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Phone: 617-227-8800
Email: ByronWhite At WriterAccess.com
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Byron White
WriterAccess
205 Portland Street
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Attention WriterAccess Competitors: Read This!

April 24th, 2014 by

strategy

Almost all of our competitors at WriterAccess are funded by VC’s— SkyWord, CrowdSource, Contently, Scripted, TextBroker and more. Some pockets are deeper than others, but all are driven with the same strategy—find a way to a 10X multiple to give back to the VC what they demand for their investment. I respect this golden rule, and applaud both sides of the fence for taking on the risk to develop a strategy to achieve the goal.

When the word “strategy” is used, it is typically paired with “plan” as in Strategic Plan. Managers spend hundreds of hours drawing up detailed plans for projected revenue in the future. Managers feel good about the numbers. VC feels good about managers feeling good. Seemingly, everybody is united with the goals and driven by performance. And seems well, particularly when the goals are met.

As Roger Martin notes in a great article in the Harvard Business Review, all strategic plans tend to have the same elements. The first of three parts is the vision or mission, with an understanding of the industry and marketplace. The second is a list of initiatives and goals—new services, expanded reach, global expansion and more. The third part is the conversion of all the details into financial goals, budgets and the famous five year projections.

At WriterAccess, we use a different barometer that guides us like a shepherd.  It’s called THE CUSTOMER. Our plan is simple: Learn the wants and needs of customers, and try to design their experience around those needs. We view ourselves as an experience company, focused on the user experience of our customers. We sift through help desk tickets to surface the problems, challenges and hints to make the business better. We empower all our team members to post ideas on the Idea Board that are reviewed weekly by management and put into the production queue.

Your company strategy should be all about taking on the uncomfortable—like the risk that your customer may in fact not LOVE your products and services. Instead, VC backed companies and managers tend to take on things they can control, within reach, less risky.

So here’s what you should do, Competitor, if you’re reading this post. Start talking with your customers to learn what sucks about your business. Address things that make you feel uncomfortable about the business. Toss out the traditional strategic plan that’s 60 pages deep. Develop a one pager that addresses how you will tinker with the model, and make it better so you can win. Start playing strategy the right way, like placing bets and shortening the odds. Test your logic and don’t be afraid to report on defeat—the true building blocks for success.

Oh, one more thing—the secret sauce: Be nice to your ALL your customers, even the ones that are not the perfect fit. It’s all about the customer these days—that’s your new strategic plan.

2 Responses to “Attention WriterAccess Competitors: Read This!”

  1. Alan Kelsky says:

    Byron,

    I am one of the uncountable writers that works with Writer Access. I and most of the writers that I have the opportunity to chat with at WA agree with you 100 percent. But, one ingredient of your secret sauce that I do not see much said about is the way WA engages its writers, provides them with the best help desk and administrative help in the industry and instills in us the desire for Writer Access to succeed, even if we compete with the platform by having our own clients.

    You let us know how WA has grown over the last two years and make us feel that we are part of it. I think this is a very strong reason that your one page strategic plan works so well. You are not only nice to all your customers, you are nice to all the writers who help fulfill the customer’s visions.

  2. As one of your customers, I must agree with you 100%. You guys have awesome customer service and have designed your application with the customer in mind. It is enjoyable to work with your platform. Your writers are also incredible! I’m very pleased with everything you guys have offered so far.

Contact Byron

205 Portland St
Suite 500
Boston, MA 02114
617-227-8800
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