Strategy and Implementation Summary
Everywhere Assistant will leverage their competitive edge of having a wide range of services offered. This will be especially useful since once a client has found a VA that they are happy with they will tend to continue to use them assuming the VA can handle all of the tasks that the client has.
Everywhere Assistant’s marketing strategy will develop visibility and awareness for the company as a virtual assistant. This will be accomplished by using several marketing mediums. Lastly, Everywhere Assistant will highlight in their sales strategy the high level of customer satisfaction that Everywhere Assistant offers. This is especially important since because repeat business from a customer is likely if they are kept happy.
5.1 Competitive Edge
Everywhere Assistant’s competitive edge is the wide range of skills that they offer to clients. While many of the VA’s can offer basic administrative skills and tasks, Everywhere Assistant has an expanded selection of skills that includes accounting/bookkeeping, graphic design, and marketing.
Having the wider range of skills is significant because the nature of the industry is that once a good service provider is found the client tends to use the VA for all of the needs the VA can fill. If there are tasks that the VA cannot do the client will look elsewhere to have those tasks completed. Here in lays the danger, the possibility that the client will find a new VA, one that is more diverse and stay with the new VA. By offering a wide range of services Everywhere Assistant can be the one stop VA serving all of the client’s needs.
5.2 Marketing Strategy
Everywhere Assistant marketing strategy will seek to raise awareness of Everywhere Assistant as a premier VA. The first method that they will use is membership to the International Virtual Assistant Association (IVAA). This association offers a certification process which is useful when you are trying to sell the services over the Internet and the prospective customer does not know you.
The certification develops some degree of trust because the certification provides an indication of professionalism, acceptable work products, and appropriate skills. This will tend to speed up the process of developing trust between Everywhere Assistant and the remote client. Being a member of the association is also useful because it includes Everywhere Assistant in their VA directory. This comes into play when clients are looking for a VA an they will often visit an associations website looking for a VA and they will see Everywhere Assistant’s listing.
Everywhere Assistant will also have a website developed that will be a showcase for the services that they offer. This must be a professional site because other than phone conversations, this is the impression that is initially left on the client, the more professional the site looks, the better the image that is bestowed on Everywhere Assistant.
Everywhere Assistant will also place some advertisements in a couple newspapers. The choice of newspaper will be based on several factors:
- Low cost, high readership
- In a region that has had significant corporate downsizing
- A concentrated urban area
The effectiveness of a newspaper advertisement in somewhat unknown. The ads will be run a few times and a costs benefit analysis will be done to decide future use.
5.3 Sales Strategy
The sales strategy will be based on ensuring complete customer satisfaction. This will be addressed because the chance of repeat business is very high. This is intuitive because once you have found a remote assistant and have used them for a while a trust relationship builds where you begin to feel more and more comfortable with this new person.
There then is a decreased chance of looking for a different VA because the switching costs increase because of the time it takes to find someone new and build trust. Everywhere Assistant will be successful in developing superior customer satisfaction so that the majority of their clients will become repeat clients. As more and more business is repeat business, marketing costs fall because with a one person business, there is a finite amount of business that Everywhere Assistant can handle in a month.
The more business that is received through repeat business, the less business Everywhere Assistant will have to market them selves. Additionally, the more business that comes to Everywhere Assistant the more selective they can be (assuming they are reaching full capacity) in choosing the projects. Projects with higher billing can be chosen increasing revenue for the same amount of hours worked.
The key to customer satisfaction is ensuring that all customers are more than happy. If it turns out of the customers is not happy with the project it is worthwhile to correct the situation, even if it is costly in the short run. In the long term, the customer should be convinced to remain with Everywhere Assistant and is even likely to tell others about how Everywhere Assistant went out of their way to correct the problem. This develops incredible good will. Even if services have to be given away to ensure complete satisfaction, that short term cost will be a worthwhile investment for the long term sustainability of the business.
5.3.1 Sales Forecast
A sales forecast has been developed to measure the sales by month for the first year and yearly for years two and three. The sales forecast has been used to help predict the Break-even Point by measuring revenue against expenses.
A conservative forecast has been adopted to increase the chance of meeting the sales goals. The sales has been broken down by the specific customers as a method of tracking where the business is coming from. The following charts and graphs provide quantifiable data and graphic representations of the sales.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Not for profit organizations||$5,743||$11,255||$14,305|
|Direct Cost of Sales||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Not for profit organizations||$287||$563||$715|
|Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales||$1,012||$1,983||$2,521|
Everywhere Assistant has chosen several different quantifiable milestones for the company. Milestones are being used as a method of setting goals as well as then tracking progress toward the attainment of the goals. The following goals have been chosen:
- Business plan completion
- First customer
- Full time employment
- Decreased marketing costs
Please review the following table for more detail regarding the milestones.
|Milestone||Start Date||End Date||Budget||Manager||Department|
|Business plan completion||1/1/2004||2/15/2004||$0||Sadie||Busines Development|
|Full time employment||12/31/2004||3/30/2005||$0||Sadie||Sales|
|Decreased marketing costs||3/30/2005||1/30/2006||$0||Sadie||Marketing|