What to Wear Today
Strategic Plan Part 1
What to Wear Today is an online service which offers fashion advice to men who have trouble finding the right style and appropriate clothing. Most of the site’s content is free allowing men to view tools such as color matching charts and trend lists. The site will also contain articles on new trends and advice for how clothes should look when they are fitted properly. Along with the free content there will also be feedback systems such as comments sections for articles where users and clients can leave messages and ask questions directly. In this way clients and users can find information that others have asked in the past.
For individuals needing personalized attention, the business would offer a custom style guide. This guide would be a comprehensive PDF file which would discuss which types of clothing would be most stylish based upon the individual’s body type and features. The person would be required to send a full body photo and a headshot in order to make the guide. The cost would be $50 for the guide and would give the person all the necessary information such as particular brands of clothing and how he should wear the clothing with accessories such as watches and scarves. The reason the cost would be so low is that the PDF would be a template with large amounts of fill in the blank forms. For example there would be a box to past the person’s pictures into. There would also be blank sections such as brands that fit best for this person. This would make customization of the guide simple and quick. Through this method clients would be able to receive the same advice that a professional stylist would give but at a fraction of the cost.
Another area of the business which would also make it profitable is the linking of site content with affiliate marketing programs. Amazon has an affiliate marketing program that allows What to Wear Today to earn money whenever a person clicks through to the Amazon site and makes a purchase. This is a unique adjunct to the business which may prove to be very profitable. Since What to Wear Today is giving the client and users fashion advice on what brands to wear then it would be prudent to tell them wear to purchase the items for the best price. This creates a sustainable business model which is not dependent upon constant sales from style guides since users just looking on the site also have the potential to create profit. Another benefit of affiliate marketing is that there are many different companies such as Ebay and Oodle which can be used to link to products. This allows What to Wear Today the ability to find the best deals for its clients and not be limited to one particular company such as Amazon.
From the intended purpose, planned structure, and intended processes of What to Wear Today, the company focuses its mission into the following statement,
It is the mission of What to Wear Today to aid men’s fashion needs and to give them the tools necessary to dress for success in all their endeavors.
The mission clearly drives the company vision in which the organization sees a future in which it is a one-stop fashion advice center for men. The organization envisions itself as a tool for men to seek advice and learn fashion sense in a practical and comfortable atmosphere. To this end, the organization resolves to take an honest and ethical approach to managing and dealing with clients. It is important that the clients trust in the organizations advice because they need to feel comfortable in changing their styles and wearing their new look in public.
From this honest approach What to Wear Today drives its competitive advantage in a market filled with competitors. There are literally thousands of stylists whom seek to find a niche in the market by targeting rich people who can afford to have a stylist. This approach overlooks millions of potential clients due to the extreme cost of hiring these professional stylists. The bulk of men needing help with their style and dress are just average individuals with average jobs. What to Wear Today believes that most of these potential clients just need some basic advice that will allow them to increase and better their fashion sense. It is through this belief that What to Wear Today believes that it can achieve a new and unique product differentiation as well as an extreme competitive advantage (Collins, 2001).
By maintaining the one on one approach through electronic communications, the clients can remain as anonymous as they wish. For many men, this allows them to discuss their fashion issues without feeling embarrassed. This is also where a strict adherence to honesty is a must for the organization in that these clients must have faith in what the organization is telling them. The honest approach also creates a positive workplace culture that is flexible enough to meet the ever changing needs of the client (Kerns, 2003). This is very important to the company’s success as fashion and trends are constantly evolving and therefore the needs of the clients are also evolving.
Other fashion stylists would desire to have their clients meet in person and would cost tremendous amounts of money. This method ostracizes many potential clients due to the personal nature of fashion as well as the financial restrictions. The What to Wear Today approach allows men the access to large amounts of general fashion advice for free and low cost personal styling which can be designed quickly and efficiently. As well these clients can learn about their style needs in the comfort of their home and maintain their privacy. It is the nature of the What to Wear Today service that men will be comfortable to discuss their fashion needs and not feel embarrassed or awkward. Through this unique form of style advice and planning What to Wear Today hopes to build a large and loyal market base that helps men for years and years.
The What to Wear Today SWOTT analysis shows various negative and positive forces as well as trend directions. These forces and trends reveal a methodology for management to follow in order to enterprise or avoid these factors. This SWOTT analysis will give a fundamental strategy and risk assessment for strategic planning.
The largest strengths that What to Wear Today presents is the inexpensive overhead. Working across the internet in a virtual store environment gives What to Wear Today the benefit of not maintaining the cost of a buildings and other physical overheads. These costs would include items such as fire insurance, theft insurance, or general liability insurance. As well, because there is no need for employees there is the lack of needing to carry workman’s compensation insurance or benefit plans.
The digital world of What to Wear Today also allows for control of services to greater degree than in traditional retail storefronts. This control is exhibited through the control of business processes and work flow determination. Essentially, the company can control its processes to greater degree because it is not at the mercy of retail customer demands and it can determine its own scheduling rather than being forced by the demands of customers. This gives the company greater flexibility and control. The digital store also allows What to Wear Today the ability to be particular about its clients. Clients that seem overly demanding or costly in service do not have to remain clients. While choosing to not service certain clientele is not a business practice to be considered anything but rare, it is however an option.
The virtual environment also allows the company to concentrate its efforts into its core competencies. While other traditional retail outlets spend much of their time toiling with activities that are nonbusiness related, the virtual environment removes this problem. For example, normal retail stores still must contend with time consuming tasks such as janitorial services or buying supplies such as paper for copiers. Due to this factor, concentration can remain focused on the needs of the client and time is not allocated to other activities unnecessarily. This means better customer service and increased service quality.
The lack of personal interaction with customers removes the problem of distractions within the workplace. While customers are important they can also be time consuming with regard to helping them make choices. This can be a burden on a company since there is no guarantee that the customer will purchase the product. The digital store removes this constant distraction and allows customers to learn the services offered through the website.
These many strengths of this business are created from technological advancements in communications. The internet is the driving strength for the business. However, new trends in software and information technology have also been a driving force in business empowerment. For example, new software applications provide What to Wear Today the means to maintain efficient, inexpensive, and professional processes. Desktop publishing software allows the company to create personalized style guides which look professional and can have interactive features such as links to other websites or to affiliate marketing programs.
What to Wear Today also has the ability to sell globally. Clients can join the site and use the services anywhere in the world. This gives the company competitive advantage in the fashion industry because it allows the clients to have a virtual stylist on hand from anywhere.
In contrast to these strengths, there are several areas of weakness for the company. The largest of these weaknesses is the fact that the virtual business environment separates the client from the stylist. Because of this factor it is easy to lose touch with clients, therefore losing the personal approach. This could be used by competitors to gain competitive advantage by creating using this problem as a negative strike against the company. This same virtual environment could also present problems in communication. When communicating electronically, tone and context of meaning can often be issues. Clients could have the problem of misunderstanding messages. A negative communication could create a negative selling environment that makes for bad relations with clients. The need for a positive selling environment is essential to online business. This factor is a driving force for What to Wear Today as clients must trust the company. This positive selling environment is vital to the business operations and continued ability to grow the customer base. This factor makes the necessity for quality service a priority in maintaining marketability.
A final weakness for What to Wear Today is the fact that it will be extremely difficult to build business from the startup. This is a problem because the company will not be in the top of the search engines and will need to campaign through other online media sources in order to drive traffic. This can be time consuming and sometimes frustrating as online advertising has low rates of return.
Along with these strengths and weaknesses there are external threats and opportunities to the company. The largest of opportunities is the potential for driving business through affiliate marketing. Amazon, Ebay, and many other companies have affiliate programs which allow their partners to make percentages of income for sales driven through their sites (Prussakov, 2007). In particular for What to Wear Today, this represents a built in marketplace since the company will be recommending clothing and apparel to purchase. This potential gives What to Wear Today the opportunity to have a large and expanding market base.
This market base’s opportunity only increases by virtue of the current Y generation’s attitude and use with internet applications. The millennia generation presents millions of clients for the What to Wear Today service. This generation presents a unique marketability in that the service is strictly internet based which the Y generation tends to use the most (Business Week, 1999). This also allows What to Wear Today to expand its services to many diverse customers. There are many unforeseen potential clients which might be attracted to this type of business such as immigrants, business persons moving into new geographies, and many other people who might need to learn a new fashion sense in order to blend with their new environment (Migration News, 1996).
However, along with these opportunities there are several threats. The largest threat to What to Wear Today is the threat of service substitution. Due to the fact that the startup cost is low, substitute services can quickly mimic the service. The threat of substitution is a high risk because of the business being digital in nature. Competitors could quickly and easily copy the business and use cutthroat pricing to compete. This threat of substitution has the potential to adversely affect What to Wear Today through negative association. If a similar substitute service delivers bad service, potential clients might be weary of using What to Wear Today due to this negative association.
The SWOTT analysis shows a profitable and expandable business model. Within the assessment, threats are revealed but these threats are controllable through quality control standards that keep competition from penetrating the market with price gouging. The strengths of the product outweigh the threats and risks. The low overhead and low cost of startup makes the risk of enterprise worth undertaking.
The threats of substitution are also controllable through gaining market advantage by being first in the marketplace. The weakness of startup campaigning might be controlled through utilizing social media applications and cross converging information between them. Through a cross convergence of media, the target market (millennia generation) is tuned into the advertising. This strategy is also beneficial because this same target market also uses the internet to research new business options (Business Week, 1999). In this way What to Wear Today is sure to reach its target market. This method is also inexpensive and targets the particular clients desired.
Create content for site which is useful and free that promotes affiliate marketing.
Develop consistent revenue through cash-flow management
Cash flow statement
Strict adherence to billing practices (COD).
Create competitive advantage through pricing and work efficiency
Measuring the increase in customer base
Competitive intelligence, watch competitor prices and efficiencies to make sure that What to Wear Today is maintaining market edge.
Create loyal customers
Repeat uses of services
Maintain positive market culture through personal interactions with clients.
Individualize product specific to client needs.
Repeat use of services
Increase product differentiation through individualization of products.
Provide best customer service to clients
Continuous customer service development.
Create time management efficiency
Measure client service times and product turnaround.
Smooth operations practices with enhanced communication to develop understanding of client needs.
Track work against deadlines
Maintain business with one on one interaction and discover the number of clients to stylist ratios.
Implement standardization of work
Measure of work accomplished and productivity as it will apply to future employees.
Human resource development
Learning and Growth
Create skills tests for required learning of new stylists.
Develop learning environment in which future employees can learn in a comfortable manner.
Develop continuous learning practices
Challenge workers with keeping in step with new fashion trends.
Continuous learning of new trends and fashion developments in order to remain competitive.
Maintain learning of client needs.
Client Satisfaction Surveys
Maintain high level of communications with clients in order to keep informed of their particular fashion needs.
At What to Wear Today, the company derives its mission from its purpose and work ethic. For this reason the company’s mission states:
It is the mission of What to Wear Today to aid men’s fashion needs and to give them the tools necessary to dress for success in all their endeavors.
As well, the company’s values and mission build a vision of what What to Wear Today intends to achieve.
What to Wear Today believes that our clients should receive that highest quality fashion advise possible and to be as stylish as possible.
The value and mission statement for What to Wear Today determines its balanced scorecard objectives. This scorecard is intended to develop the objectives for the new start-up company What to Wear Today (Pearce & Robinson, 2009). In this manner the goals were created in order to support initial growth and expansion of the new company.
The financial objectives are intended to develop profit, positive cash-flow, and competitive market advantage. Profit is with any company an important objective. This objective is vital for a variety of reasons such as garnering potential investor interest or for commercial lending. What to Wear Today seeks to maximize profit through low cost product sales and automated affiliate marketing. In this way, the company can attract potential investors and as well be a good risk for lending.
Profitability leads into another financial area known as cash-flow. When cash-flow is positive it creates more working capital. In this way the company physically has more money to use towards projects and bills. This places cash-flow as a priority objective.
Linking these financial objectives together is the idea of competitive advantage. By watching competitors What to Wear Today can analyze threats to its market share or to asses new techniques of the competition. These financial objectives are important to a new startup company because they create the foundation of future processes. As well, these objectives steer the company away from potential problems (Pearce & Robinson, 2009).
The most important and vital section of the balanced scorecard is the customer area. These objectives outline the methodology for increasing loyal customers; specialization for client needs; and metrics for increasing customer service. Creating loyal customers is the foundation for the company and through personalized customer service and product quality this can be achieved. This objective highlights the need for a positive market place in which customers can feel comfortable and relaxed discussing their personal fashion issues. A positive workplace culture allows a free-flow of communication between client and company in which changes can be made without resistance.
The positive market also lends itself to the development of standardized work protocols. What to Wear Today needs create a workforce which treats every customer as a VIP. This need highlights the need for individualizing practices specific to the client’s needs. This means personal service and understanding the customer’s desires. This objective is achieved through continuous training and human resource management.
The process area of the scorecard includes create time management efficiency, operations streamlining, and standardization of work. Time management is achieved through smoothing operation’s practices with strong communications. By developing intensive communication practices, workers will be able to understand the client needs. In order to make this possible a communications plan will need to be designed. By creating a plan the operations streamlining will be achievable. Communications will also eliminate many errors and miscommunications which can be detrimental to the online environment and market.
These objectives work in conjunction with the objective of developing continuous learning practices. This will mean creating a workplace where learning is central to the job. The cross training will be achieved through setting of goals and creating an environment of open discussion amongst workers. In this environment, workers will share knowledge and understanding of new trends and fashion developments. This means providing material such as fashion books and reviews from professional designers and providing time for workers to utilize these materials.
The final objective of the continuous learning process will be achieved by understanding the client’s needs. What to Wear Today can continue to increase the knowledge of what is necessary to maintain quality service practices by making sure that the company understands specifically what the client desires and needs. Simply speaking, it is not enough to make a person look trendy but their need for career success and dating success must also be examined in order to maximize their potential.
The balanced scorecard focuses the mission and values statement into a variety of objectives. These objectives are intended to achieve the highest level of success through many different business oriented goals specific to the company. By following a balanced scorecard a successful and strong strategic plan can be initiated.
Strategies and Tactics
In order to achieve What to Wear Today’s objectives, a three point strategy has been devised. The three points of strategy include: competitive advantage development; implementation new technologies; and encouragement of personal and professional development. Through these strategies, objectives can be obtained and maintained. Through strategy competitive advantage development, What to Wear Today can achieve market leadership. This is important because of the risk of product substitution. The strategy is fix costs for services and offer to quality free reliable content for users. This content must be up to date and fresh. The offering of free content also builds affiliate marketing potential thus increasing profitability. Simply speaking, the more traffic on the site the higher the opportunity to achieve sales, both for services and affiliate sales. As well, fixing costs for services will force competition to continuously lower costs or change service plans in order to remain profitable.
The second strategy, implementation new technologies, is also a competitive advantage strategy in that the use of constantly evolving technologies will keep the company ahead of the competition. The company can employ the use of chat, mobile fashion updates, and publishing software that allows for quick creation of style guide templates. By keeping clients informed of style and fashion changes we drive them back to the site in order to check to see what they need. Again this is intended to build brand value with customers as well as drive traffic on the site for affiliate marketing.
The third strategy is to encourage personal and professional development. The company will provide time for employees to study fashion periodicals and magazines. As an organization, the company will promote discussions concerning trends in style. This strategy will allow the company’s stylist to remain vigilant and educated about market changes. This knowledge is intended to trickle down to clients helping them to maintain their person and professional development as well.
What to Wear Today meshes these strategies into its overall strategic planning. Keeping the clients and their needs in sight at all times is the strength of the company’s strategic implementation. What to Wear Today, unlike its competitors, is not about the money, but is really about the customer. By maintaining honest customer relations and building quality brand with customers, What to Wear Today can achieve a sustainable business model.
Business Week Generation Y Today’s teens–the biggest bulge since the boomers–may force marketers to toss their old tricks February 15, 1999 issue.
Collins, J. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t (New York: Free Press, 2001).
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Workplace Diversity (2010) Advancing The World of Work
Prussakov, E. (2007). A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing (pp.16-17), 2007.
Pearce, J. A. II, & Robinson, R. B. (2009). Strategic management: Formulation, implementation, and control (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.