the cookie industry and market globally as they offer accompaniments such as hot beverages (tea and coffee). Increasing market trends include market players enticing consumers with unique and new cookie flavors as well as innovative packaging to maximize their competitive advantages. Moreover, the shift among many people into healthy lifestyles provides market players such as STS business an opportunity to provide healthy cookies with fresh, locally sourced ingredients while maintaining low sugars, gluten-free, low calories, high fibers, and low carbs cookie types (Mordor Intelligence, 2020).
This provides an advantage, as the health-conscious consumer market is growing steadily, and the need for homemade cookies that feel like a second home within the first bite will equally rise. The increase in income among people and the overall economic improvement are factors behind the rising trend and demand for cookies with the younger population and generation increasingly inclined towards the high demand and purchase of cookies.
Figure 1: Summary (Mordor Intelligence, 2020)
The global cookie market is segmented into the types, packaging, and distribution channel (online and brick and mortar) segments. Sweet Treat Stores (STS) inclines within the type segment specializing in a broad range of homemade cookies. Key players and competitors in the cookie industry include Mondelēz International, Private Label, and Kellogg as illustrated in Figure2 below (Mordor Intelligence, 2020). These companies rely on diverse and unique cookie flavors, formats, and innovative packaging to maintain competitiveness. STS expounds on the quality and flavors of homemade cookies, each cookie type focusing and aligning with the target market. The growth and expansion of STS domestically (within North America) integrates a national strategy, whereby products are localized depending on target audience and needs. Distribution channels include both online and brick and mortar stores to accommodate all possible customers in this digitalized and technologically advanced era. Services provided to customers include both indoor and outdoor services to share and deliver happiness and sweetness at the comfort of their homes through the website, and mobile application developed. This maximizes local responsiveness and enhances competitive advantage.
Figure 2: Competitor Market Share
Target Customer Analysis
Target customer analysis involves studying the potential customer and market niche that business targets to sell products and provide services. Having the knowledge of potential customers including their age, income, gender, personality, and purchase behavior helps STS tailor its products and marketing strategies that communicate the appropriate message regarding various cookies to specific target audiences. STS categorizes its market into four segments: demographic segment, psychographic segment, geographic segment, and behavioral segment (Gichuru & Limiri, 2017). Overly, STS targets individuals, families, corporate workers (executives, employees, for corporate functions), and people seeking to bestow a cookie package upon their loved ones. The table below outlines the essential aspects of the target customers.
3.2.1 Resources used
|Demographic Segment||Psychographic Segment||Behavioral Segment||Geographic Segment|
|1. Age, gender – all ranging from children to teenagers, students, and adults
2. Education –all levels of education, but mostly medium to high-income levels
3. Family size– all family sizes
4. Occupation – Lives in the neighborhood but will expand as the business grows
-Corporate customers in the companies around
-Working-class and students
|1. Lifestyle– Customers seeking a healthy lifestyle (low sugars and calories, gluten-free, high fibers, and low carbs)
2. Personality, Values, opinion, and interests– Customers with interests in Family and Corporate functions and gifting services
|Purchase behavior and Consumption– Customers with high spending and purchasing habits such as students, parents for their children, and working people in offices with busy schedules
|Location – Customers within the USA and the neighborhood, which will expand as the business grows|
3.2 Customers (from SBA site fill in worksheet, then use text for spreadsheets and follow-up explanations)
Add SBA part here:
Then, fill in spreadsheet using this example from the text:
|Income:||Fixed||Income:||Medium to high|
|Sex:||Female||Sex:||Male or Female|
|Family:||Children living at home||Family:||0 to 2 children|
|Attitude:||Security minded||Attitude:||Security minded, energy conscious|
|Income:||High or fixed||Income:||Fixed|
|Sex:||Male or Female||Sex:||Male or Female|
|Family:||Empty nest||Family:||Empty nest|
|Occupation:||White-collar or retired||Occupation:||Retired|
|Attitude:||Security minded, energy conscious||Attitude:||Security minded, energy conscious|
Explain who you are targeting and where they are located. Insert information here using these guidelines:
Information About Your Target Market – Narrow your target market to a manageable size. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to appeal to too many target markets. Research and include the following information about your market:
Distinguishing characteristics – What are the critical needs of your potential customers? Are those needs being met? What are the demographics of the group and where are they located? Are there any seasonal or cyclical purchasing trends that may impact your business?
Size of the primary target market – In addition to the size of your market, what data can you include about the annual purchases your market makes in your industry? What is the forecasted market growth for this group? For more information, see the market research guide for tips and free government resources that can help you build a market profile.
How much market share can you gain? – What is the market share percentage and number of customers you expect to obtain in a defined geographic area? Explain the logic behind your calculation.
3.3 Competitors (from SBA site fill in worksheet, then use text for spreadsheets and follow-up explanation)
As a neighborhood cookie business, STS operates in a competitive environment and market due to ‘cash cow’ companies within the location and industry. Within the locations where the business develops branded kiosks and operates, other famous brands and subsidiaries such as the Nabisco Oreo (Mondelēz International) and Insomnia Cookies exist (Mordor Intelligence, 2020). These companies form the largest competition force for STS. Mondelēz International holds the largest market share, with a strong local presence and brand reputation. This translates into a more extensive customer base of loyal customers as it also develops mindful snacks/cookies that meet a variety of customer needs. However, looking specifically at Oreo, the cookies are more expensive, are package in small amounts, and are considered an unhealthy snack and option for manyInvalid source specified.. This provides a window of opportunity to provide well-priced and healthy cookies that instigate “Mom’s Kitchen Memories,” hence maximizing customer experience and satisfaction as their second home. Insomnia Cookies Inc. also has a wide local presence targeting 18-25-year-old customers, employees, and business professionals. This company directly targets a primary customer niche, including corporate professionals and employees, presenting a high competition level. It also operates throughout even during the nights, which is a unique and differentiating strengthInvalid source specified.. However, Insomnia Cookies highly targets students and has similarly higher prices for its cookies.
Possible entry barrier identified is the high investment costs and starting capital required to compete with these large, well-positioned, and locally famous cookie brands and stores. Besides, in the neighborhood, Coffee shops, shopping malls, and candy stores present an indirect and secondary competition for STS, a homemade retail cookie business. However, opportunities identified are present in the pricing, strategic location of stores, marketing, and differentiation with healthy and homemade cookies. The competitors do not offer a comprehensive threat to the target customers, hence presenting an opportunity to capitalize. The table below summarizes the level of competition for STS.
|Estimated Market Share||Nabisco Oreo (Mondelēz International) 70%||Insomnia Cookies 30%|
|Ease of Use||4||4|
|On Time Capability||4||4|
Write an explanation of your findings using information from the spreadsheet using these guidelines:
Read: Sustainable competitive advantage or temporary competitive advantage: Improving understanding of an important strategy construct.
STS prides itself and aims to be the largest, famous, and most preferred cookie choice in Location, State, and the USA. Hence, it integrates a hybrid cost leadership-and-differentiation generic competitive strategyInvalid source specified.. The largest customer niche in STS includes employees, corporate professionals, and older customers. The lifestyle changes and preference of healthier cookies are prevalent among people in the 35 years old plus age bracket. Other companies have either low production of healthier cookies or have them at higher prices; hence, STS prices its cookies at a near (lower than competitors) average market price that is affordable to customers in all socioeconomic status levels, for retailing and wholesales. This hybrid strategy provides customers an opportunity to purchase high-quality cookies made from high quality, local, and fresh ingredients at lower prices. Cost leadership requires low operation costs, which STS attains by creating lean (just-in-time) production techniques and integrating technology in production for efficiency. Differentiation is acquired through high-quality products that resonate with the local’s known ingredients, different flavors, integrating an amicable and welfare packaging system, and corporate packages to ensure timely delivery for wholesale and personalized requests. The marketing strategy will be developed and tailored to fit each target market, using a different marketing and promotional strategies in broadcast, print, and social media with high content marketing. For instance, the marketing message, content, and visuals targeting families will differ from corporate professionals and employees’ corporate message. However, in all messages, the second home feeling and emotions of “Mom’s Kitchen Memories” are captured creating and maximizing sustainable competitive advantageInvalid source specified..
3.5 Regulation (use SBA site to fill in blanks, and use SBA regulations as a resource)
The business operations and activities of STS conform and comply with the food-processing sector. Therefore, STS takes note of all FDA regulations acquiring necessary legal working licenses and permits. These include the facility registration process and permits to operate. More importantly, health permits from the local health and state departments should be acquired for legal identification and proof of healthy standards, processes, ingredients, and fit for human consumptionInvalid source specified..
4.1 Product or Service
5.1 Growth Strategy
After you have developed a comprehensive marketing strategy, you can then define your sales strategy. This covers how you plan to actually sell your product.
5.2 Your overall sales strategy should include two primary elements:
5.3.1 Internet Strategy (from the text)
5.3.1 Tracking ROI form website
5.3.2 Discuss how you will assure ethical practices are being used in your marketing and selling.
6.1 Profit & Loss
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Salary (Office & Overhead)|
|Payroll (taxes, etc.)|
|Supplies (Office & Operation)|
|Repairs & Maintenance|
|Car, Delivery & Travel|
|Accounting & Legal|
|Taxes (Real Estate, etc.)|
|NET PROFIT BEFORE TAXES||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
NET PROFIT AFTER TAX
ADJUSTED TO RETAINED
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Cash on Hand|
|Collections from CR Accounts|
|TOTAL CASH RECEIPTS|
|TOTAL CASH AVAILABLE|
CASH PAID OUT
|Repairs & Maintenance|
|Car, Delivery & Travel|
|Accounting & Legal|
|Taxes (Real Estate, etc.)|
|Loan Principal Payment|
|Other Startup Costs|
|Reserve and/or Escrow|
|TOTAL CASH PAID OUT|
|Assets||Start Date:||End Date:|
|Cash in Bank|
|Other Current Assets|
|TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS|
|Machinery & Equipment|
|Furniture & Fixtures|
|Land & Buildings|
|Other Fixed Assets|
|TOTAL FIXED ASSETS
(net of depreciation)
|TOTAL OTHER ASSETS|
|Liabilities & Equity||Start Date||End Date|
|Notes, Short Term (due in 12 months)|
|Current Part, Long-Term Debt|
|TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES|
LONG TERM DEBT
|Bank Loans Payable|
|Notes Payable to Stockholders|
|LESS: Short-Term Portion|
|Other Long-Term Debt|
|TOTAL LONG-TERM DEBT|
|TOTAL OWNERS EQUITY|
|TOTAL LIABILITIES & EQUITY|
|DIRECT COSTS||Fixed Costs ($)||Variable Costs (%)|
|Cost of Goods Sold|
|Repairs & Maintenance|
|Car, Delivery & Travel|
|Total Fixed Costs|
|Total Variable Costs|
|BREAK-EVEN SALES LEVEL:|
6.5 Financial Assumptions
6.5.1 Assumptions for Profit and Loss Projections
6.5.2 Assumptions for Cash Flow Analysis
Clifford, D., & Warner, R. J. (2017). Form a Partnership: The Complete Legal Guide. Berkeley: Nolo.
Gichuru, M. J., & Limiri, E. K. (2017). MARKET SEGMENTATION AS A STRATEGY FOR CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND RETENTION. International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management, Vol V(12), pp: 544-553. http://ijecm.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/51231.pdf.
MarketWatch. (2020, July 15). Global Cookies Market Top Countries Data 2020 Analysis by Industry Trends, Size, Share, Company Overview, Growth, Development and Forecast by By 360 Market Updates. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/global-cookies-market-top-countries-data-2020-analysis-by-industry-trends-size-share-company-overview-growth-development-and-forecast-by-by-360-market-updates-2020-07-15
Mordor Intelligence. (2020). COOKIES MARKET – GROWTH, TRENDS, AND FORECAST (2020 – 2025). Retrieved from https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/cookies-market
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