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Introduction to Business

Critical Thinking Case

Introduction to BusinessCritical Thinking Case
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Understanding Economic Systems and Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 The Nature of Business
    3. 1.2 Understanding the Business Environment
    4. 1.3 How Business and Economics Work
    5. 1.4 Macroeconomics: The Big Picture
    6. 1.5 Achieving Macroeconomic Goals
    7. 1.6 Microeconomics: Zeroing in on Businesses and Consumers
    8. 1.7 Competing in a Free Market
    9. 1.8 Trends in the Business Environment and Competition
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  3. 2 Making Ethical Decisions and Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Understanding Business Ethics
    3. 2.2 How Organizations Influence Ethical Conduct
    4. 2.3 Managing a Socially Responsible Business
    5. 2.4 Responsibilities to Stakeholders
    6. 2.5 Trends in Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    9. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    10. Ethics Activity
    11. Working the Net
    12. Critical Thinking Case
    13. Hot Links Address Book
  4. 3 Competing in the Global Marketplace
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Global Trade in the United States
    3. 3.2 Why Nations Trade
    4. 3.3 Barriers to Trade
    5. 3.4 Fostering Global Trade
    6. 3.5 International Economic Communities
    7. 3.6 Participating in the Global Marketplace
    8. 3.7 Threats and Opportunities in the Global Marketplace
    9. 3.8 The Impact of Multinational Corporations
    10. 3.9 Trends in Global Competition
    11. Key Terms
    12. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    13. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    14. Ethics Activity
    15. Working the Net
    16. Critical Thinking Case
    17. Hot Links Address Book
  5. 4 Forms of Business Ownership
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Going It Alone: Sole Proprietorships
    3. 4.2 Partnerships: Sharing the Load
    4. 4.3 Corporations: Limiting Your Liability
    5. 4.4 Specialized Forms of Business Organization
    6. 4.5 Franchising: A Popular Trend
    7. 4.6 Mergers and Acquisitions
    8. 4.7 Trends in Business Ownership
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    11. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    12. Ethics Activity
    13. Working the Net
    14. Critical Thinking Case
    15. Hot Links Address Book
  6. 5 Entrepreneurship: Starting and Managing Your Own Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Entrepreneurship Today
    3. 5.2 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
    4. 5.3 Small Business: Driving America's Growth
    5. 5.4 Ready, Set, Start Your Own Business
    6. 5.5 Managing a Small Business
    7. 5.6 Small Business, Large Impact
    8. 5.7 The Small Business Administration
    9. 5.8 Trends in Entrepreneurship and Small-Business Ownership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  7. 6 Management and Leadership in Today's Organizations
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 The Role of Management
    3. 6.2 Planning
    4. 6.3 Organizing
    5. 6.4 Leading, Guiding, and Motivating Others
    6. 6.5 Controlling
    7. 6.6 Managerial Roles
    8. 6.7 Managerial Skills
    9. 6.8 Trends in Management and Leadership
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  8. 7 Designing Organizational Structures
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 Building Organizational Structures
    3. 7.2 Contemporary Structures
    4. 7.3 Using Teams to Enhance Motivation and Performance
    5. 7.4 Authority—Establishing Organizational Relationships
    6. 7.5 Degree of Centralization
    7. 7.6 Organizational Design Considerations
    8. 7.7 The Informal Organization
    9. 7.8 Trends in Organizational Structure
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  9. 8 Managing Human Resources and Labor Relations
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 Achieving High Performance through Human Resources Management
    3. 8.2 Employee Recruitment
    4. 8.3 Employee Selection
    5. 8.4 Employee Training and Development
    6. 8.5 Performance Planning and Evaluation
    7. 8.6 Employee Compensation and Benefits
    8. 8.7 The Labor Relations Process
    9. 8.8 Managing Grievances and Conflicts
    10. 8.9 Legal Environment of Human Resources and Labor Relations
    11. 8.10 Trends in Human Resource Management and Labor Relations
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  10. 9 Motivating Employees
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Early Theories of Motivation
    3. 9.2 The Hawthorne Studies
    4. 9.3 Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
    5. 9.4 McGregor's Theories X and Y
    6. 9.5 Herzberg's Motivator-Hygiene Theory
    7. 9.6 Contemporary Views on Motivation
    8. 9.7 From Motivation Theory to Application
    9. 9.8 Trends in Employee Motivation
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  11. 10 Achieving World-Class Operations Management
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Production and Operations Management—An Overview
    3. 10.2 The Production Process: How Do We Make It?
    4. 10.3 Location, Location, Location: Where Do We Make It?
    5. 10.4 Pulling It Together: Resource Planning
    6. 10.5 Production and Operations Control
    7. 10.6 Looking for a Better Way: Improving Production and Operations
    8. 10.7 Transforming the Factory Floor with Technology
    9. 10.8 Trends in Production and Operations Management
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  12. 11 Creating Products and Pricing Strategies to Meet Customers' Needs
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 The Marketing Concept
    3. 11.2 Creating a Marketing Strategy
    4. 11.3 Developing a Marketing Mix
    5. 11.4 Buyer Behavior
    6. 11.5 Market Segmentation
    7. 11.6 What Is a Product?
    8. 11.7 Creating Products That Deliver Value
    9. 11.8 The Product Life Cycle
    10. 11.9 Pricing Strategies and Future Trends
    11. 11.10 Trends in Developing Products and Pricing
    12. Key Terms
    13. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    14. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    15. Ethics Activity
    16. Working the Net
    17. Critical Thinking Case
    18. Hot Links Address Book
  13. 12 Distributing and Promoting Products and Services
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 The Nature and Functions of Distribution (Place)
    3. 12.2 Wholesaling
    4. 12.3 The Competitive World of Retailing
    5. 12.4 Using Supply Chain Management to Increase Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction
    6. 12.5 Promotion Strategy
    7. 12.6 The Huge Impact of Advertising
    8. 12.7 The Importance of Personal Selling
    9. 12.8 Sales Promotion
    10. 12.9 Public Relations Helps Build Goodwill
    11. 12.10 Trends in Social Media
    12. 12.11 Trends in E-Commerce
    13. Key Terms
    14. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    15. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    16. Ethics Activity
    17. Working the Net
    18. Critical Thinking Case
    19. Hot Links Address Book
  14. 13 Using Technology to Manage Information
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 Transforming Businesses through Information
    3. 13.2 Linking Up: Computer Networks
    4. 13.3 Management Information Systems
    5. 13.4 Technology Management and Planning
    6. 13.5 Protecting Computers and Information
    7. 13.6 Trends in Information Technology
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  15. 14 Using Financial Information and Accounting
    1. Introduction
    2. 14.1 Accounting: More than Numbers
    3. 14.2 The Accounting Profession
    4. 14.3 Basic Accounting Procedures
    5. 14.4 The Balance Sheet
    6. 14.5 The Income Statement
    7. 14.6 The Statement of Cash Flows
    8. 14.7 Analyzing Financial Statements
    9. 14.8 Trends in Accounting
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  16. 15 Understanding Money and Financial Institutions
    1. Introduction
    2. 15.1 Show Me the Money
    3. 15.2 The Federal Reserve System
    4. 15.3 U.S. Financial Institutions
    5. 15.4 Insuring Bank Deposits
    6. 15.5 International Banking
    7. 15.6 Trends in Financial Institutions
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    10. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    11. Ethics Activity
    12. Working the Net
    13. Critical Thinking Case
    14. Hot Links Address Book
  17. 16 Understanding Financial Management and Securities Markets
    1. Introduction
    2. 16.1 The Role of Finance and the Financial Manager
    3. 16.2 How Organizations Use Funds
    4. 16.3 Obtaining Short-Term Financing
    5. 16.4 Raising Long-Term Financing
    6. 16.5 Equity Financing
    7. 16.6 Securities Markets
    8. 16.7 Buying and Selling at Securities Exchanges
    9. 16.8 Trends in Financial Management and Securities Markets
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary of Learning Outcomes
    12. Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills
    13. Ethics Activity
    14. Working the Net
    15. Critical Thinking Case
    16. Hot Links Address Book
  18. 17 Your Career in Business
    1. Introduction
    2. 17.1 Learn the Basics of Business
    3. 17.2 Developing Interpersonal Skills Is Key to Your Success
    4. 17.3 Make Your Future Happen: Learn to Plan
    5. 17.4 Going to College Is an Opportunity of a Lifetime—Never Drop Out
    6. 17.5 Get Your Career Off on the Right Track
    7. 17.6 Self-Test Scoring Guidelines
  19. A | Understanding the Legal and Tax Environment
  20. Index
  21. References

Blue Apron IPO Leaves a Bad Taste

Founded in 2012, Blue Apron is one of the top meal-kit delivery services doing business in the United States. Started by three cofounders—Matt Salzberg, Matt Wadiak, and Ilia Pappas—Blue Apron provides preportioned ingredients (and recipes) for a meal, delivered to consumers’ front doors.

According to recent research, the U.S. meal-kit delivery industry is an $800 million business with the potential to scale up quickly, as more and more consumers struggle to find time to go grocery shopping, make meals, and spend time with family and friends in their hectic daily lives.

As word spread among foodies about the quality and innovative meals put together by Blue Apron, the company’s popularity took off, supported by millions in start-up funding. Costs to scale the business have not been cheap—estimates suggest that Blue Apron’s marketing costs have been high.

Despite the challenges, by early 2017 the company was selling more than 8 million meal kits a month and decided to go public in an effort to raise more money and scale its operations, including a new fulfillment facility in New Jersey. According to IPO paperwork filed with the SEC, the company had net revenues of $84 million in 2014, which increased to $795 million in 2016. However, those ambitious numbers were not without warnings: company losses increased in the same time period from $33 million to $55 million.

Even with those larges losses on its balance sheet, Blue Apron decided to go ahead with the IPO and hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, two top stock underwriters, to figure out the right price for the initial offering. While Blue Apron and its underwriters were finalizing stock prices, Amazon announced plans to acquire Whole Foods—a move that could negatively affect Blue Apron’s business going forward.

Even after Amazon’s announcement, Blue Apron and its financial advisors priced the initial offering at $15 to $17 a share and met with investors across the country to inform them about the IPO, which would value the company on paper at more than $3 billion. As part of the IPO strategy, Blue Apron executives needed to communicate a strong financial picture while providing potential investors with an honest assessment of investor demand, especially for institutional investors, who typically are repeat buyers when it comes to IPOs.

According to sources close to the IPO experience, Blue Apron’s bankers told investors late in the IPO pricing process that they were “closing their order books early,” which meant there was a heightened demand for the stock—a signal that the stock would be priced in the original $15–$17 range.

A day later, however, Blue Apron amended its prospectus with a price range between $10 and $11 a share, which shocked potential investors—a move greeted with criticism that Blue Apron’s messaging now lacked credibility in the eyes of the investment community if the company priced the IPO $5 lower per share than originally estimated. With that sudden change in the IPO offering, investors walked away, and the $10 initial offering for Blue Apron stock actually declined on its first day of trading. As of this writing, the stock has lost close to 40 percent from the original $10-per-share price.

With continued consolidation in the meal-kit delivery sector inevitable, Blue Apron is at a crossroads when it comes to generating revenue and stabilizing costs while trying to sign up more subscribers. One of its competitors, Plated, was recently acquired by the Alberstons grocery chain, and Amazon has already trademarked the phrase, “We do the prep. You be the chef,” as it relates to prepared food kits.

Sources: Wolf Richter, “Blue Apron’s Cash Burn Is a Threat Just 3 Months after Its IPO,” Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com, October 19, 2017; Graham Rapier, “Blue Apron CEO: Amazon and Whole Foods Aren’t the Competition,” Business Insider, http://markets.businessinsider.com, September 13, 2017; Matthew Lynley, “Where Does Blue Apron Go after Amazon Wraps Up Its Whole Foods Deal?” Tech Crunch, https://techcrunch.com, August 27, 2017; Leslie Picker, “Inside Blue Apron’s IPO: Communication Lapse Chased Away Investors,” CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com, August 23, 2017; Imani Moise, “Blue Apron Co-Founder to Step Aside as Operating Chief,” The Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com, July 25, 2017; Phil Lempert, “Understanding Blue Apron’s IPO and the Future of Meal Kits,” Forbes, http://www.forbes.com, June 2, 2017; John Kell, “Meals in the Mail: How Blue Apron Got Started and Where It’s Heading,” Fortune, http://fortune.com, September 11, 2016.

Critical Thinking Questions
  1. What issues should executives of a company such as Blue Apron consider before deciding to go public? In your opinion, was the company ready for an IPO? Why or why not?
  2. How else could Blue Apron have raised funds to continue to grow? Compare the risks of raising private funding to going public.
  3. Use a search engine and a site such as Yahoo! Finance to learn about Blue Apron’s current situation. Prepare a brief summary, including the company’s current financial situation. Is it still a public company, and how has its stock fared? Would you invest in it? Explain your reasoning.

Sources: Wolf Richter, “Blue Apron’s Cash Burn Is a Threat Just 3 Months after Its IPO,” Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com, October 19, 2017; Graham Rapier, “Blue Apron CEO: Amazon and Whole Foods Aren’t the Competition,” Business Insider, http://markets.businessinsider.com, September 13, 2017; Matthew Lynley, “Where Does Blue Apron Go after Amazon Wraps Up Its Whole Foods Deal?” Tech Crunch, https://techcrunch.com, August 27, 2017; Leslie Picker, “Inside Blue Apron’s IPO: Communication Lapse Chased Away Investors,” CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com, August 23, 2017; Imani Moise, “Blue Apron Co-Founder to Step Aside as Operating Chief,” The Wall Street Journal, https://www.wsj.com, July 25, 2017; Phil Lempert, “Understanding Blue Apron’s IPO and the Future of Meal Kits,” Forbes, http://www.forbes.com, June 2, 2017; John Kell, “Meals in the Mail: How Blue Apron Got Started and Where It’s Heading,” Fortune, http://fortune.com, September 11, 2016.

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