Sheetij Agarwal, Wanyu Bi, Keith Cestaro, Maya Michlin, Jiaxin Sun, Ziqing Yuan BSBA
Subject Area: Positioning Strategy, Competitive Strategy
Region: South Carolina, United States
Company: Angel Dental
Challenge: Angel Dental, located in Fort Mill, South Carolina, opened in February 2020 to provide affordable and enjoyable care to the neighboring communities, only to begin operations at the onset of the COVID-19pandemic. Business operations and company growth were strongly impacted, and the company fell dependent on continuous investor funds to balance low cash inflows and high cash outflows. Moreover, the extremely competitive industry was already populated by many comparable competitors that benefited from a longer presence in the market. Therefore, the corporate manager Tiger Yu faced a challenge to achieve profitability and sustainability in its customer engagement. Angel Dental had to find a feasible long-term strategy to achieve a competitive advantage and ensure future success.
Project’s Relevance: Team Composition
As a group of business students concentrating in finance, we were collectively interested in working with the client on an issue related to fiscal sustainability. While none of us were familiar with or intend to enter the dentistry industry, we were eager to analyze a completely unfamiliar landscape. We focused on gaining experience applying key consulting and strategic formulation frameworks to improve our analytical skills and understand fundamental business challenges from a critical, big-picture perspective. Outlined below is a breakdown of each team member’s investment in the Angel Dental consulting project.
- Sheetij Agarwal, BS in Finance & Entrepreneurship: Applied the educational opportunities of completing a strategic consulting report to polish decision-making ability on the path to future entrepreneurship
- Wanyu Bi, BS in Finance & Marketing: Interested in future career in consulting and employed this project as a stepping stone towards building critical thinking skills in pursuit of strategic decision-making
- Keith Cestaro, BS in Computer Science & Finance: Engaged in the high-level and in-depth analysis and strategy formulation to better understand company operations for personal career development in multiple spheres
- Maya Michlin, BS in Math & Finance: Utilized this experience to learn the vital skill of analyzing large volumes of data to achieve competitive advantage in a future career in the finance and statistics fields
- Jiaxin Sun, BS in Finance: Company analysis presented opportunity to delve into and better understand the role of investors in start-ups, which will be applicable to a future career in investment management
- Ziqing Yuan, BS in Math & Finance: Pursuing a career in the business world and used this project to progress understanding of strategic, holistic problem-solving beyond functional activities
Connecting with the Company’s Reality and Investing in Social Capital:
Methodology & Data Generation
To develop our client’s trust, we collected and analyzed data to generate specific and valuable recommendations for strategic change and implementation steps that would resolve Angel Dental’s profitability and customer engagement problem. We collected primary data by conducting interviews with the corporate and office managers, analyzing financial statements provided by the client, and compiling photos and figures from the company’s website. We also conducted online research to compile secondary data on the South Carolina market and dental industry through government reports, statistical sources, and competitor websites. Having established a thorough understanding of the internal and external environments, we critically investigated the information through several frameworks, including PESTLE, VRIO, Porter’s Five Forces, and SWOT.
Generating Value and Investing in Professional Capital: Findings and Recommendations
The analysis allowed us to juxtapose the data and reveal key internal strength and external opportunity matches to develop a long-term competitive positioning strategy for Angel Dental to implement in the near future. We recommended a cost leadership strategy, given the restrictions of the perfectly competitive industry and the supporting drivers, and complemented it with a strategic shift in the target market to families with children to attract multiple sources of revenue. We provided the client with a comprehensive implementation plan to successfully adopt the necessary changes into its organizational structure, culture, and processes. In order to achieve a competitive advantage in the market, we recommended Angel Dental to recalibrate its pricing structure, incorporate crucial customer engagement accommodations, and establish local alliances to capitalize on marketing initiatives. Our proposals provided Angel Dental with a detailed action plan, which is backed by exhaustive analysis, to build sustainability as it begins to look for progress and success in the post-pandemic market.
Strategic Vision: Capitalizing on the Project
“Thank you for your hard work. The report is impressive and professional, from my understanding. I really like the SWOT analysis table and the competitor data, which give us more insights into the dental industry and my competitors. Those bullet points under the strength-opportunity matching section definitely help us to plan our future business strategy. I would also like to employ SWOT in our monthly report that can better help our employees to learn our strengths and weaknesses. All the exhibits are valuable, and I would like to thank you again for all the effort you put into this project.” – Client Feedback
Throughout all components of this project, from data collection to analysis and strategy formulation, we applied our creative-thinking and problem-solving skill set to achieve innovative and informed solutions for the client. We will apply these capabilities in our future careers as we engage with companies of different sizes and in various industries. Having built a strong understanding of strategic development, we will incorporate our knowledge to establish and implement actionable steps that can be leveraged for competitive advantage in every facet of our lives, both professional and personal.