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You have just been appointed as a Junior Manager in an SME located in Thames Valley area in the UK. The company is listed among top 100 successful SMEs in the region by Thames Valley SME 100 in the link below:

http://www.businessmag.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Thames-Valley-SME100-List-201213.pdf. {When

you open the link, pick a company of your choice as the company that you are working for. Use that company throughout this assignment. Information about the company could be found in the company’s website and fillings with https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/}

On your first day at work, you were assigned a Mentor by name Mr Nagjovin who is the Head of Strategic Planning Department. The company has a very good credit rating and most lenders both within and outside the UK will be happy to listen to them should they have funding needs. They currently have an overdraft facility arrangement with the bank to the tune of £2.0 million which they have never utilised.

You will be working with Mr Nagjovin in your first Six months, and he is keen to move the company forward by massive expansion. He has shared this vision with you and has asked you for your input in the strategic planning for the company. Specifically, he wants you to use the next 2 months to prepare a well-articulated strategy for the company.

Compile a detailed report for your organisation (selected by you) to include all of the following;

Consider and discuss various options for growth by utilising different analytical frameworks for gaining competitive advantage for your company. Also, evaluate possible risks associated with your suggested options for growth and ways by which the risks could be mitigated.

You are to assess potential sources for raising finance to fund your preferred option for growth considering possible implications to your organisation. Make a recommendation of your preferred option(s) with clear justification.

Develop an appropriate and well-structured Business Plan for preferred option for growth. In your Business Plan, you should try to present clear strategic objectives, methods for securing investment and other essential components of an ideal Business Plan.

Assess various Exit Strategy or Succession options for your business. Evaluate the options and carefully compare and contrast different options and make recommendations with convincing justifications.

Company Information and Vision

The aim of the report is to provide the detail description of the company in relation to their planning for growth. The company that has been selected is Hook Norton Brewery as the company is among top 100 successful SMEs in the region by Thames Valley SME 100. The report is prepared after getting assigned a mentor with the name of Mr. Nagjovin who is working as the head of the strategic planning department. After completing 6 months with Mr. Nagjovin he shared his vision to move the company forward for massive expansion. The report is prepared considering the vision and this is the reason it includes different strategies that are followed by the company.  

The report includes the evaluation of the growth opportunities from the context of the selected company. Along with this, the discussion related to different sources of finds and their implication is discussed. In addition, it includes a well-structured business plan for preferred options that are required for growth. In the end, the report will include the various exit strategy or succession options for the selected company.  

Hook Norton Brewery is one of only 32 family owned breweries and is the finest example of a Victorian Tower brewery in the country. In the year 1849, John Harris moved into Hook Norton for purchasing a farm of 52 acres and later it became a commercial brewing company who came into existence in the year 1856. This is the reason that the company is considered as one of the regional breweries in Hook Norton, Oxfordshire, England. In April 2014, the brewery was awarded £90,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) (Hook Norton Brewery, 2018).

Analysis of competitive advantage 

Competitive advantage is what makes entity goods or services superior to all the customer's other choices. Analysis of the competitive advantage is one of the effective ways through which the company can analyse or evaluate the different types of opportunities that lead to the success of the company (Chernev, 2018). The analysis can be done with the help of the resources, capabilities and core competency or with the help of external environment analysis (PESTLE model). These are the two major option out of which the company need to select one.

The resources are divided into different categories which are discussed below: -

Tangible resources: - Hook Norton Brewery makes use of the machinery that helps them to produce quality beer (Michael, Ireland and Hoskisson, 2012). The machinery which is used by the company is the Steam engine that performs the function of mashing equipment’s, mill and sack hoist. Along with this, this machine contributes to remove mashing rakes and cask lift. All these activities are required to be performed by the company for manufacturing beer. The company have 36 pubs that are in the heart of many local communities. At these pubs, the company serve great drink and food which delight the customers.

Intangible resources: - Company offer quality beer to their customers in the present market which helps the company informing the effective brand reputation and value. The finest quality beers are offered by the company in 3 categories which are core beer range, seasonal beer range and keg beer range (Hook Norton Brewery, 2018). This shows that the company offer the products by applying the differentiated strategy as they offer different flavour in drinks after considering the needs of customers present in Thames Valley. Hook Norton Brewery Company has skills due to which it is recognised in the market (The Business Magazine, 2012).

Frameworks for Gaining Competitive Advantage

Human resources: - The human resource includes the skilled employees that are working for a company to accomplish the mission. According to the Thames Valley SME 100, the company has approx. 45 employees within the organisation when the company registered itself in the year 2011 (The Business Magazine, 2012).The skilled employees help the company to accomplish the vision for the future expansion of business and for making the strategic planning.

The capabilities of the company include the ability of business routines, processes and the culture of the organisation. Hook Norton Brewery Company needs to understand what effective things contribute more to the value of customers. Following are the capabilities of the company: -

  • The company produces the finest beers ten stages of manufacturing the beer. These stages help Hook Norton to produce a range of delicious beers. The company follow the cost focus strategy in which they provide the advantage to their target segment in terms of cost. Hook Norton manufacture the products in such a way that they can provide the quality products and beer with the help of the completing the stages of manufacturing with low cost (Hook Norton Brewery, 2018).
  • Hook Norton Brewery offers their products online. This reflects that the company follow the strategy of differentiating focus in which the company is suggested to target the different segment of people instead of focusing on one segment. The company is offering the products through online mode which provide the support to them to target the different customers in the same market.
  • The company allows customers to book brewery tours which enhance the people trust towards the quality of beers (Hook Norton Brewery, 2018).

This segment includes how the company is different from its competitors in the present market. The competitors of the company include The park brewery, Lovibonds Brewery Ltd, and many others. Considering the report, this has been found that there are 25,000 visitors who take a trip to Hook Norton brewery every year (Glenn Group, 2017). This helps the company to become award-winning beers and experience British heritage at its finest. This trip which is offered by the company to its customers is unique as it is not offered by its competitors. Along with this, Hook Norton brewery won international beer challenge in which the beers were judged by the experts of the UK which include writer, brewers, importers, retailers, flavour analysts and many others (Hooky, 2017). This shows that the company make use of the differentiate porter’s strategy. The differentiate strategy of porters says that the company bring the unique products and services which helps them in improving the value of customers.

PESTLE analysis is a framework that helps the company in evaluating opportunities for growth by analysing the external environment (Wilson and Colin, 2012). Hook Norton brewery company make use of this framework for analysing the growth opportunities.

Political factors

§ The political factors include tax, rules and regulations that affect the working of the company or industry.

§ Hook Norton Brewery Company faces the rise in the excise tax by the government and regulation at both state and federal level in the UK market.

§ The company was obliged to take the approval for the formula and the process of domestic flavoured beers. This shows that the company has the opportunity for offering the flavours in the market. 

Economic factors

§ The economic factors include GDP, interest rates and purchasing power and many other that influence the working of the company.

§ Thee economic freedom score is 78.0 which shows that its economy is the freest in the index of 2018.

§ The GDP of the country is approx. 2.8 trillion and it is found that it has the growth of 2.2% which is 5-year compound annual growth with the per capita of $42,481 (Index of Economic Freedom, 2018).

§ This data shows that the company has a vast opportunity to expand the business. Along with this, the growth in GDP will bring the rise in the purchasing power which leads to opportunity for the company.

Social factors

§ The social factors include the views and opinion of people for the purchase of products.

§ The society of the UK is very open towards the purchase of products which include alcohol. Beer consumption is increasing in the market with the rise in the flavours.

§ Though, this is the fact that some of the people get addicted towards it and started facing diet issues due to which they started consuming less beer.

Technological factors

§ Technology upgrade helps the company to perform their operations effectively.

§ Hook Norton Brewery Company gets the advantage of technology as effective distribution channels. Moreover, the advanced technology includes improved machinery which helps to increase the consistency, quality and reduce the cost.

§ This is the fact that Hook Norton Brewery Company has numerous opportunities in the market.

Legal factors

§ Legal issues include the licensing and regulations that affect the working.

§ Hook Norton Brewery Company might face the issues related to packaging, labelling and advertising. The company has the license for the products that they are offering to their customers.

Environmental factors

§ The influence of the natural resources affects the working of the beer companies which include Hook Norton.

§ The company should ensure that they are recycling the waste products, following effective strategies for water consumption and treatment with the energy management.


The above-given analysis reflects that the company has the opportunities to expand their business in different countries of UK. The company need to make the strategy for the expansion of the business. This expansion within the UK is the best option because the company is aware of the rules, regulations and environment of the UK market. Hook Norton Brewery Company needs to follow the pathways which can be done with the help of Ansoff’s growth strategies.

Ansoff’s Matrix is a marketing planning model that provides helps to a business in determining its product and market growth strategy (Michael and Speh, 2012).

Market penetration: - The firm seeks to accomplish the growth with existing products in the present market segments. Hook Norton Company can make use of this growth opportunity in which they promote their different range of beers in the present market as this will help the company in generating the awareness that they offer finest beer quality with affordable prices. Though, the company need to perform this operation in such a way so that they can get the benefit of promoting the products.

Market development: - The market development includes the offering of the existing products and services in the new market (Hussain, et al 2013). Considering the growth options, Hook Norton Brewery Company offer the existing beers in a different range which include core beer range, seasonal beer range and keg beer range in the other region. This can be done by the company by opening new pubs where they can serve their products and services. Though, this is a time-consuming process where company spend time in analysing and selecting market where they face fewer regulations by government.

Evaluation of Growth Opportunities

Product Development: - This pathway shows that how the company offer the new products in the existing market where the company is performing their operations. Hook Norton Company can make use of this strategy in the market where they can bring new beer with different flavours in the UK market. This pathway doesn’t include the opportunity of high sales and revenue in the present market.

Diversification: - These pathways show that company grows by diversifying into new businesses by bringing a new product for new markets (Loredana, 2016). The company has the opportunity in which they can produce the new product in the different countries of UK.

The analysis of the Ansoff’s growth strategy matrix reflects that the company should select the market development strategy. The reason behind the selection of this strategy is that the company can expand the business in a new market with the existing services. This will help the company to achieve the vision that is to expand the business in the numerous different markets. Though, the company might face the numerous risks that include the risk of regulations from the government, risk of failure of a business, and many others.

The company need to expand the business for which they need to source the funds and apply it to the business. Some of the sources of funds are discussed below: -

A bank loan is an amount of money that the company can borrow for a set of the period within an agreed repayment schedule. Amount of repayment depending on the size and duration of the loan with the set rate of interest. Companies generally believe that bank loan is one of the effective options which help in expanding the business within the market (Nair, 2013). There are different types of advantages and disadvantages of bank loan which are discussed below: -

  • Flexibility: - Company doesn't need to worry about any question or inquiry from the bank side related to the amount of loan. Moreover, the company only needs to ensure that they are making the regular instalments of payments on time.
  • Cost effective: - Bank loan is one of the cost-effective modes of the source of funds. According to the recent bank rate, it has been found that a bank offers the loan to small business administration with a maximum interest rate of 8% (Green, 2018).
  • Repayment burdens: - Company can only take the loan for the limited period of time and they have to repay that amount. This is a risk for the company because those who fall behind in paying the amount back will face the prospect of having their assets seized. Therefore, the repayment burden is considered as the biggest disadvantage of the bank.
  • Strict requirements: - It is difficult for the companies to get the loan approved from banks due to their strict requirements. Along with this, the company has to submit the collateral that works as the security for repayment of loan. The deposit of collateral is important to get the loan approval.

Overdraft is considered one of the sources of funds. Overdraft financing is provided when the business make the payments from their current account of company exceeding the present cash balance. This facility is provided by the banks for the short-term funding but the company need to repay the amount when it is asked by the bank to repay (Balaban, Župljanin and Ivanovi?, 2017). The company already has an overdraft of approx. £ 2m.

  • Timely payments: - This facility provides the benefit of ensuring the timely payments and avoids late payments. Along with this, if the company has a lack of sufficient balance then this system easily manages timely payment.
  • Less paperwork: - Overdraft facility requires less paperwork then the other sources of funds.
  • Flexibility: - This source of funds provides the benefit of flexibility due to which one can take it any time and for any amount.
  • High-Interest rates: - This has been found that the cost of interest of overdraft is generally high than other sources of funds.
  • Risk related to a reduction in limit: - Overdraft facility is considered as temporary loan and undergoes regular revisit by the bank. Therefore, it runs a risk of reduction in the withdrawal limit.

Crowdfunding is the practice of project for raising a small amount from the different large number of people. This method is considered as one of the alternative sources of finance instead of the traditional sourcing method that is debt and equity funding. There are different types of crowdfunding that are used by the company for raising the amount for the business operations (Michaelsen and Lokdam, 2016).

  • This method is considered a good way to test the public's reaction to the products and service that is offered by the company.
  • The investors who invest the amount can easily track the progress of the company and their business operations.
  • This source will help the company to get effective ideas with the feedback and expert guidance.
  • It is hard to find the crowdfunding for all projects by the company because this is the fact that not all projects that apply to crowdfund platforms get onto them.
  • The failure of the project for which crowdfunding is done by the company will lead to the risk of damage of image, reputation and goodwill in the market for small amounts.

This source of fund is one of the fast-growing ways for the business for raining the loan without involving the banks. This system includes raising a loan from a group of individuals or institutions and loan amount in this system can range from £5000 to £100,000 with time duration of 6 months to 5 years.

  • This method has the flexibility in terms of individuals and institutions.
  • The company can make their decision whether to reinvest the payment you receive or withdraw the funds from the P2P account.
  • This source of funding is generally not available for the large amounts.
  • It is essential for the company to have good credit record otherwise the companies have to pay a high amount of interest which will affect in long run.

Sources of Funds and Implications

Angel investors are private individuals who make their amount invested in other business. These investors generally make the investment in the small and medium organisation. Hook Norton Brewery can source the funds with the help of angel investors but for small amounts that is £ 1m maximum (Ward, 2018).

  • The company can get the good funding amount with the help of the angel investors.
  • This form of funding is cheaper than the other form of funding as they don’t need any monthly payments on capital and interest (Brachmann, 2017).
  • The angel investors can provide the guidance and can also demand the control within the company which is a high disadvantage condition for the company.

The venture funding is a funding which is done by the investors to start a business that has high growth and profitability opportunities. The venture capital also offers managerial and technical support.

  • The innovators or entrepreneurs who are bringing new project can easily get their company financed (Trisha, 2018)
  • Venture capital source of funds provides the valuable information, technical assistance and many other benefits.
  • This source of finance is an uncertain form of financing.
  • There are only long-run benefits of this form of financing.
  • The major drawback that can be faced by the company is loss of ownership and the investor takes certain % of the business from owner.

The analysis of the source of funds reflects that Hook Norton Brewery Company can get the finance from a different source. The company should select the bank loan as the source of finance because bank loan for their business purpose gives the advantage at the time of paying tax because interest on the loan is a tax-deductible expense. Along with this, low interest helps the company to save amount. This amount can be utilized by Hook Norton Brewery for business expansion. Moreover, the company is one of the SME's due to which it is recommended to the company to prefer only one source of funds.

Hook Norton Brewery Company has the mission to gain the leading position in the market of the brewery. Along with this, the company has the vision to expand the business within different countries of UK (Wales, Northern Ireland and republic of Ireland) through pubs. This shows that the major vision of the company is to expand the business. Though, the company is offering their product and services with the help of online mode. This mission and vision has been drawn from the PESTLE analysis of company.

The objective of the business plan is to make strategies for expanding the business by opening or buying new pubs in Wales, Northern Ireland and republic of Ireland. Along with this, the company is willing to secure the investment done by the company.

Target market

The target market is the set or group of customers to whom the company is willing to offer the products. The company target the people who are with age group of 18+ which include both male and female. The targeted customer falls under middle and high-income group people in the UK. Along with this, the major target of company is pub owners and managers so that they can buy new pubs.

The company can make use of the market development expansion strategy which helps the company to expand the business throughout the UK (Brexit permitting) that includes Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and also Republic of Ireland. The company can form the joint venture, alliances, licensing and many others. It has been suggested to the company to opt for the licensing strategy because the company is aware of the legal obligations of UK (Holtbrügge and Baron, 2013). In the licensing strategy, the company need to take the permission from the government for opening new pubs in the market. This is the fact that the company need funds to expand the business in the new market that the company can take by applying for a loan in banks.

Business Plan for Preferred Growth Options

Cash flow statement is a financial statement that reflects the balance sheet accounts and income effect on cash and cash equivalents. The cash flow statement of the company reflects that they are capable enough to repay the loan. The projected cash flow statement of Hook Norton Brewery company is given below: -

Hook Norton Brewery

Cash Flow Statement

Amount (£ 000)

2019

2020

2021

Cash Flow from Operating Activities

Cash sales

        4,500.00

       6,000.00

        7,500.00

Realization from Debtors

        6,300.00

       9,800.00

      14,000.00

Payment to Creditors

                   -   

                  -   

                   -   

Expenses paid

       (9,450.00)

    (11,340.00)

     (12,950.00)

Total

        1,350.00

       4,460.00

        8,550.00

Cash Flow from Investing Activities

Machinery Purchased

       (7,000.00)

    (10,000.00)

     (15,000.00)

Equipment Purchased

          (200.00)

         (100.00)

          (500.00)

Total

       (7,200.00)

    (10,100.00)

     (15,500.00)

Cash Flow from Financing Activities

Equity capital

    150,000.00

   200,000.00

 2,500,000.00

Borrowings

        2,000.00

       2,000.00

        2,000.00

Total

    152,400.00

   202,000.00

 2,501,000.00

Cash surplus/ deficit

    146,550.00

   196,360.00

 2,494,050.00

Opening balance

                   -   

   146,550.00

    342,910.00

Closing balance

    146,550.00

   342,910.00

 2,836,960.00

The amount of loan that is taken by the company is £ 2m with the interest rate of 3%. The company will repay the loan in next 10 years. The repayment table reflect the amount that the company needs to pay.

Loan amount

2000

Time (years)

10

Repayment

Yearly

Interest rate

3%

installment

$234.46

Year

Opening balance

Installment

Interest

Closing balance

1

2000

$234.46

60

$1,825.54

2

$1,825.54

$234.46

54.7661696

$1,645.84

3

$1,645.84

$234.46

49.3753243

$1,460.76

4

$1,460.76

$234.46

43.82275363

$1,270.12

5

$1,270.12

$234.46

38.10360584

$1,073.76

6

$1,073.76

$234.46

32.21288362

$871.51

7

$871.51

$234.46

26.14543973

$663.20

8

$663.20

$234.46

19.89597253

$448.63

9

$448.63

$234.46

13.45902131

$227.63

10

$227.63

$234.46

6.82896155

-$0.00

Investment = £ 2m

Interest = £ 0.5 m

If profit = £ 0.5 m, than BEP = 0

The company need to evaluate the elements that are required for analysing the implementation of a plan that has been done effectively or not. The improvement and feedbacks can be evaluated in this section of the report.

There are different types of exit or succession options that are available for the small business. Some of the options are discussed below: -

The winding up of the business has been divided into two methods which voluntary winding up and compulsory winding. Voluntary winding up process doesn't include the processing from the court and is largely initiated by the owners of business. On the other hand, the compulsory winding up process includes the requirement of court for winding the company (Goode, 2011).

  • Outstanding debts are written off
  • Legal action is halted
  • Leases can be cancelled
  • Staff can claim for the redundancy pay
  • Avoid court processes
  • Accusations of incorrect trading
  • Business assets of the company will be sold
  • Staff will make redundant
  • Personal liability for company debts (Nyombi, 2013)

Selling the business to other party is one of the options that can be adopted by the company as the exit and succession option. The company can directly transfer their business and its operations to another person.

  • This has been observed that for the buyers it is easy to buy the business than opening a new business.
  • The company who is willing to exist don’t need to perform the procedures of court and laws for winding up.
  • It is difficult for the company to find the appropriate buyer for their company.
  • It is difficult for the seller to find the appropriate amount for their business.

Merger and acquisition of the business refer to as the consolidation of the companies or assets through the various types of financial transactions (Milford, 2016). The company has the options in which either they can get a merger with other companies or some other company can acquire the Hook Norton brewery.

  • The major advantage of a merger and acquisition is to merge their power and control within the markets (Investopedia, 2018).
  • The company can easily get the benefit of tax due to merger and acquisition.
  • The major disadvantage of this option is the loss of experienced workers.
  • The merger of two similar companies might lead to the mean duplication and over capability within the company.

The integration of the business is one of the effective ways of combining the business. This is considered as one of the succession options in which the business is provided with the professional advice with the family members or advisors.

  • Integration helps the company in getting the professional and expert advice which will boost the productivity and performance of the business.  
  • The company can integrate with their family members who provide the support in terms of ideas and financial help.
  • This method helps the company to get the success in the market where the company is performing its operations.
  • It is a time-consuming process because the company need to find the appropriate option for integrating business.

Considering the analysis, it has been suggested to the company to select the merger option for the business which will help to perform the operations. Hook Norton Brewery Company should form a merger with the well-known company that deals in the same industry. This will help the company to expand the business in the market. Moreover, it is recommended to the company that they can also get integrated with some advisor who can give advice on expanding the business in other countries of the UK. This will leads to the family succession as the members of family can provide the professional advice which helps in handling the business operations. The family members will also get the chance to contribute in success.

If in case the current CEO of the company is willing to retire or just leave the company then the Hook Norton Brewery company should merge with the other company who can support the success of company. The merger of the company will bring the support which is essential for future expansion.

Assessment of Exit Strategies and Succession Options

Conclusion 

In the end, it can be concluded that the Hook Norton Brewery Company needs to focus on their expansion strategy. The report includes the options that the company should opt for analysing the growth opportunities. Along with this, the company need to select the appropriate source of funds options as Hook Norton Brewery company need to secure the investment done by them. Thus, this is the reason it is suggested for the company to opt for the bank loan option. The report reflects the business plan that includes the mission and vision of the company. This mission is identified with the help of business opportunities. The plan of the business expansion will help the company in fulfilling the objectives. In the end, the option for the exit and succession of business is discussed which will help the company to analyse the options that contribute in achieving the success.

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