Case Study: iAnswers

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Busi­ness Devel­op­ment: B-2-B Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­place
Show­ing how to step out on the right foot

Busi­ness Chal­lenge: Cre­ate a New Busi­ness
The founders of iAn­swers approached me with a dream. To cre­ate a dig­i­tal mar­ket­place that allowed pro­fes­sion­als work­ing on web projects to buy and sell cus­tomized infor­ma­tion, advice, answers and ser­vices at prices deter­mined by mar­ket forces. I was brought in to help real­ize their vision — to become the lead­ing New Media infor­ma­tion exchange.

How I Helped: Under­stand Mar­ket & Cus­tomer Needs

I inves­ti­gated and proved the valid­ity of the busi­ness model assump­tions. In doing so, I was also able to help the founders see the broad pos­si­bil­i­ties of their busi­ness. Incor­po­rat­ing these find­ings into the busi­ness model resulted in an improved posi­tion­ing and a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the product’s advan­tages over exist­ing gen­eral research shops and inter­ac­tive con­sul­tan­cies.

Solu­tion: Pre­pare Care­fully for Launch

I was also retained to serve as interim COO. In this capac­ity I was respon­si­ble for the con­tin­ued refine­ment of the busi­ness oper­a­tional plan, investor pre­sen­ta­tions, and the imple­men­ta­tion of the back-office infra­struc­ture. More specif­i­cally I added value by:

  • Work­ing with the founders to flush out the fol­low­ing elements:
    • Quan­tifi­ca­tion of tar­get market
    • Prod­uct differentiation
    • Appro­pri­ate brand positioning
    • Thor­ough busi­ness & sales devel­op­ment plan
  • Design and imple­ment both the trans­ac­tional and oper­a­tional account­ing sys­tems. These sys­tems pro­vided for the mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol of an escrow ser­vice while also main­tain­ing the seg­re­ga­tion of com­pany funds from that owned by third parties.

Results:

  • Secured $1.5 mil­lion in seed fund­ing and ensured beta launch.
  • Devel­oped & insti­tuted a flex­i­ble, effi­cient busi­ness system.
  • Grew head­count form founders to a 10 per­son staff.