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Vermont Teddy Bear Co.

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The Vermont Teddy Bear Co

Making decisions is certainly the most important task of a manager and it is often a very difficult one. This article offers a decision making procedure for solving complex problems step by step. It presents the decision-analysis process for both public and private decision-making, using different decision criteria, different types of information, and information of varying quality. It describes the elements in the analysis of decision alternatives and choices, as well as the goals and objectives that guide decision-making. The key issues related to a decision-maker's preferences regarding alternatives, criteria for choice, and choice modes, together with the risk assessment tools are also presented.

SWOT is an abbreviation for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

SWOT analysis is an important tool for auditing the overall strategic position of a business and its environment. Once key strategic issues have been identified, they feed into business objectives, particularly marketing objectives. SWOT analysis can be used in conjunction with other tools for audit and analysis, such as PEST analysis and Porter's Five-Forces analysis. It is also a very popular tool with business and marketing students because it is quick and easy to learn.

The Key Distinction - Internal and External Issues

Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors. For example, strength could be your specialist marketing expertise. A weakness could be the lack of a new product.

Opportunities and threats are external factors. For example, an opportunity could be a developing distribution channel such as the Internet, or changing consumer lifestyles that potentially increase demand for a company's products. A threat could be a new competitor in an important existing market or a technological change that makes existing products potentially obsolete. It is worth pointing out that SWOT analysis can be very subjective - two people rarely come-up with the same version of a SWOT analysis even when given the same information about the same business and its environment. Accordingly, SWOT analysis is best used as a guide and not a prescription. Adding and weighting criteria to each factor increases the validity of the analysis.

Areas to Consider

Some of the key areas to consider when identifying and evaluating Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are listed in the example SWOT analysis below:


Strengths Opportunities

What does your practice do best?

* Employee Training & Loyalty

* Customer Intimacy and Product Quality Where are the opportunities in your area?

* Economic development of Asia and other developing countries

* Future trend of consumer increases in gifting.

* Demographics favoring consumerism and the industry in which Vermont is operating!

* Opening up through WTO

* Using Internet as a virtual online store and using it to increase its reach.

Threats Weaknesses

What part of your practice needs improvement?

* Increasing government regulations

* Strong regional competition

* Technological changes and emergence of virtual stores like

* Foreign government trade hindrances on future investments.

* Culture diversities in foreign countries.

* Lower Priced Competition. What is happening in your area that could threaten your practice?

* Lack of effective online model

* Cost Inefficient

* Weak Finances

Mission Statement:

The Vermont Teddy Bear provides our customer with a tangible expression of their best feelings for their families, friends, and associates. We facilitate, communicate, and therefore participate in caring events and special occasions that celebrate and enrich our customers' life experiences. Our products will represent unmatchable craftsmanship balanced with optimal quality and value. We will strive to wholesomely entertain our guests while consistently exceeding our external and internal customer service expectations. The Vermont Teddy Bear brand represents the rich heritage of the "Great American Teddy Bear" begun in 1902. We are the stewards of a uniquely American tradition based on the best American virtues including compassion, generosity, friendship, and a zesty sense of whimsy and fun.

Stakeholder Beliefs:

Our customers are the foundation of our business.

Our employees are our internal customers.

Our investors provide capital in good faith, and we are accountable for creating a realistic return while protecting the assets of our company.

Our vendors provide a partnership opportunity for innovative product development, unsurpassed external customer service, and mutual prosperity.

Our community deserves our commitment to being ethically, legally, and environmentally responsible while remaining fiscally sound.

Until 1994, Vermont Teddy Bear experienced a great deal of success and profitability. On November 23, 1993, Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Inc., (VTB) sold 1.15 million shares of stock at $10 a share through an underwriting group led by Barrington Capital Group L.P. The stock rose as high as $19 before closing the day at $16.75, an increase of 67.5% in its first day of trading. The company's net sales increased 61% from $10,569,017 in 1992 to $17,025,856 in 1993, while the cost of goods sold decreased from 43.1% of sales to 41.8% during the same time period. Net income increased 314% from $202,601 in 1992 to $838,955 in 1993. Sales reached a peak in 1994 at $20,560,566. VTB experienced a loss of $2,422,477 in 1995. It returned to profitability



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