Case study STEVEN BELKIN INFORMATION BACKGROUND Steven B. Belkin a young self confident man started his business activities already in his earliest years. During his MBA education program he started with other 4 graduating students a consulting company, named Innovative Management. They could find a financial backer who provided them the business sources. The company was going on well, as some other students had to be hired in order to accomplish all consulting activities. A year after Belkin's graduation the company was thought to be sold and Steven decided to leave.
Frank Rodgers, the original investor in Innovative Management wanted Steven to help him with other companies, in which he had invested. One of these companies was the GTA - Group Touring Associates. As Belkin analysed the firm he recognized that GTA had excellent potential and could be built profitably with better management. Indeed he could generate excellent revenue already one year later; therefore he ought to have part ownership. As the Owner of the company did not want to accept this proposition, Belkin began to consider leaving GTA. Looking at the market situation Steven Belkin was aware that it was a good opportunity to start an own business.
As the tourism sector seemed to accomplish Belkin's requirements he wanted to operate in this area. Supported by Alan Lewis, GTA's most productive salesman, he started a new travel company: the TTG. Since the charter industry had become a popular travel alternative this seemed to be a prosperous business direction do undertake. At that time many travellers were willing to accept the fixed schedules of charters to take advantage of the lower prices. The offer of complete tour packages with professional tour guide should be developed to a successful plan.
The strategy to undertake was to imitate the GTA, the implementation steps were already worked out. The only issue was to find some funds to finance the business. In fact that seems to be the biggest challenge to Steven Belkin, it apparently drives the company into failure. PROPOSITION STATEMENT As the market seemed to be prospering in this sector it seemed not to be a bad idea to start a new business. Also the strategy to imitate GTA seemed the reasonable to follow.
The desired business plan had however a few missing issues, which were highly important and could influence the business to less lucrative position. The business plan weaknesses could affect either Management or Marketing or financial planning. Missing issues in those parts should be taken into consideration in order to improve the desired business position and forecasting results. 1. Proposition To start a new business one should not omit to plan it in time and to delegate work. Due to the fact that Mr.
Belkin's and Mr. Lewis's organization and management depend on their own, they could delegate some work to other employees. Moreover they should take more time to plan and to implement the business. 1.
1 Supporting argument in management section It is absolutely obvious that Mr. Belkin and his partner took too much responsibility on themselves. On the one hand, he wanted to be sure that everything had been done correctly but on the other hand, it was impossible to cope with this amount of work. Naturally Steven Belkin had already some experience with this business but he seemed not to consider the difference between the occurrence of work of established firms, like the GTA - company and his own start up. 1.
Empirical evidence Steven Belkin, according to the case study text, seemed to be very confident. He claimed to have good experience in business and organizing things. The thing which might be considered is that Belkin started dealing without having real funds on which rely. Dealing with business plans, looking for salespeople, looking for financing and accomplish deals at a reasonable price requires more time if you are only in two. However they did neither have more time nor money enough to pay an additional assistant. 2.
Imputed findings - Steven was the president and major shareholder, responsible for raising the capital they would need and for the trip arrangements. - Lewis (executive vice president) would hire and manage the sales force, cover key clients personally, and work with sponsoring groups to fill the tours. - The sales team started 6 month before the first trip. They had not too much time to deal with everything. 3. Assumption The desired responsibility allocation and management system highly dependent on Mr.
Belkin's less on Mr. Lewis's involvement. Their experience and their motivation were the only driven force in this business. Introducing a new management system could make the working schedule of Steven Belkin less complicated. According to the financial situations it could be necessary to hire one or two assistants to pursue resolutely issues like developing properly the travel plans and give more attention to marketing and sales promotions. Consequently Belkin could be able to concentrate more on the financing aspect than on working out travel plans.
2. Proposition To start a new business one should not omit to plan consider the investment approach Steven Belkin had to concentrate more on negotiations with potential investors and to work on paper analysis continuously as a background for negotiations with investors. 2. 1 Supporting argument in financing section The financing part is one of the negative aspects in Steven Belkin business plan.
First he focused all his energy on developing his idea, sales and marketing areas rather than on a real investment approach. Finding no investors means the failure of the desired business. 1. Empirical evidence The financial strategy was to focus on institutional venture capital groups. Steven Belkin wanted to raise $ 250. 000.
Only 2 out of 5 venture companies were interested enough to consider the plan. But at the end none of these firms were likely to invest. As a second attempt Belkin wanted to approach a few individual investors. But these wealthy individuals were even more difficult to attract as he thought. Therefore he was addressed to a bank which could offer him loan. The debt line however increased his own exposure because the bank would be landing against his own guarantee.
2. Imputed findings - Belkin tried hard to get investors but during this time the fuel crises started - the prices for fuel were growing rapidly, airlines were cancelling their charter flights and no investor could believe that somebody could start a business at this time. - Either Belkin or Lewis had to pay office expenses and salaries from his own pockets (credit cards) - They got reminder letters from their banks, which emphasized they were about to lose their hard earned credit 3. Assumption The thing Belkin missed was a little bit of Luck.
As he wanted to set off business the fuel crises started. Maybe on an other moment he would not have had such troubles in finding an investor. 2. 2 Supporting argument in financing section A good business plan should be developed in order to show it to investors 1. Empirical evidence Steven Belkin did not organize to plan his business properly. In his tables the investors could not find a clearly arranged pattern to follow.
2. Assumption Moreover his calculations seem to be a little bit too optimistic, maybe the investors did not believe his prognostics of cash flow. 3. Proposition To start a new business one should not omit to consider the market situation 3. 1 Supporting argument in marketing section Analyzing the development stages of the Belkin's business idea, it seemed to be strange that they did not have any market research. In order to minimize risk of business development it is better to implement this step.
1. Empirical evidence The business idea was based on the model of GTA group and personal interest from Mr. Belkin. He saw a big opportunity in starting a new travel group. though, he missed to consider the difference between a established enterprise and a start up business. Even if the tourism seemed to be a great marketplace at the moment, apparently he was not aware about the fuel crisis.
Obviously none f the investors wanted to take over such a big risk dealing with charting flights. 2. Assumption The absence of market research step in developing a business idea, can lead to wrong assumptions in forecasting figures, especially in accounting part of the business plan. In order to minimize risks he could have analysed more the actual situation, the target groups, the reservations of the investors, and the competitors.