Business Plan History and Position to Date
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Northwind Traders, Inc. provides
travel-planning services to individuals and
businesses in the Ggreater SeattleRedmond area.
The business is located at 1234 Franklin Street,
The Company’s Mission
The goal of Northwind Traders is to be the leading
provider of hassle-free European adventure
vacations to the 25- to 35-year-old business
professional market. Initially operating in the
SeattleRedmond area inoutside of Seattle,
Washington, Northwind Traders is rapidly expanding
to sell its services worldwide via the Internet.
Travel service sales is the fastest growing
category of business to consumer activity on the
Internet, and by the year 2000, the value of this
market is estimated at $4.500M billion (see
Appendix 1, Internet Growth and the Sale of Travel
Our emphasis will be on providing a complete
specialized service based on having a detailed
knowledge of the vacation destination and
adventure activities being offered. Market
research indicates that the major criticism our
type of client has of existing travel agencies is
that their agents “know nothing about their
products, they just open the catalogue and read,”
to quote one of many disappointed travelers.
By capitalizing on our experience in the Northwind
Traders clothing shop, we will be able to both
advise and direct our clients to the type of
travel equipment they will need to get the very
best out of their vacation.
Management Team and Key Personnel
Heather Mitchell, President and CEO. Before
founding Northwind Traders, Ms. Mitchell owned and
operated Northwind Traders, an outdoor clothing
shop in the Seattle area. Prior to that, she
managed the Olympia branch of one of the larger
regional chains of general travel agencies
operating throughout western Washington, where she
was responsible for managing the office systems
and a staff of four. She has a degree in travel
and tourism from State University.
In addition to Ms. Mitchell, team members Jim Kim
and Richard Bready will be moving into the new
venture on a full-time basis, and Amy Egert has
been recently recruited to cover Saturdays and
vacations. Freelance business consultant Jae Pak
will be advising during the business’s changeover
from clothing shop to adventure travel agency.
Jim Kim, Vice President Sales and Marketing. Prior
to joining Northwind Traders, Mr. Kim worked for
the marketing department of a major airline. His
current responsibilities include the company’s
direct marketing campaign and all sales-related
Richard Bready, Office Manager. Twenty years as a
travel agent has given Mr. Bready the ideal
background for Northwind Traders. A knowledgeable
salesperson, Mr. Bready’s expertise in the area of
European travel enables him to entice the
Amy Egert, Sales Assistant. After completing her
undergraduate degree at the Institute of Art, Ms.
Egert spent a year traveling abroad and joined the
staff at Northwind Traders recently as a sales
Jae Pak, Business Consultant. With over 20 years
of consulting experience in industries ranging
from aerospace to technology to retail, Mr. Pak’s
knowledge and guidance will be instrumental to the
success of Northwind Traders.
The volunteer members of the Board of Directors
provide guidance to the management and staff of
Northwind Traders. The board meets twice yearly to
discuss policy changes, review the mission
statement, and update the business plan if needed.
Lisa Jacobson, retail store owner
Holly Barrett, CPA
Jo Brown, former travel agent
William Hollands, lawyer
Lisa Garmaise, retail store owner
Tony Chor, human resource manager
Prasanna Samarawickrama, caterer
We are currently the appointed agents for Margie’s
Travel, a major supplier in the market. Currently,
Margie’s Travel offers some 40 different adventure
vacation packages throughout Europe, including
horse trekking in Iceland; above-the-clouds
trekking on islands and in remote regions in such
areas as Corsica and Norway; van-supported
inn-to-inn bicycling; mountain biking and hiking
adventure tours throughout France, Germany, Italy,
and Austria; and ballooning across the Alps.
We intend to be appointed agents by three other
major adventure travel tour firms with whom we are
currently in negotiation:
Enchantment Lakes Corporation. Offers rafting, sea
kayaking, and yachting trips around remote
European rivers and coastline areas, covering such
areas as the Adriatic, the Black Sea, and Turkey.
West Coast Sales. Offers adventure vacation
packages to corporate clients to use as incentives
and rewards, and as part of management development
programs. They are particularly strong in France,
Italy, and Germany.
Exploration Air. Specializes in adventure
vacations in Eastern Europe and former Soviet
countries, covering Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, and
These are three relatively new and small tour
operators, but they have acquired a reputation for
innovation and reliability–and they are currently
In addition, we will offer a comprehensive range
of complementary services to support the
adventurous traveler, ensuring that they will have
a safe, enjoyable, and memorable experience. These
services will include insurance, pre- and
postvacation briefing packs, and a directory of
advice and information services particular to each
destination and adventure activity.
The vacations we will offer will use all principal
travel systems, including planes, trains, buses,
and where appropriate, taxis. We will aim for a
standard of travel higher than that offered by the
general travel industry. The feeling we are
looking for is definitely not that which is
engendered by the backpacker market.
Five years ago Heather Mitchell cofounded
Northwind Traders, an outdoor clothing shop in
SeattleRedmond, Washington. Over the years,
Northwind Traders has extended its product range
to include everything the adventurous traveler
could want, from tents and sleeping bags to maps,
guidebooks, and insurance. The clothing shop has
sales of $1,420,000 per year (see Table 1), makes
a gross profit of $202,400, and employs seven
people, either full- or part-time. A mail-order
service is now provided by catalogue and via a new
Table 1. Northwind Traders Clothing Shop
Performance Over Past Five Years
Increasingly, shop customers have asked for advice
on adventurous places to go on vacation.
Last year Northwind Traders acquired an agency
from Margie’s Travel, one of the largest and most
respected tour operators in this market, and began
to promote and sell their products.
In the six months that we have been selling travel
agency products, some 200 vacation packages, at an
average cost of $3340, have been sold. Northwind
Traders’ commission on the sales has been $66,800
(10 percent commission). In addition, 35 insurance
policies have been sold at an average price of
$167, yielding $1754 (30 percent commission).
Heather Mitchell, one of Northwind Traders’s
founding partners, intends to sell her shares in
the store and to concentrate on setting up the new
travel business, Northwind Traders.
Guarantees and Warranties
Our clients will be protected financially against
either our own or our tour operator’s failure, by
virtue of the ARC bonding held by our principals.
We will only use vacation providers who can
provide 24-hour emergency support services for
clients while on vacation.
Business StructureLegal Status
Northwind Traders is incorporated under the laws
of the state of Washington. The company has
authorized 10,000 shares, 6000 of which are owned
by President and CEO Heather Mitchell. Vice
President of Sales and Marketing Jim Kim owns 1000
shares, and the remaining shares are held by the
company for future distribution.
In the next few weeks, the business will be set up
as an operation independent from the clothing
store. This structure will clearly separate the
travel business from the clothing shop and make it
possible to attract the risk capital that will be
required when the business starts to grow.
At a later stage the business may wish to sell and
issue airline tickets and to create its own
charter vacations. This will require membership in
the ARC (Airline Reporting Corporation) and IATAN
(International Airlines Travel Agency Network).
These organizations regulate the collection of
money and distribution to the appropriate
airlines. However, in the period covered by this
Business Plan we intend to operate only as the
appointed agents for a number of tour operators.
As such we can “shelter” under their licenses and