Introduction to unit eight coursework
In this unit, I have the opportunity to structure a business plan for a business proposal, which I will have the opportunity to create. For this segment of the assignment, I will clarify the main activities of the business, in addition to its aims and objectives. The assignment will also be focusing on the marketing and financial planning of my chosen business, notwithstanding, the operations and financial planning of the proposed business proposal. At the end of it all, I will be evaluating my business and its viability.
However, to start a business I will need a business plan. A business plan is essentially a plan of a business that is to be set up; this is usually a written piece of statement about the business (think of it as a blueprint). This is a useful document to have because; firstly, it outlines the business itself and outlines what the business is essentially about, and secondly, it allows the owner/manager of the business to work towards the success of the business by spotting and avoiding failures.
In general, a business plan will have the following statements; what the business is all about (i.e. the nature of the business), the aims and objectives of the business (What they hope to achieve and expect in the future) and how the individual plans and will o about creating the business. This can be illustrated in a majority of ways however; a financial planning of the first six months or perhaps even a year would be ideal or information about how the investments are to be raised for the business.
A business plan is a very indispensable piece of document to have if someone is considering starting their own business, this is because a business plan outlines/predicts what the business will be like after setting up that gives a clear understanding of how the aims and objective are to be obtained as well as defining them. Furthermore, a business plan will also help to plot any pitfall along the way, i.e. a detailed cash flow of a business’s first six months will be able to suggest if the business will have a higher cost when compared with the profit they make, even before the business has started, and this can prevent major loss of profitability. Not only does a business plan outlines and spots major flaws in the business, but many businesses and entrepreneurs use it as a source of motivation; a backdrop to compare their current performance against. Further adding more, a business plan would be beneficial to establish or to re-evaluate the business’s competitive position within the market place by conducting a thorough analysis of the competition. This would involve finding out the strengths and weaknesses of the competition and how the business can be taken advantage of.
In conclusion, as mentioned above, a business plan is important for a business because it helps to clarify the vision of the business and decide whether to forge ahead with the idea. Without a business plan, it would be very difficult to convince external investors to invest the business. Not only that, a business plan will also help the business determine their target market that they want to aim their product at, which is always useful to know.
The Business Proposal
For my chosen business proposal, I have decided to create a music label, and have named it P.K. Media. Generally, the term “Record label” is something that is associated with the music industry. A Record label is a brand and a trademark, which is associated with the procedure of marketing and distributing musical recordings and music videos of their signed artists. A record label is also the company that manages the artists/bands and coordinates, manufactures, promotes and distributes their productions i.e. music/videos. Record labels are also responsible for the enforcement of copyright protection on the media that they distribute such as CDs and DVDs, so that their content (such as music), cannot be copied and sold as pirated versions of their work to the customers by other individuals.
The business I intend to propose will primarily focus on the production and the promotion of the music of its artists/bands in the local area, the Midlands. The reason for this is that there is a much lower cost of setting up a music label for the local area as there are less promotional activities which the label would have to finance and carry out, thus reducing the start up cost of the business compared to if it was a nationwide business.
The main services/products that P.K. Media will provide to its consumers and music acts are as follow:
* Music sold using online services such as iTunes and the business website. Some music will be available for free download as a promotional activity.
* Provide live performances by its artists and bands as a secondary service.
o Commissions from artist will be charged on this, depending the amount of tickets sold by the act.
* Offer promotional services for unsigned artist and band acts and charge commission depending on their popularity, music sold, the amount of record deal they receive etc.
o Free promotional services will also be available for unsigned artists on the business’s website for uploading their work to display to the internet audiences.
o Manufacturing CDs and DVDs will also be available for artists wishing to use for promotional use, however it is highly likely that there will be a fixed cost for this service.
* Record deals will be available for artists; majority of the aforementioned services will available with this, as the business will undertake the sole responsibility for the promotion, distribution, production and the sales of the artist/band’s music signed to P.K. Media.
* Recording facilities and personnel will be available to customers who wish to record their own music that will be mixed by a professional studio engineer. Customers will be charged on an hourly basis or perhaps special offers upon depending upon how much music they wish to record.
Live performance are a good way of raising additional profit other than selling CDs because with live performances, My business can charge commission from the local pubs/bars to supply the live performances with beverages, as a result the pubs and bars will also get some promotion of their products and services which will benefit their businesses as well. Furthermore, the business will also be able to make profit through selling tickets for the live performances. The location of this business will be varied and may not be based in a single location, the reason being that if my business is organising the performances, then it will have to be located at the performances to manage the bands and other aspects of the performance i.e. selling the tickets. However, P.K. Media will need facilities to record the band/artist’s music and venues for live performances, for this it will be a necessity to have access to a recording studio and to be able to rent a venue in the local area. Having access to a studio can be done in a number of ways such as renting a recording studio in the local area or purchasing the equipment and setting up the recording studio at home or other location, such as a youth centre or other rented location like flats or houses. The cost of the musical equipment such as; mixing boards, computers, mics, instruments, audio processing hardware and sound proofing the location can add up to a significant amount and as a new business the cost of starting up should be kept at a minimum. Ultimately, a more convenient option would be to rent a recording studio, which is pre-provided with all the equipment needed (as described above). Another issue which may arise would be that if my business had to purchase the musical equipment I would have to purchase the low-end equipment as the high-end (studio quality) equipment can cost thousands and upwards and as a small independent music label there would be limitations for the finance. In addition, the low-end equipment could also reduce the quality of the recording, and as a record label that will not be beneficial for the artists because consumers would not want to purchase bad quality products especially if the product is aimed at entertainment purposes. Imagine listening to one’s favourite song with hissing noisiest, crackle and static noises, it would not be pleasant to listen to which is why quality of the audio is a substantial element of a record label.
Reason for choice of business?
The idea of a record label interested me because; with a record label, there is no need to purchase stock; it is a service-based business, which means that a record label does not have to manufacture or purchase anything other than to sign the artist and record CDs. A record label is basically, the intermediate service between audiences/customers and the artist. In essence, while the artist makes the product, the record label simply delivers it to the customers, almost like an intermediary.
Another thing which seemed interesting is that the possibility of a sole ownership of the business. Since a record label is a service-based business, it is not necessary to have partners (as with any other businesses). It can be set-up with a moderately low cost, which mean that there is no need to invite external investors to invest in the business and hold a percentage of shares in the business, leaving room for more creative control over the business.
Personal interest is another factor that may have influenced my choice to pick a record label for a business proposal. Unqualified amateur musician myself, I find that music is the greatest past time for all ages which is why I liked the idea of providing people with good quality of music to listen to which is easily accessible and is at moderately low price.
Overall, I believe that a record label should be a viable business proposal for this assignment because like many businesses it requires marketing strategies, target consumers and a product. A further consideration is that almost everyone listens to music (to some extent) whether it is purchased from store or downloaded from the web and it is because of this that music is considered as one of the major immersed art form, which hints of a profitable market sector.
What are Aims and Objectives?
It is imperative for a business to have a basic requirement and have clear aims and objectives in order to prosper and move forward in their field. Aims and objectives are frequently used together to set/represent a certain achievement which is why they can often be mistaken to having similar meaning, however, they have a significant different to each other.
Aims, to summarise, are essentially a brief statement, which majority of the time are short sentences; for instance, ‘maximise profit’ or ‘increase customer growth.’ Aims are most commonly use to identify the overall target of a business, states their intentions, and what they hope to achieve in the future of the business.
On a different note, objectives are more complex and ‘to the point’ than aims. Objectives, unlike aims, are more detailed and can be longer depending on the objective itself. For example, if a company wanted to increase their market, they could set themselves and objective of ‘increase employee productivity by 20%, within in the next six months.’ As you can see, an objective is more complex, and more detailed. Furthermore, the detail in objectives tends to be numerical details such as specific dates, time frame, percentages etc. This is because objectives are a follow-up of aims. An objective is set merely set to accomplish or to achieve an aim. To illustrate, if a business’s aim is to ‘maximise profit,’ then they may decide to set themselves the objective of ‘increase sales from 15.7% to 20%, within six months period.’ By increasing the sales of the business from 15.7% to 20%, a business can ensure that they are retaining their customers and increasing their profit within six months. However, some businesses may decide to have a sub-objective to this which could be something like ‘increase employee productivity by 2% in 30 days’, to ensure that the business is getting the most out of their employees. This also proves the fact that individuals who either own the business or are in charge of the business are the ones who normally make aims. They may decide that their business should be making more profit so they pass it down to the managers who would look at it and perhaps add more detail to it, and as aims are passed down from person to person they become more detailed and complex, thus being objectives.
There are a numerous reason as to why a business should set itself aims and objective;, the most obvious one would be that aims and objectives sets a goal for the business and gives some a target to work for, for many businesses this is a good source of motivation. Aims and objectives can also help a business realise their progress because aims and objective provide a backdrop for achievement in which a business can compare their current or previous progress with their aims or objective and calculate what is required to be done in order to meet those targets they have set for themselves. A controversial use of aims and objectives is to use them as a publicity device, in unit one, I had to investigate Tesco as a business and what I found was that Tesco had use their objectives as a publicity device by having economical objectives such as ‘reduce carbon footprints’ to gain good publicity from the media and their customers.
Nevertheless, businesses have to be careful how they use or establish their aims and objectives because if they set objectives for their employees which are not applicable or achievable for the business then the business could face some pitfalls. The employees may feel under-pressure/ stressful and could de-motivate them which would evidently lead to a low productivity rate and could in some circumstances affect the business’s income.
SMART targets or sometimes called SMART Objectives, are considered to be a sub-division of objectives, SMART targets are a method to ensure that the objectives which are set by a company are actually achievable by the business and the employees; it is a method of measuring the credibility of an objective which has been set. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
Specific – objectives, which are set, need to be specific and state exactly what the business wants to achieve. The reason an objective needs to be specific is because the manager/supervisor and the employee need to know what is expected of them and perhaps the time frame if that is applicable.
Measurable – most often, when objectives are set – they need to be able to measure how much an individuals or a business have progressed towards those targets. Measuring a target is often very crucial towards the success of achieving that target because by measuring a target, businesses can estimate how much work is underway and how much additional effort needs to be exerted in order to achieve certain objectives.
Achievable – when objectives are set, one of the major issues, which a business must realise is that the target is achievable for the business. The business needs to think about; whether they have the required skills, recourses, investments, tools, human recourses etc. If the objectives are unrealistic or not achievable by the business then (as mentioned above) it can affect the productivity of employee and de-motivate them, and low productivity would surely affect the businesses activities and profits.
Realistic or relevant – objectives should also be relevant to the businesses aims. For example, if a business wants to increase market share, it would be irrelevant for them to set the target eliminate competitors products from the market; it would be very unrealistic. An objective needs to be relevant, they need to be something, which the business can take an action upon or have access to.
Timely – normally, when objectives are set, they have a timescale such as ‘increase the growth and the market share of the business by 2010.’ Setting timescale within an objective is beneficial as it gives a business a deadline as t when the objective needs to be achieved by, so the business can move onto their other objectives, which needs to be completed towards their aims.
Aims for my business
Just like any other modern businesses, my business needs to have aims and objectives, which it should be able to accomplish. Setting aims and objectives will help determine investors as well as myself the main goals of my business, and along the way, it could also help my business spot the potential target market hic hi should aim my business at in order to achieve some of business’s targets.
‘Minimise costs and increase potential profit.’ – One of the major aims of my business would be to minimise the costs of the business, which goes into the production of the products (i.e. music albums and singles) and therefore must be kept at a minimum range. The reason behind this is that, if I were to start the business as a sole trader, there would be a limited amount of investments, which I could have access to and since my business is a record label there aren’t any need of purchasing any kind of stock or manufacturing materials in the sense of hard labour. As a newly set up business, it would be most advantageous to reduce the cost of the business to reduce the chances of getting into a cash flow problem such as over-budgeting or not having enough sales of the product where the costs would out-weigh the profit. It is because of this issue that leads to many businesses failing within the first year because they run into cash flow problem such as these; however, a good cash flow analysis should be able to determine any issue such as these that may arise. As well as reducing costs, my business also needs to be considering maximising its profits because without profit there will be no business to operate. Maximising profit is a necessity for any business, because it is what influences/motivates their day-to-day operations and their employees, without profit a business would not have the funding to employ employees or rent premises or other necessities. Furthermore, another crucial reason for a good profit for a business is that if a business is backed-up by inventors then the business (Owner) needs to prove to the investors that the business is worthwhile investing in because if the business starts to show a decline in profits then the investors are going to be the first ones who will back-out from the investments because they will not to make a loss themselves. As a summary, if there is no profit, there is no business.
In my business’s quest to maximise profit; there could be a number of challenges/issues that could affect my business achieving the aim of ‘Minimise costs and increase potential profit,’ and the following explains;
One of the most significant issues that my record label business would have to deal with is the recession, which was caused by the financial crisis during the year 2007 and the year 2009. The financial crisis was the reduction in the availability of loans (credit) and to some extent; tightening of the condition required to obtain a loan from the banks, this evolved into the interest rates being incredibly high. The definite caused behind the credit crisis is highly doubtable, however, one reason might be that UK bought many mortgage debts from the U.S. (this might have been directly or indirectly) therefore when U.S. mortgage default rose, preponderance of the UK banks lost money. Because interest rates rose dramatically, many individuals in the population had to pay more for their loans and mortgages, which meant that individuals and many businesses had less disposable cash to spare and consequently, many businesses found themselves being either bankrupt or making employees redundant to prevent bankruptcy.
The reason why I believe that the recession may affect my business is because many individuals are un-employed, which means that they may be on some sort of limited income (either through council or jobseeker’s allowance). Ultimately, this would mean that many individuals would have less disposable income to spend on CDs and DVDs for personal entertainment and if my business is not selling many products, it will be in a high risk of having very high costs that could out-number the total sales of the business. This could put my business in a potential risk of being bankrupt, as you can see from fig.1, it is estimated that the recession will only get worse.
In contrast, the recession may not be disastrously bad for my business. The reason behind this would be that because of the recession more people would be un-employed and have a whole lot of spare time on their hands as less people would be working nine to five shifts, this would mean that individuals would be looking for activities to pass their time. This could mean that people will be more reliant upon entrainment such as the cinemas, movies, theatre, music etc. This could potentially excel my business because more individuals would be interested and looking to escape from reality through the financial crisis, similarly to people who went through the Great Depression in the United States during 1929, which saw the rise of movie sales.
To conclude, the recession is something that is known as an external factor, which no business has a control over. The recession could have a big impact on my business; however this factor could prove to be advantageous for my business as mentioned earlier, there are a lot more people with more spare time on their hands, and as a result they will be looking for something to entertain themselves and if marketing is done correctly for the business, it will prove to be beneficial. As one can see above, regardless of the recession and the credit crisis that started in 2007, the sales of digital music increased dramatically through the years and the digital music industry is more profitable than ever in the US with industry profit of 2.9 Billion dollars, a 15% from 2004 which was only 0.4 billion profit being made.
One of the major issues that my business will have to confront other than the recent financial crisis is the piracy of music through the internet.
In essence, music piracy the violation of copyright infringement (copyright), this means the unauthorised use of materials that is covered by the copyright law. For electronic and audio-visual media, this is normally referred to as piracy.
Piracy is a factor that could have the biggest impact at my business’s aim to ‘Minimise costs and increase potential profit.’ As one can see in the article opposite, the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) has predicted that music piracy has risen by thirty-six percent, which has cost the UK music industry twenty-six million pounds, which is a tremendous amount of load-sum. Music piracy is a factor which could directly affect my business because if my business released a single which was popular (Music hit) then the probability is that a lot of customers will be reluctant to purchase the single or the album in order to save money and they would perhaps download the product through an illegal download website or through the use of torrents (which is a peer-to-peer download service provided free from the internet). This is the most likely event to occur because as mentioned previously, the recession has left a lot of people un-employed which means that they may have a very low income and have limited amount of disposable cash to spend on entertainment. Because a lot of my business’s target consumers will be getting my product (music) through the internet without pay for it, this could result in my business have a major decline in profit because although the products my business offer may be very popular amongst the target consumers but because they are not paying for the goods my business will have no way in which they can financially benefit from. Many of the bi names in the record label business like ‘Universal Music’ or the ‘Sony BMG’ group do tend to copyright the CDs and DVDs that they manufacture and distribute, however, recent technological development has given an regular computer user to copy content from these copyrighted disks (using free software from the internet) from a single click of a button, and if that individual uploads the content of the disk to the internet then the content of that disk will be exposed to thousands if not millions of users on the internet which is why the modern music industry is suffering from million of pounds and dollars of damage from piracy and it is very unfortunate for my business as there is no method to battle the rising issue of music piracy because if my business’s products were copyrighted, many consumers or users will be able to find a way to copy content. In addition, copyrighting thousands of disks would prove to be a very costly task and evidently, this will prevent my business in achieving my aim to ‘Minimise costs and increase potential profit.’
However, not all is tenebrous, my business could still prevail if it turned to a more digitals means to provide the products to the customers, such means could be; having free web player on the business’s website to play the hit singles; free selected music downloads of popular songs; and most importantly selling products through the internet. Most of these solutions would eliminate the cost of producing CDs because a lot of teenagers nowadays are using things like their mobile phones, mp3 players and devices such as the iPod for playback of their music. If the popular products of my business (songs) are being provided free from the company’s own website, then the business will have more exposure from the public, which, in the end, could work out to be beneficial. As the business’s website generates more viewers, the chances are internet companies like Google; YouTube; Amazon etc. who will want to advertise their services on my business’s website, which the business could generate some income from as well as gaining public interest and recognition as business.
Music piracy most definitely will affect my business and the corporate aim to ‘Minimise costs and maximise potential profit.’ Internet nowadays is available to almost every house, office and schools/college in the country that millions of people have access too, and the internet is too big to have control over. Nevertheless, good marketing and internet advertisement may fill in the lacunae of profit that may be lost due to music piracy.
‘Increase/attain good public relations with the local community and customers.’ In my opinion, good public relations with customers should be an imperative aim for abounding businesses. After all, businesses depend on their customers’ satisfaction and support by which if they did not have good relationship with customers then it will be highly likely that the business will not be able to retain their customers. This issue could lead to a decline in their profit margins or worse gain an incredible amount of bad publicity or a bad reputation as a whole.
A record label is not a publicly noticeable business because a record label’s product is what gains notoriety as publicity rather than a business as coherent whole. This is because customers are mainly attracted to the stars and the music they make rather than the service that provides them the service. This can be beneficial or a drawback, consider which way one looks at it. From my personal perspective, it is a benefit because it means that my business will not be in the public eye and will not attract major interest if my business were have an issue, this could be a number of things like mistakes (which a lot of businesses make) or redundancy of a major band or artist etc. So in order to gain good public relations with the local community and customers will be a very laborious task to conduct.
Nevertheless, with dubious tasks, there are always strategies, and my main strategy to in achieve this aim to ‘Increase/attain good public relations with the local community and customers,’ will be to organise youth activities and perhaps cultural events, the next page will explain this.
As one can see in 4 (Next page), an extract from BBC news website, the level of youth crime has increased dramatically over the past decade in the United Kingdom. Teenage knife crime has increased so much that law enforcements had to enforce harsh laws upon teenage delinquents in order to keep crime at a minimum. The articles below states that boys from the age of eleven to eighteen are likely the ones to be carrying knifes, and are the most likely culprits in the rise of such crimes. The article also states that most of these young offenders have been; excluded, dropped out of school or have already had been given time to serve under law custody. So ultimately, these are the age groups which are been targeted by the law to tackle such crimes.
How does this issue help my business to achieve good customer relationship one may wonder? Well to start with, teens that have been expelled, excluded, dropped out etc. from school have nothing to do other than wonder around with friends on the streets and cause trouble to the society and the individuals in the local community. This leads me to believe that, organising local youth music activities and providing creative services such as recording facilities and musical guidance for youths free of charge may be a very beneficial factor not only for my business but also to the local community.
Having to organise such events for young people will be very beneficial to a majority of people – youths, local community and my business. This is because firstly, by providing youths will free services and activities will encourage them to stay off the streets and be passionate and involved in something creative for their time, and secondly, by having lees teens on the streets in the local community will prevent crime and hopefully reduce the crime rate locally, so older generation who may be intimidated by teens will feel much more safer. Personally, I believe that teens only resort to crime as a recreational activity as well as to gain attention to themselves; this is only an opinion of course. However, by giving teens, facilities to be in and express themselves artistically through music may help to make a productive use of their time; also, it could be a place where teens can get attention that they desire from other like friends, other social groups or even the community.
Knife sentencing ‘not effective’
A selection of knives found by police
The study found young people were living in “constant fear” of attack
Longer jail terms are not an effective way of persuading teenagers to stop carrying knives, research suggests.
Pentonville Prison governor Nicola Marfleet interviewed 14 to 17-year-olds who had either been excluded from school or were serving time in custody. She found most believed tough sentences were only meant to “scare” them, and they were more likely to be tagged. The Home Office said the government was using a combination of deterrence and education to tackle the problem.
The study found that some boys were carrying knives from the age of 11.
Ms Marfleet concluded that knife-crime prevention work must be targeted at this age group in order to be effective.
She interviewed about 24 boys in focus groups at pupil referral units in Hackney and Haringey, north London, and four boys one-to-one at Feltham Young Offender Institution in west London
Possession of a knife carries a maximum jail term of four years, but most of the teenagers did not believe they would receive such a harsh punishment.
Two of those interviewed said that regardless of the possible penalty, they would not stop carrying a knife because they “needed” one for protection.
Almost all of the teenagers said they could not rely on par
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