|LEVEL 6ASSESSMENT SPECIFICATION|
|Assignment Title:||Business Model|
|Module Learning Outcomes |
(from module syllabus)
TASK DESCRIPTION – Assignment 2: Individual Case Study Analysis (50%)
|BACKGROUND / INTRODUCTION|
Read the case study given below and attempt the tasks that follow:
1. Hidden Nation: A Case Study in Engineering Entrepreneurship
Lee Prescott’s journey into entrepreneurship began with his passion for BMX (Bicycle Motor X). He graduated from university with a BSc in Product Design 10 years prior to establishing Hidden Nation. The company’s product range is centred on high quality, specialist BMX frames and components which Lee learned all about during his early career in specialist bike design. Lee knew from personal experience that those who compete at the highest level in the BMX circuit worldwide demand only the best frames designed and manufactured to the highest standards.
The market is mature and populated by discerning buyers. The BMX market has waxed and waned since the 1970s, but throughout the racing circuit has remained strong, featuring a number of racing styles and classes whether it be flatland or trail competition.
First and foremost Lee is an engineer who has learned and understood exactly what the market wanted and could not get. The realisation awoke the entrepreneur in him but first he had to get the product right, both in terms of design and performance and brand values. The customers not only wanted high performance but also wanted to be associated with a distinctive and unique niche brand where the best buy only the best. Furthermore in such an ‘elitist’ market customers become sales representatives because they are proud to be associated with the brand.
The Design and Engineering Issues
Customers in this niche specify their own bike design in great detail encompassing every major and minor component and assembly. The bike must be durable, safe and fast. Therefore every engineering decision Lee made was market driven from the outset in order to meet the performance objectives.
Heat treated, (853) lightweight, hardened tubing was selected and supplied by Reynolds Tubes in the UK and a partnership established with a Czech company in order to achieve the required manufacturing standards within a marketable cost/price structure. Equally as important as the frame were the stems and posts that link the frame to the rest of the bike. These were designed to specific criteria too, with the avoidance of thread stripping, minimal slippage and safety as priorities. The number of components was reduced to minimise possibilities of failure and avoid unnecessary production costs.
Now the engineer became even more of an entrepreneur. Having seen the market opportunity the engineer had to get the product to market. Until this moment in his career Lee had worked in large organisations alongside sales and marketing colleagues but now it was up to him to take the product to market.
Engineering Subject Centre 11 Four Mini Case Studies in Entrepreneurship
Firstly the brand had to be considered and the first steps taken to establish its position in the marketplace. Careful research showed that a connection with an ‘alternative’ style and off beat innovative solutions offered the right values. The name ‘Hidden Nation’ implies difference and mystery, but for the frame product something more was needed to do it justice in the marketplace. The name ‘Akira’ was chosen. Akira Kurosawa was a renowned Japanese filmmaker whose work features Samurai traditions. Akira produced his storyboards as fullscale paintings. These paintings are works of art in themselves and given Japanese sword making traditions the inherent precision was transferred to Hidden Nation’s brand values.
The exclusivity of the brand was carried through to the sales and marketing strategy. To date ten dealers have been appointed in the UK, one in Ireland and recently one in Australia with negotiations underway in Germany. The customers have become sales people because they value the exclusive association. The website is an information site only with sales activity being undertaken exclusively by the dealers, supported by trade advertising and targeted editorial coverage created by a public relations campaign. Word of mouth endorsements have also become a significant route to new sales. In the second year of trading sales were double that of Year One and growth continues for what is still a one man business.
All of the above had to be funded. A Business Plan was created and shown to a variety of traditional funding sources; banks, venture capitalists, business angels and business advisors from several institutions. Offers of funding did not arrive because Lee was too young, too optimistic, wrong about the product, wrong about the market. Lee got used to rejection but carried on regardless. He backed his own belief by remortgaging his house and investing £30,000 of his own money. He remains in full time employment as Head of Design for a queue management system company, working on Hidden Nation in the evenings and reinvests all the profits from trading activity.
A Supportive University
As a provider of Lee’s early Product Design education, his university was involved at the start his career. Much later, when Lee conceived his idea and grew the desire to run his own business, he was able to join the university’s Vision Works unit which supported embryonic start up businesses. Vision Works provided office accommodation, telecommunications and computer facilities and, most importantly for Lee, a coaching and mentoring programme. He received the advice and encouragement essential to enabling him to complete the Business Plan and develop the confidence he needed to make his personal investment.
As Lee says “Vision Works gave me someone to talk to at a time when I had to become an entrepreneur as well as a design engineer”.
2500 words +/- 10%, any deviation from this will be penalised.
|FORMATTING AND LAYOUT|
Please note the following when completing your written assignment:
GUIDANCE FOR Students IN THE COMPLETION OF TASKS
Engagement with Literature Skills
Your work must be informed and supported by scholarly material that is relevant to and focused on the task(s) set; you should make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources, where appropriate (for example, refereed research articles and/or original materials appropriate to the discipline). You should provide evidence that you have accessed a wide range of sources, which may be academic, governmental and industrial; these sources may include academic journal articles, textbooks, current news articles, organisational documents, and websites. You should consider the credibility of your sources; academic journals are normally highly credible sources while websites require careful consideration/selection and should be used sparingly. Any sources you use should be current and up-to-date, mostly published within the last five years or so, though seminal/important works in the field may be older. You must provide evidence of your research/own reading throughout your work, using a suitable referencing system, including in-text citations in the main body of your work and a reference list at the end of your work.
Knowledge and Understanding Skills
At level 6, you should be able to demonstrate coherent and detailed knowledge and a systematic understanding of the subject area, at least some of which is informed by the latest research and/or advanced scholarship within the discipline. You should be aware of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge. Your work must demonstrate the growing extent of your knowledge and systematic understanding of concepts and underlying principles associated with the subject area. Knowledge relates to the facts, information and skills you have acquired through your learning. You demonstrate your understanding by interpreting the meaning of the facts and information (knowledge). This means that you need to select and include in your work the concepts, techniques, models, theories, etc. appropriate to the task(s) set. You should be able to explain the theories, concepts, etc. meaningfully to show your understanding. Your mark/grade will also depend upon the extent to which you demonstrate your knowledge and understanding; ideally each should be complete and detailed, with comprehensive coverage.
Cognitive and Intellectual Skills
You should be able to: critically evaluate evidence, arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data some of which are at the forefront of a discipline(and that may be incomplete) to devise and sustain arguments, to make judgements and/or solve problems; describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in the discipline Your work must contain evidence of logical, analytical thinking, evaluation and synthesis. For example, to examine and break information down into parts, make inferences, compile, compare and contrast information. This means not just describing what! But also justifying: Why? How? When? Who? Where? At what cost? At all times, you must provide justification for your arguments and judgements. Evidence that you have reflected upon the ideas of others within the subject area is crucial to you providing a reasoned and informed debate within your work. Furthermore, you should provide evidence that you are able to make sound judgements and convincing arguments using data and concepts. Sound, valid conclusions are necessary and must be derived from the content of your work. Where relevant, alternative solutions and recommendations may be proposed.
At level 6, you should be able to apply the methods and techniques that you have learned to review, consolidate, extend andapply your knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects. You will deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry relevant to the discipline, and apply them in complex and unpredictable contexts, to devise and sustain arguments and/or to solve problems. You should be able to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions. You should be able to demonstrate how the subject-related concepts and ideas relate to real world situations and/or a particular context. How do they work in practice? You will deploy models, methods, techniques, and/or theories, in that context or circumstances, to assess current situations, perhaps to formulate plans or solutions to solve problems, or to create artefacts, some of which may be innovative and creative. This is likely to involve, for instance, the use of real world artefacts, examples and cases, the application of a model within an organisation and/or benchmarking one theory or organisation against others based on stated criteria. You should show awareness of the limitations of concepts and theories when applied in particular contexts.
Transferable Skills for Life and Professional Practice
Your work must provide evidence of the qualities and transferable skills necessary for graduate-level employment requiring the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility and decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances. This includes demonstrating: the learning ability for professional development to advance existing skills and acquire new competences of a professional nature that will enable you to assume significant responsibility within organisations; that you can initiate and complete tasks and procedures, whether individually and/or collaboratively; that you can use appropriate media to effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences; fluency of expression; clarity and effectiveness in presentation and organisation. Work should be coherent and well-structured in presentation and organisation.
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