During this last semester where I was a finance intern in Casablanca (Morocco), I had to do a special report that I have never done before.
I had to think about a product or service, specific and existing in Morocco, which is not existing in France. Then I would have to build a business plan around it, to export it to France.
Therefore my first task was finding this product or service. And believe it or not, it nearly took me my entire time in the country to find it for two main reasons:
– The Kingdom copies paste everything from France, which means that it is pretty much impossible to find something in the country that does not exist in our Republic. To give an example: if France votes for a new law, it will also be the case in Morocco the following year.
– If something exists only in Morocco, there are 90% chances to be the case because it would only work with their culture, which is so different from ours.
So I thought about many things (special milk, carpets and so on) but all of them were either too complicated or not viable (I mean it would be a disaster to launch a company with this product in France due to special costs or export process).
Thus, after 3 months I finally found it: BIM store. This is a very small supermarket (shop ?), coming from Turkey, that knows an incredible growth in Morocco since its start in 2009. After 4 years, the company was already at 300+ stores opened. And overall, the group opened his first stores in 1995. 9 years later, in 2004, the 1000th store opened. In the Kingdom, this store is also a success story and I made all my groceries there for four months.
What is so particular to this company, that makes it different to our french stores may you ask?
Well, first this is a small shop, with only a few selections of products (the most important for daily life). Then it is located in the popular district, so the rent is cheap and it allows the company to be near the customers they target. Three, this is a cheap store with a low stock.
And as far as I am concerned, a local, small and cheap store, does not exist in France.
After that being said, I can now explain how I built my business plan.
First, since I made a few business plans during my internship, I wanted to do something realist even if it could not seem a good idea (numbers would not be that sexy), because I was tired of doing students tasks that are stupid but fit to the school expectations. I also took the time to explain that the project would not be a Snapchat like or whatever startup success, but instead a long project that will take time to make it profitable and interesting. The project is a long-term investment, and you may understand that.
Then, I made a market research, so I could withdraw from that the best tendencies, what is working, what is not, what should I do, and what I should not do. I then confirmed these with two interviews I made with a French expat in Morocco that knows well BIM, and a french guy living in a huge city (cities that would fit perfectly to BIM).
These assumptions being done, I finally made the most important part of a business plan: the profit & loss account. To do so, I detailed all the costs I expected and the expected turnover that I built from the BIM one at his start.
In a nutshell, it was a pretty interesting project and report to do as a student, and I felt like I was lucky because it was not the first one I made due to my internship missions.