Turning Point: Assessing Business Viability at the Goulet Pen Company
Newlyweds Brian and Rachel Goulet started a small business making and selling pens out of their home. Brian made ballpoint and rollerball pens from kits, and Rachel managed the website. Unfortunately, the company was not making money. Hoping to improve business, Brian attended the D.C. Pen Show. He wanted to learn more about the pen enthusiast community and see if there was potential to sell his handmade pens. Brian learned there was a large community of fountain pen enthusiasts willing to spend a lot of money on pens. However, this group seemed to have little interest in the ballpoints and rollerball pens he was making. Brian and Rachel had four options: (1) give up the business and get regular jobs, (2) supplement their existing business with pen-related accessories, (3) switch from making rollerballs to fountain pens, or (4) switch from manufacturing their own pens to retailing fountain pens made by others. What should Brian and Rachel do and how do these options differ in terms of profit potential and risk?
In completing this assignment, students should be able to
1. Assess multiple options for business development and positioning within a competitive environment
2. Assess the strategic positioning of key competitors using a Strategy Canvas
3. Apply the principle of industry analysis using Porter’s Five Forces Framework
4. Evaluate strategic fit using SWOT analysis
5. Recommend a strategy for a company based on the findings of one or more analytical frameworks