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Furniture Import Business Plan

Poppi Designs

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Executive Summary

Poppi Designs is an importer of Italian furniture serving New York. The business was originally incorporated in N.Y. over 10 years ago and has undergone various changes in business strategy. The refined model is to import a wide range of Italian furniture and sell primarily to designers and unfinished furniture retail stores. The company has two principals, Kate Jackson located in N.Y., and Luca de Febonio located in Rome, Italy.

The Concept

Recognizing that the market for good furniture is quite competitive using the larger furniture retailers, Poppi will minimize the competition by targeting specific niches, generally focusing on out-of-the-way locations that are not served by the larger furniture superstores. By leveraging Luca's location and expertise in Italy, Poppi Designs will be able to have control of the entire importation process. In Italy, Luca will serve as not only as a principal of Poppi, but also as the agent.

Poppi Designs has three keys to success. The first is establishing a high quality, high value relationship with its vendors and customers. The second key is to ensure reliable and timely delivery of their products. The last key to success is reliable administration of the organization.

Poppi is set up as a home-based business with additional warehouse space. This will be the most cost effective arrangement  yet provide the requisite amount of service and support.

The Market

Poppi Designs will target three market segments. The first, that currently comprises 80% of their business, is specialty retailers. This segment is growing at 2% and there are 16 potential customers. This is a more competitive niche and through targeted marketing, Poppi will begin to reduce their dependence on this segment. The second segment is designers, that also have a 2% annual growth, with 44 potential customers. The last targeted niche is unfinished furniture retailers growing at 2% with a potential market of 50 participants.

The market is based less on brand equity of the manufacturer and more on the actual product and the service provider. It is very important to the customer to touch and feel the product. The salesperson is also instrumental in the transaction. These realities are beneficial to Poppi as they can pick and choose from a variety of manufacturers instead of being able to sell products from only known companies.

The Sales Strategy

Key to the sales strategy is direct sales calls on all market segments targeted in this plan with the exception of interior designers. These sales calls need to be made by the owner, Kate Jackson, by virtue of her background and knowledge of the products and competitors. Experience has proven that the more time she devotes to sales, the more sales result. A full-time team member needs to be found and added as soon as possible. Without this person, too much of Kate's time is deflected away from her major task of selling.

Poppi Designs, through its well-focused business strategy will achieve profitability by month two. Conservative forecasts indicate that sales will be almost double from year one to year three. Net profits will be commensurate.

1.1 Objectives

The objectives of Poppi Designs are:

  1. To put in place adequate, and reliable, administrative machinery, allowing the owner to spend her time selling and maintaining major accounts.
  2. To concentrate Poppi's efforts on several selected market sectors that have been researched and found promising.
  3. To improve the reliability and timeliness of shipments from Italy.

1.2 Mission

Poppi's mission is to supply certain market niches for chairs and other furniture items which are, for a variety of reasons, not well served by the large domestic manufacturers. The owner of Poppi Designs utilizes her interior design background, her experience in the furniture retail market, as well as her contacts in Italy to tailor her products to the needs of these market niches.

1.3 Keys to Success

The keys to success in Poppi Designs' business are:

  1. Offering items of a high quality-value relationship which are not available everywhere. This is essential for maintaining the niche market sectors mentioned in the mission statement.
  2. Reliable and timely deliveries. Poppi must make good on its delivery promises. Because of the nature of doing business in Italy, this requires long-range planning in scheduling orders, taking into account Italian holidays and business practices.
  3. A reliable administration that is ready to serve customers, prepare accurate billing, follow-up on orders and other documentation, and maintain a close watch on expenses and collection of accounts receivable.