EXTREME BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

EXTREME BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

(Your Product…Your Responsibility?)

Here’s the dilemma – are you going to be a GOOD person and take responsibility for the effects of your product? Or, are you going to be a GREAT businessperson and put profit ahead of everything else? Or, can you do both?

You are the owner of a company (306 SPORTS INC.) that produces a new, technologically advanced skateboard. This board is smaller and much faster than any skateboard ever created. Your creation has become the best selling sports product inthe country, with many extreme sports stars buying, using, and promoting your new skateboard. You are making millions for you and your shareholders!

Because of its capability for tremendous speed, the “Rocket Board” is considered an extremely dangerous board. In the past year, several customers, some as young as 5years old, have been injured while riding the “Rocket Board.” Injuries range from bumps and bruises, to broken arms and legs, to concussions.

Some pediatricians and politicians claim your product should be recommended only for advanced riders, preferably over the age of 18. And, they want a warning label printed on the package. But, these restrictions and warnings would, of course, hurt your sales and profits.

Your company also faces several lawsuits and tremendous public criticism because of the injuries sustained by some users of your product. The public is calling for you and your company to take responsibility for the injuries your product has caused.

Some want 306 SPORTS INC. held financially responsible for creating a product that you knew to be dangerous to many users/customers. Many critics have said creating a product such as the “Rocket Board” is unethical because skateboards are traditionally children’s toys and your product is causing harm to many young consumers.

As owner of 306, it is time to answer your critics. How do you plan on defending your company and its reputation and make critics happy? How do you plan to maintain sales and keep employees, investors, and shareholders happy?

YOU HAVE TO:

• Explain your plan to answer your critics who claim you are responsible for the injuries and your company has behaved unethically.

• Explain what you are going to do about the current lawsuits filed against your company and any lawsuits moving forward.

• Finally, explain what steps you are going to take to make sure the Rocket Board’s sales continue to grow and your company remains profitable so your investors and shareholders have confidence in your leadership.

Write a properly formatted memo to the 306 Sports Inc. Community. The readers include shareholders, employees, and even critics. Your memo must explain your position and answer all of their concerns. Your memo should be well-written and detailed. Give as many specific examples that you deem necessary

Adding research to your memo is not difficult. Even though 306 SPORTS INC and our Rocket Board are mythical, the REAL research you add can be very helpful.

Up to this point of our class and your writing, I have wanted to hear only your opinion, your thoughts, your analysis. I have asked you to stay far away from research. (Many modern writers are too quick to add outside sources because research is now so easy to find. Your phone is now a library!) This eagerness to add research has lead to a lack of personal opinion and a lack of analytical skills.

However, there are times in the business world when research WILL help you.

If you are going to start your own business in San Bernardino, think of all the helpful information you could find by doing some research: what specific areas are fastest growing, what is the local demographic, how have other businesses fared in this area, what expenses can you predict, what might the interest rates be in the future, what have the rates been in the past? There are hundreds of research options to help prepare you to open a business.

If you plan on getting financing for your business, many banks will require you to create a business plan. Inside this business plan, you might be expected to project costs and revenue. Your research will help you calculate this information. And, you will be expected to have added this research to the business report, which the bank will use to determine your loan.

Here is how you might add research to a business report:

According to the City of San Bernardino’s official website, “San Bernardino is offering significant tax incentives to small business owners. As a result, small businesses have seen a healthy increase in profit over the past 5 years – averaging a 23% increase in sales from 2014- 2019.”(ci.san-bernardino.ca.us)

Additionally, in a recent survey of businesses located in downtown and northern San Bernardino, 85% of business owners have noticed a “significant” increase in walk-in customers during the past calender year. (thesun.newspaper.org)

In a recent interview, the Mayor of San Bernardino, Bradley Cooper, had this to say about the improving conditions for small businesses, “The negativity surrounding San Bernardino is gone. People are beginning to see the benefit of living, shopping, and going to school in San Bernardino. This new found optimism is creating a financial benefit felt throughout the city.” (smallbusinessnews.net)

This is how I want you to approach the research aspect of this assignment. Find three or four sources that help you make your case to the reader.

So, you are required to do several things – answer your critics about the safety of the Rocket Board and the  “ethical” nature of your company; explain what you are going to do about the current lawsuits; and what you plan to do moving forward to keep 306 SPORTS INC profitable.  You need to use research to convince the readers (306 SPORTS INC community) your plans and ideas are sound. The research you add is, of course, up to you, but I want it to be legitimate. Find actual sources that support your ideas.

First, you have to answer your critics who claim you and your company behaved unethically. They claim you knew this product was dangerous and could harm users. Do you have a responsibility to protect your customers? NO?  Too bad, kid – you should have worn a helmet? Buyer beware? It’s the parents’ fault? Is this really what an ETHICAL PERSON AND COMPANY want to say to the public? Perhaps you want to explain how your company actually is HELPING society by provding skatebaords.

How about this approach: during the COVID pandemic, the CDC recommends people (especially children) find ways to stay physically active while maintaining social distancing (CDC/covid/sports.gov). SKATEBOARDING IS THE PERECT SPORT – it requires no teammates, no coaches, no arena. Skatebaording is the safest and most effective sport for users to remain healthy and avoid large groups and thereby avoid a possible COVID infection. 306 SPORTS INC is not behaving unethically – we are helping the community stay active and healthy during these tough times. If riders of the Rocket Board wear the required safety gear, the chances of injuries is significantly lessened.

What research can you think of to help you address the issue of responsibility? Are there laws that protect you and other businesses from responsibility? Are there other companies that have faced similar situations? Come up with a response (ideas and a plan) then GO FIND research to help you make your position clear and strong!

What about those lawsuits? What’s the plan? FIGHT? Do you want to see users of your product in court? Do you want them to explain to a jury how they bought your product and were severly injured? Some of the injured are young children. Is it wise to make this issue more public? How will this impact your business?

Is the plan to SETTLE these lawsuits? Do you have the money to do this? Do you admit you are responsible? How will this impact your profit?

You can use research for a possible solution; what have other companies done when facing similar lawsuits?

Finally, business is about ONE thing – as we have said during this BUSINESS ETHICS discussion = MONEY$$$!!!

Let’s say you want to remind your readers that selling skateboards (especially one of the most popular models) is very profitable and your company will remain very profitable if it continues to focus on the extreme model – the Rocket Board:

We know the demand for “extreme sports equipment” is very high. The website SkateBoard Heroes predicts sales of the top skateboard brands will exceed 10 million units this holiday season. Our own marketing department preditcs our share of these sales will be 2 million units, which translates to $10 million in profits this year. Those readers who want you to consider limiting sales of the Rocket Board might change their minds when they see the potential profit!

So is your plan to continue doing what you are doing? Do you plan to alter the product? add warning labels? create age restrictions? REALLY? All of these options would damage sales and profit won’t they?  Create a plan and use research to help you.

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