Disclaimer: Cycle-Rama is a fictional company created by the Maine SBDC to illustrate the major components of the Business Plan. It in no way depicts or represents any known company.
Cycle-Rama Business Plan
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (COVER LETTER)
Cycle-Rama will be a specialty bicycle retailer that will sell five types of high quality and high performance bicycles. Our bicycle shop will provide top notch customer service, including proper bike fittings, instruction on proper use, and safety tips. We will perform repairs, upgrades, adjustments, and tune-ups for all types and sizes of bicycles. Cycle-Rama will also provide a wide selection of the industry’s best bicycle parts, accessories, clothing and shoes.
According to the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, 2005 was a good year for the specialty retailer, as store revenue and net operating profit were up. Industry revenues soared to 1.3 billion dollars, commanding roughly 16% of the market in terms of unit sales, but accounting for 47% of the dollars, a dominant dollar share.
Our target market are those age 6 to 65 years old who enjoy bicycling, whether for sport, exercise, or recreation. We plan to further segment our market into two smaller, identifiable groups and reach them with a focused marketing plan. The first group is families with children that have an average income of $35,000 or higher. The second group is the avid rider, or bicycle enthusiast, male and female, age 21-44 with an average income of $45,000 or higher. Our Marketing Plan demonstrates how we will reach these segments.
There are three competitors located in the greater Abbotville area, none of which are specialty bicycle retailers. One is a nationwide discount retailer offering only a limited number of inexpensive bicycles, one is a sporting goods store that is struggling financially and might close, and the other is a small bike shop located 15 miles west of Abbotville and carries a very limited selection of road bicycles.
Cycle-Rama is seeking a loan of $80,000 in addition to a $25,000 owner investment to finance the lease of a building, make renovations, purchase inventory and equipment, and provide working capital for growth and development. We would like five years to repay the loan, using the expected proceeds from the business. The inventory, equipment and personal assets will provide adequate collateral to secure the loan.
Cycle-Rama will specialize in selling five types of high quality and high performance bicycles to retail customers. The five types of bicycles are 1) Mountain Bikes, including front suspension, full suspension, and no suspension, 2) Road Bikes, 3) Comfort bikes, which are geared toward the recreational user, 4) Hybrid bikes that perform on and off road, and 5) Youth bikes for kids of all ages. Cycle-Rama will carry 5 brands of bicycles Trek, Specialized, Giant, Raleigh America, and Haro Bikes, all of which are top sellers in the specialty retail market. Trek and Specialized combined to capture more than half of the specialty retail market, with 32 and 22 percent, respectively, of total units sold (www.bicycleretailer.com).
We will also provide a wide selection of the industry’s best bicycle parts and accessories, namely, helmets, locks, clothing, shoes, racks, cycle computers, tires, tubes, wheels, saddles, gloves, hydration, lighting systems, pedals, pumps, tools and lubricants. According to a survey of 613 bicycling enthusiasts by International Cycling Works, 62% of cyclists purchase the majority of cycling products from their local bike shop (www.bicycleretailer.com). In addition to these high quality products, CycleRama will provide personalized, fun, and one-of-a-kind customer service, including proper bike fittings, instruction on safety and proper use, repairs, upgrades, adjustments, and tune-ups.
Abbotville's demographic characteristics and location make it an ideal place to open a bicycle shop. The city has a large population of children and young adults, which are segments of the population that are heavy users of bicycles. Also, with a large state university only one mile away, we expect to attract a number of college customers. We will be the only specialty retailer in the area and only the second in the state. We are confident that our store will flourish in the city of Abbotville, which is a hot spot for bicycle enthusiasts with over fifty miles of trails. These factors lead us to believe that Abbotville is a perfect place to open a bicycle dealership.
Michael and Laurie Ross are a recently married couple who will be the owners of CycleRama. In 1993, Mr. Ross earned a Bachelor's degree in Accounting. Following college, he worked for two years at Sports Galore, a sporting goods retail outlet. Through his work at Sports Galore, Mr. Ross gained valuable experience in the areas of customer service, marketing and management. At Cycle-Rama, Mr. Ross will be responsible for store management, accounting and marketing. (See Michael Ross’ resume attached as Appendix A)
Laurie Ross recently earned an Associate's Degree in Physical Fitness. She has worked on a part-time basis for the past three years as a cashier at a local discount retailer. Mrs. Ross is an avid cyclist and has competed in numerous bicycle races. She is very familiar with bicycles and bicycle accessories, safety issues, as well as bicycle repair and maintenance. Mrs. Ross will be in charge of sales and bicycle repair/service at Cycle-Rama. (See Laurie Ross’ resume attached as Appendix B)
Michael and Laurie strongly believe that with their combined knowledge and skills, they will be able to make this business a success. Michael and Laurie will hire two part-time employees to help handle the increased demand from April through September. Michael and Laurie will not employ workers during the off-season to save money on personnel costs.
OPERATIONS AND LOCATION
The business will be open six days a week, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Demand for bicycles is seasonal and we may need to adjust our schedule as demand fluctuates, possibly closing the store for a month or so during the winter season.
We will purchase our bicycle inventory from H & J Wholesalers of Boston, MA. They distribute all five of the brands we intend to sell at Cycle-Rama: Trek, Specialized, Giant, Raleigh America, and Haro Bikes.
We believe that we have found an ideal location for the business. We intend to operate Cycle-Rama from a 2500 square foot building on the corner of Main Street and Bourne Avenue in downtown Abbotville. This is a high traffic area located in the city’s historic downtown district. We will have easy access to major highways, railways and airports. The building itself will need some renovations in order to make it suitable for our needs. We intend to partition the building into the following areas: (1) showroom (1000 square feet); (2) office area (300 square feet); (3) service area (300 square feet); and (4) other space for restroom and storage (900 square feet). We feel that this building offers more than adequate space and will meet our needs for the foreseeable future. All products will be distributed from this location, and all bicycle repairs and service will be performed at this location.
The U.S. bicycle industry was a 6$ billion industry in 2005 (this includes the retail value of bicycles, related parts, and accessories through all channels of distribution), selling approximately 19 million bicycles, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association 2006 Industry Overview (NBDA; www.nbda.com). The industry has benefited greatly as Americans have become more aware of the positive affects associated with a healthy lifestyle. Bicycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise and a great stress reliever. A recent industry trade publication showed that 94.5% of those who ride bicycles do so for recreation or fitness. The sport is continuing to grow as more and more people become aware of its health benefits. The Bicycle industry and Cycle-Rama in particular, is positioned to cash in on this trend.
As stated earlier, Cycle-Rama is a specialty bicycle retailer featuring high quality merchandise, and also offering additional customer services such as bike fitting, expert assembly, and repair. The approximately 4,800 specialty bicycle retailers in the U.S. commanded roughly 16% of the market in terms of unit sales in 2005, but accounted for 47% of the dollars, a dominant dollar share (Industry Overview 2006, NBDA). Store revenue at the typical bike shop increased 22 percent in 2005 compared to 2003.
Since this will be Cycle-Rama’s first year in business we had to estimate our sales using national industry averages. According to research by the NBDA (www.nbda.com), the average specialty bicycle retailer (offering bicycles, parts and accessories, and repair services) has gross sales of $514,250 per year. Because Cycle-Rama will be the only specialty bicycle retailer in this part of the state we assumed market share of 100%. However, we reduced our sales estimate by 25% for two reasons: 1) the national industry sales averages might not be reflective of the specialty bicycle retail market in Maine, and 2) we wanted to be conservative with our sales forecast, as this will be our first year in business. Thus, estimated sales for 2005 are $385,687.
The bicycle industry in Maine is a seasonal business that can be impacted by poor weather conditions, as well as changes in the economy. Fortunately, the economy in Abbotville is strong with an unemployment rate of 3.6% and a median family income of $42,047 (U.S. Census Bureau). Additionally, high oil and gas prices have increased the demand for bicycles nation wide as people look for more affordable means of transportation. Approximately 5.2% of those who ride bicycles do so as a means of transportation.
It is also important to note that Abbotville has two bicycle associations, the Abbotville Mountain Bike Association (AMBA) and Citizens for a Healthy Lifestyle (CHL). The AMBA has about 200 members who are serious trail riders and take advantage of Abbotville’s many miles of trails. In fact, Abbotville is home to Bear Mountain State Park, which is known for having the best mountain biking trails in the state. The CHL has about 100 members who are more casual riders that do mostly intermediate trail riding.
Our marketing strategy is based on becoming the resource of choice for local bicycle users. We provide products for the casual biker who enjoys occasional recreational activity, for kids of all ages, and for the hardcore enthusiast. The marketing strategy will seek to first create customer awareness regarding the products and services offered, develop that customer base, establish connections with targeted markets and work toward building customer loyalty and referrals.
Our strategy is based on superior performance in the following areas:
· Product selection
· Product quality
· Customer service (including repairs and tune-ups)
Our marketing objectives include the following:
· Maintain a gross margin of 40% each month
· Increase yearly sales by 5%
Product and service pricing is based on offering high value to our customers. The price range for tune-ups and repairs will vary accordingly, but the following is a list of price ranges for our five types of bicycles:
Mountain - $200 to $1200
Road - $200 to $1200
Hybrid - $150 to $1200
Comfort - $150 to $600
Youth - $125 to $400
Cycle-Rama wants to be the retailer of choice for bicycle professionals and enthusiasts, but we also want to appeal to cost-efficient buyers. Thus, we will set up a pricing orientation with roughly half of our products in the inexpensive range ($200 to $599) and the other half in the expensive range ($600 to $1200).
We will market our business using the following mediums: television, radio, and newspaper advertisements, business website, printed promotional materials, and promotional events. Our television and radio advertisements will be aired on local stations. We will place newspaper advertisements in two of the local papers and the local university’s paper. We will create a website for our business that will allow users to contact the store and view our complete list of products and services. We will also utilize print advertisements such as fliers and post cards to promote special sales events.
Cycle-Rama will conduct bike maintenance and safety clinics at the local elementary schools. Each workshop will include a bike safety trial ride and obstacle course. Participants will receive a Cycle-Rama t-shirt. And finally, we will sponsor three competitors in the Abbotville Days Festival Mountain Bike Race held every July. To sponsor these individuals, we will pay the entry fees and all they have to do is wear our Cycle-Rama jersey and insignias. Our grand opening is scheduled for April 1st, 2005. We will extensively advertise our grand opening using the local media. We intend to raffle off a new mountain bike at our opening in the hopes of attracting a large crowd.
Cycle-Rama’s current local competition includes the following:
· George’s Department Store- large nationwide discount retailer offering limited selection of bicycle and bicycle accessories located approximately 2 miles south of Cycle-Rama; products directed at those seeking inexpensive product; offers no instruction on safe and proper use of bicycles and does not do repairs.
· Sports R Us- sporting goods retail chain located 3 miles west of Cycle-Rama; rarely have more than 7 or 8 bicycles in stock at any given time; offers no services with bicycles; have been experiencing significant financial problems in the past year and are looking to close 9 of their stores.
· Cykel Shop- only independent bicycle shop in the area, but located 15 miles west of Abbotville; small operation with no more than 30 bicycles in stock and limited selection of bicycle accessories; shop has been slow to adapt to trends developing in the industry and just recently started selling mountain bikes, which accounted for 28.8% of bicycle sales in 2005 (NBDA; www.nbda.com).
Each of our direct competitors has a limited selection of bicycles and does not service the bicycles they sell. Abbotville does not have an independent bicycle dealership and those wishing to purchase a higher quality product or who want to service their bicycles have been forced to travel elsewhere. We feel that Cycle-Rama will fill a niche in Abbotville. We will be the only store in town which not only sells bicycles but services them as well.
NOTE: Competitor information was gathered by researching the local yellow pages (or by visiting www.bigyellow.com) and by actually visiting the competitor’s location.
SOURCES AND USES OF FUNDS
Sources of Funds:
Owner Equity $25,000
Bank Loan 80,000
Total Funds $105,000
Uses of Funds:
The $105,000 will be used as follows:
Inventory: Bicycles $50,000
Bicycle Accessories & Supplies 30,000
Equipment: Tools 2,000
Assorted Equipment 3,000
Leasehold Improvements 7,000
Working Capital 13,000
We plan to start with an inventory of approximately 120 bicycles. The prices of these bicycles will range from $125-$1200. We also intend to carry a large selection of bicycle accessories. Of course, we will be able to order additional bicycles and accessories should we find an unexpected demand for a particular product. We will have a better understanding of the right product mix as time passes.
Specialized tools and equipment will be needed to service some of the bicycles. Mrs. Ross has significant experience in bicycle repair and already possesses a number of tools.
The business will need some additional equipment including a cash register and some assorted supplies.
The renovations of our intended location on Main Street include: partitioning the building into four areas; installation of flooring in the showroom and service areas; replacing the existing heating system with a more modern and energy efficient one; installation of a counter and cash register; and, remodeling the restroom.
The working capital will enable Cycle-Rama to meet current expenses and insure the growth of the business.
After carefully examining the market conditions, we have come to the conclusion that there is a strong demand for an independent bicycle dealership in Abbotville. There are very few businesses in the area where an individual can purchase a bicycle. The stores that do sell bicycles have a limited selection and they do not service the products that they sell. Cycle-Shop will not only sell bicycles and bicycle accessories, but service them as well.
We feel that our promotional efforts and business location will generate the exposure necessary to enable us to achieve our sales goals. We firmly believe that our revenue and expense projections are realistic.