BUSINESS PLAN DEVELOPMENT REFLECTIVE PIECE

This reflective piece use Gibbs (1988) model to expound on the business plan development process. The pictoral representation of the model is as follows;

  1. The Actual Process

The business plan development process begun with exploring various business opportunity options. I settles on debt collection as a viable business and proceeded to research on the market and industry. From my research, I gathered that the debt collection business has low barriers of entry, is attracting regulatory screening and has a growth opportunity owing to the annual increase in household debt in the UK.

Despite the opportunities witnessed. The industry is plagued with a myriad of challenges. Firstly, the conduct of debt collection agencies has come under question. Industry players have been described as insensitive to client needs and the inability to communicate efficiently. This challenge creates a unique opportunity to differentiate a new firm by strategically focusing on relationship management.

Secondly, debt collection agencies are in possession of sensitive personal data that includes names, personal numbers, personal identifiers and employment details. This makes debt collection agencies custodians of data regulated under the Data Protection Act of 2018.

Finally, the market is dominated by large players who attract business and respect from large financial corporations.

These challenges influenced the thinking behind the strategic option selected for the new business venture. The first aspect of the strategy is marketing the business as a relationship management firm. This would ensure that the new business venture is awake to maintain good rapport with clients, rehabilitating delinquent accounts and reinstating a good working arrangement between the ‘debtor’ and the ‘outsourcing’ firm.

Competing with the large firms in the financial industry segment is untenable. Moreover, my research indicates that the commercial sector remains underserved. For this reason, the preferred market entry strategy to be adopted will be serving the underserved market in commercial industry.

  1. Thoughts and Feelings

I was concerned by the regulatory requirements needed to opening a new business. There are a myriad of regulations that one needs to be well versed with before embarking on a new business venture.

One such regulation is the tax liability and compliance. From the onset, the business is required to maintain and file taxes and other regulatory requirements. From research, many small firms have a problem complying with stipulated regulations.

Additionally, many small firms are unable to attract equity capital. This situation has necessitated the use of debt capital to finance their expansion and operations. For a new business venture, it would be optimistic to rely on attracting venture capital/ equity capital. This revelation led to the restricting of my projected capital base from an over-reliance of equity capital to debt capital. A judicious plan was also developed to reduce the reliance on debt capital over time. This would reduce the financing risk associated with debt capital.

The ease of entry into third party debt collection services, revealed the entry of small and nimble players. This players are associated with high technology, ability to serve niche markets and the potential to disrupt the market with new innovations.

  1. Evaluation

The best part of the business development process was determining the viability of the business plan with a 5 year plan schedule.

The most disappointing aspect of the business plan development process was the market domination by a few large firms, increased regulatory environment and the difficulty projected in raising equity capital.

However, the business viability is a highlight to the business plan development process. Additionally, the exploration of strategic options, brought to the fore the ability to combine short term and long term action plans that play to an overarching strategy.

The risks identified as potentially devastating include the strategic risk, operational risk and the unforeseeable risks. The strategic risks are characterized by the misreading of future business landscape. The aspect of risks shows the need of having a team with various talents and expertise to evaluate the risks and create mitigation strategies.

The unforeseeable risks are often risks associated with natural events. These risks are often hard or impossible to foretell and often require a business continuity plan to mitigate.

The Operational Excellence Management model will be adopted to ensure that the firm’s activities are standardized, focused and aligned to the overall objectives set by the board. This management strategy will ensure that the firms is capable of operating optimally, achieving efficiency and guaranteeing shareholders’ returns on investment.

4.Analysis

Debt management services remains a viable business option as a new venture. The best entry mode would be to serve a niche market. Seeing as the industry is a low margin, highly competitive industry, prudent financial management will be required to manage the firm’s resources.

The debt collection agencies will continue to play a key role in financial services, creation of employment and significant contribution to the exchequer.

In the intervening, the business remains a viable opportunity to increase revenue, grow the client base and maximize the shareholders’ value. Additionally, the firm can target to be a technology leader by adopting an auto-dialer system, increasing efficiency and addressing the commercial sector challenges of late payment of invoices, reconciliation and relationship management.

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