“We reduce the stress involved in
executing a successful event”
Stressless Events, a sole proprietorship, is a high quality event staffing company operated by its
owner, Steffanie Weaver. The company serves the Medford-Ashland area in Jackson County,
Oregon. It provides homeowners with staff/service for their in-home entertainment. Stressless
Events intends to capitalize on the inabilities of existing competitors by providing consistently
high customer service and service quality allowing the hosts to socialize with their guests.
Steffanie Weaver created this company to serve a niche market that had been neglected by
competitors. She came to realize that this market exists through frequent in-home catering
request of business acquaintances at her previous place of employment. Mrs. Weaver then
researched the service needs for in-home events resulting in a list of job duties including waiting,
bartending, valet parking and event preparation.
The company targets households with an annual income greater than $75.000 in the Medford-
Ashland area, the two largest cities in Jackson County, Oregon. According to Census 2000 data,
more than 10,000 households meet that criterion, creating a large potential customer base for the
company. Furthermore, these two cities house large public as well as private corporations
employing executives and managers that provide in-home entertainment to business partners,
friends, and their families.
Competitive Advantages and Distinction
Stressless Events capitalizes on its consistently high customer service and quality. All of its
employees maintain current Food Handling and Alcohol certification to ensure safety. The
company focuses on the niche market of private in-home parties differentiating itself from local
caterers, restaurants and event planners that focus on larger corporate events. Another advantage
of the company is its owner, a recent Summa Cum Laude graduate from Southern Oregon
University, who is known to many of its potential customers through past events at the
The owner, Steffanie Weaver, leads her employees by setting an example of great customer
service skills and exceptional quality of service, skills she acquired working at Southern Oregon
University catering. She worked in the catering business for four consecutive years in Ashland,
Oregon. Her dedication to the service industry has been recognized through awards such as
“Student Manager of the Year 2001.” In addition, she has a thorough understanding of
technology allowing her to easily maintain customer as well as employee records.
Stressless Events will hire an assistant manager in year two of operations to allow for the owner
to spend sufficient time on record keeping activities. Due to the increased fixed cost caused by
this hiring, the company will recognize a loss in year two. It is the goal of the company to realize
positive net income in year three of operations and thereafter.
The company will face a large amount of competition when entering the market. This
competition consists mainly of the host and friends that help organize events. Caterers and
restaurants also service private events but their market share appears minute. It is the intend of
Stressless Events to replace 25% of events that hosts cater themselves as well as 25% of event at
which friends assist by year three of operations.
The company projects a moderate growth rate of events of 15% per year as well as an average
increase of one hour per event per year. These growth rates result in a positive Net Income of $
4,757 in year three while returning $2000 per month and 50% of any positive Net Income to the
owner, Steffanie Weaver. The remaining 50% will be reinvested in the company, thus funding
growth internally rather than seeking outside investments.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary .....................................................................................2-3
Table of Contents .........................................................................................4
Company Description ..................................................................................5-7
Industry Analysis & Trends........................................................................8-9
Strategic Position & Risk Assessment........................................................13-14
Target Market ..............................................................................................15-16
Management & Organization .....................................................................24-25
Financial Analysis ........................................................................................26
Stressless Events is a sole-proprietorship based in Southern Oregon that provides event planning
and staffing services for entertainment at home. The company serves the Medford-Ashland, OR,
area with the company office being located in Medford, OR.
Stressless Events is a high-quality service company that provides staffing and experience to
allow our customers to entertain successfully yet without stress at home. We work together with
our customers to ensure that every event will be memorable. Our goal is complete customers
satisfaction through high quality. We will retain a moderate growth rate to ensure a personal
relationship with each of our customers. Stressless Events employs motivated young adults to
help them finance their college education. It is our financial goal to achieve and maintain a
positive net income by 2006.
Stressless Events is a sole proprietorship operated by its owner, Steffanie Weaver. The company
is registered to conduct its business in Medford, Ashland, Jackson County, and in the State of
Oregon as of June 2004. In addition, Stressless Events has secured a strategic partnership with
Southern Oregon University catering services to facilitate recruiting as well additional
customers. The company also has made arrangements with Allstate Insurance to provide liability
In addition to legal regulations, Stressless Events will also abide local health regulations
regarding sanitation and food handling. Due to the fact that Stressless Events operates in the
customer’s kitchen, a health certification for the company is not necessary.2 Nonetheless,
Stressless Events requires its entire staff to have a current Food Handler’s card to ensure their
knowledge of proper food handling procedures.
Stressless Events provides staffing for in-home entertainment. The staff is cross-trained to
perform the following duties: valet parking, bartending, preparation, waiting, and clean up. The
staff will prepare all meals in the customer’s kitchen using appliances and utensils provided by
the customer. If the customer requests additional duties, we will accommodate those needs to the
best of our abilities.
Stressless Events will also assist its customers with additional services for events outside its
regular scope to continue close and complete customer relationships. Such events (weddings,
parties outside a home) can be organized on a case-by-case basis. If the demand for this sector
grows, Stressless Events will develop standard services that customers can choose from but are
not limited to.
Stressless Events is owned and operated by Steffanie Weaver, a recent Southern Oregon
University (SOU) graduate with 4-years of experience in the food service industry. She is known
to many of her initial customers through events at her previous place of employment, SOU
catering, where she helped plan and execute large campus wide events as well as small, private
parties. Mrs. Weaver has industry relationships with chefs (such as Mike Brown) and
experienced caterers (such as MaryAnn LaFazio). These consulting relationships enable her to
provide her customers with custom fit menus and decorations that go beyond her personal
Starting year two of operations, Stressless Events also employs a part-time assistant manager that
will be chosen from the existing workforce. This assistant manager will have shown to be a team
leader as well as a great example in regards to customer service.
Stressless Events employs motivated young adults, mainly college students. The staff shows the
following characteristics: good customer service skills, knowledge of proper food handling
procedures, team spirited, and cross-trained to perform multiple tasks involved in completing
Stressless Events won’t seek outside funding to start its operations due to the fact that many of
its costs are variable costs. The company will respond to negative cash on hand at the end of the
year by using short-term borrowings in increments of $1000. During the first year of operations,
the owner will only receive a salary of $1000 per month to keep operating costs low. With price
increases every two years and an annual growth rate of events of 15%, Stressless Events will be
able to meet all its financial obligations without short-term borrowings by the third year of
While planner’s fees usually range from 10-20 percent of the event’s budget,5 Stressless Events
chooses to charge for its staff an hourly rate of $15. The owner and assistant manager will be
paid salaries whereas part-time employees are compensated at $10 per hour worked. The owner
will manage financial record keeping using integrated spreadsheets in Excel.
Stressless Events is registered in Medford, Ashland, Jackson County, and in the State of Oregon
as of June 2004. Stressless Events is a seed company with services starting July 2004. The
company has existing customer contacts through the owner that will allow the company to grow
the number of events serviced at 15% per year. Prior to starting operations, the company has
compiled a list of part-time employees and ensured proper training of all staff members.
Goals/Vision for the Future
Stressless Events strives to be the quality leader in the private event/in-home entertaining
industry in the Medford-Ashland area. Within three years of operations, the company will be the
market share leader regarding the niche market of private events. During the first year, the owner
and manager, Steffanie Weaver, is the only full-time employee of the company. In year two, the
company will hire a part-time management assistant to aid the owner in the management of
customer relationships and events. In year three, the position of the assistant manager will
Once the assistant manager has proven to be effective in customer relationships and employee
training while maintaining the high-set standards of quality and customer service, the owner will
be restructuring the company as a Limited Liability Partnership. The assistant manager will be
offered to become a limited partner in the company and assume greater responsibilities while
being rewarded with an increased percentage of the net income as an annual bonus. This will
allow the owner to maintain control over the company as well as being able to step back a little
bit, thus allowing her to start her desired family.
Industry Analysis & Trends
Stressless Events is taking advantage of its superior customer service and quality in an
Event Planning vs. Staffing Industry
Stressless Events falls within two industries: Event planning and staffing. While there is an
abundance of staffing services and employment offices within the Medford area, none of them
are specialized in providing customers with staffing for in-home entertainment. The customer
who seeks to entertain at home is looking for reliable service while maintaining flexibility
regarding the choice of service. Local caterers on the other hand, tend to focus on large corporate
events, weddings or large family gatherings.3
Stressless Events is filling the niche that has been deficient in both of those industries. The
company will ensure a high quality service for all sizes of in-home entertainment. It will provide
trained and licensed staff to its customers to create a well-organized and relaxing atmosphere at
Because of its focus on high-income level customers, Stressless Events is fairly independent
from economic cycles. During economic downturns, the scope and reason for events tend to
change but not the amount and size of them. Furthermore, high-income business executives
appear to gather when the economy is slowing down to discuss future opportunities of the
Seasonality on the other hand is a large concern for Stressless Events. Many customers focus
their events around holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter) and major events in their
private as well as business life (new home, promotion, birthday). Historically, events are held
more frequently in the summer time because it allows people to sit outside on patios and enjoy
the view from the host’s house. Stressless Events therefore realizes 50% of its yearly revenues
between June and September and an additional 25% between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 4
Barriers to Entry
One of the major dangers of this type of service industry is the low level of barriers to entry.
Foodservice staff needs to have current County-issued Food Handler’s cards, bartenders need a
State-issued serving permit, and valet parking staff needs a current driver’s license. Besides
providing its employees with the means to receive those licenses, Stressless Events is also
required to upkeep its licenses and registrations. As easy as it is for this company to obtain all
necessary licenses and registrations, as easy it could be for future entrants to this market.
Key Success Factors/Core Competencies
Stressless Events prides itself to provide its customers with outstanding quality and customer
service by responding quickly and satisfactory to the exact need of the customer. Satisfying
customers is one of the most important success factors in the service industry and will therefore
be our number one priority. Ongoing customer relationships also provide Stressless Events with
a competitive edge because word-of-mouth has proven to be an effective yet no direct costs
advertising tool. The owner herself is responsible to keep close customer relationships by being
available from the initial request for service through the after-party follow-up conversation. The
staff is highly motivated and team-oriented, which in turn allows events to run smoothly and
seemingly without stress to the customer.
Stressless Events faces a few established event planners and caterers as well as staffing services
in the Medford area. In addition to direct competitors, the company also competes with the
homeowner’s option to plan and execute the event without any outside assistance.
Market Share Distribution
After completing a survey of 50 potential customers (household income greater than $75.000),
the current distribution between competitors is as follows:4
Current Distribution amongst
After two years of operation, Stressless Events will be the primary provider of in-home
entertainment services excluding self-service in the Medford area. Mainly, our market share is
expected to be replacing 25% of “host self-service”, 50% of friend’s help, and 25% of local
caterers, restaurants, and event planning services.
View summary sheets of survey on page I of Appendix
Advantages over Competition
A competitive analysis is included in the appendix (page I). The main advantages Stressless
Events has over its competitors are:
• 4 years of experience in planning and executing small, private parties as well as large (1000
• Close customer relationship through owner
• Focus on local, direct and private services only
• Consistent high quality instead of mass production
• Cross-trained staff performing multiple duties if needed
• Employment of college students and young adults
After reviewing the customer research questionnaire, Stressless Events ranks its competition as
• Self- service without assistance
• Self-service with friend’s assistance
• Local catering services
• Local restaurants that provide catering services
• Event planners
The main advantage to a homeowner of performing all parts of creating a memorable event
without assistance is total control and no additional staffing costs. The downfall of this choice is
the increased stress level and lack of professional expertise. In addition, the host is forced to
upkeep the buffet instead of being able to socialize. Having to work during the event also does
not display social status as well as having employees work.
Established local caterers on the other hand allow the host to be part of the event. But as research
has shown, many caterers seek larger accounts than small parties, which in turn shows in the lack
of flexibility, quality, and service.
Restaurants that are also providing catering services (such as McCully House, Jacksonville, OR),
can provide the customer with quality food but they lack the experience in out-of-the house-
service. Many times, private events start at a different time than previously arranged and
numbers of attendees fluctuate. According to the customer research questionnaire, restaurants are
fairly inflexible about menu options and time changes.4
In the questionnaire, potential customers expressed their dissatisfaction with current in-home
entertainment service providers mostly due to:
• High mark-up
• Low customer service
• Inconsistent quality
• Low level of flexibility
Stressless Events will capitalize on the lack of knowledge of local caterers, the lack of out-of-
house know-how of restaurants and the big event seeking event planners. The company’s staff
will operate in the clients’ house according to their wishes, thus allowing them to enjoy being a
social host. Our staff is very flexible and therefore able to respond to last-minute changes in
numbers of attendees as well as changes in menu.
Strategic Position & Risk Assessment
Stressless Events will capitalize on the following core competencies to provide service to its
• Consistent, high quality
• Close customer relationships
• High flexibility in services
The strategic position of Stressless Events is based on evaluating the following:
A. Customer needs
B. Industry trends
C. Competitors ability to compete
D. Our strength
The customer of Stressless Events is part of a household earning more than $75.000 per year and
located in the Medford-Ashland area. This customer is looking to entertain successfully at home
when inviting their business and family acquaintances as well as family and friends, and wishes
to do so with as little stress involved as possible. Quality of service is also a major concern for
this customer because of his/her social status.
The event planning industry is turning towards providing services for large corporate events as
well as weddings and large family gatherings.12 In the event planning as well as the catering
industry, it is common to charge commission ranging from 10-20% of the event’s budget.5
Competitors Ability to Compete
The event planning, food or staffing service industries are not new and therefore a few well-
established service providers are operating in the Medford area. These competitors appear to be
unaware of the changing demographics in the area. They seek the fast track for revenue by
organizing fewer yet larger events. Small private events are not as profitable and therefore seem
to be declared “unimportant” and subsequently lack the extra care in customer service and
As outlined in the S.W.O.T. analysis in the appendix (page II), Stressless Events is focusing on
small, private events to give high-income families the quality and customer service they seek.
Many of the customers envision their event to great detail. We are able to accommodate their
wishes by our high level of flexibility and a close customer relationship. Our company composes
each of our event teams in such a way that it can fulfill each customer’s individual needs.
The owner of Stressless Events has tested its service and the market has responded positively to
the offering. The most eminent risks are therefore changes in management in competing local
companies bringing in a better understanding of the underserved private market, and a risk of
execution in that the owner will not be able to effectively manage the growth of the company.
With growth comes an increased customer base of which most if not all will continue to expect
the owner, the face of the company, to be 100% involved in all aspects of the contract. The main
risk is a direct result of this: The demand for quality service could outgrow the owner’s abilities
and cause the overall quality to deteriorate over time.
After assessing the risks, we realize that the biggest threat to the company is the growth
potential, which could threaten high quality and customer service standards.
With its legal form of a sole proprietorship, Stressless Events will be in danger of loosing one of
its core competencies only as long as the owner does not learn to delegate some of the client
relationship to a trusted assistant. The owner will ensure proper training, skills of the staff and
introduction of the assistant to receptive clients as needed. She will ensure a high level of quality
and strive for complete customer satisfaction by remaining “in charge” and setting the standards
the company is known for.
Stressless Events is providing exceptional customer service and quality to its customers. We
provide our customers with the services they need to make their in-home entertaining successful
and fun. Our customers inform us of needs and expectations for each individual event and we
then provide a custom-fit package to execute the event. By focusing on small, private events
only, Stressless Events is able to provide its customers with the extra service and care they seek.
Stressless Events’ target market is comprised of white administrators and executives above 40
with limited spare time to prepare for private events. The target market segment owns at least
one home, one car and the annual household income is greater than $75.000 per year.
The main target markets are Medford and Ashland and surrounding areas because they are the
largest two cities within Jackson County.6 Service will also be provided in other areas of Jackson
County such as Jacksonville and Central Point, but the main focus remains in the Medford-
Lifestyle / Psychographic Description
The target market can mainly be characterized as status driven individuals who like to show that
they are socially responsible by hiring college students. Many of the targeted families have a
housekeeper thus allowing them to have a presentable home at any given time. While target
customers are economically well off, they still consider themselves as price conscious shoppers,
meaning that they look for the best value when buying goods or services.
Target customers subscribe to magazines such as Home Style as well as Business Week. Many
explore the continents for vacation or shopping purposes. Cars represent a status symbol, thus
resulting in a line-up of BMWs, Mercedes’, large SUVs or Old-timers in the driveways.
Purchasing Pattern Description
The bandwagon phenomenon appears to strongly influence the target customer’s purchasing
decisions because most customers purchase the service after they have experienced it at another
person’s home. Potential customers see the host being able to socialize instead of providing the
service themselves, which reminds them of all the time they have spent in the kitchen to provide
an event of their own. This encourages the potential customer to ask the host on how they
contacted the service provider and what their overall experience has been. Subsequently, the
potential customer asks the event staff for contacting information allowing him/her to be a social
host at the next event.
The spontaneity of event varies widely. Some events are planned well in advance (Christmas,
New Years, 4th of July); other events are the result of moderately spontaneous decisions (surprise
birthday party, welcome home party). In either one of the cases, the customer tends to contact the
first person/company that comes to mind.4
Buying Sensitive Description
The target customer of Stressless Events is willing to pay a premium price for premium services.
It is of highest importance to provide the customer with quality, a well-known organizer,
convenience of the purchase and execution as well as a high level of customer service. A
medium level of importance has been given to product features as well as advertising. Not as
important are the following factors: price and special offers.
Target customers of Stressless Events are buying the services provided because of their limited
time. Many current customers have mentioned the fact that they feel more comfortable working
with (or employing) a person they are familiar with and feel they can trust. For that extra feel of
confidence and trust, the customer is willing to pay a premium rate to ensure that they will
receive the person they asked for.
Market Size and Trends
According to Census 2000, 16.4% (or 71.500) households of Jackson County earn an income
greater than $75.000. Assuming that this data reflects the household income distribution of
Ashland and Medford residents, Stressless Events has a customer base of approximately 13800
In addition to this starting customer base, the population percent change in Jackson County (2%)
is greater than in Oregon (1.5%) or the United States as a whole (1.2%).7,10,11 This encourages
the company’s future prospects of an increasing customer base because the “economic base in
Jackson County is varied and growing […and] is also a popular retirement destination.”6
Stressless Events will serve the increasing population of Jackson County, OR with emphasis in
the Medford-Ashland area in the niche market - currently underserved - of in-home entertaining.
According to Census 2000, 16.4% of households in Jackson County have an annual income
greater than $75.000 thus providing the company with a large and sustainable customer base in
the area. As potential customer research has shown, there is a dire need for a catering service that
focuses on food preparation as well as staffing events for in-home entertainment. Stressless
Events will strive to fill the need for such service and be the leading in-home entertainment
caterer in the Medford–Ashland area.
As purchasing patterns have shown, many new customers will contact Stressless Events after
experiencing great service at an event. Reinforced by this information, Stressless Events will
strive to completely satisfy its customers and guests at the event through fast, efficient and
friendly service making the event as “Stressless” as possible for the host.
Stressless Events provides its customers with unprecedented quality and customer service
through its flexible and well-trained service staff, thus allowing the customer to enjoy the
pleasures of in-home entertainment.
Four P’s of Marketing vs. Five F’s of Customer Needs
Stressless Events focuses its marketing strategy on the first of the four P’s: Product, as well as
the third F: Freedom. It is the company’s main goal to display quality and flexibility of its
service at events. This will result in guests seeing a host that does not have to stress about details
of the event and is therefore able to socialize with his/her guests. Due to the fact that socializing
is the desired part of an event,4 the host as well as guests are positively impacted by the service
being that it allows them to enjoy the event.
Stressless Events will mainly use brochures and business cards to disseminate information to
potential customers. Most of these brochures and business cards will be handed out directly to an
inquisitive attendee at a catered event. Stressless Events will also give business cards to its
current customers so that they can pass on the information to acquaintances of theirs. Focusing
on these practices proves most effective while cost-efficient because it eliminates “cold-calling.”
Using brochures, business cards and conversations at events fits the company image regarding
the close customer relationship as well as providing the potential customer with a solid
understanding of what services are provided.
Stressless Events chooses not to use media advertising in newspapers or on radio stations.
Instead, the company will focus on deepening existing customer relationships by expanding into
areas that have been proposed by existing customers as well as relying on exposure at the event
to prospective new clients.
Stressless Events focuses on customer-based marketing through repeat sales. Using its existing
customer database, the owner will contact its customers one month prior to a major holiday to
inquire about service needs so that a spot in the company schedule can be arranged and
employees can be scheduled in advance. Again, this will deepen the relationship between
company and customer because it assures service even on a busy holiday such as Christmas.
Another marketing tactic is the strong use of strategic partnerships. Stressless Events will be a
member of the local Chamber of Commerce allowing it to network with other local businesses. It
will also sign distribution agreements with local event management firms that are unable to staff
events they are planning. In addition to regular distribution agreements, Stressless Events will
engage in partnerships with event managers to bundle its services as a part of the total package
they are selling. While distribution agreements are continued throughout the existence of the
company, bundling will only be offered during the start-up phase to increase revenues in order to
All employees are expected to be good sources of information when asked about services, but
they also understand the core sales motto: If in doubt, ask the boss!” As Stressless Events starts
its second operating year, the owner will hire a part-time assistant manager to help organize and
staff events. After a thorough training process, the assistant manager will then be able to make
competent decisions and give reliable information to current as well as prospective customers.
The main incentive for the assistant manager to fulfill the responsibilities of a competent sales
person is the guaranteed salary he/she is receiving at month end. The assistant manager will
initially be trained through on-the-job training by shadowing the owner to get familiarized with
the steps involved in organizing and executing a successful event. As he/she understands the
basic steps of the event process, he/she will then learn the organizational part of the business
(mainly record keeping responsibilities). The owner will then decided which accounts are
available for the assistant to take over and periodically check with clients as well as the assistant
manager regarding satisfaction of services provided.
Another important part of the sales structure are previous clients that “recruit” friends, co-
workers or family, to use the service provided by Stressless Events. Current customers will be
granted a 10% “Loyalty Discount” after referring at least five new customers. It is the job of the
owner – starting year two, also of the assistant manager - to ensure that clients are well informed
about the different services provided by the company. The owner can ensure the level of
knowledge by providing all clients with current business cards and brochures. Satisfied
customers are a great way of expanding sales through word-of-mouth advertising, thus creating
The owner herself will ensure event follow-up by remaining in contact with all clients. After the
completion of an event, the owner will spend some time with the customer – either in person or
via phone/e-mail - asking about how he/she viewed the services provided during the event. Even
when the assistant manager is organizing and executing the event, the owner will remain to be
the “face of the organization” and therefore all calls and e-mails will be subject to review by the
owner. By remaining in-charge, the owner can control and therefore ensure timeliness of order
fulfillment, accordance with food handling procedures, service as well as appearance guidelines.
This will show in the overall consistency in quality and service.
The company office will be located in the private residence of its owner, Steffanie Weaver.
Besides the office, Stressless Events is operating in the private kitchen of their clients thus
allowing the company to keep overhead cost at a minimum. In addition to its office, the company
owns one company car.
The reason for this business to be home-based is the overall comfort level the company wishes to
set. The client, if wanting to come to the office, is supposed to feel comfortable and at home to
encourage a relaxed conversation atmosphere as opposed to a sterile office space environment.
The home office facilitates that the owner, and later the assistant manager, engage in a close
Production/ Labor Force Control
During the first year of operations, Stressless Events will have excess production capacities. The
owner will spend some of her time with employee recruiting to ensure enough capacity for busier
The employees will consist of young adults, mainly college students. Many college students
today try to earn some extra money while attending school. The customer is willing to pay a
premium rate because they are trying to give back to the community by supporting college
students. Due to paying above minimum wage, Stressless Events chooses among its applicants.
While many students will apply for this on-call basis job, the owner will choose dedicated and
flexible people with great work ethics to ensure proper implementation of quality standards. The
screening process involves applications, interviews as well as reference checks. All employees
will then have to attend a County issued Food Handler’s class to learn about proper food
handling procedures. While this class is not required by law - due to the fact that Stressless
Events is operating in private kitchens – Stressless Events will ensure proper training of all
employees by requiring this class.
The line of authority in Stressless Events is defined as follows: The owner oversees all parts of
the operations. While she might be part of an event crew, she also supervises the employees and
the assistant manager as well as organizes the financials. The organizational flowchart that
derives form the highly hierarchical structure can be depicted as follows:
Team Team Team Team Team Team Team
Stressless Events will send out confirmations of scheduled events to the customer as soon as all
arrangements have been made through the owner or the assistant manager. Changes can be made
without penalty fees up to 48 hours prior to the event. If an event needs to be canceled within the
48-hour time frame, a cancellation fee of $50 will be charged to cover incurred office expenses.
As for method of payments, Stressless Events will only accept cash or checks to pay for its
services. The acceptable time of payment is within 7 days of the event. The employees of
Stressless Events will be paid at the end of the month for the month ending.
Research and Development
Stressless Events is focusing its research and development efforts on existing customer research
and industry trade shows. Customers will be a primary source of information because their
demands can change over time and with that, the services provided by Stressless Events will
have to change in order to retain its customers. When the owner meets with the customer to make
arrangements for future events, she will include a little informal survey requesting information
for proposed changes or additional offerings.
In addition, Stressless Events will be member of the National Association of Catering Executives
(NACE), which is a sponsor of “The Special Event 2003” – an event industry important
gathering place. Being a member of NACE allows the company to increase its networking
opportunities as well as expand its knowledge base regarding recent trends in the catering
industry. Stressless Events will also be informed of trade shows and conferences.12
Stressless Events is highly susceptible to “disasters” such as technical difficulties (phone,
internet, and car) and personal dilemmas (sickness). To prepare for personnel cancellations,
Stressless Events will maintain an up-to-date phone list of all its employees including
information on when and how they can be reached, when they can work, and how fast they
usually are able to respond to a call.
To prepare for technical difficulties, Stressless Events will ensure that all event teams are
equipped with a cell phone thus enabling them to call for help when needed. The owner will also
have a cell phone as a secondary business phone so that customers can reach her even if regular
phone lines are down (for example: due to a storm). Stressless Events will also set up its email
system in a way that customer requests are forwarded to the owner’s voice mail in case the
owner is not able to check the email server.
Order Fulfillment/Customer Service
The flow of order processing is depicted in the chart below:
The nature of the contact could either be a customer contacting the company through any of the
telecommunication means or the owner of the company contacting an existing customer via a
company letter to inform of upcoming holidays and company offerings for those holidays. Once
the client and owner have met and discussed specific information regarding the event, the
owner/assistant manager will then enter the event into the company event calendar and start
scheduling employees for the event. Any subsequent changes will be noted in that event calendar
and any staffing changes will be promptly executed.
When the event is entered into the event calendar, an initial event billing will be sent out to the
customer for review. If any changes need to be made, the owner will assist the customer to refine
their order to exactly meet their expectations in regards to price and service. A revised billing
will be sent out prior to the event. A final bill will be sent within one working day of the event.
Most importantly, at the end of the event, the supervising staff member will consult with the
client in person to communicate whether the services provided matched the expectations of the
client. In case the service was not as anticipated, the supervising staff member will make notes of
things to be improved in a memo and offer a discount if the company was at fault for
dissatisfaction. It is Stressless Events’ primary concern to leave a satisfied customer that is
willing to contact and refer the company again for future events.
Stressless Events is fortunate to not be subject to County governed health regulations due to the
fact that it’s operating out of private kitchens. Nonetheless, the company prides itself to train all
its employees with regards to proper food handling through County-taught Food Handler’s
Classes. In addition, the owner, assistant manager and some of its servers will also be attending
OLCC Alcohol serving classes to understand the rules and regulations regarding liquor.
Insurance & Legal
The company needs insurance for its car(s), and liability insurance in case any of the employees
damage property of one of its clients. The liability insurance premium is based on whether
employees will be serving alcohol at these events or not. Because Stressless Events chooses to be
serving alcohol at any of its events, the liability insurance premium will be around $2500 per
year. If Stressless Events was to choose not to provide alcohol service at the events, the liability
insurance premium would drop dramatically to only $500 per year.1 As past events have shown,
in home entertainment does involve social drinking of some sort. Many clients offer their guest
wine, beer and even spirits. It is therefore highly likely, that Stressless Events will be asked to
perform bartending of some sort at these events. To educate its employees about rights and
responsibilities as a bartender in Oregon, select employees will be sent to attend an alcohol
serving class, including the corresponding certification.
Stressless Events will not have a legal department due to the (hopefully) low legal involvement
of the company. By a thorough screening process of its employees, the owner of Stressless
Events will try to ensure hiring of trustworthy employees. In case the company does get involved
legal matters, a lawyer will be hired on a per case basis.
Stressless Events is not a technology-based business. Nonetheless, it is very important to keep
track of clients as well as employees even in the service industry. The technology needs for the
company might appear rather simplistic but realizing that technology is needed to survive in the
modern business environment provides Stressless Events with a competitive edge.
Stressless Events will primarily need a computer with enough storage capacity to store
information on clients and employees. While it would be helpful to have a laptop computer for
mobility, it is not a primary need in the initial stages of the company.
The software needs for Stressless Events are as follows: The company will need programs to
facilitate record keeping for employee and client information as well as an accounting package.
The owner is well experienced in the use of Microsoft Excel and ACCESS and will use these
tools to perform the record keeping. The desktop computer will be equipped with Microsoft
Office XP Professional to facilitate ease and professional look of faxes, letters and other
company correspondence. Spreadsheets, databases and word programs will be integrated with
macros to perform tasks such as sending out mailings as well as combining and updating
Stressless Events can be contacted through phone, email, and fax as well as over the owner’s cell
phone. All event teams will be equipped with a company cell phone to ensure that they can be
reached at any point in time as well giving them the means to call for help in emergency
situations. Stressless Events chooses not to operate its own web site because of the design and
Management & Organization
The owner of Stressless Events, Steffanie Weaver, will lead the company to be the quality and
service leader in the in-home entertainment industry in the Medford-Ashland area.
She has four years of industry related experience obtained when working at Southern Oregon
University as the student manager of the catering services. As the student manager, she was
responsible for hiring and maintaining a reliable workforce. The catering services provided
service for events as small as five people and as large as 1000 attendants.
Mrs. Weaver has successfully created databases to retain employee information, thus enabling
her to efficiently schedule staff for even large events. She is a certified Microsoft Office User
Specialist in Excel and ACCESS, two programs that will be primary means to record keeping.
Another important strength of Mrs. Weaver is her ability to adjust quickly to changes. She has
learned in the past five years that flexibility is a very important trait of a successful event
manager and mastered to deal with constant changes while maintaining quality of service.
Assistant Manager (to be added in year 2)
The assistant manager of Stressless Events is to be a person that has proven to be a pillar of
strength to the organization. This person has exemplified outstanding customer service at past
events and has displayed a thorough knowledge and understanding of the service industry. The
owner will hire the assistant manager through an application process to allow many of its
employees to apply for this position. The hiring process will mainly be based on past positive
working experience and a strong team spirit.
Management Compensation and Incentives
The owner and assistant manager will receive salaries instead of hourly wages. While the
owner’s salary will be calculated as follows: $1000 year 1, $1500 year 2, $2000 year 3, plus 50%
of Net Income if positive), the assistant manager will receive $750 in year 2 and $1250 in year 3.
The assistant manager will also receive an end-of-the–year bonus calculated at 5% of a positive
All part-time employees will be compensated at $10 per hour. At the end of the year, the
company will hold an awards banquet to honor employees that have portrayed outstanding
customer service skills. This award will be given annually to a single employee and a team. The
award will consists of a gift certificate ($100) as well as a certificate of appreciation.
During each tax season, Stressless Events will hire an accountant to do its annual tax
preparations. During the year, the owner is responsible to maintain all records and receipts. This
practice will allow the company to keep accounting bills as low as possible while ensuring
proper tax filings.
As mentioned in the legal section of the operations part, Stressless Events will hire attorneys on a
case-by-case basis. Due to the nature of the industry, Stressless Events will not need constant
legal services. But due to service contracts that could be broken or liability issues, Stressless
Events will keep information of local attorneys that specialize in contract law or liability claims.
In addition to professional services such as accountants and attorneys, Stressless Events will also
maintain a strong relationship with local industry specialists. The owner will keep a list of local
caterers that are willing to offer expertise (free-of-charge) on decorations or execution of certain
events. She also keeps in touch with executive chefs of her previous place of employment to
inform herself regarding new culinary trends and presentation tips.
The organizational structure of Stressless Events is very hierarchal and therefore the lines of
authority are extremely clean-cut. The owner has complete control over who is working, when
they are working and how long they are working. At the initial hiring, she will give the employee
a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” (code of conduct) to be followed at all times. If any of these working
requirements are violated, the employee is subject to immediate termination – he/she will not be
The owner accepts full responsibility for any service provided to the customer – whether good or
bad. Within the organization, suggestions can be made by any of the employees to the owner. In
the end, she does realize that she is only one mind and great ideas could come from any of her
employees. But the implementation of any of the suggestions is subject to her approval.
All part-time employees will meet with the owner to learn about service procedures, job
expectations, and customer service skills. Skills such as food preparation will be taught and
enhanced through on-the-job training. On-the-job training is a common practice in the food
service industry because it is difficult to imagine all possible contingencies of an event.
For complete financial statements as well as the assumption sheet, please refer to pages III-IX of
The owner, Steffanie Weaver, defines the financial goal as follows: Stressless Events is expected
to generate positive Net Income starting year three of operations while returning at least $2000 in
monthly salary to the owner. According to the projected income statement, this goal will be met
in year three therefore meeting the financial objective.
The major cost associated with any service business, including Stressless Events, is the personnel
cost. Stressless Events only employs two salary-paid people: the owner and an assistant manager
(starting year two). All other employees are part-time and are on-call basis only. This allows the
company to maintain low fixed cost during low event months. The company will pay legally
required payroll expenses (Worker’s compensation, Unemployment, Medicare, Social Security)
but chooses not to pay health or retirement benefits.
Stressless Events operates on a cash only base in regards to accounts payable as well as accounts
receivable. During the first year of operations, Stressless Events is projected to realize a negative
Cash-Flow during the month of November in the amount of $396. If the projections remain
accurate, the owner chooses to only be compensated $500 for that month thus creating a positive
Cash-Flow balance. If negative Cash-Flows occur after year one, they will be covered by short-
term borrowings in increments of $1000.
Many of the financial ratios are returning non-valuable values due to the lack of tangible assets
of the company. The most valuable analysis is therefore the Break-Even analysis because it
provides the company with a tool to estimate the amount of sales needed in order to pay for all
its fixed costs. For example, the company realizes a loss in the operating year ending June 2006
due to the fact that the break-even point has not been met ($55165.12). To prevent future losses,
the owner will use this tool to estimate needed sales for the upcoming year - especially when
major changes in fixed costs occur such as adding an assistant in year two.
Lee, Travis. Allstate Insurance. Telephone Quote. 12 Nov, 2002.
Jackson County Environmental Health. Telephone Interview. 12 Nov, 2002.
Hicks, Kimberly. Cordially Invited Wedding & Event Planning. Personal Interview. 16 Oct,
Doering, Steffanie. “Customer Research Questionnaire.” October 2002.
Richards, Kirsten. “Last-Minute Party Planning.” Sales & Marketing Management. Nov 1994,
Vol. 164 Issue 13 [sic], p126, 1p, 1c.
Project A. Jackson County Oregon. <http://www.co.jackson.or.us>
11 Nov, 2002.
American FactFinder. “Jackson County, Oregon.” U.S. CensusBureau..
<http://factfinder.census.gov/bf/_lang=en_vt_name=DEC_2000_SF> 11 Nov, 2002.
“Medford Community Profile.” Oregon Economic & Community Development Department.
<http://188.8.131.52/FMPro?-db=Community.fp4&-Format=forms> 11 Nov, 2002.
“Ashland Community Profile.” Oregon Economic & Community Development Department.
<http://184.108.40.206/FMPro?-db=Community.fp4&-Format=forms> 11 Nov, 2002.
“State and County QuickFacts.” U.S. Census Bureau.
<http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html> 11 Nov, 2002.
“Jackson County, Oregon.” U.S. Census Bureau.
<http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/41/41029.html> 11 Nov, 2002.
“The Professional Caterer.” The National Association of Catering Executives. EBS Virtual
Communications, CA. October/November 2002.
<http://www.nace.net/procaterer/october02/index.html> 11 Nov, 2002.
Customer Research Questionary Summary
Self-Service Friends Caterers Restaurants Event Planners Total
126 39 8 3 2 178
71% 22% 4% 2% 1% 100%
Customer Involvement in Event
LOW MEDIUM HIGH
GOAL within Two Years
Stressless Events Self-Service Friends Caterers Restaurants Event Planners Total
54.25 94.5 19.5 6 2.25 1.5 178
30% 53% 11% 3% 1% 1% 100%
• High quality of service
• Close relationship with customer
• Flexibility of service arrangements
• Cross-trained event teams
• Low-growth rate due to marketing choices made
• Liability of owner because of its legal form
• Turnover rate of part-time employees due to graduation from college
• Underserved market
• High school seniors as part-time employees
• Expansion to include larger events on regular basis
• Expand services to all areas of Jackson and Josephine County
• Low barriers to entry
• Changes in health regulations
• Existing competitors changing their scope of business to include private in-home events
for the 12 Month Period Ending
Jun-05 Jun-06 Jun-07
Sales $ 43,500 100.0% $ 52,201 100.0% $ 73,800 100.0%
Less Cost of Sales:
Labor (including benefits) $ 19,411 44.6% $ 15,528 29.7% $ 18,816 25.5%
Total Cost of Sales $ 19,411 44.6% $ 15,528 29.7% $ 18,816 25.5%
Gross Profit $ 24,089 55.4% $ 36,673 70.3% $ 54,984 74.5%
Personnel $ 14,506 33.3% $ 31,350 60.1% $ 41,497 56.2%
Depreciation $ 462 1.1% $ 500 1.0% $ 600 0.8%
Bond $ 504 1.2% $ 500 1.0% $ 500 0.7%
Liability Insuran $ 2,520 5.8% $ 2,500 4.8% $ 2,500 3.4%
Phone $ 300 0.7% $ 400 0.8% $ 500 0.7%
Internet Service $ 120 0.3% $ 120 0.2% $ 155 0.2%
Lease Payment $ 1,560 3.6% $ 1,560 3.0% $ 1,560 2.1%
Car Insurance $ 720 1.7% $ 750 1.4% $ 750 1.0%
Cell Phone $ 300 0.7% $ 300 0.6% $ 300 0.4%
Year-End Award $ 500 1.1% $ 750 1.4% $ 1,000 1.4%
Other Operating Expenses $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0% $ - 0.0%
Total Operating Expenses $ 21,492 49.5% $ 38,730 74.3% $ 49,362 66.9%
Earnings Before Interest and Taxes $ 2,597 5.9% $ (2,057) -4.0% $ 5,621 7.6%
Interest Expense $ - 0.0% $ 24 0.0% $ 25 0.0%
Earnings Before Taxes $ 2,597 5.9% $ (2,081) -4.0% $ 5,596 7.6%
Income Taxes $ 390 0.9% $ - 0.0% $ 839 1.1%
Net Income $ 2,207 5.0% $ (2,081) -4.0% $ 4,757 6.5%
Return on Sales 5.07% -3.99% 6.45%
for the Period Ending
Jun-04 Jun-05 Jun-06 Jun-07
Cash $ - $ 1,169 $ 289 $ 4,646
Other Current Assets $ - $ - $ - $ -
Total Current Assets $ - $ 1,169 $ 289 $ 4,646
Property and Equipment
Automobiles $ - $ - $ - $ -
Office Equipment/Other $ - $ 1,500 $ 1,800 $ 1,800
Total Property & Equipment $ - $ 1,500 $ 1,800 $ 1,800
less acculumlated depreciation $ - $ (462) $ (962) $ (1,562)
Total Fixed Assets $ - $ 1,038 $ 838 $ 238
Other Assets $ - $ - $ - $ -
Total Assets $ - $ 2,207 $ 1,127 $ 4,884
Liabilities and Equity
Accounts Payable $ - $ - $ - $ -
Short-term Loans Payable $ - $ - $ 1,000 $ -
Other Current Liabilities $ - $ - $ - $ -
Total Current Liabilities $ - $ - $ 1,000 $ -
Long-term Debt $ - $ - $ - $ -
Other Liabilities $ - $ - $ - $ -
Total Liabilities $ - $ - $ 1,000 $ -
Retained Earnings $ - $ - $ 2,207 $ 127
Current Year Earnings $ - $ 2,207 $ (2,081) $ 4,757
Total Equity $ - $ 2,207 $ 127 $ 4,884
Total Liabilities and Equity $ - $ 2,207 $ 1,127 $ 4,884
Statement of Cash Flows
for the Month Ending
Jul-04 Aug-04 Sep-04 Oct-04 Nov-04 Dec-04 Jan-05 Feb-05 Mar-05 Apr-05
Cash Flows from Operations
Net Income $ 1,681 $ 1 $ 1 $ (705) $ 707 $ 1,645 $ 707 $ (705) $ (705) $ 707
Depreciation $ - $ 42 $ 42 $ 42 $ 42 $ 42 $ 42 $ 42 $ 42 $ 42
Changes in Working Capital
Accounts Receivable $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Inventories $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Other Current Assets $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Accounts Payable $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Other Current Liabilities $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Net Cash Provide by Operating Activities $ 1,681 $ 43 $ 43 $ (663) $ 749 $ 1,687 $ 749 $ (663) $ (663) $ 749
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
Purchases of Property and Equipment
Land $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Buildings $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Building/Leasehold Improvements $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Machinery & Equipment $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Automobiles $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Office Equipment/Other $ 1,500 $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Total Property and Equipment $ 1,500 $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Acquisition of Other Assets $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Net Cash Used in Investing Activities $ 1,500 $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Short-term Borrowings $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Repayment of Short-term Borrowings $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Long-term Borrowings $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Repayment of Long-term Borrowings $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Acquire (Repay) Other Liabilities $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Sale of Stock $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Payment of Dividends $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Net Cash Provided by (Used in) Financing Activities $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ - $ -
Net Increase (Decrease) in Cash $ 181 $ 43 $ 43 $ (663) $ 749 $ 1,687 $ 749 $ (663) $ (663) $ 749
Plus Beginning Cash $ - $ 181 $ 224 $ 267 $ (396) $ 353 $ 2,040 $ 2,789 $ 2,126 $ 1,463
Ending Cash $ 181 $ 224 $ 267 $ (396) $ 353 $ 2,040 $ 2,789 $ 2,126 $ 1,463 $ 2,212
Statement of Cash Flows
for the 12 Month Period Ending
Jun-05 Jun-06 Jun-07
Cash Flows from Operations
Net Income $ 2,207 $ (2,081) $ 4,757
Depreciation $ 462 $ 500 $ 600
Net Cash Provide by Operating Activities $ 2,669 $ (1,581) $ 5,357
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
Purchases of Property and Equipment
Automobiles $ - $ - $ -
Office Equipment/Other $ 1,500 $ 300 $ -
Total Property and Equipment $ 1,500 $ 300 $ -
Acquisition of Other Assets $ - $ - $ -
Net Cash Used in Investing Activities $ 1,500 $ 300 $ -
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
Short-term Borrowings $ - $ 1,000 $ -
Repayment of Short-term Borrowings $ - $ - $ 1,000
Net Cash Provided by (Used in) Financing Activities $ - $ 1,000 $ (1,000)
Net Increase (Decrease) in Cash $ 1,169 $ (881) $ 4,357
Plus Beginning Cash $ - $ 1,169 $ 289
Ending Cash $ 1,169 $ 289 $ 4,646
for the 12 Month Period Ending
Jun-05 Jun-06 Jun-07
Summary of Income Statement By Cost Type
Sales $ 43,500 $ 52,201 $ 73,800
Variable Cost of Sales $ 19,411 $ 15,528 $ 18,816
Variable Operating Costs $ - $ - $ -
Variable Interest, Taxes and Other $ 390 $ - $ 839
Total Variable Costs $ 19,801 $ 15,528 $ 19,655
Contribution to Fixed Costs $ 23,699 $ 36,673 $ 54,145
Fixed Cost of Sales $ - $ - $ 0
Fixed Operating Costs $ 21,492 $ 38,730 $ 49,362
Fixed Interest, Taxes and Other $ - $ 24 $ 25
Total Fixed Costs $ 21,492 $ 38,754 $ 49,388
Net Profit (Loss) $ 2,207 $ (2,081) $ 4,757
Variable Cost per $ of Sales $ 0.46 $ 0.30 $ 0.27
Amount available per $ of Sales to Pay Fixed Costs $ 0.54 $ 0.70 $ 0.73
Contribution Margin 54.48% 70.25% 73.37%
Breakeven Sales based on EBIT $ 39,449.34 $ 55,130.96 $ 67,279.06
Breakeven Sales Based on All Expenses $ 39,449.34 $ 55,165.12 $ 67,313.25
The figures on the previous financial forms are based on the following assumptions:
During the first year of operations, an event will need to be staffed on average with 2.5
employees working 8 hours. The total of 20 hours includes 3 Prep hours, 7 server hours, 7
bartending hours and 3 valet-parking hours. During the first year of operations, Stressless
Events will staff 145 events thus resulting in 2900 hours of service. Each hour of service is
billed at an hourly rate of $15, which will be increased after two years to $17.50 per hour.
Satisfied customers are assumed to be repeat customers for an average of six events per
Over the next three years, the services for servers, bartenders and valet-parking will
steadily increase at 15% per year whereas the requests for preparation service will increase
at 15% per year as well as an hour increase of service hours per event in the preparation
YEAR 1 YEAR 2 YEAR 3
Hours/$ Hours/$ Hours/$
Preparation 435/ 6525 645/ 9679 957/ 16750
Serving 1015/ 15225 1167/ 17509 1342/ 23491
Bartending 1015/ 15225 1167/ 17509 1342/ 23491
Valet-Parking 435/ 6525 500/ 7504 575/ 10068
Employee Staffing / Compensation
• Owner or assistant manager is one of the employees working at the events
• Owner salary will equal $1000 per month or 20% of Net Sales whichever is greater
during the first year of operations
• Owner salary in the following two years will increase by $500 per month (annual
increase) and 5% of Net Sales during the next two years; again, paid is the greater of
the two amounts
• Assistant manager part-time in second year of operations ($750 per month)
• Assistant manager increased salary of $1100 starting year 3
• Employees will not receive retirement or health insurance benefits
• All part-time employees will be paid $10 per hour worked
• Part-time employees will receive up to a 10% annual increase upon performance
review (averaging at 5%)
Accounts Management/ Financing
• All accounts receivable and payable will be cash only
• Part-time employees will be paid monthly according to their time-card
• Owner and assistant manager will be paid monthly according to salary agreements
• If needing outside funding, the following interest rates apply
Jun-05 Jun-06 Jun-07
Short-term Rates 4.50% 4.75% 5.00%
Long-term Rates 6.00% 6.50% 7.00%
• Tax rates are computed using the following chart
Tax Rates by Range
$ - $ 10,000 15%
$ 10,001 $ 50,000 25%
$ 50,001 $100,000 35%
$100,001 or greater 45%
• Year-End cash on hand is never to be below $250 to ensure cash for bills
• If Year-End cash on hand is below $250, short-term borrowings will be used to
increase cash in increments of $1000
• If Net Income is positive, a performance bonus of 50% of Net income will be paid to
the owner at the beginning of the next year