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Girls’ School

Home Learning - Business

Year 10

Please review your notes and the PowerPoint slides, located on Teams. Then, complete each case study, using data from the case studies and the templates provided for you, which you stuck into the inside cover of your exercise book at the start of the course. You may also wish to utilise the AQA GCSE Business course companion, for more information.

Case study 1: Specification topic: Business ownership

Case Study: Item A – Graham’s Guitars!

Graham has played guitar ever since he was at school. At an early age, Graham formed a rock band with his friends and played several gigs at venues in his local area, which were sell outs. His passion for music led Graham to study music at college and then become a guitar teacher. As a teacher, Graham would travel to his customers’ houses and charge £15 for a 30-minute lesson.

Graham always possessed strong communication skills and as a result built up excellent relationships with all his customers. Due to the quality of his teaching and his hard work and determination in making his business succeed, Graham found that he was often turning customers away, particularly customers who were looking for after school lessons.

At present, Graham works five hours each weekday evening and eight hours both days at the weekend. He does however, have to allow 60 minutes out of this time for travelling each day, where he is not paid.

Exam-style questions:

1. Identify two personal characteristics that Graham shows as an entrepreneur (2 marks)

2. Calculate the weekly revenue of Graham’s Guitars. State the formula for revenue and show all your workings (5 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Graham’s Guitars!

Graham has recently been thinking about expanding his business, as he is turning more and more customers away. He believes he could increase his revenue significantly if he opened a shop. The shop would be fitted with three private rooms for music lessons and would also stock guitars, plus other musical instruments and music for his customers to buy.

Graham currently operates as a sole trader and is worried about the cost of setting up a shop on his own.  He has however been approached by one of his college friends, Jim, who is also just starting out as a music teacher. Jim has been playing in bands since leaving college and is able to play both guitar and drums. He has savings of £50,000 which he would be willing to invest in a business, in contrast to Graham who has savings of £10,000.

Exam-style questions:

3. Graham has decided to open the shop. In making this decision, he is considering whether he should:

  • Remain as a sole trader
  • Go into partnership with Jim

Recommend which is the best option for Graham to take. Give reasons for your advice (9 marks)

Case study 2: Specification topic: Setting business aims and objectives

Case Study: Item A – Firstmark Ltd

Firstmark Ltd is a well-known high street favourite with its target market of young, fashion-conscious under 35s. Its stores are stocked high with clothing and shoes for all age groups, as well as beauty and home products. Its main success lies with selling up-to-the-minute fashion goods, at very low prices. Styles change quickly, in fact every few weeks, to keep customer interest and to encourage repeat purchases. Firstmark chooses to sell its products, which it receives from its suppliers, only through stores, rather than using e-commerce, unlike many of its competitors. The business does have a website, but this is used by customers to look at stock rather than to buy.

The firm was formed in 1969, with its first store opening in Dublin. Four years later the business expanded into the UK and in 2006, expanded into Europe. The business currently has 290 stores across the UK, Ireland, Europe and USA. Last year, the business made a profit of £673 million, which increased by 2% from the year before.

Exam-style questions:

1.  Explain the channel of distribution that Firstmark uses in its business (2 marks)

2.  Explain how the objectives of Firstmark have changed over time (4 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Firstmark Ltd

In the past, Firstmark experienced a large amount of negative publicity, as the suppliers that the business used to produce some of its products were reported to have used child labour. Other press reports suggested that a SOS note was found in a Firstmark garment. The note explained how employees worked for 15 hours a day, in very poor conditions.

As a result of these claims, Firstmark reviewed its objectives. The business now has a clear focus on both environmental and ethical standards. Regular checks are made by Firstmark employees to ensure that products are made in good working conditions and that people employed by the suppliers are treated decently and paid a fair wage. Last year, Firstmark invested in 2,629 factory inspections to ensure that its environmental and ethical standards were kept to. 

Exam-style questions:

3. Analyse the impact of Firstmark’s decision to focus on more ethical and environmental objectives. In your answer you should consider:

  • the impact on shareholders
  • human resource implications

You must evaluate which area will have the biggest impact. Use evidence to support your answer (12 marks)

Case study 3: Specification topic: Stakeholders

Case Study: Item A – Simply Music

Susan has always had a passion for music – classical, jazz, popular or folk - she loves it all! However, because she lives in a small town, miles away from the nearest city, she never has an opportunity to listen to live music. Last year, she decided to hire the local town hall and organise her own charity concert featuring local bands, one of whom had appeared as a warm-up group at Glastonbury the year before.

There had been a lot to organise, tickets, programmes, security, catering and the acts themselves. In the end, the concert was a tremendous success and she has now decided to organise a monthly concert, featuring different styles of music. This business idea has, however, caused some complaints from a small number of local residents about the nuisance the last concert caused. She also knows that she had a lot of volunteers helping for the last concert and that if she was to set up her own concert business, she would need to employ a large number of staff to get each concert ready to ensure they would all be a success.

This has not put her off her idea, and she now has a provisional programme of possible concerts for the year. She has also spoken to the local bank manager, who is prepared to provide her with a small loan to get the business started.

Exam-style questions:

1. The local community is one stakeholder which is interested in the concert business; identify two other stakeholders of the concert business (2 marks)

2. Analyse the impact on the local community of the concert business (6 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Simply Music

Susan is concerned that her objectives of running her concert business will be very different from the objectives of the other stakeholders affected by the enterprise. Susan simply wants to improve the entertainment in the town and to make enough money that she can cover costs and make a small profit. She knows however, that the objectives of the other stakeholders affected by the business, including the local community, will be different.

In order to deal with the likely conflicts that could arise between the different stakeholder groups, Susan is considering having a meeting for all the stakeholders or their representatives to attend. Her best friend, Helen, however has said that this would only cause conflict and that she should just go ahead with the programme, organise the concerts and deal with any conflict if and when it arises.

Exam - style questions:

3. Recommend whether Susan should hold a meeting to resolve possible stakeholder conflict. Give examples and reasons to support your advice (9 marks)

Case study 4: Specification topic: Business location

Case Study: Item A – Connections plc

Connections plc is one of the world’s leading mobile communication companies and employs 108,000 staff in total. 13,000 of these staff are based in the UK.

The business was founded in 1984 in the UK and now has its global headquarters in London and its UK headquarters based in Newbury. Both offices take a centralised approach to decision-making.

The business operates over 500 UK stores, which has grown from 357 stores 2 years ago. The firm’s continued success and growth has been linked to the UK being part of the EU, with the freedom of movement of people, capital and goods, as well as a single legal framework.

Exam-style questions:

1. Calculate the percentage of Connections’ total staff that are employed in the UK. Show all your workings. Give your answer to two decimal places  (2 marks)

2. Explain why Connections would take a centralised approach to decision-making (4 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Connections plc

Connections, alongside many other companies based in the UK such as easyJet, has expressed its concern about keeping its headquarters in the UK, after the British general public voted to leave the EU. The majority of the firm’s 462 million customers and 15,000 suppliers are based outside the UK. Last year, 55% of Connections’ total profits came from European business, excluding the UK. The UK contributed only 11% to the firm’s total profits.

The company is currently considering its future location decision for its global headquarters, which employs approximately 500 staff. Connections is currently unsure how exactly the UK’s exit from the EU will impact the firm. The business has made a commitment to operate in the best interest of its stakeholders. In order to keep to this promise, the firm has a big decision to make in the future.

Exam-style questions:

3. Analyse the impact on Connections of moving its global headquarters outside of the UK. In your answer you should consider:

  • financial implications
  • human resource implications

You must evaluate which area will have the biggest impact. You must use evidence to support your answer (12 marks)

Case study 5: Specification topic: Business planning

Case Study: Item A – Sasha “The Artist”

Sasha had always shown a natural talent and passion for art ever since she was young.  Over the last three years, Sasha had studied an art degree at her local university, whilst living at home rent free with her parents. Having successfully completed her course and gaining top marks, Sasha was now thinking about her future career. As Sasha loved painting and was lucky enough to live beside the sea in a very popular tourist spot, she decided to hand paint pictures of the local area and sell them at the seafront on a mobile market stall.

From the start, Sasha made the decision to use job production. She decided to paint two different sized pictures to keep her pricing simple. However, each of her paintings would be unique, of a local scene and would be individually signed.

Exam-style questions:

1. Identify two pricing methods that Sasha could use to price her paintings (2 marks)

2. Explain one benefit to Sasha of choosing job production to produce her paintings (4 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Sasha “The Artist”

After successfully trading from her market stall for the last year, Sasha decided that she wanted to move into her own shop and create an art gallery of her work, where she could paint and sell her paintings at the same time. She found a suitable location, on the seafront, but the rent was expensive and amounted to £36,000 per year.

Due to her low living costs, Sasha had managed to save a considerable amount of cash over the last year. She had also built up a reputation in the area and appeared in many local tourist magazines. As such, Sasha’s trade was increasing. She calculated in October that she made £3,000 in sales revenue, when she opened her market stall just at the weekends.

Exam-style questions:

3. Sasha has been advised by her parents that she should draw up a business plan to help her in the development of her new store.  

Recommend whether Sasha should draw up a business plan. Give reasons for your advice (9 marks)

Year 11

We have completed The Human Resources and Marketing Modules.

Please review your notes and the PowerPoint slides and then complete each Case study, using data from the case studies and the templates provided for you, which you stuck into your exercise book at the start of the course. Also available on Teams. You may also wish to utilise the AQA GCSE Business course companion, for more information.

Case study 1: Specification topic: Organisational structures

Case Study: Item A – Organic Snacks Ltd

The idea of providing organic snacks started in 2008. With the growth of multinational fast food companies, Helen and Terry saw a gap in the market to set up Organic Snacks Ltd, a restaurant that would provide healthy, tasty and well-presented lunches and snacks that could be served very quickly. The initial restaurant proved to be very successful and by the year 2010, another six outlets had been opened in the local area. Quality of food has always been very important to the company and as a result, where possible, foods are sourced locally from organic suppliers. 

Each restaurant has an overall manager, two assistant managers, one in charge of the kitchen and one in charge of the dining area. As well as the staff who serve the customers, there are also two cleaners and two kitchen porters employed with a separate supervisor. Their role is to keep the tables clear and manage the washing up and deliveries. The cost of each restaurant is high, but the organisational structure found in each location has meant that standards of service have been consistently excellent. Prices are however, higher than rival fast food outlets, but profits for the company have been good.

With a strong brand established, Organic Snacks Ltd has continued to expand in the region and another twenty similar restaurants have been opened. Customers have liked that fact that they know what the menu will be and the standard of service that will be provided. The company now employs a regional manager to make sure that each restaurant is maintaining the same quality. Any changes to the restaurants are communicated from Terry and Helen, the directors and only shareholders in the firm, through the regional manager to the managers and workers in each individual restaurant.

Exam-style questions:

1. Identify two features of a tall organisational structure (2 marks)

2. Explain one disadvantage to Organic Snacks Ltd of its current organisational structure (4 marks)  

Case Study: Item B – Organic Snacks Ltd

It has been decided, by the directors of the company that the firm will expand into two other regions. Having appointed two additional regional managers, Helen and Terry have been discussing how the restaurants should operate. The new regional managers have been quick to point out that each region is very different and there will need to be changes in the style of the restaurants and their menus to take into account these variations. In addition, local suppliers will be growing different food products and therefore the regional managers have requested that each individual restaurant should be free to use whatever local specialities they believe will be popular with the customers.

One option that Helen and Terry are looking at, would be to decentralise the organisation and to allow each restaurant more freedom over its menu, its prices and the suppliers it uses. Terry and Helen are concerned that this would cause problems for the brand, but they are also aware that the prices charged in the current restaurants would be too expensive in the two new regions and that there will need to be changes. They are also considering whether they should delayer the current organisational structure found in each restaurant in order to save costs, by removing some managerial/supervisory levels.

Exam-style questions:

3. Analyse the impact of changing from a centralised to a decentralised organisational structure for Organic Snacks Ltd. In your answer you should consider:

  • The suitability of decentralisation
  • Marketing implications

You must evaluate which area will experience the biggest impact. You must use evidence to support your answer (12 marks)

Case study 2: Specification topic:  Recruitment and selection/motivating employees

Case Study: Item A – Wyvern Fruit Farm Ltd

Wyvern Fruit Farm Ltd has been a family farm for over 100 years. It has large orchards in the Wyvern valley and specialises in producing apples, pears and plums. The company employs a small number of staff throughout the year. These are mainly members of the family or local workers. In the summer, the farm recruits and employs approximately 150 seasonal staff, whose job role includes picking the fruit, in addition to helping to check, pack and get the fruit to the local customers and wholesale markets on time.

Many of the seasonal staff have been working at Wyvern Fruit Farm for a number of years. They are experienced fruit pickers and this helps to ensure the fruit picked is of a high quality and that the business has high levels of productivity. The seasonal workers are employed on a mixture of part-time and full time temporary contracts and often come from other European countries. The company is now however, concerned as to the effect that Britain leaving the European Union will have on this regular and reliable supply of high quality workers.

The company’s HR director, Victoria Cox, is currently considering introducing zero hour contracts for the seasonal production workers, who live in the local area as a method of reducing costs. The manager in charge of picking the fruit is concerned that this might lead to less fruit being picked.

Exam-style questions:

1. Identify two methods of selection that could be used by Wyvern Fruit Farms Ltd in deciding which workers to employ (2 marks)

2. Analyse the impact on Wyvern Fruit Farms Ltd of introducing zero-hour contracts for some of its production workers (6 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Wyvern Fruit Farm Ltd

Employees are currently paid by the hour, reflecting the fact that they are well motivated and, in some cases, are undertaking jobs that would not be easy to pay using piece rate calculations, a method of payment where employees are paid according to how much fruit they actually pick. Last summer however, there were complaints from some of the regular workers that some production workers were not well motivated and that the current system was not fair in term of rewarding those who did the most work.

Victoria is looking at other options of improving worker performance, including both financial and non-financial methods of motivation. It would be possible to introduce two schemes, one where the workers could purchase fruit at discounted rates and the other to provide a subsidised workplace nursery and child minding service, which would be based at the farm. The second scheme however, might be expensive. The family are very keen that the overall productivity of the farm should continue to be kept high and ultimately improve.

Exam-style questions:

3. Recommend whether Wyvern Fruit Farm Ltd should change the way it motivates its seasonal production workers (9 marks)

Case study 3: Specification topic: Training

Case Study: Item A – Green Fingers

After George was made redundant from his manager’s post at a large garden centre chain, YesBlooms, he decided to start his own gardening business, Green Fingers. George had always shown a keen interest in plants and gardening since he was at school and had dreamt of one day being his own boss. After receiving £15,000 redundancy payment for his 10 years service at YesBlooms, he thought this was the perfect opportunity to start his own business. He decided to invest the £15,000 into buying a small van and some basic equipment to get his business started.

At first George did not gain many customers, as he only placed a small advertisement in the local newspaper for one week and three well-established gardening businesses were already operating in the local area. However, the quality of his work, together with his excellent customer service, soon meant that an increasing number of customers were choosing George over his rivals for their gardening needs.  

Exam-style questions:

1. Explain one reason why George chose to start his own business (2 marks)

2. Analyse the effect on Green Fingers of George providing excellent service to his customers  (6 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Green Fingers

Recently, George has been approached by many of his customers to complete larger gardening jobs, including landscaping and tree felling. Although George is skilled in landscaping, he is not qualified to cut down trees. He is therefore considering hiring an employee, who would already have the appropriate skills and qualifications to take on this work. The alternative would be for George to complete off the job training to become a tree surgeon. He has found a suitable course which would last 6 weeks and cost him £8,000. The course would be in a different part of the country and mean that George would not be able to work during that time. The average salary for George to employ a full time tree surgeon in the area would be £18,000 per year.

Exam-style questions:

3. George is unsure of how to cope with the increased customer demand for tree felling. He is considering the following two options:

  • employ a full time, already qualified tree surgeon
  • complete off the job training himself to become a fully qualified tree surgeon

Recommend which would be the best option for George to take. Give reasons for your advice     (9 marks)

Case study 4: Specification topic: The purpose and methods of market research

Case Study: Item A – Bounce In

The indoor trampolining market is growing massively in the UK, with the number of parks increasing from just four, 18 months ago, to 100 today. An additional twenty parks are also in the process of being built throughout the country.

“Bounce In” is just one of the many businesses that have entered this market. A year ago the business opened it first park in Slough, a large site which consists of 100 interconnected trampolines, with other activities such as bouncing dodgeball, a huge foam pit and tumble tracks on offer. The firm’s success in Slough resulted in the business being able to open a new park in Warwick, a few months ago.

Bounce In is once again looking to open a third site in Solihull, located 15 miles from Warwick, with a population size of 210,000 people. The firm’s finance manager has been reviewing the numerical data related to this proposed decision. He expects the Solihull site to cost £1.5 million in startup costs, but he also expects to make an extra profit of £1,125,000 each year for the next 5 years from this investment.

Exam-style questions:

1. Bounce In currently serve on average 7,500 customers per week at its Slough location with an average customer spend of £10. Calculate the annual sales revenue for the Slough site. State the formula for revenue and show all your workings (3 marks)

2. Calculate the average rate of return if Bounce In expand into Solihull. State the formula used and show all your workings (5 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Bounce In

The management team at Bounce In have decided to make the decision and expand into Solihull, having conducted only a very limited amount of primary and secondary research. The marketing manager, however, has expressed his concerns about the decision, suggesting that the business should carry out more research before a final decision is made. The rest of the team however, believe that due to the threat of competitors entering into locations where there are currently no trampolining parks, and the high potential returns on  investment, it was more important to enter areas as soon as possible rather than waiting. The team had found out that in the city of Hull (population size of approximately 250,000 people) that three different trampolining parks had opened in close proximity to each other, over the course of the last twelve weeks.

Exam-style questions:

3. Recommend whether Bounce In should conduct more detailed market research before entering the market in Solihull. Give reasons for your advice (9 marks)

Case Study 5: Specification topic: The elements of the marketing mix

Case Study: Item A – Cleaning up the Market Ltd

“Cleaning up the Market Ltd” was set up five years ago in response to the ever-increasing demand for home cleaning services. From the start, the company decided its unique selling point would be to focus on providing a quality cleaning service, rather than charging very low prices. A named cleaner would be allocated to every customer and the cleaning materials used would also be environmentally friendly. This approach has been very successful and has enabled “Cleaning up the Market Ltd” to quickly gain and retain customers in its local area. As a result, the business employs over fifty part-time employees.

Exam-style questions:

1. Explain one benefit to a business of having a unique selling point (2 marks)

2. Explain one way “Cleaning up the Market Ltd” could use sales promotion in order to gain more new customers (4 marks)

Case Study: Item B – Cleaning up the Market Ltd

“Cleaning up the Market Ltd” is concerned with Britain leaving the European Union that the economy could suffer. This might lead to an increase in unemployment and, with more people staying at home, demand for its services would fall.

In order to broaden its product portfolio, the company is now considering widening its range of customers, by aiming to win contracts to clean hospitals, schools and office blocks. This type of work would require large increases in the number of staff the business employed and a price charged that would be much lower than its usual pricing. These changes however, would be seen as essential if “Cleaning up the Market Ltd” was going to enter this market successfully, due to the cleaning market for such organisations being extremely competitive.

Exam-style questions:

3. Analyse the impact on “Cleaning up the Market Ltd” of broadening its product portfolio by expanding its cleaning services into hospitals, schools and office blocks. In your answer you should consider:

  • marketing implications
  • financial implications

You must evaluate which area will have the biggest impact. You must use evidence to support your answer (12 marks)

Years 12 and 13

Please note that bespoke work will be set by the subject teachers and emailed to students.