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Case Study: Business Strategy

Spotlight on Success:

Case Study on Business Strategy

Case Study #8 How a Successful Small Business Used Strategy and Business Planning to Meet Both the Goals of Mom and Pop
How the owners of a Philadelphia area Sandwich Kiosk business were able to meet both their goals as a husband and wife team while increasing income and reducing the burden of running a small business.

The Problem:
A firefighter had spent most of his life in public service, battling fires and rescuing cats from trees, or at least helping those who needed help. He came across an opportunity to start a small sandwich café business which would allow him to continue fighting fires. Although he had no formal business training, he learned the sandwich business quickly and found he had so much success, he was able to open several new locations, all while continuing to fight fires for the city.

However, running a successful business takes time. He Increasingly relied on his life partner and wife to manage many of the day-to-day operations. She did a great job, working tirelessly, often until late at night. After the chain had grown to 6 sandwich kiosks, Rich wanted to grow some more and was even considering franchising, but his wife, Amy, was stretched to her limits and was unable to take on more responsibility.

The Solution:
The husband and wife team knew they needed a new business plan. They were not looking for a traditional business plan and certainly were not looking for a fancy document that would sit idle on a shelf. They contacted our business consultants. We realized that while we had prepared many traditional strategic plans, they needed a new plan and strategy to enable Rich to do what he loved while allowing Amy to limit or even shrink her operating responsibilities. Unlike a traditional strategic business plan which determines market opportunity, management team structures and develops proforma financial plans, their business plan needed to overcome obstacles these successful entrepreneurs had encountered in reaching their vision.

A first step in this project was to better understand the options for the business. We first looked at the obvious solutions such as hiring an operations manager or promoting someone from within. While they were willing to have someone take some tasks off Amy’s plate, neither Rich nor Amy liked this solution.

Next we looked at other options such as franchising the business. While franchising had some interesting benefits and there were other successful sandwich kiosk businesses we could glean information from, there were too many legal hurdles and too much administration of the franchisees for this solution to fit.

Finally, after exploring several other options, including selling the business outright, we found a variation on the traditional franchise model. While continuing to run their existing chain of kiosks, Rich would set up and sell other kiosk locations one at a time, mostly to people he knew and trusted to do an excellent job. By doing so he was able to earn income on setting up and launching these new kiosks, which was what he enjoyed most. Furthermore, they benefitted from earning a portion of the ongoing revenue of these locations without having to manage their day to day operation.

The strategy was unique, but it worked and both the husband and wife team were happy with the plan. Rich soon found a buyer and launched his 7th and 8th kiosk, while Amy was able to manage to reduce her workload to closer to 40 hours a week. The couple earned more money than they had ever imagined when Rich was simply a fireman, and they loved the challenges and rewards of running their small family business.

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