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Barry Davis: Back on Board? Case Study


Davis is a passion-driven character that would go to all lengths to realize his dream. The entrepreneurial spirit, born through exposure to the skating environment, has, however, been hurt due to the involvement of an overly ambitious character, Russell. Together, the two skaters were able to start a business from scratch and see it grow beyond their expectations. Russell, the overly ambitious gentleman, made a sour deal that saw the trust between the partners dwindle and ultimately led to the collapse of their skateboard making and selling business. Davis’ assessment pointed out to poor managerial skills. Though excellent in terms of financial control, Davis lacks confidence in launching a business.

The deficiency has motivated him to go back to school with the hope of honing his skills in accounting and marketing. Davis understands that his success lies in his passion. In fact, he had bought a retail shop in Australia and succeeded. However, he found that his skills were not enough to propel a business to rewarding heights. Though he does not disregard a practical course, Davis knows the reward of pursuing passion and is confident of being successful as an entrepreneur in the skateboard market.

The market environment is, however, different. The Calgary area is flooded with competitors and has approximately 20 outlets dealing with skateboards and apparel. At the same time, Calgary still requires an additional area to cater to demand, indicating projections for growth. Davis would like to seize the opportunity created by the anticipated growth but is in a dilemma on the nature of his new business and the brand to sell. He remains conscious of the blow on the previous establishment in the same area (Gardner, 2012).

Should Davis re-open his new retail business under the same brand name, or should he create a totally new brand?

There is a tendency, in marketing, to cling to a previously established name. Though Hot Shot Boards was a success, the brand name was used when in partnership with Russell. Starting the business afresh with the original name may pose some legal challenges since the ex-partner might lay claims. It is, however, notable that the name would be given preference since its reputation was not ruined. The partners were able to execute the contracts awarded.

On the other hand, using Hot Shot Boards may limit the scope of his new venture. With the changing face of the business in the area, success would only be attained through diversification. His previous success in the field, as well as experience with manufacturing, would ensure that he can manufacture custom made boards that meet the desires of the clients. Retailers in the market rely on imported boards, which are of low quality.

Consumers would relate better with boards made in their home area. At the moment, there is difficulty trusting the source of boards. Boards made in China are of poor quality. Davis can exploit that loophole in business to establish a new factory that guarantees quality at the hands of a seasoned skateboarder (Gardner, 2012).

Given his experience in his past business, should he also manufacture the boards, or should he simply distribute boards made by other firms?

Distributing boards made by other manufacturers would increase diversity. However, it may dilute the market for Davis’ customized boards. Davis has wide experience skating on the field as well as making the boards. His previous business was pretty successful. Manufacturing would enable Davis to incorporate his skills into manufacturing. Other retailers sell stock made from other countries, where the manufacturers do not articulate the needs of the boarders.

Having skateboarded from a tender age, Davis understands shortcomings that may arise on boards as well as counteracting them in future designs. His hands-on experience guarantees accurate customization, thus able to meet the demands of customers. This is an asymmetry that cannot easily be replicated by the competitors. If he is to cut out a niche for himself in the market, he should refrain from selling stock made by other firms. This way, he will be able to instill confidence in the consumers (Gardner, 2012).

If Davis adds a line of apparel or shoes, should he try to sell his line to other retail clothing shops in Calgary? (Branding Issue?)

The skateboard market environment in Calgary has changed. Diversification into apparel is a brilliant idea. If Davis sells his line to other retailers, it may give room for replication. This may increase competition before Davis has the chance to attain a return on his investment. On the other hand, selling in other outlets could increase brand presence. This, in turn, would allow room for recognition. This would also enhance competition with the already established brands.

It also gives consumers a range of products to choose from before making a buying decision. Having been active in the sport, Davis has enough experience to come up with shoes or apparel that fit the need of a skateboarder. Marketing his line in as many retail shops as possible will be a positive step towards attaining a larger market share in the competitive Calgary segment. Brand recognition is a sure way to drive sales in a competitive market (Gardner, 2012).

How could he differentiate his business? Is there a niche he could fill?

Davis is rich with experience. This forms an asymmetry. His core values, such as persistence and self-determination, are what a business requires to prosper. His re-entry into the skating board business comes at a time when the city of Calgary is establishing a Skateboarding Amenities Strategy. The strategy seeks expansion of indoor and outdoor skateboarding area. This will increase the demand for skateboards. At the same time, there is a new generation of skateboarders that seek to refurbish the excitement of the older form of skating that emphasizes style rather than tactics. Davis’ experience brought from the older generation will once more have a place in society.

This will compose a main competitive advantage to Davis. The difference in the quality of products and services, in contrast to price wars, is a key element for survival in the skateboard market. Using recycled material, in contrast to tree felling, is one of the strategies that Davis can employ in his establishment to remain different from other competitors. There is an emerging trend of people preferring boards made of recycled or renewable materials. In the wake of Global warming, there is an increased emphasis on environmental protection. Availability of the market trends and the connection Davis has with the local skateboarding authority is a sure means to encourage his establishment.

He also possesses a sense of adventure that will enable him to connect well with the emerging generation of skateboarders. There is a vacuum to be filled where the sense of adventure with the new generation needs to be connected with the old school skateboarding style. Davis will form a lovely bridge to the artistic side gained since early childhood. At the same time, experience from production and wide research in different geographical locations will assist in coming up with ideas that keep skateboarders on edge (Gardner, 2012).

Reference

Gardner, B. (2012). Case Study – Barry Davis: Back on Board?. Calgary, Canada: SAIT Polytechnic.

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