Import/Export Store

views updated

Import/Export Store


67110 Middlebelt Road
Livonia, Michigan 48154

Central Import/Export will be a start-up wholesale distribution/retail store. This import/export business will be run by owner Ramon Juarez as a Limited Liability Company. Central sells quality products and provides excellent customer service for Mexican food and product lovers. Central will offer these products, imported directly from Mexico, to the state of Michigan.

  • executive summary
  • company summary
  • products and sic codes
  • market analysis summary
  • strategy
  • implementation summary
  • management summary
  • financial plan
  • appendix


Central Import/Export will be a start-up wholesale distribution/retail store. This import/export business will be run by owner Ramon Juarez as a Limited Liability Company. Central sells quality products and provides excellent customer service for Mexican food and product lovers. Central will offer these products, imported directly from Mexico, to the state of Michigan. The business will be located at 67110 Middlebelt Road, Livonia, Michigan, and will also have an export market in Mexico that serves youth and adults. Our intent is to provide the community and state with unique Mexican food products and merchandise.

The business will be financed with $17,195 of the owner's money and $17,805 from a business loan. Starting costs are $35,000. Sales are estimated at $73,000 per year by the first year. A positive cash flow will be produced at the end of the first year.

The closest import/export business of Mexican products is in Detroit, Michigan, some 20 miles away. Livonia is an urban city of approximately 104,000 people, which is also located in Michigan containing approximately 9,295,297 people.


Central's objectives are to:

  • achieve a profit in the first year
  • establish an import/export business in the city of Livonia, Michigan
  • create jobs
  • provide quality products and customer service at a reasonable price
  • achieve the largest market share in the city for imported products
  • increase average length of customer relationships and decrease customer turnover

Export Policy Commitment Statement

The mission of Central Import/Export is to provide quality products to the United States and Mexico's retail market. Our company is willing to utilize necessary resources to ensure the success of our import/export venture. Central is also committed to providing in-depth service to this market in terms of assistance in distribution, advertising, and promotion.

The overall goals are to:

  • develop long-term relationships with the Mexican wholesalers and resellers
  • successfully compete in the Mexican and U.S. markets

The short-term goals are to:

  • secure contracts with major wholesalers in the Mexican market
  • develop prosperous business relationships with these wholesalers

The long-term goal is to, within eight years:

  • establish a strong market presence
  • obtain a market share of 3 percent
  • provide custom brokering services

The goal of Central Import/Export is to supply restaurants, gift shops, landscaping companies, and party stores with imported frozen foods and interior/exterior decorations imported from Mexico, and to sell to walk-in customers out of our retail store. We will also provide an export service from Livonia, Michigan, to Mexico, which includes packaging, delivery service, and transportation of local business goods.

Key Advantages of Exporting

Central Import/Export will play a significant role in improving the U.S. balance of trade while protecting our competitiveness and improving our profits. Entering the Mexican marketplace offers many benefits for our business, including:

  • increased growth
  • increased profits
  • extended product/service life cycles
  • increased numbers of customers
  • tax advantages
  • added product/service lines
  • improved competitiveness
  • favorable publicity and recognition
  • enhance domestic competitiveness
  • gain global market share
  • reduce dependence on existing markets
  • exploit corporate technology and know-how
  • extend the sales potential of existing products
  • stabilize seasonal market fluctuations
  • enhance potential for corporate expansion
  • sell excess production capacity
  • gain information about foreign competition


The name of the business is Central Import/Export. This name was chosen to identify the company with the products and methods in which they will be sold. The name has also been registered in Wayne County. The business will be a wholesale distribution and retail store of Mexican products, frozen foods, decorations, furniture, and leather goods.

Company Ownership

Central Import/Export will be registered as a Limited Liability Company with the owner being Ramon Juarez.

Start-up Summary

Forty-five percent of start-up costs will go to assets. Total start-up expenses (transportation costs and deposits) total $35,000. Start-up assets required include $6,000 in inventory and $9,153 in working capital. The owner's investment includes purchasing truck, equipment, and fixtures totaling $17,195. The remaining amount needed for start-up is $17,805, which Central will finance with a commercial loan.

Start-up Plan

Start-up Expenses
Supplies (bags, office)$250
Price Tag Gun$105
Cash Register$213
Fax Machine$157
Truck License Tags$370
Truck Repairs and Maintenance$3,010
Hauling Fees$1,200
Display Cases$200
Grand Opening$544
Import Bond$750
Total Start-up Expenses$19,847
Start-up Assets Needed
Cash Requirements$9,153
Start-up inventory$6,000
Other Short-term Assets$0
Total Short-term Assets$15,153
Long-term Assets$0
Total Assets$15,153
Total Start-up Requirements:$35,000
Left to finance:$0
Start-up Funding Plan Investment
Owner's Equity$17,195
Total Investment$17,195
Short-term Liabilities
Unpaid Expenses$0
Short-term Loans$17,805
Interest-free Short-term Loans$0
Subtotal Short-term Liabilities$17,805
Long-term Liabilities$0
Total Liabilities$17,805
Loss at Start-up($19,847)
Total Capital($2,652)
Total Capital and Liabilities$15,153

Location and Facilities

We currently lease a building/warehouse located at the corner of Schoolcraft Road and Middlebelt Road, Livonia, Michigan. Nearby is I-96, with eastbound and westbound exits. Also located in the vicinity is a medium size congregational church. The building is located in the center of Livonia's Hispanic population.

The building is approximately 640 square feet and contains an employee restroom, shelving and store fixtures, coolers, and counters. The parking is limited, but arrangements are being made to utilize adjacent parking for customer overflow.

Business Operations

This wholesale distribution and retail import/export business will have unique items imported directly from Mexico and exported directly into Mexico. The majority of these items will be hand-picked. Customers can buy food products, decorations, landscaping products, and more. The store will be open from 9:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Monday thru Saturday, and 9:30 A.M. to 5:00P.M. Sundays.

We will have one full-time employee and one part-time employee. The owner's draw will be a salary of $16,632 and the part-time employee will be paid approximately $6.83 an hour. We will not be offering benefits for the first few years. Employees will maintain the building's cleanliness.

Inventory will be purchased through several vendors that include: Flores del Rio, Milagro X Guago, Chili Pepper Produce, San Juan, A.Q. MER. V., and Zentavo. We estimate our inventory to turnover 6 times a year. Starting inventory will be $6,000 with a markup of 100 percent or more.

The following are our operation policies and will be posted throughout the store:

  • No cash refunds
  • $25 fee for check returns
  • Accepting credit cards: Visa, Mastercharge, Discover, and American Express

The owner has basic knowledge of bookkeeping and is familiar with accounting software. An accountant will be hired in the future to examine records and make recommendations.

An attorney will be retained in the future to handle legal aspects of the business.

Ramon Juarez has over 14 years of import/export experience and will be attending Schoolcraft Community College, majoring in International Trade. He is therefore technically qualified to handle the products the business will offer. Central will be aided in development by a licensed U.S. Customs Broker, Manuel Rodriguez. Central will also utilize the services of International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce (ITA/DOC), World Trade Center Institutes, Small Business Development Centers, Global Trade Point Network, Fedworld, International Trade Law, U.S. Customs, Trade Show Central, MCB Publications, American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, and SBA Export Small Business Development Center.

We will open our store in the month of January. We hope to capitalize on the buyers of Mexican products who normally travel to Detroit, by giving them a closer location. Opening during this time will give us the opportunity to establish new customer relationships before the peak in our spring season.

Import/Export Laws and Licensing

Central is aware of the many international laws that can affect our export activities. Five of the most prominent laws and agreements that have influenced our decisions and actions in business with Mexico are:

Central understands that all goods and services leaving the United States require some form of export licensing. By obtaining a general export license from the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), Central is essentially receiving authorization from the U.S. government to export our products.

According to exporting rules, Central will verify that our customer is not:

  • on the Table of Denial Orders (TDO)
  • on the list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN)
  • located in an embargoed country
  • involved with the production of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons

Central has acquired the assistance of a customs broker to manage any additional import/export issues.


Listed below is the Mexican food product line and its Standard Industry Codes:

candy, chewing gum, other confectionsSIC 2064-2067
fats and oilsSIC 207
beveragesSIC 208
miscellaneous food and kindred productsSIC 209
snack foodsSIC Snack Food Concordance
candy confectionery and chocolate productsSIC 2064-68
canned frozen and preserved fruits, veggiesSIC 203
cookies and crackersSIC 2032
frozen foodSIC 2037, 2038
pastaSIC 2099
snack foodSIC 2096
processed food and beveragesSIC 20
meat productsSIC 201
dairy productsSIC 202
preserved fruits and veggiesSIC 203
grain mill productsSIC 204
sugar and confectionery productsSIC 206


Inventory will be controlled by indexing the products as they are brought in and as they are sold. Central's tracking system will tell the management what merchandise is in stock, what is on order, when it will arrive, and what was sold. With such a system, Central can plan purchases more intelligently and quickly recognize the fast moving items we need to reorder and the slow moving items we should mark down or specially promote.

Inventory will turn approximately 6 times a year. We will keep 25 percent of our initial inventory or $1500 worth of goods on hand at all times. For inventory valuation we will use the Last In, First Out (LIFO) method. We will sell the recently purchased inventory first. This method will help us pay less in taxes.

Suppliers will be independent craftspeople, import sources, distributors, and manufacturers. We have established a list of possible suppliers and requested quotes, prices, and available discounts. We also will ask for customer references. We will establish accounts with these suppliers prior to opening our store.

The goods to be imported into the U.S. and sold from the retail location include processed food and beverages, meat products, dairy products, preserved fruits and vegetables, sugar and confectionery products, candy, chewing gum and other confections, fats and oils, beverages, Miscellaneous food and kindred products, snack foods, decorations, furniture, and leather goods.

The goods to be export into Mexico and sold to retailers include toys, rebuilt auto parts, tennis shoes, and tools.

Pricing Methods

Central will use the cost-plus method of international pricing. Cost-plus method is based on our domestic price plus exporting costs (documentation expenses, freight charges, customs duties, and international sales and promotional costs). Any costs not applicable, such as domestic marketing costs, are subtracted. The cost-plus method allows us to maintain our domestic profit margin percentage, and thus to set a suitable price. This method does not, however, take into account local market conditions. So we continually research the local foreign market in order to maintain our competitiveness.


Consumer goods marketers who wonder where their growth will come from in the future should explore multicultural markets. While sizable population increases among nonwhites are a given, many marketers haven't awoken to ethnic buying-power growth.

The New America Marketbasket Index points out that household expenditures among multicultural families will grow faster than white households. The study, developed by New America Strategies Group and DemoGraph Corporation, looked at 13 different key areas of consumer spendingsuch as entertainment, clothing, vehicle, and home purchasesby race. It offers projections from 1995 to 1998 based on purchase behavior trends from 1992 to 1995.

The Index documents the accelerating purchasing power, financial strength, and upward mobility of African, Asian, and Hispanic American consumers by analyzing household spending, and tracks their per-household spending growth based on a weighted average of multicultural household expenditures compared to that of white households.

In 10 of the 13 categories, minorities posted stronger growth than white households. Only in restaurant expenditures, public transportation, and rent did white growth exceed that of minorities. Expenditures from multicultural households exceeded white households in five categoriesgroceries, entertainment, personal care products, clothing, and education.

Why the greater increases from minorities? Laura Teller, chief executive officer of Miami-based DemoGraph, attributes it to a strong economy, near full employment, and minorities having more money to spend. "A rising tide lifts all the ships," she said. "The economic expansion has more money flowing into those communities."

The study forecasts healthcare outlays and entertainment spending growing nearly three to three-and-a-half times faster in minority households compared to white families. Electric utility expenditures grew twice as fast in minority households.

"Grocery and clothing expenditures are higher due to the size of the households," Teller said, citing the fact that minorities have more family members in average households. Multicultural households also have more people contributing to the family income, especially in Hispanic homes, she added.

The study projected Asian Americans to increase average spending 17.7 percent from 1995 to 1998. African Americans were close behind at 17.6 percent, while Hispanic expenditure growth was 15.5 percent. Whites, meanwhile, spent only 13.7 percent more over the three-year period.

DemoGraph projected expenditure increases through extrapolating data from the 1995 U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, U.S. Center for Educational Statistics, the National Auto Dealers Association, and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. The company didn't factor out inflation since it believed that it affects all groups equally.

While some of the gains occur in smaller-ticket items, such as groceries and clothing, multicultural families tend to outspend whites in more expensive goods, such as cars and homes. Minorities plan to increase spending on vehicles by 37.2 percent, while growth for whites is about 13.4 percent between 1995 and 1998. Minorities will boost their spending on home ownership by 16.9 percent, compared to 12.4 percent for whites. The study said 40 percent of all first-time home buyers between 1995 and 1998 are multicultural consumers.

"Multicultural families are becoming part of the burgeoning middle class," Teller said. "Their first purchase is a car, and they also have a high desire to own their home."

Most of the expenditure increase from African Americans can be attributed to increased spending on clothing, entertainment, and healthcare. Hispanics are expected to have large increases in vehicle purchases, clothing, and entertainment, while gains in Asian expenditures are in restaurants, vehicles, and education. Whites spent more of their dollars in restaurants, clothes, and public transportation.

For several demographic categories, expenditures on rent are expected to decline, due to those families moving into their first homes. Spending by African Americans on rent is projected to decline 13 percent, and 20.2 percent for Hispanics. Both whites and Asian Americans plan to increase average spending for rent by 6.3 percent. African Americans are expected to decrease spending on public transportation.

"Multicultural consumers are purchasing the good life," Teller says. However, an economic recession could definitely curb spending. Teller said that while Asian Americans save more than other minorities, African Americans and Hispanics have a smaller savings and income cushion if the economy falters. "Losing jobs would be a big shock to their systems," Teller says.

The Hispanic population has grown at a steady pace for the last 20 years and is continuing to grow. The number of people buying and renovating homes and landscapes is increasing according to the Home Builders Association. Hispanics, ages 0 to 64 with an income of $15,000 and up will be targeted for Mexican food, African Americans and Anglo Americans, ages 35 to 64 with an income of $15,000 and up will be targeted for the home and garden decorations.

Market Segmentation

Our customers are multicultural, male and female, ages 0 to 64, employed and unemployed and live in Michigan. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan's total population is 9,295,297: 4,512,781 are male and 4,782,516 are female. 7,786,237 or 84% of Michigan residents are between the ages of 0 to 64. 18% of the Michigan residents are multicultural with 1,291,706 being African American; 55,638 being American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut; 104,983 being Asian or Pacific Islander; 86,884 being "other"; and 201, 596 being Hispanic. Wayne County, where Central will be located, has a population of 437,349 as of July 1, 1999, which was an increase of 6,890 over the 1990 census.

According to, Mexico is the most Spanish-speaking country in the world. Its population is approximately 98,552,776 (July 1998 est.): 70% of the people live in urban areas; 36% of the population is 0-14 years of age (male 17,883,007, female 17,193,082); 60% of the population is 15-64 (male 28,932,074, female 30,511,443); and 4% are 65 years and over (male 1,808,581, female 2,224,589). Population growth is approximately 1.77%.

Central has products for the entire age group, both male and female mestizos (Amerindian-Spanish) individuals. We will market our products to those individuals that make up 96 percent of Mexico's population.

Market Analysis
Potential CustomersGrowth20012002200320042005CAGR
African Americans1%1,291,7061,304,6231,317,6691,330,8461,344,1541.00%
American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut1%55,63856,19456,75657,32457,8971.00%
Asian or Pacific Islander1%104,983106,033107,093108,164109,2461.00%

Target Market/Export Program Strategy

To keep track of our target market growth, we have implemented the following market research program in which we will:

  • Keep abreast of world events that influence the international marketplace, watch for announcements of specific projects, or simply visit likely markets. For example, a thawing of political hostilities often leads to the opening of economic channels between countries.
  • Analyze trade and economic statistics. Trade statistics are generally compiled by product category and by country. These statistics provide the U.S. firm with information concerning shipments of products over specified periods of time. Demographic and general economic statistics, such as population size and makeup, per capita income, and production levels by industry can be important indicators of the market potential for a company's products.
  • Obtain advice from experts. There are several ways of obtaining this advice:
    Contact experts at the U.S. Department of Commerce and other government agencies.
    Attend seminars, workshops, and international trade shows.
    Hire an international trade and marketing consultant.
    Talk with successful exporters of similar products.
    Contact trade and industry association staff.

Gathering and evaluating secondary market research can be complex and tedious. However, several publications are available that can help us simplify the process.

Our Export Program Strategy is simply that Central will treat our export sales no differently than its domestic sales, using existing personnel and organizational structures. As international sales and inquiries increase, then we may separate the management of our exports from that of our domestic sales.

The advantages of separating our international from domestic business include the centralization of specialized skills needed to deal with international markets and the benefits of a focused marketing effort that is more likely to increase export sales. A possible disadvantage is that segmentation might be a less efficient use of corporate resources.

When we separate international from domestic business, we may do so at different levels in the organization. For example, when Central first begins to export, we may create an export department with a full-or part-time manager who reports to the head of domestic sales and marketing. At later stages, we may choose to increase the autonomy of the export department to the point of creating an international division that reports directly to the president.

Larger companies at advanced stages of exporting may choose to retain the international division or to organize along product or geographic lines. Since Central has distinct product lines we may create an international department in each product division. A company with products that have common end users may organize geographically. For example, it may form a division for Europe and another for the Pacific Rim.

Because we are a small company, our initial needs may be satisfied by a single export manager who has responsibility for the full range of international activities. Regardless of how we organize our exporting efforts, the key is to facilitate the marketer's job. Good marketing skills will help Central operate in unfamiliar markets. Experience has shown that a company's success in foreign markets depends less on the unique attributes of its products than on its marketing methods.

Once Central is organized to handle exporting markets other than Mexico, a proper channel of distribution will be carefully chosen for each market. These channels include sales representatives, agents, distributors, retailers, and end users.

Advertising and Promotion Strategies

Advertising will be accomplished by mailing flyers to potential buyers. A newspaper ad will run announcing our Grand Opening. We will have our logo and business information printed on our delivery truck, which will be visible throughout the city. We believe flyers and word-of-mouth networking should be sufficient advertising for our product. This promotional strategy is also very inexpensive.

To build our export trade leads we will utilize the following resources:

  • National Export Offer Service
  • Commercial news USA
  • Export Yellow Pages
  • ComFindGlobal Business Directory
  • Network of AmericasExport Directory

To develop leads for service matchmaking we will utilize the following resources:

  • Import-Export Bulletin BoardsPost buy/sell offers
  • IBEXInternational Business Exchange
  • Free Web Trader
  • Global Trade Point Network
  • Global Traders Forum
  • The Netsource Trade Center
  • GoldSite Europe
  • The Trading Floor
  • Trade Compass
  • Barter Worldwide, Inc.
  • ITEX Barter Industry
  • International Business Newsgroup
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • African Development Bank
  • Asia Development Bank

Future forms of promotion may include trade press ads, trade shows, catalog shows, cross border buying trips, trade missions, and a website.

Industry Analysis and Trends

World trade is increasingly important to the strength of our economy and to the growth of U.S. companies. Exporting and importing creates jobs and provides small firms with growth, new markets, and additional profits.

Every billion earned in U.S. export dollars generates about 20,000 jobs. There has never been a better time for American businesses to begin exporting. As the world economy becomes more interdependent, the opportunities for small businesses become more attractive.

Exporting is booming in the United States, and small businesses are beginning to realize that the world is their market. A business does not have to be big to sell in the global marketplace. Experience shows that small businesses do export successfully. Finding your niche in the world market is similar to finding it in the U.S. market. Many of the same qualities that make small business owners successful in the United States apply to success in global markets.

  • Based on 1992 data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, small firms (fewer than 500 employees) represented 95.7 percent of exporters of goods in 1992. Of the 112,854 goods exporters, 108,026 were small firms.
  • By major industry, in 1992, 9.3 percent of manufacturing firms exported goods or services. Comparable figures for other industries include 8.0 percent of wholesale trade firms, 1.5 percent of retail and service firms, 1.0 percent of finance, insurance, and real estate firms, and only 0.3 percent of construction firms.
  • By race or origin in 1992 the percent that exported goods or services was 2.7 percent for Hispanic-owned firms, 2.3 percent for Asian, Pacific, American Indian, or Aleut Eskimo owned firms, 1.8 percent for white-owned firms, and 0.8 percent for black-owned firms.

In 1992 Michigan had a total of 6,338 exporters and from those 1,838 had 1 to 19 employees, similar to Central.

Competition and Buying Patterns

Central will save its customers hundreds of dollars by cutting our shipping costs. We will pick up our inventory and drop off our inventory. While Central will not be the only store selling Mexican products, it will have the advantage of selling products at a lower price with a larger variety. Livonia customers no longer will have to drive to Detroit, Michigan, to purchase similar goods.


Thousands of small firms already compete in the global market. They account for 97 percent of companies involved in direct merchandise exporting, yet generate only about 30 percent of the dollar value of the nation's export sales. Small firms, then, represent the largest pool for potential growth in export sales.

Entering the Mexican market will not be difficult. The same import strategies applied in the U.S. market can be used to develop export markets. Central understands selling abroad demands hard work, perseverance, and a commitment of resources. It requires planning, market research, and attention to detail. It may also involve changes, like new packaging and metric conversion.

Central has taken the mystery out of exporting by using these fundamental elements of the exporting process:

  • Analyzing the capabilities of our small business
  • Knowing the export potential of our product/service
  • Identifying foreign markets that are right for us
  • Studying market-entry strategies and export procedures
  • Learning how to process exports

We will implement our import segment of our business by e-mailing a list of goods we are interested in purchasing to our Mexican contact, Rosa Marie Juarez, located in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. She will then purchase merchandise and our U.S. customs broker will prepare the documentation. The merchandise is then brought into the U.S. to be housed in a warehouse in Laredo, Texas. The goods will then be picked up by Ramon Juarez (who will be bringing with him items to be exported) and brought back to Michigan for distribution.

Our implementation of our export segment consists of receiving e-mail from our Mexican contact, Rosa Marie Juarez, requesting U.S. merchandise to be exported. We will then purchase the merchandise and e-mail a list of products to our customs broker for documentation. The merchandise will be transported to Laredo, Texas. We will then deliver the items to be exported and pick up items to be imported.

Competitive Edge

Our location is a very important competitive edge. The nearest import/exporter of Mexican goods is in Detroit, Michigan. There are a few local stores selling the goods such as Target, Kmart, Jason's Music Shop, and a few party stores. These stores are selling the product at a higher retail cost than Central. Central will take these stores and distribute our goods to them, saving them transportation and shipping costs.

Sales Strategy

Central will initially open as a wholesale distribution and retail store with a variety of Mexican food, and interior and exterior decorations made of brass ceramic, wrought iron, clay, and wood. After establishing ourselves as a retail import/export store, we will then begin to distribute our products to gift shops, restaurants, landscaping companies, and other retail shops selling similar products.

Sales Forecast

The following chart gives a rundown on forecasted sales.

Sales Forecast
Row 1$73,000$73,000$73,000
Total Sales$73,000$73,000$73,000
Direct Cost of Sales
Row 1$15,000$18,000$18,000
Subtotal Cost of Sales$15,000$18,000$18,000

Strategic Alliances

Central has taken the time to form alliances both here, in the United States, and across the border of Mexico. Those alliances are as follows:

The United States

  • Chili Pepper ProduceDistributor
  • Manuel RodriguezCustoms Broker
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade AdministrationSupport
  • World Trade OrganizationSupport
  • National Trade Data BankResearch


  • Rosa Marie JuarezBuyer
  • Milagro X GuagoVendor
  • Flores del RioVendor
  • Fontino Ltd.
  • Goodrich Itda.
  • Hong Kong Knitting Co. Ltd


The risks of this business are low. Items that will be imported or exported vary according to demand and there will be a pre-arrangement for purchasing and selling goods beforehand.

The difficulties the business foresees are:

  • small size of the parking lot
  • constant changes in import/export regulations
  • cost of transporting increases with fuel increases
  • transportation breakdowns

The solutions for these difficulties are to:

  • work out an agreement with adjacent businesses for use of their parking area for overflow traffic
  • stay informed on changes of regulations through personal research and assistance from our Customs Agent
  • increase the volume of merchandise purchased and decrease number of trips made to Mexico
  • keep truck on a consistent maintenance program until new truck can be purchased

The owner has injected $17,195 of the $35,000 capital needed to start the business. Therefore, 49 percent of the risk is with the owner's money. In the event of business failure it is estimated that the owner's assets and current income would produce the $17,805 needed to repay the loan.


Ramon Juarez has been transporting merchandise and personal belongings to and from Michigan to Texas and Mexico as a nonprofit group for the past 14 years. He regularly visits family and friends in Mexico and has gained a good knowledge of driving time, cost, and requirements for transportation of goods. Ramon is a full-time employee as an engineer for Ford Motor Company. It is the intent of the owner to be the key manpower in starting this business. Ramon Juarez will be assisted by one part-time employee.

The complexities and dynamics of international trade are such that Ramon has found it extremely advantageous to obtain the services of a customs broker in order to facilitate the importation of goods. Ramon will also be assisted by Manuel Rodriguez, a U.S. Customs Broker. Mr. Rodriguez's operation transcends Customs, calling for contact with over 40 other government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on meat importation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on vehicle emission standards, or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on product safety. For these reasons, the services of a Customs Broker are highly recommended for Central.

Mr. Rodriguez will act as an agent for Ramon in conducting customs business on his behalf. Mr. Rodriguez will also prepare and file the necessary customs entries, arrange for the payment of duties found due, take steps to the effective release of the goods in customs custody, and represent Ramon in custody matters. Mr. Rodriguez has an excellent understanding of trade requirements and procedures and customs tariff regulations. Furthermore, Mr. Rodriguez will assist Ramon with advice on other transportation options, types of carriers, and shipping routes. Mr. Rodriguez will assist with exchange rates, appraisals, and proper classifications and duties. Mr. Rodriguez is aware of potential problems involving every entry item represented, including cargo handling. This includes all factors affecting appraisement, exchange rates, and many regulations concerning calculation of duties.

Central believes very strongly that relationships should be forthright, work should be structured with enough room for creativity, and pay should commensurate with the amount and quality work completed. No person is better than another except in ability, knowledge, and experience.

Personnel Plan

It is the intent of the owners to operate the business with one full-time employee and one part-time employee. The employees will be proficient in English and Spanish to communicate with Hispanics as well as other ethnic groups. As the business grows, a third employee will be added to conduct sales outside the Livonia area. The personnel plan is included in the following table. It shows the one part-time employee salary for driver/customer service representative and a total of two employees, one being the owner.

Personnel Plan200120022003
Driver/Customer Service Representative$6,552$6,552$6,552
Total Payroll$6,552$6,552$6,552
Total Headcount222
Payroll Burden$983$983$983
Total Payroll Expenditures$7,535$7,535$7,535


Our financial plan anticipates the following:

  • Growth will be moderate, cash flows steady
  • Marketing will remain below 15 percent of sales
  • The company will invest residual profits into financial markets and company expansion

Important Assumptions

Our financial plan depends on important assumptions, most of which are shown in the following table as annual assumptions:

Some of the more important underlying assumptions are:

  • We assume strong economy, both in the U.S. and Mexico
  • We assume, of course, that there are no unforseen changes in the use of the product which make the need for the product obsolete.
General Assumptions200120022003
Short-term Interest Rate %10.00%10.00%10.00%
Long-term Interest Rate %10.00%10.00%10.00%
Payment Days Estimator303030
Collection Days Estimator454545
Inventory Turnover Estimator6.006.006.00
Tax Rate %25.00%25.00%25.00%
Expenses in Cash %10.00%10.00%10.00%
Sales on Credit %0.00%0.00%0.00%
Personnel Burden %15.00%15.00%15.00%

Break-even Analysis

A break-even analysis table has been completed on the basis of average per-unit revenue. With fixed costs of $3,720, we need to generate sales of at least $1,333 per month or sell approximately $50 worth of goods per day.

Break-even Analysis:
Monthly Units Break-even1,333
Monthly Sales Break-even$1,333
Average Per-Unit Revenue$1.00
Average Per-Unit Variable Cost$0.25
Estimated Monthly Fixed Cost$1,000

Projected Profit and Loss

Central will have a profit to sales ratio of just over 11 percent. Normally, a start-up concern will operate with negative profits through the first two years. We will avoid this kind of operating loss by knowing our competitors and our target market.

Profit and Loss (Income Statement)200120022003
Direct Cost of Sales$15,000$18,000$18,000
Production Payroll$0$0$0
Working Capital$0$0$0
Total Cost of Sales$15,000$18,000$18,000
Gross Margin$58,000$55,000$55,000
Gross Margin %79.45%75.34%75.34%
Operating Expenses Sales and Marketing Expenses
Sales and Marketing Payroll$0$0$0
Truck Maintenance$2,640$2,640$2,640
Total Sales and Marketing Expenses$0$0$0
Sales and Marketing %0.00%0.00%0.00%
General and Administrative Expenses
General and Administrative Payroll$0$0$0
Payroll Expense$6,552$6,552$6,552
Payroll Burden$983$983$983
Total General and Administrative Expenses$0$0$0
General and Administrative %0.00%0.00%0.00%
Other Expenses
Other Payroll$0$0$0
Bank Loan Repayment$3,744$3,744$3,744
Owner's Withdrawals$16,632$16,632$16,632
Customs Broker$900$900$900
Total Other Expenses$0$0$0
Other %0.00%0.00%0.00%
Total Operating Expenses$44,639$44,639$44,639
Profit Before Interest and Taxes$13,361$10,361$10,361
Interest Expense Short-term$1,781$1,781$1,781
Interest Expense Long-term$0$0$0
Taxes Incurred$2,895$2,145$2,145
Extraordinary Items$0$0$0
Net Profit$8,686$6,436$6,436
Net Profit/Sales11.90%8.82%8.82%

Projected Cash Flow

We are positioning ourselves in the market as a low-risk concern with steady cash flows. Accounts payable are paid at the end of each month, while sales are in cash and credit cards, giving Central excellent cash structure. Intelligent marketing will secure a cash balance of $32,072 by 2001.

Projected Cash Flow200120022003
Net Profit$8,686$6,436$6,436
Change in Accounts Payable$5,046($657)($45)
Current Borrowing (repayment)$0$0$0
Increase (decrease) Other Liabilities$0$0$0
Long-term Borrowing (repayment)$0$0$0
Capital Input$9,153$0$0
Change in Accounts Receivable$0$0$0
Change in Inventory$0$1,200$0
Change in Other Short-term Assets$0$0$0
Capital Expenditure$0$0$0
Net Cash Flow$22,884$4,579$6,391
Cash Balance$32,037$36,616$43,007

Projected Balance Sheet

All of our tables will be updated monthly to reflect past performance and future assumptions. Future assumptions will not be based on past performance, but rather on economic cycle activity, regional and international industry, strength, and future cash flow possibilities. We expect a solid growth in net worth beyond the year 2002.

Projected Balance Sheet
Short-term Assets200120022003
Accounts Receivable$0$0$0
Other Short-term Assets$0$0$0
Total Short-term Assets$38,037$43,816$50,207
Long-term Assets
Capital Assets$0$0$0
Accumulated Depreciation$0$0$0
Total Long-term Assets$0$0$0
Total Assets$38,037$43,816$50,207
Liabilities and Capital
Accounts Payable$5,046$4,389$4,345
Short-term Notes$17,805$17,805$17,805
Other Short-term Liabilities$0$0$0
Subtotal Short-term Liabilities$22,851$22,194$22,150
Long-term Liabilities$0$0$0
Total Liabilities$22,851$22,194$22,150
Paid in Capital$26,348$26,348$26,348
Retained Earnings($19,847)($11,161)($4,726)
Total Capital$15,187$21,622$28,058
Total Liabilities and Capital$38,037$43,816$50,207
Net Worth$15,187$21,622$28,058

Business Ratios

The following table shows the projected ratios. We expect to maintain healthy ratios for profitability, risk, and return.

Ratio Analysis
Profitability Ratios:200120022003RMA
Gross Margin79.45%75.34%75.34%0
Net Profit Margin11.90%8.82%8.82%0
Return on Assets22.83%14.69%12.82%0
Return on Equity57.19%29.76%22.94%0
Activity Ratios
AR Turnover0.000.000.000
Collection Days0000
Inventory Turnover2.502.732.500
Accounts Payable Turnover10.1312.1712.170
Total Asset Turnover1.921.671.450
Debt Ratios
Debt to Net Worth1.501.030.790
Short-term Liability to Liability1.001.001.000
Liquidity Ratios
Current Ratio1.661.972.270
Quick Ratio1.401.651.940
Net Working Capital$15,187$21,622$28,0580
Interest Coverage7.505.825.820
Additional Ratios
Assets to Sales0.520.600.690
Current Debt/Total Assets60%51%44%0
Acid Test1.401.651.940
Asset Turnover1.921.671.450
Sales/Net Worth4.813.382.600
Dividend Payout$0$0$0$0

This page left intentionally blank to accommodate tabular matter following.


Sales Forecast

Row 1$3,162$4,704$5,270$4,740$5,146$3,360$3,360
Total Sales$3,162$4,704$5,270$4,740$5,146$3,360$3,360
Direct Cost of Sales
Row 1$0$0$3,000$0$3,000$0$3,000
Subtotal Cost of Sales$0$0$3,000$0$3,000$0$3,000

Personnel Plan

Driver/Customer Service Representative$546$546$546$546$546$546$546
Total Payroll$546$546$546$546$546$546$546
Total Headcount2222222
Payroll Burden$82$82$82$82$82$82$82
Total Payroll Expenditures$628$628$628$628$628$628$628

General Assumption

Short-term Interest Rate %10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%
Long-term Interest Rate %10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%
Payment Days Estimator30303030303030
Collection Days Estimator45454545454545
Inventory Turnover Estimator6.
Tax Rate %25.00%25.00%25.00%25.00%25.00%25.00%25.00%
Expenses in Cash %10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%10.00%
Sales on Credit %0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%
Personnel Burden %15.00%15.00%15.00%15.00%15.00%15.00%15.00%

Profit and Loss (Income Statment)

Direct Cost of Sales$0$0$3,000$0$3,000$0$3,000
Production Payroll$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Working Capital$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Total Cost of Sales$0$0$3,000$0$3,000$0$3,000
Gross Margin$3,162$4,704$2,270$4,740$2,146$3,360$360
Gross Margin %100.00%100.00%43.07%100.00%41.70%100.00%10.71%
Operating Expenses
Sales and Marketing Expenses
Sales and Marketing Payroll$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Truck Maintenance$220$220$220$220$220$220$220
Total Sales and Marketing Expenses$0 $0$0$0$0$0$0
Sales and Marketing %0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%
General and Administrative Expenses
General and Administrative Payroll$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Payroll Expense$546$546$546$546$546$546$546
Payroll Burden$82$82$82$82$82$82$82
Total General and Administrative Expenses$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
General and Administrative %0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%
Other Expenses
Other Payroll$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Bank Loan Repayment$312$312$312$312$312$312$312
Owner's Withdrawals$1,386$1,386$1,386$1,386$1,386$1,386$1,386
Customs Broker$75$75$75$75$75$75$75
Total Other Expenses$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Other %0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%0.00%
Total Operating Expenses$3,720$3,720$3,720$3,720$3,720$3,720$3,720
Profit Before Interest and Taxes($558)$984($1,450)$1,020($1,574)($360)($3,360)
Interest Expense Short-term$148$148$148$148$148$148$148
Interest Expense Long-term$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Taxes Incurred($177)$209($400)$218($431)($127)($877)
Extraordinary Items$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Net Profit($530)$627($1,199)$654($1,292)($381)($2,631)
Net Profit/Sales-16.75%13.32%-22.75%13.79%-25.10%-11.35%-78.31%

Projected Cash Flow

Net Profit($530)$627($1,199)$654($1,292)($381)($2,631)
Change in Accounts Payable$2,666$335$2,081($2,073)$2,046($2,346)$1,958
Current Borrowing (repayment)$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Increase (decrease) Other Liabilities$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Long-term Borrowing (repayment)$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Capital Input$3,051$3,051$3,051$0$0$0$0
Change in Accounts Receivable$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Change in Inventory$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Change in Other Short-term Assets$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Capital Expenditure$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Net Cash Flow$5,187$4,013$3,933($1,419)$754($2,727)($674)
Cash Balance$14,340$18,353$22,286$20,867$21,621$18,894$18,220

Projected Balance Sheet

Short-term AssetsJanFebMarAprMayJunJul
Accounts Receivable$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Other Short-term Assets$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Total Short-term Assets$20,340$24,353$28,286$26,867$27,621$24,894$24,220
Long-term Assets
Capital Assets$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Accumulated Depreciation$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Total Long-term Assets$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Total Assets$20,340$24,353$28,286$26,867$27,621$24,894$24,220
Liabilities and Capital
Accounts Payable$2,666$3,001$5,082$3,009$5,055$2,709$4,666
Short-term Notes$17,805$17,805$17,805$17,805$17,805$17,805$17,805
Other Short-term Liabilities$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Subtotal Short-term Liabilities$20,471$20,806$22,887$20,814$22,860$20,514$22,471
Long-term Liabilities$0$0$0$0$0$0$0
Total Liabilities$20,471$20,806$22,887$20,814$22,860$20,514$22,471
Paid in Capital$20,246$23,297$26,348$26,348$26,348$26,348$26,348
Retained Earnings($19,847)($19,847)($19,847)($19,847)($19,847)($19,847)($19,847)
Total Capital($131)$3,547$5,399$6,053$4,761$4,380$1,749
Total Liabilities and Capital$20,340$24,353$28,286$26,867$27,621$24,894$24,220
Net Worth($131)$3,547$5,399$6,053$4,761$4,380$1,749

Rodriguez, Carlos Manuel: 1918-1963: Religious Educator

views updated

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez: 1918-1963: Religious educator

When he was beatified and thus placed on the road to sainthood by Pope John Paul II in 2001, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez became the first Caribbean-bornand only the second Latin Americanlay individual (not a priest or a member of a religious order) to achieve that rank in the hierarchy of Catholic historical figures. Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican religious educator and writer active in the middle of the twentieth century, left a deep imprint on the island's dominant Catholic religion through his teachings and his exemplary life. Forty years after his death, as he approached beatification, Rodriguez became a focus of Puerto Rican protests against the United States Navy's use of the island of Vieques as a practice bombing range.

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Santiago, known as Chali or Charlie, was born in the town of Caguas, Puerto Rico, on November 22, 1918. Now a suburb of San Juan, Caguas was then a small town whose residents were mostly poor. The Rodriguez family's house burned down when Rodriguez was six, and he and his four siblings had to move in with a grandmother. The religious impulse ran strong in the family. Rodriguez's brother became a priest in the Benedictine order and its first Puerto Rican-born abbot, and one of his three sisters grew up to be a Carmelite nun. When Rodriguez himself was four, his mother found him lying on his back in the courtyard of the family house, looking skyward and praying to God to come and get him.

Deeply Committed to Spirituality and Learning

Rodriguez entered the Catholic School of Caguas when he was six, by which time he could already read and write in Spanish and to some degree in English. He maintained a lifelong friendship with the Sisters of Notre Dame who operated the school, and he began to think of devoting his life to a religious calling. When he graduated from the school in 1932 he received the Medal of Religion award. His characteristic courage had also shown itself in the secular sphere, however: he stepped in when his one-year-old cousin was attacked by a police dog and stopped the attack.

Some of Rodriguez's family members blamed the shock of that incident for the beginnings of his lifelong stomach problems, which developed in his second semester at Gautier Benítez High School in Caguas. His schooling was interrupted several times before he finally graduated in 1939. His ailment was diagnosed as ulcerative colitis, a serious illness that left him prey to high fevers and other incapacitating symptoms. Rodriguez worked as an office clerk during World War II and in 1946 enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico. Unable to cope with the rigors of university study because of his illness, he had to drop out after a year. But it was at this time that Rodriguez's friends began to notice the depth of his commitment to a life of spirituality and learning.

At a Glance . . .

Born Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Santiago on November 22, 1918, in Caguas, Puerto Rico; died on July 13, 1963; son of Manuel Baudilio Rodriguez and Herminia Santiago Rodriguez. Education: University of Puerto Rico, 1946-1947. Religion: Roman Catholic.

Career: Office clerk, early 1940s; University of Puerto Rico Agricultural Research Station, clerk, late 1940s-1950s; offered Catholic instruction and organized student clubs and discussion groups at numerous institutions in Puerto Rico, 1950s-1963; University of Puerto Rico Catholic Center, San Juan, instructor, late 1950s-1963; campaign for posthumous beatification carried on by religious followers, 1981-2001; Vatican posthumous investigation of miracles, early 1990s; Vatican certified one miracle, 1999; beatified posthumously by the Vatican, 2001; Vatican examined Rodriguez case for sainthood, 2002.

Studying on his own, Rodriguez read about literature, science, and philosophy in addition to religion. He learned, on his own, to play the piano and organ, and he became an avid naturalist and lover of the outdoors. Taking a job as a clerk at the university's agricultural research station, Rodriguez became more and more involved in Catholic lay activities at the school. He began translating religious writings from Latin, French, and English into Spanish, which he favored as a language of worship that could reach ordinary Puerto Ricans (at this time, the Catholic reforms mandating the use of vernacular languages in place of Latin were still years in the future). These efforts coalesced into a magazine, Cultura Cristiana, copies of which Rodriguez ran off on a mimeograph machine at first. He lived simply: over his entire adult life he is said to have owned only one pair of shoes.

Inspired Many in Life and Death

Most of Rodriguez's small office-worker's salary went to finance his religious activities, especially after he began organizing student religious clubs like the Circulo del Liturgía and teaching catechism classes. Rodriguez believed that Puerto Rican Catholic faith was being weakened by the rapid urbanization and industrialization, and he worked tirelessly to start student groups at schools and colleges all over the island. As a result, it was a rare member of the next generation of Puerto Rico's Catholic leadership who had not had contact with Rodriguez personally and been inspired by him. "To me, Charlie was a lay person committed to his faith, who lived his life so convinced of what he believed, and who was a living testimony of what an authentic Christian should be," Mother Rosa María Estrema told the Orlando Sentinel in an interview quoted on the Puerto Rico Herald website.

In the late 1950s Rodriguez was hired to teach full time at the University of Puerto Rico's Catholic Center in San Juan. His message, which stressed that every Catholic had the capacity to do Christ's work and emphasized the importance of direct communication of the faith in terms that ordinary worshippers could comprehend, anticipated in some respects the reforms of church's Vatican II conclave of the 1960s. Before Rodriguez could attend or witness those events, however, his stomach problems worsened into colon cancer. After living and working calmly in the face of severe pain for a time, he died at age 44 on July 13, 1963. "The 13th will be a good day," he had said several days before (according to his biography on the Santaboricua website).

Soon some of Rodriguez's friends and students had formed a group with the aim of carrying forward his work. In 1981 the group's treasurer, chemistry professor Carmen Santana, revealed to other members that she had traveled to Boston to be treated for advanced lymphatic cancerbut that when she arrived, doctors found the cancer had mysteriously disappeared. Santana's husband, she recounted, had said a prayer to Rodriguez for her recovery, which was deemed a miracle Rodriguez had accomplishedone of the preconditions for Catholic sainthood. The group drew inspiration from the designation by Pope John Paul II of 1987 as the Year of the Laity, and in the early 1990s began campaigning in earnest for Rodriguez's beatification.

Beatified by Pope John Paul II

The process, usually measured in decades, occurred with unprecedented speed. After an ecclesiastical investigation involving 38 witnesses to Carmen Santana's recovery, the Vatican agreed that a miracle had occurred. Bits of Rodriguez's exhumed bones and articles of his clothing were designated as relics and flown to Rome, and on April 29, 2001, Rodriguez was beatified (and thus given the title of "Blessed") by the Pope. Upwards of 2,500 Puerto Rican devotees attended the ceremony in Rome, and thousands turned out for subsequent observations in Puerto Rico itself; at one of those, Rodriguez's remains were moved from Humacao back to his hometown of Caguas.

Since he was not a martyr, evidence of two other miracles was required before Rodriguez could be elevated to sainthood. That seemed likely after the Vatican began investigating three more miracles credited to Rodriguez, including the case of a paralyzed woman who visited his home, put on his shoes, and shortly afterward began walking unaided. Another measure of Rodriguez's lasting impact was the role he played in Puerto Rico's ultimately successful efforts to put an end to the Navy bombing practice on Vieques, which was blamed for health problems among the island's poverty-stricken residents.

Demonstrators carried Rodriguez's picture, and San Juan Archbishop Roberto O. González called on Puerto Rican worshippers to pray to Rodriguez for a resolution of the situation. "The sanctity of Blessed Carlos is more powerful than the entire military might of the United States," he was quoted as saying by the Catholic New York website. The Navy suspended the bombing for several days at the time of the beatification ceremonies, an act attributed by many Puerto Ricans to Rodriguez's direct intervention. Strengthening the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico during his lifetime, he had, it seemed, strengthened the society of the island from beyond the grave.



Associated Press Worldstream, April 12, 2001; April 28, 2002.

Daily News (New York), May 3, 2001, p. Suburban-4.

Orlando Sentinel, April 30, 2001; May 1, 2002, El Sentinel ed.


"Beato Carlos M. Rodriguez: Apostol Laico de Puerto Rico," Santoboricua, (May 23, 2003).

"San Juan archbishop urges prayers to beatified Puerto Rican in Vieques Strife," Catholic New York, (May 28, 2003).

"Thousands of Puerto Ricans Receive Blessed Charlie in His Home Town," Catholic World News, (May 28, 2003).

James M. Manheim

About this article

Manuel Rodriguez

All Sources -
Updated About content Print Topic