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Marketing Plan

The marketplace and how we intend to enter it

1.1 Environmental analysis

The financial accounting industy is on a cusp and about to enter the internet proper with a wide range of hosted, software as a service offerings.

We believe that with the right price point we can take on shrink-wrap desktop offerings with a branded hosted/SAAS solution.  A broad spectrum of services and functionality delivered via a rich collaboration environment mean this platform is much more than simple bookkeeping software.


1.2 Products and services

We have a wholesale and retail small business regulatory financial accounting suite that takes advantage of all the potential of the internet.  It is scalable, based upon our ISP operations, and it is open and interconnected, using both traditional and Web 2.0 interoperability protocols.

While our main aspiration is to sell this as a branded solution to CPA firms, we are looking for a suitable CPA outsourcer to deliver our own one stop small business portal.

Not only do we have a strong online practice platform, but we've the opportunity to bundle our ISP and Enterprise Content Management business offerings.


1.3 Customer demographics

We see an opportunity to provide our own branded retail platform for independent and new small businesses.  However, most small businesses solicit and enact upon the recommendation of their accountant, and the major thrust of the initiative is to provide the platform, branded as the accountants business, for a full internet practice.

We are however getting conflicting feedback in the marketplace as to how receptive accountants are to any technological solution.  As government streamlines, simplifies, and web-enables regulatory financial requirements into the future, it is quite possible that CPA firms will find little requirement for their services in the micro-business space.


1.4 Competition and competitive advantage

Presently, there are a couple of incumbents with major penetration in the desktop arena - MYOB and Quickbooks are the leaders here.  In Saas, there are some firms with purely software offerings - Xero (in micro-business only), is publicly listed in NZ, Saasu is a dedicated player in the Australian marketplace, with Netsuite offering a similarly broad range of accounting, ERP and CRM services to us internationally, professing to also offer local jurisdiction support.

The reasons that it makes sense to offer this service on the internet instead of the desktop are manifold.  Firstly, we can offer datacentre-quality backup, recovery, BCP.  The system is available wherever you have a browser, and to whomever you give access - we don't bother with seat licencing.  Your other web applications such as shopping cart can B2B to your ledger giving you real-time financial position.  As regulatory bodies become more web-orientated, we will seamlessly integrate with them, offering you even more power at the click of a button.


1.5 Price strategy

For our retail brand, we envisage a price point similar to the cheapest COTS desktop applications (circa AUD 30.00 pcm), with additional clerical and tax accounting margin priced as per our underlying provider.

We envisage CPA firms bundling this product within their existing fee structure for their clients.   The attraction for them is the consistency of process across their customers, customers performing their own data entry, a common shared view of the data, and of course brand reenforcement as clients login to the CPA site to perform their book keeping.

Pricing to CPA firms will be be a flat subscription fee per host server as per our existing BastionLinux business model.  The cost for this software is yet to be decided, but probably circa AUD 20,000 pa.


1.6 Advertising and promotional strategy

Building a retail brand is difficult and expensive.  We'd ideally like to be partnering with a firm in the practice management space already, with an existing sales team and customer base, but with non-internet product (which is mostly all of them).


1.7 S.W.O.T. analysis


Strengths
Industy-strength ISP infrastructure
Open systems
Weaknesses
Not Microsoft, although trivial to port
Ecosystem interoperability (ie ATO, retail banks)
Opportunities
Internet is the platform of the future
Threats
We're not first to market
CPA's hate tech



1.8 Market research

According to Springboard Research, Australia is the largest and most mature SaaS market in the Asia-Pacific region. Springboard estimates that Asia-Pacific SaaS revenues will grow from US$274 million in 2007 to around US$1.8 billion by 2011. The industry analyst firm Gartner estimates the Asia-Pacific SaaS market is growing twice as fast as the market for traditional on-premise applications.


According to ASIC statistics, there are 1.6M companies incorporated in Australia, with approximately 13,000 new incorporations each month.


1.9 Market targets

We'd like to have 500 retail customers by the end of the first year, and be able to convert one CPA firm a month.

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