TOPIC: To provide high quality products that will alter the way we use toilets and set the standard for bathroom innovations.
Today’s society is moving towards a more eco-friendly, safe clean environment. Everywhere you look someone is promoting the Go Green campaign in some different arena: hybrid cars, recycling bins, newly sized paper towel rolls, etc. Seat Up will be providing all of this through its product. The Seat Up product is a pedal and hinges that connects to a toilet seat and lifts and lets down the toilet seat when necessary. This product provides a cleaner safer environment for using the bathroom. Instead of having to lift the toilet seat if you are a male or lowering the toilet seat if you are a female, Seat Up provides a cleaner alternative. Customers will never have to touch to the toilet seat after entering the bathroom again. Everyone has encountered a dirty toilet seat in the bathroom or sometimes enters the public bathroom after it has been “cleaned” and needs to put down the toilet seat, but does not want to risk touching it. Sometimes resorting to extreme measures to get the toilet seat down, including lifting your leg and trying to get your big toe to gently let the seat down, or tearing off toilet paper to let the seat down, or simply praying that if you only touch the toilet seat with one finger it won’t be as bad as the whole hand getting contaminated. Never to worry again. Seat Up has fixed this problem and has provided a more enjoyable experience for using the bathroom. Seat Up will also eliminate the need for excess toilet paper being used in the process of trying to lift or lower the seat, therefore providing the eco-friendly opportunity everyone is looking for.
Seat Up’s initial target market are Colleges and Universities, but more specifically Colleges and Universities in California. Seat Up has chosen California as a starting place because they will be changing all of their toilets by 2014. As a company, this was a simple decision. California is changing their toilets so why not add a pedal and hinge to make the experience more enjoyable. After surveying a number of end users, it was unanimously decided that everyone wanted a cleaner, safer bathroom experience. Therefore, the only convincing necessary would be to the buyers at these Colleges and Universities. These buyers would include maintenance supervisors and plant supervisors. They would be initial target market buyers. The focus would be to get them to buy the product and install it on their toilets. Most of the buyers spoken to are middle-aged men. They were not concerned with aesthetics, but the price and opportunity of the product.
To appeal to the target market, Seat Up will be participating in trade shows, exhibitions on campuses, advertising in trade magazines and advertising on its own website. The company will not only advertise on its own website, but will be hiring an SOE to advertise on such websites like Linkedin, Facebok, Twitter, etc. In addition to letting the company speak for itself on websites, the management team is dedicated to guerilla marketing. Each team member will be participating in the trade shows and exhibitions and handing out business cards and telling any and everyone they know and will come into contact with about the product. Each team member has issued surveys and contacted different Colleges and Universities in California already. To eliminate competitive rivalry this product will be offered as an after-market product. Therefore, relationships will be built with the indirect competitors like Kohler and Total Ltd.
Economics and Break Even
Seat Up is a high operating leverage company. The company has very high margins and low to high volumes. The total unit variable costs for year 1 of operations only total $3.06 while the product unit price is $44.99. Therefore there is a very high contribution margin at 89%. In year one the expected amount of units to be sold are approximately 17,000 and by the end of year 5 the total amount of units would be approximate 100,000 making for a high volume company. Since Seat Up only offers this one product, for now, the revenue drivers depend on seasonality. During the summer and winter months, sales are expected to peak because students are out of school and this is when most of the construction would take place. Given the amount of fixed costs, variable costs and contribution margin, we have calculated break even to be at 8,000 units. This should easily be attained in year one.
Finances and Offering
Seat Up is looking to obtain 100,000 from investors to cover start-up costs, marketing, and the initial 10,000 units. After using a discounted cash flow method, Seat Up calculated their company net present value to be $1.6 million. After calculating this the initial return for investment will be 10%. After five years the company is looking to be valued at $2.9 million and looking to offer the investors 30% return.
- Chief Executive Officer: Rashida Carter
- Chief Financial Officer: Jun Jeong
- Chief Operating Officer: Justin Pugh
- Chief Marketing Officer: Patrick Saint Tulias
- Head of Design: Sung Hyun Ahn
- Head of Accounting: Sang Mun Kim
SECTION 1: INDUSTRY
“Seat Up” falls under the 326191 NAICS code. This code is for Plastics and Plumbing Fixtures. Plastics Plumbing Fixtures manufacturers produce items such as bathtubs, sinks, lavatories, shower stalls, and whirlpool baths. The industry for plastic plumbing supplies is linked to the overall construction and building industry. U.S. Plastics Plumbing Fixtures manufacturers face competition in this capital-intensive industry from imports and from producers within the industry. According to IBIS World, the industry’s revenue for the year was 2.9 billion USD, with an estimated gross profit of 31.9%. While imports in this industry were 125.4 million USD from 48 countries, the industry also exported $102.1 million USD worth of merchandise to 110 countries. The annual growth rate is around 5.5 percent. The worldwide economic meltdown affected the manufacturers of plastics plumbing fixtures as total housing sales fell from 1.36 million in 2007 to 893,000 units in 2008. That trend continued into early 2009 with roughly 500,000 units expected. While non-residential construction offset the downturn in the housing market to some degree; even that sector began to decline in early 2009. Therefore, this industry will face significant challenges until the housing market rebounds.
On IBIS World, industry statistics show an estimated 382 establishments manufactured plastics plumbing fixtures valued at $850.4 million in 2008, with industry-wide employment of 14,694 workers. Leading producing states were California, Florida, and Texas. Collectively, these states were responsible for 34 percent of industry share. Leading firms in the industry in the late 1990s included the Wisconsin-based Kohler Co., with 1998 sales of more than $2.2 billion and 18,000 employees, and Eagle Industries Inc., of Chicago with 1998 sales of $993 million and 7,000 employees. Eljer Industries Inc. was another key player. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Eljer achieved sales in excess of $397 million in 1998 and was home to some 3,700 workers.
Key Success Factors
- Initially focus on Colleges and Universities with largest population in California then expand to all Colleges and Universities in America.
- Broaden market by advertising to other places with public facilities
- Begin to advertise this product as a household necessity
- Advertise via website, business cards, newsletters, etc.
- Focus on sanitation this product provides
- Focus on eliminating gender specific facilities
- Focus on how inexpensive this product is
|PORTER’S 5 FORCES||SEAT UP COMPANY|
|Threat of New Entrants||Entering this industry is difficult because of economy of scales. A lot of assets and a big brand name are necessary.|
|Bargaining Power of Suppliers||The product is inexpensive to create so there will be high bargains among manufacturers and suppliers.|
|Threat of Substitute Products/Service||Switching costs are low and customers can easily find a substitute for this product. It is very easy to copy this product.|
|Bargaining Power of Customers||Customers have high demands in this market. Seat Up’s revenue will directly be related to the customer’s demand.|
|Intensity of Competitive Rivalry||This is a very competitive industry because there are numerous competitors and industry growth is slow so the intensity will be high.|
SECTION 2: COMPANY CONCEPT AND PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Seat Up will commence operations in January 2013, operating from Los Angeles, CA. The company will be centered in California because California is looking to change their toilet regulations and as a company this would be an excellent venture. Seat Up is a limited liability company (LLC), because this allows for flexibility and operational ease.
Seat Up’s mission is to provide high quality products that will alter the way we use toilets and set the standard for bathroom innovations. The company’s objective is to provide a low cost toilet seat that has the ability to be raised and lowered without physical. This product reduces the spread of germs and helps increase sanitation in public restrooms. The company identified that this problem plagues major facilities across the country. Seat Up’s hands free design address‘s a growing need for health friendly fixtures. Seat Up not only provides hygienic bathroom access but also promotes sanitary behavior that not only benefits the individual user but population as a whole.
Product(s) and Service(s) Mix
As the company is moving through the new millennium, the world’s populations is becoming more health conscience and are making strides to keep themselves healthy. To eliminate the amount of contact with germs in public spaces people started to use hand sanitizer. That helps eliminate the problem by killing germs on the hands, but another problem that everyone has are public restrooms.
Many may complain about riding a bus and the public toilet facility being too dirty. One didn’t even want to lift the toilet seat because they didn’t want to dirty their hands or they would wait for the bathroom to be cleaned by a janitor and or proceed to lift the seat with a sheet of paper. This isn’t limited to just toilets on buses but “port-a-potties”, university bathrooms, hotels, personal homes, (anywhere there is a bathroom) etc. The company Seat Up eliminates this problem of having to lift a dirty toilet seat because this device allows you to lift the seat with no hands. The best part about this device is it can be added to the current bathroom/toilet appliance which allows for a low switching cost. One doesn’t have to have to get a completely new toilet which may cost too much. People are more comfortable when they believe that the service they are using is safe and they won’t be harmed by germs. A major drawback this company will face is the ability for this product to be easily copied by manufacturers. In addition to the product being easily copied, it can also be easily modified and before Seat Up has the assets to automate the seat lifter some already existing companies may beat Seat Up to the punch.
Entry and Growth Strategy
The plan is to enter the market through relationships, because “Seat Up” is offering a complimentary product instead of a competitor or substitute in the market. Toilets will be assembled regularly and the product “Seat Up” offers will be added on to the toilets so that the seats rise with the push of a pedal. Approximately 5 years from now the firm should be very successful because Seat Up will allow for all bathrooms in public facilities to be cut in half. However, according to IBIS World in 2011, Plastic Plumbing Fixtures only made up 3.5% of the plastics market. But overall the plastics industry as a whole will grow 1.7% annually for the next five years. Initially the product will grow slowly because buyers which are the customers and end users are already accustom to using a certain product in a certain way. However, after a couple major buyers use the product and the success stories are spread the product will grow rapidly. While it is believed the company will exponentially grow, it will be difficult to measure the success of this business and product, because according to IBIS World the Plastic’s industry requires a substantial amount of capital investment. Although manufacturing is on the decline there is a positive in this. This means that a lot less workers and inexpensive prices.
SECTION 3: MARKET RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS
Definition of Relevant Market and Customer Overview
Seat Up’s initial target market will be Colleges and Universities and more specifically, the 15 largest student populated Colleges and Universities in California. According to education-portal.com, the student population of these schools ranges from 30-40 thousand and the more students in the school the more toilets needed. Most of these Colleges and Universities are considered public only one of the top 15 is considered a private-non for profit school.According to contractormag.com, California will be changing the regulations on their toilets so that all the toilets are high performing and meet new flush standards. Therefore, the company decided it would be convenient since they are changing their toilets to also add on a new appliance. Universities and Colleges will want to buy this product because they will be able to advertise their schools as the cleanest and most eco- friendly. When people go into rest rooms they usually use toilet tissue to lift toilet seats because they are dirty or they are in fear of it being dirty but now with “Seat Up,” less sheets of paper will have to be used. Even though the company is selling to the Colleges and Universities in California the plan is for the market to expand. In the future the market should consist of all Colleges and Universities throughout the country, any place with a public facility, and household toilets.Although, the aim is to please the end user Seat Up is focused on getting the initial attention of the buyers for these specific Colleges and Universities because they will be spending the money.
Market Size and Trends
The overall target market is Colleges and Universities, however Seat Up has chosen to specifically focus on the largest schools in California. This comes with two reasons. This is avery large market because the student population is very large and also because California will be looking to change their toilet regulations as mentioned earlier. According to contractormag.com, Arnold Schwartzenegger makes high-efficiency toilets the law in California. He has required that all toilets by the year 2014 be high-efficiency toilets and has signed a bill making sure this comes to pass. The “Terminator” has two main reasons for doing this. One is he would like begin saving water and he estimates that after about 10 years with the new toilets approximately 8 billion gallons of water will be saved. The second reason is to accommodate the estimated 500,000 new residents in California each year. Therefore, this answers the question of why Seat Up chose California. Now why focus on Universities and Colleges in California? The answer is simple they are providing thousands of public bathrooms for students who are concerned with the cleanliness this product will provide.
The chart below shows the industry size. Branches show subsidiary facilities of firms; non-headquarters operations and Small Businesses are decreasing by each year. The report analyzes trends in four years and the content is adjusted to account for time lags in raw data. We adjust the time series to compensate. The dates shown generally reflect the actual time series shown in the Time Series table.
The growth risk score evaluates forecasted industry revenue growth against past performance as well as expected growth for all other industries. A high industry growth rate is associated with lower risk for operators in that industry.
The industry trends show the Sales Growth Index compares the change in total local sales over the time series reflected by the report. Also, the local industry sales growth rate -17.19% , therefore it is decreasing
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is civil rights legislation assuring that public buildings and structures provide reasonable accommodations and access to anyone with a disability. Plumbers are expected to familiarize themselves with the ADA standards for accessible design.
Buyer Demographics and Buyer Behavior
After calling approximately 12 different Colleges and Universities from the top 15 largest student populated schools in California, a lot was discovered. Seat Up was put into contact with people in charge of plumbing, the residence life, and in most cases maintenance supervisors. The maintenance supervisors being the most helpful shared as much information as they could. These maintenance supervisors are the initial target buyers in this market. They shared that the bathrooms on campus make up for approximately 15% of the student population, they are not concerned with aesthetics, they are concerned with the price, and how easy the product is to install. The majority of buyers in this market that we spoke with were middle-aged men. The buyer’s main concern is the student facilities being clean and looking for an inexpensive product. After surveying around 75 end customers including students and travelers we found that everyone wanted a clean bathroom. Everyone seemed very interested in the product and no one was interested in touching the seats. “Seat Up” will be very popular among buyers because the buyers are looking to please the end customers.
Please find attached in the appendix the survey issued to the end customers.
The initial target market will be Colleges and Universities and then will be segmented to the top 15 Colleges and Universities in California and then the maintenance and plant supervisors of the 15 Colleges and Universities being targeted. The goal is to get the maintenance supervisors to see how much they will be saving in the long run on toilet paper, cleaning supplies and even for plant supervisors to see by installing this product they can move towards unisex bathrooms, therefore saving money in buildings and optimizing the space. After calling these various schools it appears that everyone’s concern is saving money and purchasing an inexpensive product. Seat Up can fulfill both of these concerns.
After establishing an initial target market, Seat Up is looking to grow in different fields. After selling to the first 15 Colleges and Universities in California, the next step will be 100 Colleges and Universities in California, Colleges and Universities in surrounding states, then various places with public bathrooms and eventually segmenting all the way to household fixtures. Together as a company, Seat Up has contacted different Colleges and Universities in California, but has also contacted various public places(i.e. airports, hotels, malls, restaurants etc.) and they are all interested in the product and interested in how much the product will cost. All the places want to provide a cleaner and more eco-friendly environment for their customers. Seat Up will be providing just that. The product will be eliminating germs and eliminating toilet paper waste.
Competition and Competitive Edges
Seat Up has identified several indirect competitors. These competitors include the major players in the toilet industry and other companies that manufacture bathroom accessories. The competitors for Seat Up would all include indirect competitors. They are Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Kohler Company and Toto LTD. Below is a break-down of these competitors and what makes them successful. Alternatively the company has also identified weaknesses that they feel they can exploit to Seat Up’s advantage.
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)
SABIC is the largest market shareholder in the plastics industry. They control 3.2% of the industry (Plastics Products Miscellaneous Manufacturing in the US) and 16% percent of a similar industry (Plastic Parts and Pipe Manufacturing in the US). They acquired General Electric’s plastic business in 2007, which is worth $11.6 billion renaming it SABIC Innovative Plastics. They have 8 global technology centers that’s main purpose is to develop new product and technology. They generated 40.8 billion dollars in sales in 2010. They have a strong hold on the plastics industry and would easily be able to copy Seat Up’s idea. They have the most dominant market position out of any company in the plastics industry. They also have technology and innovations that are second to none. A major weakness for SABIC IP is that they lack in the supply chain aspect they rely heavily on third party transport for materials. Also they are located in the Middle East, which has potential to be volatile in the future.
Kohler specializes in plumbing equipment and is the largest competitor that the firm has identified. It is the 64th largest private firm, which helps keep financial records hidden. Their strengths are their size and diversity. Kohler has a large geographic footprint; located in 6 continents. The company’s businesses include kitchen and bath supplies, interiors, power equipment and solutions and hospitality and real estate services. This diversity allows them to move easily among different industries and establish brand loyalty. Conversely Kohler has been experiencing problems with customer satisfaction lately. Kohler had to recall bathroom products in July 2011, this caused some customer to leave them looking for a substitute product.
Toto Ltd is much like the other big players in the industry. They are located in Japan and recorded an operating profit of $164 million last year. One of their best strengths is their technology. Their technology has allowed them to penetrate the American market and keep customers loyal. Additionally, since Toto is located in the Asian Pacific they have ties with many of the manufacturers, which help them lower their costs and increase margins. One weakness that Toto has experienced is the lack of expansion of housing development in the US. The trend for new housing has significantly decreased over the past few years and has cause Toto trouble. Another weakness is that they are located in Japan, which has been threatened by natural disasters and caused Toto major supply chain issues.
Advantages and Disadvantages
These companies have a distinct monetary and networking advantage over Seat Up that creates high barriers to entry. They make up a large percent of the industry’s market share and are generating high profits. It would seem impossible to infiltrate this industry and grab market share but Seat Up has identified areas where these companies do not meet customer needs. These company’s products are already installed in many places and people do not want to spend the higher prices to replace an entire toilet. The customers are looking for a cheap add-on to the pricey toilets. Seat Up’s product is an add-on accessory that can be installed on existing toilet. This allows Seat Up to piggyback off of these companies established brand name and grab initial market share.
After establishing whom their competitors are Seat Up can easily recognize that none of these companies offer the same product as they do. What creates a problem for the firm is that all of these companies have the ability to duplicate Seat Up’s design since they all have established networks in the plastics industry. Seat Up creates value by playing off the growing trend of the increase in health awareness. The company provides a product that increases sanitation and health conscious behavior. This product has intrinsic value because you can’t put a price on the customer’s health. This will allow Seat Up to have a high margin and generate a profit. Seat Up is a young company that is associated with college students. This perceived weakness has allowed for Seat Up to identify a trend of increasing unisex bathrooms. That trend creates a demand for a touch free toilet seat lifter. The competitors are not as closely integrated into the college lifestyle and have not recognized this problem yet. This will allow Seat Up to get to the customers first and create relationships with these institutions.
Estimated Market Share and Sales Figures
Currently, Seat Up is only going to be operating out of California and eventually, the goal is to spread nationally. Initially the estimated market share will be the revenue Seat Up is able to acquire from the initial target market. Seat Up in the first year plans to sell approximately $17,000 capturing 10% of the overall market. The future of Seat Up will be providing not only the aftermarket manual seat lifter, but to soon provide an automated sensor operated lifter, products for entire bathrooms, kitchens and so much more. The future indirect competitor will be Kohler Co., which provides more diverse products, such as kitchen and bath products including spa baths, bathroom fixtures, whirlpools, synthetic kitchen sinks, and others. This company made 4333 million dollar of sales in 2011.
Ongoing Market Evaluation
At the end of the semester the residential advisors on the floors of the dormitories can hand out a survey at floor meetings which will ask a series of questions about their experience sharing a bathroom. The questions will range from how clean the bathroom was along with questions focusing on the product. The company “Seat Up” intends to get this question out towards the freshmen and sophomore classes who live in the dormitories during the fall semester and the company will be able to make adjustments to the product according to the feedback we receive from the students for the next year’s product. After students leave and want to continue their experience with seat up in the comfort of their own home they can contact us for a home installation.
SECTION 5: THE MARKETING PLAN
Overall Marketing Strategy
Seat Up’s best ideas start with listening to people and discovering what they really need and want in their lives. As a company, 50 end users were surveyed and the 10 Universities in California with the largest enrollment were contacted. After speaking with these people the company came up with the mission. Our mission is environmental sustainability. People want bath fixtures that make for a sanitary environment without sacrificing their hands. There’s only one bath manufacturer that can deliver all of that — Seat Up, a toilet seat lifter committed to creating products that enrich the flow of your everyday life. Since the initial market segments are the top 10 universities in California, public advertising will not be necessary. Brand awareness will be established through direct marketing and the online website. The plan is to release the product regionally, specifically at the 10 California Universities contacted because they are heavily populated and have more toilets than your average University. The buyers have expressed interest in the product, and during research it was found that California will be changing their toilets soon due to regulation. Geographically, schools in California make sense because it is the closest to China and the product will be imported directly from there.
As outlined in the economic model, the product price will be set at $44.99 and the product will be manufactured in China offering lower labor costs, raw materials, and shipping costs. Although, $44.99 is the unit price, Seat Up will be offering volume prices. The more a company orders, the lower prices will be. This will be further explained in the attached financial statements. The company has set up a relationship with a 3PL Company called, Southern California Warehousing, that will lower costs because there will not be a need for a warehouse expense. Also, the 3PL offers advantages other than storage. They will bring the product from the ship to their warehouse, unpack and repackage the products with Seat Up labeling and installation packet and will inspect the product. Therefore, as a company there will be one payment to the 3PL which will provide for a lower cost than the competitors. Therefore, Seat Up will have established price competitiveness.
The Selling Cycle
Sales will be made directly to the buyers or the customers in the market. In addition to direct sales discounts will be offered depending on the volumes offered. There will be volume discounts as mentioned in the pricing and financial statements attached. However, the company will also offer even greater discounts during the months of May and December when we will know sales will be high since students will be out of school and Colleges and Universities will want to do renovations. After entering the market and building the company image successfully, the target market will be expanded including office areas, public facilities, and homes. This will offer Seat Up the opportunity to grow expand the market and increase brand awareness and loyalty.
Advertising, Sales Promotions and Publicity
For reaching out to other potential customers and appealing to them, a video clip will be posted on YouTube and a link to the website will be offered throughout the video. Because the company “Seat Up” is a startup company, the company is going to outsource talent to develop a website and to keep the website functioning properly. This SOE will also be in charge of advertising on such websites like facebook, linkedin, twitter, etc. Outsourcing covers the problem of gaining a group of people to maintain the security of the website after it is created and in the end eliminates a lot of inconveniences of developing and maintaining. The company’s website will be used for customers who are looking to order in bulks and/or household customers who just want to buy only a few for their personal homes or offices.In addition to gaining online recognition, at other Schools and Universities in California there will be simulations set up. Seat Up will take part in School Equipment Exhibitions such as CASBO (The California Association of School Business Officials). It will be the best source to promote the product to school directors through setting up booths at the exhibition. Seat Up will also be participating in Trade Shows so that maintenance supervisors and plant supervisors, the buyers of this market will be introduced to the product and want to buy more. The trade show Seat Up plans to attend is, The Flow Expo. It is an industry only trade show presented by the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Contractors Association of Los Angeles. On campus, Seat Up will offer your traditional toilet without the product attached and of course the insanitation of this toilet will be a tad over-exaggerated and then the Seat Up toilet will be offered and it will be very clean and user friendly. Students will begin to get the word out to their family members and friends and before youknow it, the product will speak for itself.
Customer Service and Guarantee Policies
The Seat Up office will be located in Los Angeles California as mentioned earlier in the business plan. This office will have the Chief Marketing Manager monitoring the phones and emails at all times. The website will offer a commonly asked question section and a “Contact Us” section which will be directly linked to the Marketing Manager’s email address where questions and comments will be directly answered. The Seat Up phone number will be listed on the installation packet in case there is confusion. The product will be guaranteed for at least 5 years and in the event something happens in this 5 years a new product will be offered and in extreme cases full refunds will be issued.
SOCAW (Southern California Warehousing), which is a 3PL company in California, provides supply chain management functions such as design label, barcode, packaging, shipping and warehouse. They are located in major cities in Canada, Europe, Asia, and U.S. They operate three factories in California, which is the initial target market.
SECTION 6: DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
A toilet seat lifter system comprised of a base, a horizontal pedal member hinged to the base, and a vertical arm hinged between the end of the pedal and the seat. Variable length lever arms adjust the static leverage exerted through the linkage. A non-linear spring in the linkage adjusts the dynamic leverage for smoother operation. The toilet seat elevator system is ready to be produced.
Developmental Status and Tasks
The above charts states the developmental process over the next 6 months. While the product is ready to be produced there is communication and costs associated with getting the product from China to America. These costs are outlined in the attached financial statements. They are all included in the variable costs because they are directly related to the sale of the product.
Difficulties and Risks
Shipping on time from China to California and possible damaged products upon arrival could be a risk. The company is using a 3PL company which means a large portion of distribution is placed on them. If their business collapses, it is obvious that Seat Up will be damaged. The product being provided can easily be copied and it is inexpensive. Moreover, if some big companies, such as Toto and Kohler, develop some similar products, they will take away a large percentage of market share using their brand power.
In the future, Seat Up will offer sensor operated lifters for the toilet seat. It will make people more comfortable by automatically lifting the toilet seat up or down. Also, the appearance of the product will be more appealing to the customer.
As a startup firm, SeatUp has decided to file a provisional application for the design patent, because we believe that our investment is to assess the SeatUp’s commercial promotion. Then, we will commit to higher cost of filing an application for patent. SeatUp believes that it will enable an immediate commercial promotion of our product with greater security.
SECTION 7: OPERATIONS PLAN
Seat Up will be outsourcing their manufacturing to China. The only part of the product that will be made in house is the instruction that will be installed upon arrival at Southern California Warehousing. According to conversations with the 3pl service, they will handle all logistics once the product reaches California. Seat Up will have their operations manager and staff present every time a shipment is being importing to insure quality and precision. This strategy will make provide for maximum efficiency from getting the product from manufacturer to customer.
Seat Up’s geographic location is based on maximizing their potential customer reach. The headquarters will be in Los Angeles California for several reasons.
- According to Ca.gov, newly passed law in California mandating that all toilets to be replaced by higher efficiency toilets by 2014 creates a demand for the product.
- LA has the closest proximity to their customers and will allow them the opportunity to interact and build relationships with them
- Allows Seat Up to insure quality throughout the shipping and packaging process because staff will be on site
Seat up will only lease an office space in LA that will be the headquarters of the company and customer service center. All other facilities will be outsourced and handled by other companies. The flow chart above lays out which companies will handle Seat Ups logistics. There are no future plans for expansion for new facilities and equipment.
Seat Up will be ordering from the manufacturer found on Alibaba.com that has the capabilities to produce 15,000 units per month. The first order will be a test run and help to build inventory for future sales. The product will typically be sold in bulk allowing the company to place those orders in advance. Also they will have inventory on hand to fill the need if problems occur.
Legal Issues Affecting Operations
Seat up faces several legal issues due to the fact that they are outsourcing from China. Our product has to pass through customs and all tariffs must be paid in order for it to be imported successfully. Seat Up will use a customs broker for all of their shipping and importing needs. Once the product has passed customs it also has to be approved by the FDA so it can be sold in the US (“How to import”). These several key components are deal breakers and must be done properly in order for product success. “How to Import from China.” WikiHow. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 June 2012. http://www.wikihow.com/Import-from-China
SECTION 8: MANAGEMENT TEAM
Key Management Personnel and Responsibilities
Rashida Carter: Ms. Carter will take the lead as Chief Executive Officer of the company Seat Up. Ms. Carter is a senior in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management with multiple Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprise courses work in her repertoire. Ms. Carter was heavily involved in the National Association of Black Accountants program which strengthened her leadership and work ethics. Ms. Carter has diversified her work experience being a student supervisor and event coordinator at the alumni faculty facilities. The skills Ms. Carter has picked up over the years has given her the awareness on how to function as a leader of the company.
Jun Jeong- Mr. Jeong will take the responsibility of Chief Financial Officer. Jeong is an Accounting major at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. While this is his major he goes beyond the classroom in his abilities. Jeong was personally responsible for organizing the finances of the company. He is efficient in Microsoft Excel and has made our financial statements and economic model based off of this knowledge. Given his contributions to the group and his expertise in the field of Finance and Accounting Jeong has earned the position as the Chief Financial Officer.
Patrick Saint-Tulias: Mr. Saint-Tulias is the head of Marketing. Mr. Saint-Tulias is an accounting and information management major with a minor in Global Enterprise Technology at Syracuse University’s class of 2013. Mr. Saint-Tulias has experience in marketing a product to different market segments as he was the event coordinator of several successful events for different organizations that aren’t limited to Syramatics, Caribbean Student’s Association, and Project Feed Me. The networks that Mr. Saint-Tulias has built over the years across several campuses and states will serve the company Seat Up well.
Sung Hyun-Ahn: Mr. Ahn will take the responsibility as the lead in Head of Design. Ahn is currently a student in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management where he is majoring in Marketing. While his major is in marketing he has much background in design. His computer and technical abilities are superb and make him the best candidate for this position. Ahn has created online surveys and has infiltrated the company’s business model with many different images, graphs and blueprints or the business.
Sang-Mun Kim- Mr. Kim will be take on the position as Head of Accounting. Mr. Kim is also Marketing major in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Kim exemplifies great personality and great understanding of Excel, NPV, FV, etc. Kim has contributed a great amount of work to developing the design for the product. He has laid the groundwork with assisting Mr. Ahn in a great blueprint.
Justin Pugh: Mr. Pugh will take the responsibility of Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Pugh is a finance major at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Mr. Pugh has a lot of experience over the years taking Whitman courses and being a leader of the division 1 football team. Mr. Pugh’s expertise have been a great addition to the team Seat Up.
Above is an image of an organizational chart of the structure for the company Seat Up. Ms. Carter is the CEO of the company with her team Mr. Jeong as CFO, Mr. Saint-Tulias as CMO, Mr. Ahn as the Head of Design, Mr. Kim working with Ahn as the product manager in the Head of Design department and Mr. Pugh as the COO. The product designer is from China and the company will be importing the product from Mr. Haion Won who has experience creating the seat lifter. Mr. Pugh will be working closely with the warehouse manager and the distribution team provided through Southern California Warehousing Company.
Management Compensation and Ownership
The company Seat Up has five years to hit 3 million dollars. In order for the company to reach that margin, the board must be truly dedicated to the success of Seat Up and accept to work without a salary until the company is up and running. The initial model for Seat Up will be a pedal system that will lift the toilet seat. By year three the reputation of the company should have diffused throughout California and other regions in America because of the college students (end users) spreading across America and helping the product spread as well. At the beginning of year three the company Seat Up will introduce another version of the product which will be of further convenience to the user which would be a sensor that lifts the toilet set without the pedal.
Stock Options and Bonuses
The company will not go public within the five year of business it will be operational so there are no stock options or bonuses that will be provided to employees within the first five years of operation.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Travis Brown: Account Specialist for the SOCAW Company. He can be contacted through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Haion Won: Supplier of this product and can be contacted through his contact information in New Jersey. Phone number 1-908-3431838.
SECTION IX: OVERALL SCHEDULE
Prior to the events shown on the calendar below Seat Up has been working on their business plan and establishing contacts in California. Seat Up has established connections in operations and the companies are just waiting on the first orders. Below is the month prior to the launch of the business this will be done in without an office and prior the companies launch in Los Angeles. These items are a behind the scenes look for investors and will help keep the company on schedule.
|1st||Incorporate the venture|
|2nd||Obtain the funding from Angel Investor|
|8th||Order preliminary prototype to ensure that product meets Seat Up standards|
|10th||Contact top 15 schools in California and keep relationships strong heading in the first month of operations|
|13th||Rent office in LA starting January 1st 2013|
|15th||Establish cost and shipping with company in China|
|16th||Find and hire customs broker for the first order|
|17th||Contact SoCal Warehousing and set up logistics for the order|
For the remainder of the month Seat Up will focus on making sales to universities in California.
|1st||Operations commence in Los Angeles with initial order placed|
|2nd||Move into Seat Up’s offices in downtown LA|
|3rd||Visit schools in California to continue building relationships with maintenance supervisor|
|5th||Attend trade show in California|
|7th||Buy necessary promotional items for the office and for employees to give out when they are on the rode|
|28th||Initial order of 10,000 units is received|
|29th||Order is inspected by FDA and approved|
|30th||Order is repackaged with Seat Up instructions|
During this month Seat Up will have been officially launched in California. Their will have been on order placed and received within the month. During the dead period between January 8th and January 27th Seat Up will be in contact with all three companies that handle logistics to insure everything is going smoothly.
|1st||First shipment will be delivered to school 1|
|4th||Second shipment will arrive at school 2|
|11th||Third shipment will arrive at school 3|
These first three months show the cycle of how our product is ordered and delivered. The company will not sell out all 10,000 units in the first month but once the order reaches 3,000 units Seat Up will order an additional 10,000 units.
March: Seat up will continue to sell units from the first shipment while building their networks in California. They will deliver to 2 more schools during this time. During this month Seat Up will receive payments from the schools they delivered to during February.
April: This month will see an increase in sales and Seat Up plans on delivering to 2 more schools. They will also receive payments from orders delivered in March.
May: During this month Seat Up will deliver to 2 more schools and also place an order for 10,000 more units that will arrive in June. The company will place this order on the 1st of May. This month will resemble January except for the start-up items. They will also receive payment for orders placed the month prior.
June: The company plans on having the additional 10,000 units on hand and ready for the peak season. Seat Up intends on delivering to 2 more schools in California.
July: Seat Up will begin to contact other schools in California. They will target the top 100 colleges. The firm will send out teams to show the schools how successful the product has been in the other 15 schools to convince other schools to buy the product. During this time Seat Up will also be delivering units to the existing 15 established customers.
August: The company intends on continuing to market the product in California and grow state wide. This month will be similar to the prior month because a large effort will be made to gain customers throughout the state.
September: During this month Seat Up plans to see a down period in sales because it is the start of the school year and from their research purchase of toilets is not very common. During this period the company will make a push to gain even more customers and visit them in person to create a lasting relationship. During this time Seat Up will still be receiving payments and intend to have a smaller amount of deliveries. During this month they will also place an order for additional 10,000 units so they will be ready for the peak season in November and December.
November: The company plans on having the additional 10,000 units on hand and have them ready for the second peak season. During this time we will have to rely on the past face to face interactions because traveling to new customers will be harder.
Year 2: Year 2 will see massive amount of growth and expansion and grow to 100 schools in California. The order placements will be placed around the same time. The only exception would be that the orders being placed will be much greater. The peak seasons will remain in May and November, with the slow times being January and September.
Year 3: During the third year of the company Seat Up will be moving from California to the 5 surrounding states. The primary target will be the universities in those states and will be attacked similarly to those in California. The schedule will remain the same as prior months just grow just on a larger scale.
SECTION X: CRITICAL RISKS, PROBLEMS AND ASSUMPTIONS
The company Seat Up will be ordering the device from the third party manufacture in China in which the company will have the items packaged and shipped to California to be sold. Some of the potential risk that arise from this is that Seat Up’s relationship with the third party manufacturer which may falter if the manufacturer cannot produce as much of the device as requested during a particular period. If this were to happen this would mess up the supply chain and the customers in America won’t be able to receive their product on time.
There is also the assumption that the device will fit on any and all toilet facilities but in actuality toilets have not been measured. Only the quantity of toilets and how many devices will be needed to convert all the current toilet facilities. This problem can be combated when Seat Up’s employees go to the customer proposing the product and can then make sure that the device is compatible and there doesn’t have to be any adjustments to satisfy the customer and end user.
With almost every company, which doesn’t exclude Seat Up, there is always the risks that exist that an existing company or a new company can try to enter the market with a similar product or a more improved product that will threaten taking away market share from the company. Currently Seat Up doesn’t have any direct competitors but with little to no one significant in the add on to competitors it isn’t impossible that this case can occur.
To combat the risks associated with Seat Up, the company will build strong relationships with their competitors along with trying to advertise more and build brand loyalty.
There is the assumption that the product will make it to California in one piece. There are natural occurrences that can happen to the product on its way to America that can damage or destroy the product. The chance of this occurring is very low but is still a factor the company should take into account. And for unforeseen incidents like this, Seat Up has put 15% of its expenses to miscellaneous cost.
The first year of business the company will sell to the top fifteen universities in California and as the years go on the company will expand into the top one hundred schools in the east coast. This is a good prediction but there is always a chance that someone of the schools in the first year will not accept the new product. There is a moderate chance that this happens. If this does happen the revenue of Seat Up will decrease as well as there will be an overstock in the warehouses. In the case that they don’t accept it there are other market segments that Seat Up can penetrate such as public facilities, public schools, government facilities and etc.
Because Seat Up has a manufacturer in China that already creates the product it eliminates the risk that there won’t be a steady supply. This would be a critical risk and if the manufacturer could not create the product for some unforeseen reason there are other manufacturers in China that can create the same product for Seat Up at the same price.
SECTION X: FINANCIAL PLAN
SECTION XI: FINANCIAL OFFERINGS
Seat Up is requesting $100,000 from Angel Investors to start the company. Seat Up management team only has sweat equity to contribute to the company and therefore will need the $100,000 to start the company. However, Seat Up will be worth a lot of money and is willing to give an initial return of 10%. According to the discountcash flow and valuation the company will be value at 1.6 million.
Use of Funds
Seat Up will be using this $100,000 for marketing at $75,000, start-up costs at $9,000 and the initial order of 10,000 units.
After careful consideration of the NPV and after calculating the FV the value of the firm will be 2.9 million. Given this amount Seat Up is willing to offer 30% to the investors
Appendix B: Survey 1. Gender Survey Results
- On a scale of 1-10, how clean are the public bathrooms you use on a daily basis. (10 being the most clean, 1 being the least)
- Please indicate the public facility you frequent the most.
|1||School / University||
|3||Transportation Centers (Airport, Bus Terminal, Train Station, etc.)||
|5||Others *please be specific ___________________||
- Would you prefer pedal over automatic sensor for lifting the toilet?
How often do you use public bathroom?
|2||Less than Once a Month||
|3||Once a Month||
|4||2-3 Times a Month||
|5||Once a Week||
|6||2-3 Times a Week||
- For addtional comments.
|help solve the bathroom bonanza, vote pugh for public poopy man!|
|Wish I had a handle or a foot pressure pedal to lift the seat and drops slowly on release. I hate having to touch the moisture under a seat from the spray caused by flushing.. Guys need this!|
Appendix D: Works Cited
Mould, Chrissie. “S Corporation vs. LLC: Which Structure Is Right for Your Business.” S Corporation vs. LLC: Which Structure Is Right for Your Business. Web. 24 May 2012. http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol136/structure.htm
“Plastics Plumbing Fixtures.” Market Report. Web. 24 May 2012. http://business.highbeam.com/industry-reports/chemicals/plastics-plumbing-fixtures
“Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:.” Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:. Web. 25 May 2012. <http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr
“Masco Historical Timeline – Construction Building Materials Company Timeline & Home Building Industry Innovation – Masco.” Masco Historical Timeline – Construction Building Materials Company Timeline & Home Building Industry Innovation – Masco. Web. 24 May 2012. <http://masco.com/about/timeline/>.
Bueno, Brian. “Plastics Products Miscellaneous Manufacturing.” IBIS WORLD. 2012. Web. 24 May 2012. <http://clients.ibisworld.com/industryus/default.aspx?indid=520>.
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