Utopia - IB Business Management, the pre-released Paper 1 case study for May 2017 examinations

Business management
Case study: Utopia
© International Baccalaureate Organization 20174 pages
Instructions to candidates
Case study booklet required for higher level paper 1 and standard level paper 1 business
management examinations.
For use in May 2017
2217 – 5001
– 2 –
John Ariki is an entrepreneur who owns 100 % of the shares of the private limited company
Utopia, a holiday resort located on the island of Ratu, in the Pacic Islands. Utopia offers a
once-in-a-lifetime tourist experience. Frequent visitors are lm stars. Utopia is positioned as
a unique experience in the Pacic Islands and offers exceptional levels of comfort and service.
When guests rent a villa, Utopia provides a private boat and crew to transport them around
the island at any time, day or night. Utopia relies heavily on word of mouth for promotion. On
several occasions, video clips of Utopia have gone viral on the internet.
The original business plan for Utopia in 2000 included twelve villas, the rst of which John built
himself. Local craftsmen built the remainder using traditional materials. John has revised the
business plan and the resort now has 24 villas. He believes that a major factor in the success
of Utopia is local craftsmanship. John insists that the villas reect the culture of the Pacic
Islands. For example, he deliberately resists pressure from external stakeholders to expand
Utopia’s capacity.
Utopia obtains ingredients for meals (served at the villas) on a just-in-time (JIT) basis from
neighbouring islands and award-winning coffee from the island of Aora. Even though coffee
growers from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea have offered to supply Utopia with their nest
coffee at much lower prices, John’s passion for ethically produced fair trade Aora coffee has
caused him to refuse all alternatives. John is willing to pay his coffee suppliers in Aora prices
well above those determined on the commodity markets. He believes that the beautiful location,
the local craftsmen and materials, and the local food and coffee together form the basis for the
Utopia brand. John has a paternalistic approach to leadership.
The success of Aora coffee served at Utopia inspired John to open a café in 2006 in the nearest
main town on Ratu. He called the café JAC and owns it as a sole trader. JAC is product
oriented. It offers espresso and high-quality food, and roasts its coffee beans on site, which
enhances the coffee drinking experience. John would like to educate coffee drinkers about
the coffee. At the café, JAC has tastings, brochures, interactive displays and other attractions.
Visiting JAC has become an important tourist activity in the region and JAC is now a famous
brand. Using coffee beans from Aora, JAC began to win awards as a roaster and to distribute
ground coffee in a number of neighbouring Pacic Islands.
The growth of JAC took John by surprise. In order to concentrate on Utopia, in 2011 he handed
over the day-to-day operation of JAC to his twin children, Paul and Liza.
– 3 –
Turn over
Paul graduated from an IB school in Australia in 2008. He travelled worldwide to develop
his business and life skills. He spent time in Seattle working in a youth hostel and became
fascinated with Seattle’s coffee culture. Paul’s business thinking was inspired by a small
chain of coffee roasters and retailers that make signicant donations to charities with the
aim of eradicating human trafcking. Paul was not interested in a multinational coffee chain
headquartered in Seattle. At JAC, Paul is in charge of marketing and operations. He has a
special interest in product development and is constantly looking for ways to contribute to the
local community.
Liza is JAC’s human resource manager and is in charge of nance. She is entrepreneurial and
a visionary, and is frequently looking for new ways to expand the business. Unlike her father
and brother, Liza imagines business opportunities on more than a local level. Liza argues that,
given JAC’s considerable capacity for growth and brand loyalty, the business is not reaching its
full potential and not following its original business plan. She argues that JAC could enter many
coffee markets around the world.
In 2016, a natural disaster occurred on Ratu, damaging seven villas and destroying the
remaining seventeen. Although John’s customers could continue to rent the seven remaining
villas, Utopia experienced a sudden and substantial decrease in bookings. Later in that
nancial year, Utopia recorded its rst nancial loss in sixteen years. John decided to create
a crisis management plan and carry out contingency planning for cost, time, risks and safety.
Believing that businesses should nance internal growth from internal sources, John refused
offers of help to rebuild Utopia from external investors. Only internal sources of nance were
used. John believed that outside investors would interfere with his vision for Utopia and JAC.
Thinking of all his business interests (Utopia and JAC), John realized that he has to consider
new revenue streams. The natural disaster damaged Utopias positioning and threatened
its long-term viability. He has asked Liza and Paul for advice on future options for growth.
However, it was made clear that John would still decide on which option would be chosen and
that the vision and social responsibility of Utopia and JAC would not be compromised.
Paul is considering developing the brand of Utopia by selling customized souvenirs produced
by a three-dimensional (3D) printer. Improved internet connections and technology make the
expensive 3D printing process a possibility. The gross prot margins on these customized
souvenirs would be high, despite the xed costs of the equipment. In addition, gaining
experience with 3D printing might enable them to recognise and think about more opportunities
for its use throughout John’s businesses. Capital expenditure of $10 000 would be required to
set up this untested printing service. Liza, however, is concerned that some people will perceive
the souvenirs as inauthentic or cheap, which would devalue the Utopia brand.
Liza favours expansion through the sale of JAC coffee to other markets, initially the Pacic
islands of Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand. Her market research includes stratied sampling of
these three markets. The market research has indicated some prot potential in Fiji and Samoa
and considerable prots in New Zealand. A concern for Liza is the challenge of delivering coffee
beans from Aora to the three markets in a timely fashion so that the beans remain fresh (were
cafés to serve coffee brewed from unfresh beans, the reputation of JACs coffee could suffer).
JAC would also face many external factors in creating new distribution channels. Possible
approaches to selling in these new markets could be through a strategic alliance, a joint venture
or franchising.
– 4 –
John met with Liza and Paul to discuss their growth options. The rebuilding of Utopia in
2016 cost more and took longer than originally anticipated. John knows that changes in the
organizational structure and legal ownership of Utopia and JAC are inevitable regardless of
which option(s) he chooses. Alternative suitable sources of nance should also be considered.
While talking with Liza and Paul, John sketched out new possible organizational charts.
Additional terms not in the guide
Commodity market
Fair trade
Companies, products, or individuals named in this case study are ctitious and any similarities with
actual entities are purely coincidental.