What is an Expandacraft?
I learned a long time ago that “when you set out to do good things for others, you’ll do well for yourself”. I believe that creating a business model which allows a franchisee to prosper and to be more involved in the business is a better way of earning a living than simply buying wholesale and selling retail.
J. Wesley Stevenson
President: Expandacraft Corp
Business model outline
Unlike kayaks, Expandacraft are highly customizable. This opens up an opportunity for someone with a few skills in fabrication. A dedicated Expandacraft store with an owner/operator would buy a stock pile of Expandacraft parts then customizes the craft for a customer right there in the store. A new store owner would need to go through training at (the corporate store) and would have to adhere to standardized quality controls. This does many things. It allows the store owner to make a significantly higher profit on a single boat. Also, Expandacraft Corp will not be burdened with the operation of a manufacturing facility for all the decking, rigging, seats and other conversion kits. This simplifies the business to “selling components” on my end so I can concentrate on promotions, developing new kits and thus lowering the cost of production. The end customer gets added value too when they walk into an Expandacraft store and find someone who knows the product inside and out and can direct them towards a choice. That doesn’t happen in a big retail store.
The Expandacraft difference.
It is imperative to create from the start a business and product which cannot be duplicated in a big box store or produced cheaply in China. The complexity of Expandacraft with its endless variety of configurations and the reliance on service at the point of sale is job security for Franchisees. The skill & service of a franchisee can’t be outsourced and big box stores are not set up for this kind of in house assembly and modifications. Expandacraft franchisees will earn a higher percentage of return on their investment partly due to the fact that they are an integral part of the manufacturing process. Also using Expandacraft components to adapt a customers’ existing kayak to sail will play a major part in earned profits. Basically, Expandacraft Corp. and the franchisees form a symbiotic relationship where each helps the other. Expandacraft sells components, the franchisee sells service and the adventure club promotes both.
Observations and key points
- Buying in bulk will lower production cost and lowering the price to the customer will sell more boats.
- Allowing a franchisee to profit from assembling the kits makes an Expandacraft franchise a more attractive opportunity to an entrepreneur.
- More franchisee perks. A franchisee can not only make additional profit by assembling standard kits but also by adapting Expandacraft hulls as outriggers to a customer’s existing kayak or canoe. Furthermore, if they should choose to manage a rental fleet they will benefit from my efforts to build the Expandacraft club.
- The “Expandacraft Club” will give us great exposure and establish brand loyalty. Friends of people who own an Expandacraft are far less likely to buy a copy cat design.
- About copy cat designs. There will be knock offs eventually but by that time we will have established the brand and will still be able to compete in the market. The club idea and the business model will bring the price down to the customer and profit margins up for franchisees. A copy cat boat in a big box store will never match what can be produced in an Expandacraft store.
- We may even be able to be the less expensive option on the market because of the way the business is set up. The production, shipping and storage of the decking and other kits will run the cost up for the copy cats. Also, big box stores are not likely to stock and display all the different kits nor will their hourly employees know how to sell them. This is where the Expandacraft business model works best. We simply ship plastic hull parts and other components to a franchisee. The Franchisee walks the customer through the options and demonstrates the product. Furthermore, no big box store is going to install a customized sailing outrigger to a customer’s existing kayak or canoe, especially not a cheap Chinese knock off.
About the Expandacraft Adventure Club
The (cohesive group) mentality of the Expandacraft Adventure Club is a tried and true brand loyalty builder. Try selling a Ford to a Chevy man and you’ll see what I mean. Expandacraft Corp. will increasingly be involved in organizing events which will be mostly if not entirely free for Expandacraft owners. Events can be as simple as meeting at a local waterfront restaurant for a short paddle with a social gathering at the end. More involved events will include overnight camp outs and long distance sailing excursions. The point of the Expandacraft Adventure Club is to increase the level of enjoyment for the owners, their by increasing the perceived value of the product. Also these events will begin or end at a busy public place where the visual impact of a number of Expandacraft in all forms will certainly be an attention getter. The importance of the club cannot be underestimated. Hobie is a perfect example of this. There are clubs all over the world for the Hobie 16 catamaran sailboat which by today’s standards is obsolete and there are much better performing boats available for less money. However, demand for this boat is so high because of the club that Hobie reintroduced its 1970s era product and began producing them again in the 90s. That’s strong evidence that the cohesive group mentality has commercial viability.