This case presents a situation facing a young entrepreneur who must
make a decision about the strategic direction of his company. It asks the students to
analyze the business environment surrounding the company, and identify and evaluate
alternative courses of action.
The case focuses on a young Saskatchewan
entrepreneur, Brent Banda, who has been running his own consulting business for nine
months - The Entrepreneur's Marketing Source Inc. (EMS). EMS offers marketing research and
planning to its clients. The decision EMS faces is whether to allocate its resources to a)
forming a strategic alliance with a local design firm that will expand EMS's consulting
operations, or b) publishing a marketing workbook that will be targeted toward small
business owners across North America.
The first option is attractive because the design
firm could provide an ideal office location for EMS and become a steady source of larger
clients by referring clients to EMS. This alternative also builds on the core strength of
EMS. However, the design firm has a short history (i.e. less than one year) and questions
exist about its stability and financial position. In addition, the strategic alliance may
benefit the design firm more than EMS because many of EMS's smaller clients have design
needs, which the design firm's larger clients may have in-house marketing departments or
may seek marketing advice form EMS's larger competitors.
The second option, creating a marketing workbook, has
been Brent's dream and is the reason he started his consulting business. Sales projections
based on the number of small business owners in North America are extremely favourable.
However, many similar books and seminars exist in the marketplace, and the typical small
business owner is unlikely to use this type of resource.