Expanding ABC Pet Store
ABC Pet Store: Expanding Store Operations
to Gain Competitive Market Advantage
ABC Pet Store is a fairly small business operated by one full owner and a supporting staff of three individuals. Having been in operation for several years, ABC Pet Store has been able to develop and maintain a remarkably loyal client base through its providing of high quality pet grooming services along with the sale of pet food, supplies, and grooming accessories. ABC Pet Store credits its loyal customer base to its ability to provide high quality products at reasonable prices all the while asserting that customer service remain a top priority. Though its present business model has proved successful, the ABC staff is looking to expand its store operations in order to gain a competitive market advantage in its region.
Research Question and Objectives
In order to begin expansion, ABC has geared its focus to one main research question: how can current business practices be improved or expanded upon in order to bring business to the optimal level of performance? In focusing on this question, several objectives have been put into place to take business to the next level of performance. In order to expand successfully, ABC must: establish a road map for expansion, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current operation, discover tactics for overselling competitors in the same business district, identify the opportunity for high-growth customer segments, and evaluate the market context of ABC Pet Store.
ABC plans to begin the aforementioned steps toward expansion by setting itself apart from the competition by differentiating itself from other pet stores in the area by implementing obedience training for both dog and owner, increasing word of mouth with promotion and a new marketing campaign, and providing continued training and education for its staff, focusing on both customer service and grooming skills.
In order to begin the process of expansion, ABC plans to utilize the practice of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) a widely-used strategy for managing a company’s relationship and interactions with customers, clients and prospective sales groups. CRM uses technology in order to organize business operations systems but looks further than sales activities into marketing, customer service, and technical support — all of which ABC is looking to streamline and focus on. ABC will utilize the research methods provided in CRM, including the overall goals to “find attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service” (Gartner, Incorporated. 2009). Further, CRM boasts the possibility of “long-term survival” when implemented within a growing company (Brooksbank, Kane, & Kirby 2009).
Notes that the use of a CRM system will “confer several advantages into a company” including: quality and efficiency, decrease in overall costs, decision support, enterprise agility, and customer attention (Hoegh 303). By utilizing this system, ABC will be able to look inwardly at its dealings with current customers in order to more successfully anticipate how to deal with new clients once they are brought in. ABC will have to undertake some costs in order to implement an operational CRM system into its location, but in doing so ABC hopes to see “increases in revenue, higher rates of client satisfaction, and significant savings in operating costs” (Whittemore 2001). Author Lior Arussy notes, “Proponents emphasize that technology should be implemented only in the context of careful strategic and operational planning” (Arussy 2005) which ABC has done in laying out its plan for company expansion.
With the implementation of CRM, ABC Pet Store will be able to both expand and retain customers, which is vital in order to increase both size and revenue for the company. In addition to CRM, ABC will utilize value chain analysis which focuses on achieving the ability to “offer the customer a level of value that exceeds the cost of the activities, thereby resulting in a profit margin (Porter 1996).” A recent COPLA Global article notes that value chain analysis is a “three-step process” including activity analysis, which identifies the activities a company undertakes to deliver its product or service; value analysis, which identifies what can be done to add the greatest value for the customer; and evaluation and planning, which evaluates whether it is worth making the internal changes to the company and then applying a plan of action (Keane & Mitchell 2009).
Value chain analysis also combines “internal data about the firm’s capabilities with external information about the competitive environment in a manner designed to guide resource allocation,” (Hergert and Morris 2006) which is ideal in weighing expansion as a whole process rather than a disjointed one of looking internally and then looking externally at the market.
Both CRM and value chain analysis will allow ABC Pet Store to secure many of its laid-out expansion goals such as establishing a road map for expansion, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current operation, discover tactics for overselling competitors in the same business district, identify the opportunity for high-growth customer segments, and evaluate the market context of ABC Pet Store. By using the tool of high customer value for low company expense indicated by the value chain, tactics as simple as employee training and education, which will prove minimally expensive will provide maximum profit when ABC is able to implement its plan for dog and owner obedience training, which is not found in competitors stores.
Timescale and Resources
The exact time it takes for business expansion is heavily dependent upon the resources available to a company along with the degree to which the expansion plan is executed and an accounting for set-backs that may be inevitable. In looking at a timeline for expansion, financial support of the expansion is key. San Joaquin Delta College Small Business Development Center notes that there are a number of ways to finance expansion including “family, friends, relatives, and helpful information available from Certified Development Companies (CDCs), Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) who specialize in small business loans.” (SJ Delta College 1999).
A recent article highlighting worldwide economic downturn notes that small business expansion might be easier than one would think:
“While some small businesses struggle to stay open during the recession, others have found opportunities to expand. Some said the recession made real estate more affordable and easy to find, while others say they couldn’t let the recession stall their growth plans. Nationally, loan guarantee programs are helping small-business owners expand” (Bergstrom 2009).
In viewing this information it can be noted that the available resources for successful small business expansion are out there and readily available to the small business owner. In utilizing these resources, there is no reason that ABC Pet Store cannot take their planned business model and successfully expand within a year with the appropriate research and development of new customer services within the company.
With the application of the aforementioned proposal of research methods, objectives, and resources, ABC Pet Store should see successful profits within its first year of expanded operation.
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