Business Planning/Financial Decision Making One Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

Asking for $2.5 million in loan to purchase and develop land and construct a 6,000-foot travel center.

Competitive issues -- Center will be located between Hwy 45 and 635; there is high visibility, good access, limited competition, good traffic potential.

Market segmentation -- Will offer gas, convenience store items, restrooms, showers, game rooms, trucker lounge, scales, parking -- meant to be a regular stop for truckers on busy U.S. route.

Staff -- Initially run by management team; with supplemental hourly wage staff for check out, cooking, dining, hotel maintenance, etc. Owners to take $50K each for salary, total payroll just under $500,000 per annum.

Silvera and Sons Coffee Export -- Prepares green Arabia coffee beans grown in Brazil for export to the U.S. (specialty roasters) and then sell to Brazilian wholesalers. Asking for investment to expand from 72,000 bags per year to 120-160 bags per year. Coffee differentiates because it is high end, currently demand exceeds the ability to supply, causing the company to refuse shipments and orders.

Owners -- Family owned business in its 7th year of operation; the plant has been in operation for 12 years under one of the owner's managerial expertise. Past performance shows steady sales growth, from $16.2 million to $18.4 million, 15% margin fairly steady.

Sales -- Projected $26.3, $33, and $46 million for years 1-3 forward, moving gross margin to 17.5%. Need $2.7 to $3 million to expand.

Finances -- Finance through LT Debt and increased cash flow; purchase of larger facility will require 80% debt;

Competitive issues -- Top level coffee trends are showing high-growth; key indicator for the company is inability to fill orders for past several years. Numerous coffee producers and roasters of low-mid range product; very few on high end.

Market segmentation -- vast potential in the U.S.; new relationships with high-end producers through phone selling and trips to Brazil, print advertising in trade publications, and Web based information.

Staff -- Current staff, especially management in place, key gap is controller or staff member who can analyze the changing legal and financial aspect of the business; more cost effective to plan this in house; other staff are experts in their jobs, with salaries ranging from $37-50K/annum.







International Consulting Firm

Expanded truck stop with amenities in busy Dallas Hwy intersection

High-end coffee import and sales

Start Up or Existing

Start Up

Start Up

Existing and Profitable

Funds Required


$2.5 million

$2.7 million


Mid-high; difficult to convince businesses to use consultants

Low in area, prime area for transportation hub

Low in specialty business; this is high-end niche

Market Niche

Take advantage of globalism and new markets in Europe and Asia

Capitalize on busy hub without adequate trucking services

Have turned down orders, expand to fill and improve niche

Owner's Expertise

Expertise in international business; no information on expertise in business operations or sales.

No retail experience, expert (wife) in bookkeeping; husband expert in auto mechanics and repair

Family operated business, experts in the area, well-entrenched.


Relatively low.

Low per customer, breakeven likely with just 30% capacity used

Breakeven almost immediate by filling orders already in the system



DR: 15-16%


DR: 12.5%


DR: 10.5-11%

Conclusions - The most likely return on investment would be the coffee export, profits already in place, expertise and longevity exist, as well as the market. All that is holding them back is a new facility. Interstate is medium risk, likely good idea and some security with land and buildings, also a heavy growth industry; key will be owner's expertise and commitment. Acme likely a high-risk, but low need ($50K spread over investors); however, the least likely of the three to succeed.


Acme Consulting Business Plan. Retrieved from:

Interstate Travel Center Business Plan. Retrieved from:

Silvera and Sons Coffee Export Business Plan. Retrieved from:

Berry, T. (2011). Buying a Business: Know What You Are Getting. Retrieved from:

State of Wisconsin. (2009). A Consumer's Guide to Small Business Investments. Retrieved from:

U.S. Small Business Administration. (2011). How Important are Small Businesses to the U.S. Economy? Retrieved from:

Cite This Case Study:

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