Susan Smart and her husband Max love to bake. They also love to travel. After a recent trip to Egypt the couple returned to their home anxious to try to duplicate the two desserts they had found, Umm Alli and Qatayef. Umm Alli is a phyllo pastry layered with milk, double cream, and nuts (sometimes, raisins or dates are added). The dessert is baked in a large pan. When done, the dessert can be cut into bars much like brownies. Qatayef, on the other hand, is like Pierogis. They are crescent shaped dough pockets stuffed with double cream, nuts or custard and baked. The treats are very popular in Egypt and frequently sold by street vendors. They are often accompanied by coffee. Drinking coffee is a favorite Egyptian past time and social activity, one that has become popular in America as well.
Susan and Max live in old town Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. As college professors at North Carolina State University, the couple feels handicapped by having to travel in the summer when travel is most expensive for Americans. Also, the couple’s teaching contracts obligate them to teach at least one summer class. They can have one year off every seven years for sabbatical leave. In addition, the couple must show evidence of scholarly work at the end of the year (i.e. book, community clinic service, journal, documentary, etc.) The couple has often thought that they would love to start a small business so that they could have more flexible travel plans. “Truthfully,” Susan says, “if we just had the money and time to travel that is all we need to be truly happy”.
This last trip really gave them a great idea. Why not start a mobile coffee café that sells Egyptian coffee and desserts? They could get a small food truck and set up tables and chairs outside the truck bringing them inside at the end of the day. Susan and Max could move the truck around the city working the hours that they wanted and building a broad customer base between the college and downtown businesses. They believe that this concept is a great new twist on a café.
The couple love the café idea and have decided to consider moving forward by researching the commercial viability of the business. They start by consulting other small business owners in the area and made an appointment with the local Small Business Association (SBA) and SCORE. The couple’s goal is to accumulate as much data as possible to determine how best to prepare for opening “Egyptian Delights”. Susan and Max uncovered the following facts and articles in researching their business opportunity.
The Smarts have come to you for advice because they heard you are a small business consultant and business owner who can help explain some of the concerns that their preliminary investigation has revealed. The following list has points about the small business ownership that the Smarts would like you to address in a report. You will; therefore, write a report addressed to Susan and Max Smart.
The considerations in red bold font are areas that you are required to discuss in the report. In addition, you will choose two additional consideration topics to discuss with the Smart’s
Explain to the Smarts what to expect in starting their own company and what it means for them personally in terms of lifestyle, marriage, and finances. You should know that the Smarts combined net salaries from the University after taxes and health insurance is $140,000.
Importing goods and its effects on the US economy – The Smart’s twist on the Café is to develop Egyptian desserts and coffee, which will require the importation of several spices and coffees to make the products authentic. Explain how this importation will affect the U.S. economy.
Form of Business: Which legal business form would be best for the Café?
Building a Team: Should the Smarts hire help from the beginning, and if so, how should they select a team to help with the Café?
Leadership and Motivation: How can the Smarts lead their employees? What is a good leadership style and the importance of motivation as a management tool?
Marketing: Explain to the Smarts the meaning of marketing’s 4 P’s. Elaborate on product and promotion by helping them research ideas that can be used. Also, explain how supply and demand relates to the pricing that the Smarts will use. Give the Smarts advice on how to promote their café and products as well as how to develop their brand.
Operation Management: Explain to the Smarts the areas of operational management and focus on the need for an organizational structure and culture. Select an organizational structure and culture that would work for the café. Explain specifically the reasons for the selection and why other structures and cultures were not considered.
Technology Management: Show the Smarts how they can use technology effectively in the business to manage and plan. Define what is meant by technology management and give examples of the way technology is important to the Smarts in running the Café.
Accounting: Explain to the Smarts the importance of accounting to a business and provides details related to managing costs and cash flow for the café. Consider in your advice the cost of the truck, maintenance, costs for food ingredients, coffee, etc. Use the How to Cost Sheet included in the article above to help.
Finance: Explain to the Smarts the methods of financing a new business and suggest the best method of financing. You should know for this discussion that the Smart’s intended to use savings in the amount of $75,000 to start the company. Work with them to decide if additional financing is necessary (Explain your reasoning). If so, what is the best option for the Smarts and why?