You are required to submit an Individual Reflective Report, based on your experience working in a Group Business Plan.
This is reflective report on the business plan developed for the Green Concept Company. The report is concerned with sharing my experience at different stages of business plan development. The first section of the reflection report summarizes the overall context of the business plan including the features of the business idea and how it was developed. The next section is based on the process of ideation which details on how I came up with the idea and the possible alternatives. The section on Team Work details on the various contributions made by team members and the way I contributed to the team. The section on presentation experience brings out my experience regarding presenting the business plan to the panel and the things I learned from that. The section on alternative scenario takes a critical look on the alternative scenarios of the predictions made in the business plan.
Summary of Group’s Business Idea
The researchers have identified that there are some key aspects of business plan that should be in it to make it a success. The first aspect is regarding the fitment of the plan according to the business need (Simon-Moya & Revuelto-Taboada, 2016). As per our business plan is concerned with fulfilling the need of the healthy food market and which is the need of the hour as the customers are orienting towards such food habits. The second important aspect that has been identified is the presence of realism in the business plan (Barringer, 2012). The business plan should be realistic and should have the capability of being implemented. There is no point in developing world class business plan that cannot be implemented. The current business plan is implementable to some extent, provided the partners (six owners) are willing to invest HK$260,000 which seems less realistic. The third important aspect is that the implementation of the plan should be tracked against the developed plan (Mullins, 2012). If the implementation is not tracked then it will be difficult for the owners to understand whether the plan will ever reach fruition. The current business plan lacks proper timeline scheduling for the implementation. However, there is information given in the plan that can be brought together for the implementation tracking. Another important aspect is the identification of the responsible individuals for the implementation (Brinckmann et al, 2015). The current plan does discuss the six owners and their experience in handling such business. However it fails to define who will handle which task of implementation. Therefore, it can be stated that presence of enough information to play with is the strengths of the current business plan. However, the failure to clearly identify some of the aspects mentioned above is the weakness. The strength of the company is its flexibility and self-serving. The weakness is inability to take food on credit. The opportunity is that the consumers prefer healthy diets more nowadays and ingredient cost can be cheaper especially those brought from china. It will help make cost effective product in comparison to competitors. The trend of rental shop may go high and minimum wage issues are some of the possible threats.
Process of Idea Initiation
There are no suitable mathematical steps to come up with any idea (Human et al, 2015). It came in my mind out of nowhere. But there were several ideas that came in my mind in which the selection of the current one was done. The former process (coming up with ideas) was abrupt and without any conscious effort. However, the latter process was a conscious effort to toy with the various ideas to come up with the most suitable one. The other ideas that came in my mind were opening a smartphone business, clothes trading, and website development. My proposal of these ideas to my team members was followed by scrutinizing the possibility of these ideas along with the selected one. After some background research, it was identified that the opening a smartphone business is not feasible due to involvement of huge investment in it (Steinberg et al, 2015). The ‘apparel trading business’ was not an attractive option due to continuously changing lifestyles that was expected to impact the merchandising (Kunz and Garner, 2016). The final idea of selling healthy food to the customers stayed with us considering the changing orientation of the society towards the healthy eating habits (Willet and Stampfer, 2013). The learning I gained from this process is that the selection of an option from various alternatives is a daunting but a very useful task that must be considered prior to development of any business plan.
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The team formation generally goes through five stages, namely, forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Tuckman, 2012). Our team went through the same stages while moving ahead with the project development. In the forming stage we were enthusiastic about the project and also anxious about who will perform what part of the task. Our team leader came forward to solve the confusion by dividing the tasks to each individual which was a commendable step from the leader’s side (Schaubroeck et al, 2016). We successfully crossed the forming stage and stepped into the storming stage where we rarely faced any challenge as we knew what we were supposed to do and we did without interfering in working styles of other team member. Therefore, this was not a challenging step for us as it generally supposed by the researchers (Wright, 2013). May be the reason behind it was our project size and enough clarity at the first stage. We rarely required to conflict even at the norming stage. I can state that I did even realize that when this stage passed as we knew each other for long and there were no questions of any type of conflict or difference resolution. The success of the previous three stages helped us get ahead with the performing stage and completed the task successfully and finally out team disbanded after the completion of the project. The responsibility of the crew was to ensure that the orders given by the shop managers are followed effectively. Moreover, daily operations are also required to be maintained along with providing customer services.
It is important to present the business plan instead of only submission of the paper documents. The reason is ‘persuasion’ (Short et al, 2013). The major goals behind the preparation of business plan and submission to the panels is to receive good grades (at university level) or appropriate funding (in real world scenario) which can only be achieved if the panel is persuaded to do so (Macfarlane and Ottewill, 2013). Moreover, panels do not have enough time to spend behind reading hundreds of pages of business plan. Therefore, a five to ten minute presentation becomes a key tool in communicating the key idea behind the business plan and persuading the panel to receive what is expected by the presenter. As per our business plan presentation was concerned, I believe I succeeded to some extent in giving persuasive presentation. However, there were many other areas that required improvements. There are four key areas in a presentation, namely, content, design, structure, and delivery (Masuchika, 2015). Our content was picked from the presentation and was coherent to some extent which leads to the second aspect that is structure. The relevancy and coherency were the two aspects I found in my team’s presentation which I appreciate. My team lacked on overall design and delivery of the content, which should have been improved further. The learning from this activity is that in the end achieving the results is most important using the four tools mentioned above and focus should distributed on all these aspects instead of any particular one.
The current plan has no alternative growth plan. The inclusion of alternate scenarios is important as it opens up the opportunities for the implementers and reduces the uncertainty of the business plan (De Reuver et al, 2013). Moreover, the alternative scenarios instill confidence in the implementer that there are some backups if one aspect seems dwindling due to unidentified risks ahead. The current business plan is too optimistic with less consideration of the challenges that can be faced during the implementation. The reason behind such optimism can be lack of enough market research or understanding that the people are orienting towards healthy foods and the business is bound to grow. The inclusion of alternative scenarios requires further research and it should have been in the report to increase the certainty of the plan.
In the end, it can be stated that the overall development of the business plan, report and presentation was good with some aspects that need improvements. It was an appreciable learning experience for me and I expect to incorporate the learning from this activity into my future modules.
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