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Business Proposal (Carrefour)

Overview

This is the proposal of a business, called Carrefour, which is the fourth largest group in the world that deals with retail. The business proposal is about the supply of solar cells, which can be important in powering a wide range of solar devices, for the provision of energy to consumers all around the world. This is a unique business proposal since it focuses on the future when there will be reduced energy resources in the world. Therefore, this business is in the solar industry. The number of potential customers cannot be given a maximum since most people in the world are going to be in need of solar energy on a cumulative basis. This is an indication that, on an annual basis, there will be new people in need of solar energy to perform tasks such as, lighting, farming, powering machines, producing the heat required in manufacturing industries, powering technological devices that are yet to be invented, and many more uses.

As the huge company it is, Carrefour can decide to invest around 20 billion Euros. The success of this endeavor will be powered by the fact that not many companies have chosen to venture into this industry. The evidence of the market lies in researches that have been done all over the world. The United States is mostly seen as the pacesetter when it comes to the acceptance of goods on the market. Therefore, it can be used as a representative of the global market. Research shows that over 10,000 homes in the United States depend entirely on solar power to be powered. This is just a bit of proof of the willingness of most consumers to buy these products.

Carrefour

Problem

There are two main problems that this business proposal is going to solve. First, global warming has been an issue of discussion over the years. This is due to the energy choices that the world has chosen to be involved in. Besides, the world is depleting the natural environment in a bid to obtain energy from these sources. However, people cannot be told to cease using these energy choices, unless they are given an alternative. The world needs an energy source, whose safety can be assured. This is to give them hope for the future generations. For this reason, it is clear that people require green energy in order to promote their friendliness to the environment. Wendell Berry once said, “Under the rule of the free market ideology, we have passed through twenty years of an energy crisis without an effective energy policy”. He proposed that this was the time when business ideas should crop up to save the world from the impending energy crisis.

The other factor is the energy crisis. It is estimated that by 2020, there will be not enough oil in the world to satisfy the market since oil is slowly being depleted. This has always fallen as bad news on the ears of the developing countries. These countries are in dire need of energy to power their factories. As a matter of fact, these countries have invested a lot in research in order to try and find out if there are alternative energy sources that can be used to replace petroleum products after the crisis has begun. Even at the moment, petroleum products are extremely expensive in most of these countries. The solution that this proposal gives is that of green, affordable, available, renewable, environmentally friendly energy. This is the energy of the future. The former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that “The future is green energy, sustainability, renewable energy.” He believes in the use of environmentally friendly energy that can be sustained over the years (Morriss 2011).

Solution

When anyone hears about solar energy, they think about panels on top of commercial and residential rooftops. They think about panels that can only obtain energy during the day when the sun is high up in the sky. This is important since it creates the basis of the business proposal, and gives consumers a rough idea of what the business might be all about. However, this idea is extremely different. The market that this product tries to serve is not as narrow as it may seem. Over the years, discoveries have been made in this industry. There has been the discovery of amorphous solar cells. These are cells that do not necessarily need exposure to direct sunlight, for them to have the energy content needed. For the conventional cells, there has to be infra-red radiation. These are the cells that the public is mostly used to. However, amorphous cells would only need UV light. This means that they may need a daylight of artificial light. However, they do not need sunshine.

The benefits of these products to the consumers are that they are cheap and efficient. Once a consumer has already bought the solar cells, they do not have to pay a regular fee for the same. Instead, they use the cells for as long as they own them. The other benefit will lie in the research that will be carried out on the product. There will be a great need to enhance the compatibility of these solar cells with most devices. This is something that has already begun. Most solar cells are being used to power more than one device. This means that a customer can even use the same solar cells to power multiple devices. This is a fact that saves on cost that the consumers have to incur in powering their devices. These are benefits that any consumer in the world cannot resist on the market, especially, when they are incorporated into a product (Pugh & Bacon 2005).

Opportunity and Market

Research shows that the market for solar products has been on the increase in every country. These solar products include solar attic fans, solar thermal systems, solar PV, solar cooling systems, and other solar gadgets, which are already fetching millions of dollars for companies. In the US, the market for these products is expected to shoot up by 18% over the next two years. The market for these products is also growing quite fast in such countries as China, India, Japan, Italy, Germany, Italy, and the UK. By the end of 2013, the demand increase for solar gadgets that was recorded is about 9%. This is even before the actual energy crisis has occurred. Therefore, it is proof that the growth of this market, after the energy crisis has occurred, will be exponential. This means that it will be extremely hard for this business idea to fail. In about four years, if the idea is going to be conducted on a global scale, the growth rate can even be suggested at 70%. Millions of consumers around the world will be demanding these solar cells.

In the first year, the company is most likely to have revenue of up to 5 billion Euros. This revenue is expected to increase, as the consumers are made to know more about the product. In a matter of five years, the annual revenue of about 40 billion Euros can be expected since it is an idea whose growth will be influenced by time as well as more discoveries in the industry. Most of the people expected for this market will be the developing countries. However, this product will be first necessary to sell in the developed countries in a bid to make an example out of them since developed countries have bigger industries as well as bigger energy requirements. Therefore, they will influence the developing countries into acquiring their products (Dawson & Mukoyama 2006).

Technology/Process

Recently, amorphous silicon has been used in the manufacture of solar cells. This is referred to as a photovoltaic solar cell. The a-Si has been known for powering devices that do not require much power. These devices include calculators and other smaller gadgets. However, improvements have been made on them to ensure that they can be used in large-area cells for the production of solar energy. Their advantage comes from their thinness and desirable efficiencies. They can be stacked on top of each other, ensuring that each one of them is powered by a certain light frequency. This means that they can be powered by different light frequencies. This is why a-Si cells are used. For the c-Si cells, they are too thick to allow light to pass through them. Therefore, they block each other and cannot function together. For this reason, the a-Si cells are proposed for this project. The efficiency of the a-Si cells is extremely admirable. However, it is not the main advantage of these cells. A-Si cells are preferred for their low cost. These cells only require about 1% of the total silicon required in the formation of c-Si cells. The cost of silicon is a huge factor to consider if profitability is a matter of interest.

This technology solves the question of affordable, sustainable, and efficient energy since the solar cells are quite inexpensive in their production. This will enable the company to provide the solar cells to the consumers at affordable prices. In addition, it is clear that the a-Si cells are functional in different light frequencies. Therefore, they can be used by consumers in most parts of the world as long as they are experiencing the light of any frequency. It is convenient enough for consumers who have always required reliable energy that is not prone to uncertainties in the future. This technology has already been adopted by a few companies. However, the lack of funding has always proven to be a challenge for companies in the solar industry since most companies are investing in other sources of energy that are being used. That is the reason to why successful companies in this industry are extremely few. Therefore, it is possible to buy this technology from companies that wish to drop out of this market. This is a reason that might even ensure that the products are obtained at lower prices (Dawson & Mukoyama 2006).

Competitive Advantage

In the industry that Carrefour operates, there are bigger firms such as Wall-Mart. These are companies that offer a lot of competition through their strategies. Fort example, Wall-Mart offers predatory prices to their consumers, which puts most of the companies out of the business. However, the production of solar cells has not yet been fully exploited by huge companies. Therefore, depending on the amount of capital that this company is willing to put into this business idea, it could be the biggest in the industry in terms of the number of products that they offer. This company would also be its own distributor since it has the ability to perform these two duties. This is a competitive advantage over all the other small companies that may wish to be in the industry. When this company begins early enough, this can be an absolute guarantee that it will be established by the time the energy crisis has hit the world hard. Therefore, there will be no other companies that will prove to have better marketing strategies because the company will have already developed customer loyalty. As long as the company closely follows any technological advances in the area, these advantages will always be in their favor. There are a few companies with intellectual property and insights on the matter. However, they are almost out of the industry due to a lack of funding. The company can buy out one of these and inherit all their technology as well as its workforce. This way, customer loyalty will be ensured from the start and ensure that the customers do not go for products from competitors (Adams & Farrall 2008).

Competitive Landscape

The potential competitors for this company would be companies such as Suntech, Yingli Solar, Sunpower, First Solar, and Sharp. These companies have already immersed themselves in the industry and are in the process of conducting a lot of research on the latest technological advancements in the same field. Today, consumers solve their problems by using energy sources that are not favorable to the environment and obtaining some of the solar cells from companies such as those listed above. The better advantage over the competitors is the size of Carrefour, which will allow producing large-scale solar cells as well as their willingness to invest incompatibility of the solar cells with most devices. This will ensure that consumers prefer the products of this company. The customers can be notified of these advantages through intense advertising. This way, they can learn that this company provides better services. Most customers have always complained about the quality of conventional cells due to their inability to function at different light intensities. A consumer once said, “these conventional solar cells are one of the alternatives that make us stick to the old energy alternatives that are not favorable for the environment”. This shows that they will prefer the company’s products as soon as it informs them about their advantages in the advertisements (Dawson & Mukoyama 2006).

Go-to-Market Strategy

The ideal customer for this idea is the consumer in the developing nation, which is at the risk of discontinuing development due to a shortage of energy. There are also numerous individuals in developed countries who wish to use energy alternatives that help to conserve the environment rather than deplete it. Now, the company does not have defined partners in the industry. However, there is the likelihood of oncoming partnerships when some of the companies refuse to be bought out and propose partnerships. This might be necessary for the acquiring of their technologies. These partners can additionally be used in the advertising of these products. However, this company has departmental stores all over the world. These can be used as suitable outlets for selling the product. The prices of the solar cells will mostly depend on the size of the cells to be provided. However, they will be completely subsidized. At first, the consumers will get the cells for their individual usage. However, plans may involve the use of large cells to even power entire cities. This energy can be stored in large capacitors for the same purpose. The use of lower pricing, intense advertising and the plea for people to use green energy are efficient marketing skills. They will enable the company to obtain the desired market. Competitors only use casual advertising without much emphasis on the sustainability and environment-friendliness of this energy method. This is likely to generate competitive advantage (Moschis 1994).

Financial Roadmap

In the first year, an annual revenue of about 5 billion Euros is expected. However, it is expected to increase exponentially to about 40 billion Euros in 5 years. This money will be made from the sale of these solar cells as well as devices that are compatible with them. For the sake of profit calculation, expenses will include the salaries of the staff, money required for investment in technological research, sales, and acquirement of legal documents to conduct the business. The biggest probability of a huge profit is when the business makes an industry-changing invention and obtains a patent for the same. This could ensure maximum profits for this business. At the start, the revenue might exceed expenses. This is the price to be paid when a business is trying to establish itself. However, in about 5 years, the business is more likely to start experiencing profits (Mitchell 2001).

The Team

The current team that has been used to conduct this research consists of 10 people. This includes professors, financial advisors, business gurus, and analysts who are interested in this project. The research that has been conducted by this group shows their ability to foretell and foresee future crises that may require the aid of corporations. The fact that this team is built by individuals from most sectors of the economy makes it an all-round team. With funding, this team can acquire new members who are in the actual field to kick off with the implementation of the plan. In the beginning, the company may need to hire about 100 more employees (Adams & Farrall 2008).

Current Status

At the moment, there have been no steps made towards business plan implementation. However, the business plan has been completed. Therefore, the only remaining milestone lies in the approval of the company. This way, it could be possible to come up with a way in which the team can be organized and mobilized for the achievement of the set objectives. Earlier, the company has been in a position to raise funding from investors. Therefore, this is something that they might be in a position to accomplish again. This will be instrumental in promoting the spread and development of the idea (Adams & Farrall 2008).

Summary

On a summarizing note, this is a business proposal on the provision of solar energy to people around the world through the manufacture of amorphous solar cells. This solves the energy crisis and provides green energy, necessary for the conservation of the environment for the sake of future generations. The funding that is needed is about 40 billion Euros for acquiring the technology as well as the transition of the same to a large-scale business for the sake of serving the global market. For the 20 billion Euros that are not accounted for, the company would require around 3,500 Euros, which is close to 5,000 US dollars. This is money that they should use to invest in the company since the profitability of the initiative is guaranteed. Therefore, their share value is bound to increase with time.