Table of Contents
Analysis of Business Idea
The business idea was developed through embarking on the process of conducting extensive research on the bicycle market in Singapore. The group considered some specific business ideas, but after collecting evidence, and on the basis of evidence-based knowledge and information, the concerned business idea was deemed more appropriate for future application. Specifically, the business idea of establishing an e-commerce platform for buying and selling new and used bicycles was developed through ascertaining the value proposition of the business, the opportunity of effectively positioning the business in the Singapore market, business (including competitor) analysis, target customer analysis, availability of delivery channels, and analysis of the pricing strategy.
There are specific strengths of the idea, including the opportunity of exploring the market of online bicycle trading which has not been thoroughly explored by the competitors. Moreover, there are certain specific benefits of start-ups that are relevant to the business idea, adding to the idea’s strength. In this respect, it has to be noted that the business idea, even though not novel, is innovative as it has the scope of reap the benefits of digital transformation and the inclination of the customers, in during the pandemic period, to resort to online purchasing. Besides, the fact that it is start-up, the business will have more flexibility in terms of working environment and becoming a learning organisation because start-ups usually have steep learning curve (Simons, 2018).
What has been primarily learnt from the analysis of the business idea is that more integration of innovative approaches can make a business idea look more attractive to the target investor segments.
Even though I had to often play the role of the team leader, the teamwork was a collaborative one in which equal participation and contribution of every team member was expected, and the same was accomplished too. Every team member was delegated with specific research issue and eventually every team member played their part in conducting effective and explicit research in contexts, including market analysis, pricing strategy analysis, branding strategy analysis, target customer segment analysis, competitor analysis, analysis of the business’ value proposition, etc. The teamwork process entailed group discussion and brainstorming session in which all the team members aired their views, recommendations, and suggestions, and selection of ideas was done on the basis of consensus and collaboration (Fernandez, 2010). Besides, every team member stayed beside one another, surpassing their own delegated roles and responsibilities to complete the presentation within the given deadline.
Moreover, it has to be noted that being classmates, the team formation process for the completing the concerned project did not have to go through the forming and storming stages as we were aware of each other’s attitude and behavioural dispositions (along with strengths and weaknesses), and hence, it was easy for us to get transited into the performing stage. But as there was the need of exchange of ideas, some specific scenarios of the storming stage, like contradictions between team members regarding selection of research strategies, etc, took place in the performing stage. Moreover, the experience gained through working in a team is going to help me immensely in my future professional career as the experience will help me in emerging as an effective and efficient team player, contributing to the development of a high-performing team (Ryba, 2020).
In the course of preparing and delivering the Dragons’ Den presentation slides, I realised the importance of team work, especially, effective delegation of responsibilities (Wood Personnel Services, 2013). What I have learnt is that if there is collaboration and cohesion in a team, the basis of which is rational delegation of roles and responsibilities, effective exchange of ideas can take place, leading to obtainment of an evidence-based collaborative knowledge pivotally essential for making a presentation meaningful and objective-oriented. While working as a part of the project team that was vested with the responsibility of preparing the concerned presentation, I learnt how input from others can help a team member develop newer perspectives on known issues. In this respect, I must convey that even though I had some ideas of e-commerce businesses, especially start-ups, my team members helped me in realising that there is lot more to learn in the context of understanding the prospects entailed in an e-commerce start-up that will deal in online bicycle trading and purchasing.
Moreover, while working in the team, I realised some of my own strengths and weaknesses. In this regard, from the perspective of strength, I realised that I have the skill of communicating effectively with my team members, embarking on the process of empathetic and active listening (Mind Tools Content Team, n.d.; Herzing Staff, n.d.). Moreover, working in the team, I was able to improve on my weakness of becoming less effective in collaborative decision-making (Wilson, 2003). I also realised that I am infused with critical thinking skill, which has been honed by participating in the teamwork which exposed me to others’ creative ideas that were evaluated critically (Herzing Staff, n.d.).
In the course of analysing the bicycle industry of Singapore, and in the context of ascertain the business opportunities and challenges, the first challenge, in terms surviving in the competitive landscape, has been found to be having a distinct brand positioning. The proposed business, as it has been found, will be primarily competing with three rivals, namely, the bike sharing company “SG Bike,” the bike renting company “Coastline Leisure,” and the corporate bicycle giant “Giant Bicycles.” In the context of brand positioning, being far ahead of the proposed start-up, SG Bike has already positioned itself in the Singapore market as producers of bicycles that are integral part of one’s lifestyle, being the largest bike-sharing company in Singapore (SG Bike, n.d.). Coastline Leisure, on the other hand, in the Singapore market, has positioned itself as a cost-effective bike renting company that has implemented the strategy of knocking off bike rental prices for gaining the competitive advantage in the concerned market (Chua, 2017). Moreover, tough competition will be offered by the corporate bike giant, “Giant Bicycles,” which has endorsed a strong market presence being a globally reputed bicycle company, positioning itself in the Singapore market as a budget-friendly quality bicycle brand that has in its product portfolio both high-end and affordable bicycles (White, 2022). Furthermore, from the perspective of strengths, it has been observed that even though both Coastline Leisure and Giant Bicycles, being olde players within the Singapore market enjoying moderate to high profitability, have the strength of sustaining the competitive advantage in some aspects of the industry, the proposed start-up’s strength, compared to the two rivals is its unique business idea of trade-in that has not been integrated into the business process of SG Bike, Coastline Leisure, and Giant Bicycles. But the primary weakness of the proposed start-up is its lack of brand awareness and lesser initial capital compared to the three rivals that have established a strong and profitable hold in the Singapore bicycle market over the years. But despite such weakness, the proposed start-up has the opportunity to gain the competitive advantage by excelling in the online bicycle trading segment which has not been emphasised effectively by the three of its major competitors.
Being a start-up, the proposed business has the opportunity to reap the benefits of some political scopes that the Singapore market has to offer. In this respect, it has been observed that the government of Singapore has continued to provide subsidies to new businesses and the Park connector project for encouraging commutation by bicycles started by the government of Singapore will also come to the aid of the concerned e-commerce start-up in terms of positioning itself effectively in the Singapore market. Moreover, from the economic perspective, what has been observed is that globally, a surge in fuel prices has triggered the need of using eco-friendly vehicles like bicycles and this has generated a higher demand for such vehicles, paving the way for the emergence of new bicycle markets worldwide that promise profitability and sustainability. Besides, from the economic angle, when analysed, it was found that the bicycle industry and the Singapore bicycle market is profitable for the long-run, owing to the fact that a start-up business within the industry will need to perform a one-time investment and the maintenance cost of the business is quite modest, compared to start-up businesses in other industries within Singapore. Furthermore, from the social and cultural shift perspectives, it has been observed that the trend among majority of Singaporeans to lead a healthy life has compelled them to get into regular exercise regimes and lifestyle modification, contributing to the surge in the demand for bicycles, which is considered by many across the globe as an eco-friendly and healthy alternative of automotives. Besides, as using bicycle has been a trend in Singapore, symbolising friendship and family bonding, the getting into the industry seems profitable. Also, it has been found that the technological developments across the globe that has also impacted positively on Singapore markets will come to the aid of the concerned start-up e-commerce business that will be dealing with bicycles. In this respect, it has been projected that development of navigation systems that are compatible with bicycles will draw the attraction of millennial customers who are technology-oriented and health conscious. Moreover, development of indigenous mobile applications in Singapore that support integration of fitness tracking, when provided as complementary product with bicycles, will also boost the sale of bicycle in the Singapore market. Furthermore, analysing the growth prospect of the business from a legal perspective, it has been found that already there are legal provisions in Singapore that have supported $2 paid up capital at ROC, and the company law in Singapore has made registration of start-ups easier than ever by alleviating the time period of registration and activation of start-ups. Also, from the environmental perspective too, the profitability of the industry has been ascertained because the bicycle industry contributes to the greening of the market and the environment by providing an environmental-friendly option for travelling/commuting to the Singaporean populace. Besides, as the level of carbon emission for bicycles is almost zero, from the environmental perspective the business seems sustainable.
Moreover, it has been observed that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic people have become more health conscious and hence, it is expected that sales of eco-friendly vehicles like bicycles will be high in productive markets like that of Singapore, and hence, it is the right time for the start-up to enter the Singapore bicycle industry. Moreover, adherence to the “new normal” propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic has made customers more e-commerce friendly, showing more inclination towards purchasing products online (Anderson, Rainie and Vogels, 2021). Such a shift in purchase trend is going to benefit e-commerce platforms and e-commerce business, and from this perspective too, it has been deemed appropriate for the proposed business to enter the market in the present situation.
As discussed earlier, the three primary competitors of the proposed start-up ecommerce business are SG Bike, Coastline Leisure, and Giant Bicycles. From the perspective of brand positioning, a touch competition will be offered by the three rivals because all of the three have, in different ways, positioned their brands in the Singapore market effectively, securing a strong market hold and an expansive customer base (Salim, 2020). The concerned three primary competitors will pose challenges to the proposed start-up in terms of resisting the start-up to emerge as a business, the products of which can become an integral part of the lifestyle of the consumers and in terms of preventing the start-up in spreading in the Singapore market, without facing touch competition, as cost-effective option for those customers who are more concerned with their pockets. Besides, the three competitors will also pose challenge to the proposed start-up in terms of becoming a cost leader and a business with a long product line (in the same product category).
Hence, to the overcome the challenges and the threats posed by the rivals, the proposed e-commerce-based bicycle business, which will be operating in the Singapore market, must focus on developing a competitive pricing strategy without compromising the quality of products and services offered for the purpose of obtaining and retaining more customers and ensuring a perennial inflow of revenue (NetRivals, 2018). Primarily, to enter and survive the market competition, the proposed start-up will put more emphasis on increasing the business value proposition by resorting to the strategy of timely delivery of services, provisions for one-stop shopping experience, and developing a rational and brand relevant pricing strategy. In respect of the pricing strategy, in particular, the proposed start-up is going to offer the customers a wider range of product price. For instance, the proposed e-commerce-based start-up, dealing with bicycles, will offer buyers bicycles that range, in terms of price, from $300 to $100, from $1001 to $2000, and products with price range of $2001 and above. Such pricing strategy will be thoroughly based on the brands that the customers will prefer to buy and such wider range of price option will help the start-up to draw the attention of different customer segments, ranging from budget customers to high-end customers.
Moreover, the industry analysis, from Porter’s five forces analysis model implementation, focusing more on the aspect of the threat of new entrants, has found that there are few factors that have increased the threat of new entrants in the Singapore bicycle market. In this respect, it has been observed that the switching costs for customer to different bicycle rent or product providers is low and the market size of bicycle in Singapore is increasing along with the increase in fuel price, making it possible for new entrants to enter the bicycle market of Singapore (Australian Catholic University, n.d.). Besides, it has also been found that the threat of new entrants to the concerned industry is moderate to high because the initial cost of investment is low and there is availability of government subsidies for new start-ups. Furthermore, as people are more environment conscious, they will support the entrance of new players within the Singapore bicycle market, increasing the threat to existing players within the market(Australian Catholic University, n.d.).
As an important part of the marketing strategy, it has been proposed that the concerned e-commerce start-up should target some specific customer base, based on some of their characteristics. In this respect, it has been observed that it will be rational and viable for the start-up to target customers who belong to the middle-income group. Moreover, in terms of targeting customers for promotion and sales, the marketing team of the proposed start-up bicycle business should target those customer groups that are health and fitness conscious and prefer to buy products that are eco-friendly, having low carbon footprints. Besides, to increase the chances of customer obtainment through marketing and promotion of the brands, the marketing team of the proposed start-up should target customers within the age range of 15 to 75. It is assumed that the primary target customer base should be those who are more aware of remaining fit and healthy, resorting to means of commuting that provide them with the opportunity to keep themselves both fit and healthy and environmentally and ecologically aware.
Moreover, considering the fact that the proposed business is a start-up with limited initial capital, it is proposed that the marketing strategy should integrate ideas that are cost-effective. In this respect, it is recommended that the start-up should embark, as marketing strategy, on the process of increase the customer reach via using the social media (Barbara, 2019). The marketing team of the proposed start-up should implement the cost-effective marketing strategy of creating an online page on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for advertising its products. As it is a less costly and more effective way of reaching more potential customers, initially the proposed start-up can use social media as a pivotal online marketing channel. Moreover, it is recommended that being an e-commerce business, the proposed start-up should not initially invest in offline marketing channels as it will have its own website for complementing marketing and promotional efforts that are needed to increase the company’s customer reach. Furthermore, it is recommended that before embarking on the process of marketing and promotion of the products, the proposed start-up should conduct a strength, weakness, opportunity, threat (SWOT) analysis so that it can improve on the weaknesses, capitalise on the strengths, develop marketing plans for grabbing the opportunities, and develop and implement strategies to address and mitigate threats from the competitors.