Overview of Business Environment Analysis for UMUC Haircuts
UMUC Haircuts has been in business since 1995 and has seen an increase in competition from a variety of competitors, as described in the Case Study. With the news that a Hair Cuttery is likely to open only five miles away, Myra, the owner of UMUC Haircuts, is concerned and has asked you to help her assess the impact on her business and how she can deal with it. Myra is worried and is looking to you to provide reassurance that the competition will not affect the business. In addition, Myra has asked you for assistance in developing a strategy for bringing UMUC Haircuts into the 21st century and taking advantage of technology. You will analyze her business environment using the Five Forces Analysis, identify a Strategy for Competitive Advantage, and select a business process that can be improved through the use of technology.

Five Forces Analysis:
You know that Michael Porter’s Five Forces Model is a useful tool for analyzing a business. The Model is used to help understand the importance of the five competitive forces and determine a strategy to develop and maintain a competitive advantage. The Five Forces are described and discussed in Chapter 1 of the textbook. They are:
• Buyer Power
• Supplier power


• Threat of substitute products or services
• Threat of new entrants
• Rivalry among existing competitors
A further discussion and examples of the five forces are included in the Reading for Week 1 titled Porter’s Five Forces.
Strategy for Competitive Advantage:
Once you have provided the five force analysis to UMUC Haircuts as a foundation for success, you will select and apply a single strategy for competitive advantage. As outlined in chapter one of your textbook, the strategies are:
Strategy Description
Cost leadership Produce product/service at the lowest cost in the industry.
Differentiation Offer different products, services, or product features.
Niche Select a narrow-scope segment (market niche) and be the best in quality, speed, or cost in that segment.
Growth Increase market share, acquire more customers, or sell more types of products.
Alliance Work with business partners in partnerships, alliances, joint ventures, or virtual companies.
Innovation Introduce new products/services; put new features in existing products/services; develop new ways to produce products/services.
Operational effectiveness Improve the manner in which internal business processes are executed so that the firm performs similar activities better than rivals.
Customer orientation Concentrate on customer satisfaction.
Time Treat time as a resource, then manage it and use it to the firm’s advantage. NOTE: although this is included in the textbook, it should not be used as a strategy for the organization in the Case Study.
Entry barriers Create barriers to entry. By introducing innovative products or using IT to provide exceptional service, companies can create entry barriers to discourage new entrants.
Customer or supplier lock-in Encourage customers or suppliers to stay with you rather than going to competitors. Reduce customers’ bargaining power by locking them in.
Increase switching costs Discourage customers or suppliers from going to competitors for economic reasons.

Business Process:
The final step in this assignment is to select a single business process within UMUC Haircuts business to improve using a technology solution. You only identify the process in this paper. You will continue to develop this solution in future stages of your case study. Some of the processes that Myra has identified for improvement using technology are:
. Customer and Employee Scheduling . Inventory Management
. Collecting Customer Information
. Supply Ordering

Assignment: UMUC Haircuts Stage 1: Create a document that includes:
I. Introduction:
Brief introduction providing the background of the case, why you are writing and what is to come in your paper. This should only be 3-5 sentences.
II. Five Forces Analysis:
Perform a Porter’s Five Forces analysis for UMUC Haircuts, addressing each of the five forces in two or three sentences. For each of the five forces, your analysis should include:
• Definition of the force and what it means to UMUC Haircuts
• Assessment of the force’s impact (Positive, Negative or Neutral) on the business
• A statement as to whether it should affect Myra’s strategy for a competitive advantage (yes or no).
[Note] Do not identify solutions or things that Myra should do to address the forces’ impact. (The idea is to identify a measurement of the impact and if the force will affect UMUC Haircuts’ Strategy for Competitive Advantage.)
III. Strategy for Competitive Advantage:
• Determine which of the Strategies for Competitive Advantage you will use to improve UMUC Haircuts for the 21st century and
• Explain why you selected the strategy
• Relate your selected strategy back to each of Porter’s five forces discussing the impact of your strategy based on your measurement of the force (positive, negative, or neutral).

IV. Business Process:

• Identify and select a single daily process that needs improvement using technology.
• Explain how the process to be improved is related to and supports the Strategy for Competitive Advantage you selected above.
• Explain generally how a technology solution could potentially help improve the process. (Do not provide a specific solution at this time.)

V. Statement of Direction:

At the end of your report, before the reference section, enter the following headings and complete the information using one concise phrase for each. You will be starting each subsequent stage by including this information as a method to keep us focused on the case study objectives and learning outcomes.
VI. References:
Provide at least one external resource in your paper on an area of your choice. An external resource is a resource other than those provided in the class or text book. Incorporate a properly formatted APA citation in the text of your document. Then, place an APA style resource on a reference page at the end of your document.

Additional Instructions:

Formatting: Stage One Business Environment Analysis submission.

For academic writing, the writer is expected to write in the third person. In third person, the writer avoids the pronouns I, we, my, and ours. The third person is used to make the writing more objective by taking the individual, the self, out of the writing. This method is very helpful for academic writing, a form in which facts, not opinion, drive the tone of the text. Writing in the third person allows the writer to come across as unbiased and thus more informed.

• Write a short concise paper: 2-3 double spaced pages of content.
• Use at least one external resources with APA formatted citation and reference
• Include a title page and a reference page.
• Compare your work to the rubric to be sure you have met content and quality criteria.
• Submit your paper as a Word document, or a document that can be read in Word.


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