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Introduction

The Bedford 'Blues' Rugby got its names due to their official club colors, which is blue that originates from the foundation of Bedford on any map.  The existence of the Bedford town on the map made the rugby team eager to make a name in the rugby world. Some of the outstanding features that make the name of the club unique is the ton it is located in which is Bedfordshire in London. The place was famous due to its location and its historic value. The Bedford RUFC formed after a union between Bedford Swifts club and Bedford Rovers club in 1886. The two shades of blue that form the official colors of the club originate from the Oxford whose official color is dark blue and Cambridge whose color is light blue, showing their desire to maintain ties with the oldest institutions in the country. The clubs official ground is in Golding ton Road where they have been playing in since 1985. The club was not a professional one since its inception in the 1880s, but this changed in the 1996 – 1997 playing season, when the Sports Network Europe provided it with financial assistance that saw them through to the top division. The club faced challenges and got relegated at the end of the 1991 season when it finished last in the league. This forced the club owners to sell it the local businesses and investors in the town of Bedfordshire that made the club a semiprofessional one. The ownership of the club is currently under the 'Bedford Blues Ltd', who purchased it have been managing and financing it since then.

The e-Business Environment in 'Bedford Blues Ltd

E-business is the functioning of any enterprise that has the aim of managing its activities, revenue sources, provision of services and creation and expansion of new market targets using electronic means. There are many concepts of e-businesses among them are the four major ones namely; e-business conception, value intention, sources of income, and the required actions, assets, and capabilities. All this aspects intertwine to form a crucial part for operating the Bedford blue rugby club (Shi & Murthy, 2003, p. 321).

The e-Business concept

This is a description of the goals and objectives of the Bedford blue rugby club in both long term and short-term cases with a rationale describing its mission and vision and the products or ways of getting revenue. The concept of the rugby club is to identify ways of achieving their goals and objectives and making their vision a reality. The club’s desire for example to raise funds for the club which is the revenue part of the e-business concept by using the new scheme to attract people who will give donations is one way of maintaining a constant income for the club. The Trustees of the new Friends of the Blues, which replaces the old Bonus Try Fund headed by Howard Travis, pleads with interested people to donate funds to the club, but they try to do this in a fun way by engaging the people in a game like donation scheme where one can win quality prizes from their donations. The people donating to club will have a chance of winning a prize of £1,000 in a draw if they are lucky to be selected among the five people who will have a chance to pick a player who will score a try. This way the fans of the Bedford club get to enjoy the game and participate in financing their favorite rugby team. The people will contribute more funds to the club because they know they have a chance to win at the end of the season, and this makes the trustee team an effective one in maintaining a constant source of funds trough out the season. The goals and objectives of the trustee team of the Friends of the Blues is make sure that the club has a reliable source of funds for the entire season and that the projects planned are complete. They also include the fans of the club in the activities going on in the club by involving them in the game i.e. allowing them to participate in the guessing game, which gives the fans an enjoyable season as they predict who among their favorite players get to make a score during a game. By saying that the people who contribute a minimum will have a free entry to all the draws that will be made, and those who contribute more than the minimum level get more chances, motivates people to donate more funds. This is because they can increase their chances of getting the £1,000 and other prizes in the famous prize pool (Price, 1997, p. 189).

The co-operate strategies of the friends of the blues are on how to deal with the financial issues and improve the functioning of the club. The club has financial problems and among them is the floodlight project which aims at providing lights in the grounds and upgrading the PA systems to meet the required standards. However, this project does not have enough funds to complete it due to the need to work on the provision of gas in order to ensure the safety of the people in the area. This led to an increase I the budget of the project meaning that the people have to raise more funds to complete the project. These are some of the projects that need evaluation on chow best they can be completed in time with no funds readily available.  The Bedford Blue limited has the task of formulating strategies that can solve their financial issues and improve the quality of their game.   The challenges of becoming and maintaining the best position in the city of Bedfordshire needs strategies that will help the club deal with the external challenges like competition. To solve this issue the Blues have joined forces with the Bedford Athletic and Junior Blues who will help the team get talented players from the town to help the team build a strong and talented squad that will help them win more trophies. This also ensures that the Bedford Blues limited helps build talent and open up opportunities for upcoming talent by giving the young players a chance to prove themselves in the field with professional players. The e business environment in Bedford Blue Limited found through their website provides detailed information on how the organization operates and shares the activities going on there with their fans (Lan, 2005, p. 123).

Business context

A business context in the Bedford blues limited can be measured in terms of the strategy, organization, procedures, technology, classification, and objectives of the stakeholders of the club. The changes in the strategy of the club can be seen in its shift from a non-professional club to a semi professional club in the recent years. The club owners and its fans are directing resources towards making the club the best in the region and the city, hence changing its strategic plans. The changes in technology used in the club is evident it how they interact with their fans and other stakeholders through the internet and make all heir announcements via the internet. The club uses its official website to interact with the players, the fans and their owners and this shows how much the club has embraced the changes in technology. Technology application in the club has not only increased the awareness of the people in Bedfordshire of the activities going on in the club, but has also increased their target fans to a world-wide market due to easy access of internet services all over the world. With the use of websites, the Bedford Blues limited are cutting down their costs of operations and improving the quality of their services by using the internet and websites to market their club and get more people to contribute funds o help develop the club. The structure of the club also plays a key role in defining the context of the organization. The Bedford Blues rugby club limited has gone through many structural changes that has ever since affected its internal operations. This is evident from the time it got relegated and the middle level managers took over it when they bought it. The time when they almost got kicked out of their town of origin also proved a difficult time for the club. This shows that a change in the structure of the club had consequences on the normal operations of the club (Tennant, 2000, p. 542).

The performance of the club has since improved with the new management and structure of the club since its ownership shifted to the Bedford Blue limited. This is because the club has since gotten new club managers, a new chairperson and there are new policies and fund sources like the Friends of the Blues who are working closely with the club owners and the fans to raise funds to manage the club’s finances. The clubs culture plays an important role in defining the business context of the club because its culture is what links the club to its original purpose and determines how things are done in the club. This is evident in how the club has ever since maintained its original light blue and dark blue colors as their official colors. This shows that the club is still in touch with its founders are striving to be the best club in the country and in the world (Alkhalifa, 2011, p. 98). The way things are done in the club shapes peoples attitude toward the club and its management. Therefore, the way the club operates on its day-to-day operations defines the number of fans the club has and how people relate to the players outside the pitch. The other culture that is slowly developing in the club is the involvement of the fans in raising the funds to manage the club. The Friends of the Blues are working hard to make sure that the people who love rugby and support the team are able to participate in the funding of the club through their involvement in the seasons’ games and rewards for the participants.

E-commerce Models

The Bedford blue limited has uses their website to interact with its target group who are the rugby supporters and other welfare groups. The process of e-commerce as used in their website is the process of giving the people an idea of what goes on in their organization and this is only possible with the use of the internet. The business model used by the Bedford Blue Limited is the Business to Consumer (B2C), which is the model that consists of interaction from the business to the consumers. This model concerns itself with giving information about the activities of the club to the rugby players and its supporters. Through this model, the Friends of the Blues have created a model where they can interact with the fans and sell to them the idea of contributing to the club through their projects. The consumers or the interested parties get to join this group online by downloading the application form and contributing online. This form of interaction gives the consumers who in this case are the supporters of the rugby team a chance to buy the services of the club from the comfort of their homes.  The club news site for example provides the latest news about the activities that happened recently in the club ranging from the mach fixtures, results and the signing of new players. This gives the supports the latest news about the club and keeps them updated on latest events, hence making the consumers a part of the club.

Strategy/e-strategy

The use of e-strategy in any organization ensures that all the stakeholders have a direction well laid out for them to follow with the help of the internet. The major fields that apply e-strategy in the organization are the marketing and sales strategies that utilize the internet to reach its target group. in the Bedford Blues Limited the target group are the rugby supporters and donors. The e-strategies that the club develops need to identify these people and appeal to them to give their support to the club. Marketing the club within and outside Bedfordshire needs analysis, extensive research and planning through the internet for the club to identify the potential target group. Some of the strategies used by the Blues is to provide a link in their website where anyone looking for more information about the club gets all the information by just clicking on the link provided. This strategy keeps the reader on their website without necessarily going to other websites to look for additional information. The use of images on the website is another strategy that attracts the reader even if he or she was just browsing looking for other information. The release of information through the internet is another strategy, which helps the club, maintains its position as the top rugby club in their town. The regular e-press releases ensure that everyone gets updates on their Smart phones or iPods.

The optional e-strategies that the club can put into consideration is the competition analysis which entails accessing the level of competition in the region. This is possible if they can create a link where its supporters give their view on what the club needs to do in order to improve the club and also put forth critics on what they thinks makes the club perform poor. This way the management of the Bedford Blue limited will get the chance of evaluating their weaknesses and improving on the strengths, which will make them perform better and keep up with their competitors. The other strategy that can prove effective for the club is the use of mobile websites which will enable users browsing using their mobiles phones to access the clubs information. This is because most of the information on their website is accessible through a computer or a laptop and it is common knowledge that not everyone has ready access to these two. The upcoming us of social media monitoring techniques comes in handy for the club if it plans to see how people view their reputation and what they can do to improve it. They can monitor the reputation of their players, managers and other stakeholders to make sure that they maintain a good reputation with their supporters by creating a link that the supporters can use to rate the club (Syed & Raisinghani, 2000, p. 312).

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