Meghan's strategy for reaching her two target segments will be based on seminars and networking. The seminars are open to the public and have a small, subsidized entry fee. They are meant to cover the basics of financial and estate planning. Typically the seminars will start to get these people asking questions about their personal finances and hopefully come back to Meghan for more help.
Meghan will also be doing networking to find customers. Her networking will be primarily based on contacts that she made while at Reed College and Willamette University.
Grizzly Bear Financial Managers' competitive advantage is their comprehensive approach to research and services provided. It is Meghan's philosophy that she can develop more value for her customers by investing more time up front while researching different options. Most planning firms will do adequate research in terms of looking into different options, certainly enough to meet due diligence requirements. While this is sufficient for some, Meghan adheres to the philosophy that its is better to invest the time upfront in support of the customers. This will then pay off in the future by developing long lasting relationships. This attention to detail and thoroughness will certainly be appreciated by clients who are trusting their financial future to Meghan.
Meghan will be offering public seminars on estate planning and financial planning in Portland once or twice a month. These workshops will be have subsidized rates and encourage people to attend and learn as much information as possible. These seminars will typically take place in a public building and offer a general discussion on the subject. Meghan will caution people against solely using this information to make decisions. Instead they will be encouraged to see a professional individually so they can better assess the customers needs. The seminars will attempt to get these people to start thinking about their financial future. These seminars are a very good, and efficient, way of introducing Meghan to new clients.
Meghan will also be doing a lot of networking to drum up business. One outstanding source of networking is with her friends from her MBA program. While everyone that went through the MBA program has a good educational foundation for financial management, most people do not do their own planning by themselves but are assisted by a specialist. Meghan will be contacting her colleagues through social occassions as well as calling them, to keep in touch with them and offer her services if they are in need. These two methods will accurately target the segmented populations and allow Meghan to build her client list.
Grizzly Bear Financial Managers' sales strategy will be to emphasize their competitive advantage of comprehensive research and product offerings. This is likely to turn prospective clients into long-term customers because people are often cautious with their financial future and offering a comprehensive solution will likely allay their concerns because Grizzly Bear Financial Managers is willing to work extra hard to research all options.
This approach takes a lot of time up front for Meghan, but the customers will recognize this effort and choose Grizzly Bear Financial Managers as their service provider.
The first month of business will be used to set up the office. There will be no sales activity during this period of time. Revenue will begin to occur during the second month, however it will only trickle in until the four month when it will become more steady. It will not be until the middle of year two when things begin to settle and become more like an established business in terms of dividing time between serving clients and attracting new ones.
Meghan will receive revenue from two sources. She will charge the client an initial modest fee and this includes all of the needed research, interviews and meetings. If the client then goes ahead and purchases a mutual fund or equity, Meghan receives a commission from the company that is selling the item. This compensation structure if fairly standard in the industry. The initial fee allows the client to receive as much counseling and research that they need and then future transactions are compensated by the company selling the equity, much like the commission structure of travel agents.
Grizzly Bear Financial Managers will have several milestones early on: