Entrepreneurs Marketing Source Company Case Analysis
Summarize the current situation of the company from all aspects presented in the case.
The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Source Inc.
After only nine months in business, Brent Banda, founder and owner of The
Entrepreneur’s Marketing Source Inc. (EMS), felt like he was facing the biggest challenge of his career. His business cards promised to provide “ideas, advice, and solutions” to other companies in Saskatoon, yet Brent wasn’t sure what advice to give himself regarding the future of his company.
The city: Saskatoon
Saskatoon is the largest city in Saskatchewan with a population of 219,000.
Situated along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, the city prides itself on developing riverside parks and recreational facilities. Saskatchewan traditionally has relied on the agriculture industry and one-third of Canada’s agricultural biotechnology companies are located in Saskatoon.
Recently, Saskatoon has steered its growth toward becoming a transportation and supply centre for the mining industry. It is home to mining head offices for potash, uranium, gold, and diamonds.
The Company: EMS
Brent started EMS in Saskatoon just months after he graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with his Commerce degree in Marketing. Although EMS is incorporated, Brent owns 100% of the shares and is its only employee. He has operated EMS out of his home for the past nine months and aims to break even by the end of the year.
The mission statement of EMS is to “establish the company name as a reliable source of practical marketing information to North American small and medium-sized businesses.” The idea for EMS was generated while Brent was working on projects for his university classes.
He noticed many small businesses had little knowledge about, or expertise in, marketing. However, marketing was a crucial element in their continued success.
Brent created EMS to develop and sell a practical marketing workbook that could be used by small businesses in Canada and the United States. The workbook was envisioned as a general guide to help small business owners with no marketing experience create strategies tailored to their unique business situations.
Brent was confident that, in the future, he could branch out and create a series of workbooks that focused on specific marketing problems, such as advertising or new product development.
The first set-back occurred when Brent approached his banker for a $7,000 business loan to start EMS. The banker demurred that a workbook would take some time to develop and suggested that EMS offer personalized, marketing consulting services to small business clients in Saskatoon.
The consulting would furnish real-life examples that Brent could incorporate into the book and would provide EMS with steady income during the workbook’s creation. Brent knew that EMS could not survive without the bank loan, so he agreed to become a consultant in the short-term while developing his long-term plans.
He was worried, however, that his consulting projects would slow the progress of the workbook. That worry turned out to be correct. Nine months after EMS was created, its consulting business is flourishing. However, Brent finds himself working 50 to 60 hours per week on personalized consulting and the workbook still is not completed. He also attends many meetings and community events in order to develop a referral network of small business consumers for his consulting activities.
The Entrepreneur: Brent Banda
Brent was raised in a working-class family, and worked as a waiter and in other service jobs to put himself through university. As a waiter, Brent had to talk to up to 25 strangers a day and he credits this training with giving him the confidence to approach new people when the opportunity arises.
Brent does not consider himself to be a “thrill- seeking” risk taker, but feels that starting his own business is a risk that he can afford because he has nothing to lose. He is single with few assets and is just starting out in life, so even if EMS does not become successful, he can always start over working for another company.
Brent credits his education at the University of Saskatchewan for gaining business knowledge, project experience, and writing skills. The most difficult part of starting EMS for Brent was feeling confident in his ability to apply his education to practical problems. However, after a short time at EMS, Brent realized that other small business owners did not possess extraordinary business skills either and Brent learned to be confident in his strengths.
Brent is constantly involved in business planning for EMS, both for the short-term and the long-term. Early on, Brent realized that he could achieve business success by either creating an image for EMS or creating an image for himself. Because he did not have the money to launch an image campaign for EMS, Brent chose to create an image for himself as a successful entrepreneur and small business owner.
He was head of the committee for North Saskatoon Business Associates where he produced their awards banquet for two years. Recently, he has been named to the board of directors for the
Provincial Exporters Association. Brent is described by others as outgoing, motivated, and hard-working.
The Consumer: Small-business Owners
EMS targets small and medium sized businesses in North America that do not have full-time marketing staff. These companies are usually managed by one owner.
Industry Canada estimates that 60% of all Canadian businesses are run by one self- employed owner. An additional 30% of businesses have fewer than 5 employees and this number has grown by 30% in the last 10 years. The number of small businesses by province is provided in Table 1. In addition, over 13 million home-based businesses exist in the United States.
Compared to larger companies, small businesses often lack depth and expertise in many business functions, including marketing. While larger companies have marketing departments and operate with a marketing plan in place, many small businesses have no formal marketing plan, strategy, or objectives. In fact, many small business owners are unclear what exactly marketing is and how to apply it to their situations. Consequently, they are unlikely to seek marketing help.
To understand the small business owner better, Brent conducted a focus group interview in Saskatoon. The informants agreed that they had a poor understanding of marketing concepts and felt that a marketing plan was too theoretical and difficult to use.
They were interested in learning more about how to advertise their products, however. They indicated that they were too busy to read long books about marketing, but were enthusiastic when Brent introduced a prototype of his workbook and led the group in his time will continue to be eaten up by consulting. Publication of the workbook