Business Practice Improvements for UMUC Haircuts

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While Myra has created a thriving business in UMUC Haircuts, there are some areas in which she could improve the business' overall efficiency and profitability. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the business as a whole, identify areas of improvement and then provide suggestions to improve these areas. This paper will explore some of the options available to UMUC Haircuts that could utilize in different aspects of improving their supply chain in particular.

Utilizing Porter's Five Forces in this particular scenario sheds light on the fact that UMUC is facing increased competition from new hairstylist locations opening up in their vicinity, this has a potentially negative impact on future business. The threat these businesses have posed does not appear to have affected UMUC's current customer base, but it is apparent that they are drawing clients that could potentially go to UMUC instead. While the overall efficiencies of rival businesses are not known, UMUC has had difficulty with keeping track of their own clientele's contact information in addition to their supply inventory has a neutral if not negative impact on the business. Increasing awareness and productivity in each of the aforementioned areas will give UMUC an edge in terms of addressing Porter's Five Forces in this particular scenario.

The strategy that will best suit UMUC's efforts to become a profitable enterprise would be the Differentiation Strategy. The company needs to offer a unique atmosphere in which clients can receive haircuts by way of interesting furniture, aromatherapy and a sense of being personally attended to. Given the fact that several businesses have opened close to the UMUC offering the same service, something unique must be brought to the table to entice new clientele. Enlisting the support of an interior designer to implement these changes would be ideal.

The most effective choice in this particular scenario in terms of a strategic business area that needs to be focused on would be the marketing plan. The competition is becoming fierce, and without putting a fresh face on the business in terms of both internal marketing (decor, client relationships with stylists) and external marketing (flyers, online advertising, charity sponsorship) UMUC stands to lose current and potential market share. Marketing in this instance would be utilized to differentiate UMUC from the competition.

The daily process at UMUC that needs to be improved to facilitate this change in strategy pertains to their customer information tracking system. At the moment UMUC does not have a client retention program, nor do they have a system in place to ensure that a client can work with their favorite stylist. Making sure this is the case is extremely important, which is why taking the time necessary to set up a client database that issues reminders to contact clients would be ideal. One of the best ways to implement this change would be to use a smartphone app such as those noted by Worsley (2013). By having all of the stylists utilize calendar apps that can be synchronized with that of the business owner, the business owner can schedule appointments accurately.

Once these changes are implemented, the owner of UMUC can schedule appointments with confidence that they will not be broken. Stylists can make notations of client appointments they make, and they can also insert times and days they might be available far ahead of time. This can also help to identify days when the business might be receiving as many appointments, and these days can be selected to close the salon early or open later in the day. Having this data will also go a long way in assisting other areas of the business such as profit forecasting to identify what areas need to be focused on to encourage growth. The level of client satisfaction will also increase, giving rise to 'word of mouth' marketing.

Reference

Worley, B. (2013, January 2). How to sync all your calendars on one smartphone. Yahoo. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upgrade-your-life/sync-calendars-onto-one-smartphone-171507161.html