The entertainment industry in the UK has been growing for the last decade or two. There are more people who are willing to perform and share their talents with the rest of their communities. It should be noted that technology and innovation have helped push this industry further. This is due to the ease of access to performances and other related activities. It is prudent to state that often, paid performances are done either in restaurants, bars or events. However, this has not stopped people in the creative industry from performing in the streets. This applies especially to up and coming artists. Critically, professional stand-up comedy has been boosted by events that take place around the UK. The organisers have focused more on live special events that also bring in international artists. It can be argued that there is still plenty of activities that can be done to further the sub-section of stand-up comedy in the entertainment industry in the UK. This business plan proposes the use of Fun Times, a point-and-know mobile application that allows users to get information about stand-up comedy in London.
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Fun Times is a mobile application that is compatible with both Android and iPhones. The application focuses on giving the user all the information he or she needs in regards to stand-up comedy in the UK. It should be noted that the app will indicate the location, restaurant or bar that the show will be taking place. Critically, the innovation will target consumers based on the provision of unique information about stand-up comedy. Apart from the data, the mobile app will also indicate local and international headliners to these shows. Further, there will be reviews of the restaurants and bars that will host the shows.
It can be debated that one of the key attractions of using the app is that users will also be able to wine and dine in some of the restaurants and bars. The beverages will be both alcoholic and non-alcoholic to cater for the needs of all the clients who visit the restaurant for purposes of entertainment. Further, the company will host various events in a bid to attract clients and further enhance the bottom line. For example, some of the events that will be hosted in the restaurants include wine tasting events and specific activities that celebrate the cultures of the different foods that are all accompanied by stand-up comedy. It is expected that these parties will allow the public to interact better with the application as well. Richardson and Ariffin (2019) note that there are numerous reasons why consumers appreciate constant interaction with their preferred brands.
The mission of Fun Times is to prepare, inform and educate the public about different stand-up comedy acts that are taking place in various restaurants and bars across London.
The company’s vision is to bring together people through quality stand-up comedy that celebrates the diverse nature of the society by incorporating comedy with food and beverage.
Aims and Objectives
The following are the aims and objectives of the business:
- To provide a creative space where people can enjoy good stand-up comedy alongside their favourite cuisine and beverages among family and friends
- To create a platform for young stand-up comedians to reach a wider audience by informing them of where and when they will be performing.
The business will be located in London City. There are various reasons why the city has been selected. First, as Chaffey and Smith (2017) note, attracts an average of 45 million tourists per year. Although the application will target locals, it is important to put strategies in place to capture the international visitors. It is expected that some of the tourists will appreciate being able to enjoy other fun aspects of London such as its comedy coupled up with various traditional cuisines. Secondly, the target market that will be captured is contemporary urban. Angeloni et al. (2016) note that a significant percentage of the population in London falls under this description. Therefore, marketing becomes easier due to the large population that live in the same area (Ezeanaka, 2020). Rahman, Yaacob and Radzi (2016) argue that the location of a partnering restaurant’s is key for the success of the company. It is important to note especially in relation to real estate, which affects operating costs.
Market / Industry Analysis
Industry Size, Growth and Structure
Currently, the tourism and hospitality industry contributes to a large extent to the country’s economy. This is coupled by the fact that the country also has a significantly robust entertainment sector (Arnett, Goldfinch and Chinta, 2017). It should be noted that this premise refers to two main ideas. The first is that the two sectors complement each other and form one of the largest industries in the nation. Therefore, together, they hire a significant number of people. Secondly, it also means that the industry contributes significantly to the country’s GDP. It should be noted that at a local level, the tourism and hospitality industry attracts approximately 45 million tourists per year (Chaffey and Smith 2017). These tourists look for various activities that they can take part in during their stay. It can be argued that by providing information on stand-up comedy coupled with traditional cuisine and beverages, the application will be a much welcome innovation to the tourists. Therefore, all these tourists will be targeted by the company’s marketing strategy.
One can argue that the entertainment industry in the UK is expected to grow exponentially. At a macro level, it can be stated that a significant percentage of the world population is more open to spending money on things they enjoy doing (Sakhdari, Burgers and Davidsson, 2020; Greenlaw, Shapiro and Taylor, 2017). Apart from this, more people are travelling all over the world and are interested in seeing the different activities that make a society unique. The structure of Fun Times ensures that these people get information that is specifically tied to stand-up comedy. An added advantage is that these events will be in restaurants and bars where clients can also enjoy good meals and beverages. Further, the structure of the industry makes it easier for the sector to grow. This is due to the fact that there are numerous other sectors that are tied to the entertainment industry, as explained, including the tourism and hospitality industry. These mini sectors boost the entertainment sector, thereby, positively affecting Fun Times.
Industry and Market Trends
One market trend at a macro level is that more clients are looking for an authentic experience when they seek either fun or educational activities. The term experience refers to the entire consumer journey and not just the 30 minutes to one hour of comedy. Baker and Hart (2016) and (Almutlaq (2016) explain that brands have to fully understand how their consumer experience affects overall brand image in order to make the right decisions about their marketing plan. For example, in the case of Fun Times, it is important for management to understand how to fully capture the authentic London experiences on a daily basis vis-à-vis the individual entertainers that will be performing and their type of content. It can be argued that the only way this can be determined is through proper market research. At a local level, one common trend is using digital platforms to communicate with clients even when they are in other cities and countries (González, 2020). For example, in the hospitality sector, menus have been placed online so that clients can easily use a barcode to get their menus (Granados, 2019). The use of technology and innovation in such a manner has enhanced consumer experience.
It is critical to note that there are two main market segments that have to be considered. The first is of tourists who are visiting London. This market segment will mainly be targeted through digital platforms such as social media and websites that they visit. It is also important to note that this segment is also expected to boost the income of the company in certain months of the year. Additionally, these individuals will most likely prefer to dine in the partnering restaurant. The second market segment is of local Londoners who want to enjoy a good laugh. It can be argued that their buyer behavior will also entail good meals and beverages due to the hectic nature of moving around in the city.
One key strength of the company is that it incorporates the use of technology and innovation to provide high quality services. It is important to note that the company will use a mobile application and also partner with restaurants and bars to get the needed information directly to clients who need the same (Bailey and Warby, 2019). Although there are numerous entertainment companies that already do this, it is a strength for Fun Times as all have not partnered with restaurants to also include traditional cuisines and beverages.
On the same note, one of the weaknesses of Fun Times is that it depends fully on outside partners to make the entire project work. Although this ensures authenticity of the consumer experience, it also puts the company at risk. For instance, there might be instances where the stand-up comedian expected to perform does not show up. There is no way for the company to directly communicate with their users unless the same is also communicated to them prior to the event. The company has to consider signing contracts with all the entertainers who want their shows highlighted in the application (Singh and Jain, 2020).
Despite the stated weakness, the company has several opportunities that it can take advantage of. One such opportunity is the partnering with event organisers to host stand-up comedy events that are also highlighted in the application, not just the weekly and more regular shows. This will ensure that the users get access to good entertainment, while at the same time also ensuring that the event organisers have an easier time advertising their shows. It will also serve as an alternative source of income for the company as the advertisers will have to pay.
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Lastly, Fun Times has one main threat. The global pandemic has opened up a new way of looking at some of the threats that a business might face. It is important to note that despite practicing proper hygiene, restaurants and the industry at large have suffered due to the lockdowns and similar closures. It is important for management to have an emergency strategy in place for times of crisis (Etemad, 2020). This will ensure that the business still survives any form of threat that it may face.
It should be mentioned that at a macro level, the company will focus on the eating and drinking target market segment. This means that the company will first and foremost look for people who dine out as the highlighted skits will only be done in restaurants. This includes people who come to the restraint to eat, drink or both. One of the reasons why it is important to have people who prefer to dine outside is that they are a ready market and the application will be a value addition to their customer experience. Due to this, it is essential that the partnering restaurants also be of a certain standard that ensures more users rely on the application for the information needed.
Indeed, it can be argued that one of the reasons why clients will be attracted to Fun Times is the fact that it will offer all the information needed to have a good time watching a stand-up show, including location, pricing and reviews of the artist, and enjoy a good meal. It is expected that the artists will be categorised based on their experience to also allow the users make a choice on who they want to see perform. A second reason that will attract the clients to Fun Times is the affordability of the meals. The management will lower operational costs at all levels in order to lower the price of the meals.
It can be argued that the target market is looking for three main things. The first is information on where they can attend quality stand-up comedy while the second is the price of the shows. Lastly, they are looking for great places where they can enjoy the stand-up comedy. It is critical to note that all the needs of the users have to be considered in order to offer quality service (Gelens et al., 2014). This will form part of a precautionary strategy for partnering with events that might endanger the company’s public image.
As stated, the key products that will be offered are information about stand-up comedy skits in London. Indeed, there will be various comedy events that will also be featured and that through partnership, will provide more income to the company (Leal-Rodríguez and Sanchís-Pedregosa, 2019). It is important to note that there are several factors that will be used to enhance the company’s competitive edge. The first is the fact that the stand-up comedy skits will be tied to food and beverages as they will be happening in restaurants and bars.
It should be noted that the application will not hire or even manage any of the stand-up comedians. Further, it’s main source of income will be the purchase of the application by users. Critically, advertisers will also have to pay for advertising space within the application. This structure ensures that the company has low operating costs. Thirdly, one can argue that the high quality of service offered in the partnering restaurants will be a competitive edge (Aziz, Amlus and Jusoh, 2015). Staff have to be trained on proper consumer engagement to ensure they enhance consumer journeys (Johns, 2017). This will also ensure that customers feel that the app is not only genuine but also keen on ensuring they have a great time.
Unique Selling Point and Competitor Analysis
The entertainment industry in London is diverse and highly competitive. There are two main categories of competitors for Fun Times. The two are theatres and the restaurants and bars that also host comedy nights on their own. Despite the type of competitor, one can group several strengths and weaknesses that competitors in the industry have. One strength is that there are competitors who have been in the industry for years, therefore, have been able to develop their brand and interact more with the target market (Fetscherin, 2015). Du (2019) explains that one of the reasons why this is a strength is the fact that loyal clients will always just visit these spots regardless of what is happening elsewhere. A second strength is that a significant number of the competitors offer something other than food and beverage – other forms of entertainment such as music and poetry. This is especially true for restaurants and bars (Beugelsdijk, Kostova and Roth, 2017). This is a critical strength as it adds value to what the competitors offer that Fun Times does not.
Despite the stated advantages, there are various weaknesses that can be grouped together and that offer Fun Times an opportunity to succeed in the industry. One such limitation is that there are few restaurants that have curved a niche for themselves. Indeed, as Schlegelmilch (2016) notes, a majority of the restaurants in the area do not have these extra activities. Therefore, it is easier for the management of Fun Times to reach out and partner with the restaurants It can be debated that by creating its own niche, Fun Times will be able to attract more clients that its competitors.
It should be noted that the services will be delivered both through an online platform (digital) only. As mentioned previously, Fun Times is a mobile application that users can take advantage to know more about stand-up comedy acts in London. The company will also have a website. However, this will be purely for information about the company and will not work in similar fashion as the mobile application. The application will need a smart phone to allow for the point and look nature of the business. On the application, the user will see all the partnering restaurants that have stand-up comedy nights. They will also be able to see the fees to be paid, time and even the menu that the partnering restaurant will have at the time. This last aspect adds value for the client.
One of the key operating activities for the company is the identification of partnering restaurants where the stand-up comedy acts will be performed. A second key operating activity is the designing of the mobile application. Indeed, whereas this is not directly related to stand-up comedy, the application has to be user friendly in order for the clients to be attracted to it (Jones and Spadafora, 2016). The design and look and feel of the application has to be right in order to ensure high user traffic.
It is important to note that there will be various partnerships that will be sought in an attempt to both stabilise and grow the business. One such partnership will be between the founder and the investors (Villanueva et al., 2020). The finance section of this business plan will clearly highlight why investors are required for the business venture to succeed. It is critical to note that there will also be partnerships for events, which will be an added competitive edge for the business. Additionally, as mentioned previously, there will be partnerships with restaurants and bars where the stand-up comedy acts happen.
Critically, there will be several business controls that will act for the benefit of the company. One such measure is set financial policies. These policies dictate how the finance department will be run, including when and how payments to suppliers will be made, how payments will be resolved, and payroll among other things. A second business control is the strategic plan that will guide the company’s activities. It can be stated that all control measures will be pegged on the strategic plan as it is the ultimate business guide. Each department will also be expected to have its own measures that positively impact on quality, consumer satisfaction and the bottom line.
Interestingly, the company will also be guided by intellectual property (IP) law. Due to the fact that the artists will be presenting their work, the company has to fully understand what IP law means and how it affects the business. Critically, IP law also protects the mobile application itself. No one can copy the design, look and feel of the product. As mentioned, the participating restaurants will also be serving meals and beverages that they have either bought or developed themselves. All these are protected by IP law (Stimpson and Smith, 2015). This is especially true if the restaurants used traditional knowledge for the same.
Further, it should be noted that one of the reasons why the business has been suggested is its scalability. Pride and Ferrell (2015) explain that a business that can be scaled past its initial target market is more likely to also attract more clients than others. The premise suggests that business owners always know the scalability score of their franchises before the business begins (Henry, Rockström and Stern, 2020). This can be deemed true for Fun Times. It is expected that the company will be able to expand its core businesses within the first three years of operation. It is expected that the initial expansions will target major cities in the UK before then going to smaller towns. Further, it is expected that the brand will become international after approximately five years of operations.
Sales and Marketing Strategy
The marketing department will advertise using both traditional and digital approaches. It is important to note that the digital approach will be the main advertising platform due to the fact that it is more affordable (Lu, Shi and Huang, 2018; Yoo-Nah, Kim and Youn, 2018). The menu price will be aligned to the industry standard and will range from $10 to $40 per show. Additionally, the restaurants will determine the rate for their meals and beverages. It should be noted that the service will be distributed in purely in digital form. This is through the Fun Times mobile application.
The launch strategy will revolve around heavy social media campaigns and TV and radio advertisements. There will be various sales tactics like discounts, get a glass of wine and so forth for the users. The brand development of the business will be determined first by engaging with the clients to get feedback and then incorporating the same to ensure that the brand is perceived well in the market (Latapi, Jóhannsdóttir and Davídsdóttir, 2019). Further, in order to avoid a reactive pattern in regards to competitors, the management will analyse each situation individually before taking action. Overall, it is believed that there is significant growth potential for the company. This is tied to the fact that there is a need for fast and reliable information on fun activities in their areas. It is expected that the expansion of the business will go hand in hand with demand for the quality entertainment joints as well.
Finance and Funding Plans
It should be noted that the business will require a start-up capital of approximately $150,000. It is expected that the founder will contribute $50,000 into the venture. A maximum of two investors will be sought and offered equity in exchange of funding the business. The offer will not exceed 49% equity, thereby, ensuring that the founder is the majority owner of the company. In the event that the investors cannot be secured, a loan will be taken from the bank. Due to this, the company will be average geared with the debt to equity ratio being average. Critically, equity investors will be given an option to sell their shares after five years of the business being in operation. The offer to sell shares will first be made to the partners through the Board before other stakeholders are invited to purchase. It should be noted that in the first year of trading, the management will focus on using marketing activities to make the mobile app visible within the market. This also touches on pricing strategy due to the fact that the amount of money people spend to buy the app should be more than enough to help the business record profits but significantly less to ensure its affordable to the target audience (Shaw, 2020). The appendix section of the business plan contains the financial projections.
Risk and Contingency Plans
One critical risk that can be identified is failure to receive the required funding to start the business. It is important to note that, as mentioned, the primary plan is to get an investor to fund the business. This reduces the pressure of repaying back a loan as the investor/s will get share equity of the business. A second possible risk is failure to capture the market using the agreed upon strategies. This can happen in case the market research done was not comprehensive enough. In order to be successful, the management has to ensure that all risks are monitored and mitigated. The first risk mentioned, lack of funds, can be monitored before the business is up and running. It is important for the management to stick to the prepared budget as it has been synchronised with the marketing activities that will enhance visibility. In case an investor is not found, the management will take out a loan as a plan B.
In order to ensure all the risks are being monitored and also mitigated, it is essential that the management also understands the critical success factors for the business. One such factor is the first business milestone, which is the design and launching of the application. This is a success factor as it will also mean that funding for the business was acquired. A second success factor is a 70% user engagement by the end of the first year of operation. One strategic option that will help the business become successful is the flexibility of the marketing and corporate strategies. This will ensure that the company can change approaches in order to achieve their goals and objectives.
The management team will be led by the CEO, who is also the founder of the business. Other staff in the team will include the Finance Director, Director – Operations, Director – Partnerships, and the Marketing Director. The CEO will be tasked with driving the company’s strategic direction. Further, the Finance Director will be in charge of the money element of the business ensuring that this resource is properly utilised. This senior staff member will work with both the Operations and Partnerships directors to price Fun Times’s products and ensure profitability. The Operations and Partnerships Directors will manage their respective areas ensuring quality of service as per the company’s mission statement. They will also lead their teams to ensure proper consumer experiences. On the other hand, the Marketing Director will be tasked with making such the public knows about the application. Further, he or she will come up with strategies to attract and retain clients.
The organisational structure will be hierarchical in nature although leadership style will be flexible. All the Directors will report to the CEO, who will report to the Board. This will be made up of strategic individuals whose expertise will be needed to ensure success of the company. The Board will act as strategic advisers and will also hold the CEO accountable. There will be a minimum of 5 staff in the operations department, 3 in the partnerships department, 4 in the marketing department and 2 in the finance office. It is important to note that all employees will be hired on merit basis. However, it is expected that the staff members will need skills training frequently in order to serve the clients better.
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Table 1: Total Assets in Percentage
|Total Assets (%)|
Table 2: Financial Projects for Year 1 of Operations