Table of Contents
I. Executive Summary
II. Company Overview
History and Current Status
Markets and Products
III. Products and Services
Stage of Development
IV. Market and Industry Analysis
V. Marketing Plan
Target Market Strategy
Product/ Service Strategy
Advertising and Promotion
VI. Operations Plan
Scope of Operations
VII. Development Plan
VIII. Management Plan
IX. Competitive Advantage
Sustainable Competitive Advantage
X. Financial Plan
Sources and Uses of Funds
Funding Requirements and Strategies
Table of Figures
ILLUSTRATION 1: START-UP PHASES
ILLUSTRATION 2: WEBSITE/ APP LAYOUT
ILLUSTRATION 3: MARKET INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
ILLUSTRATION 4: ANALYSIS OF THE VALUE SYSTEM OF THE SECTOR
ILLUSTRATION 6: COMPETITIVE MATRIX CHART
ILLUSTRATION 7: PRODUCT ATTRIBUTE MAP
ILLUSTRATION 8: STEPS-WISE PROCEDURE TO UPLOAD APPS OVER GOOGLE PLAYSTORE
ILLUSTRATION 9: ORGANIZATION CHART
ILLUSTRATION 10: UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
ILLUSTRATION 11: INCOME STATEMENT
ILLUSTRATION 12: BALANCE SHEET
ILLUSTRATION 13: BREAK-EVEN-ANALYSIS
ILLUSTRATION 14: CAPITAL EXPENDITURES
ILLUSTRATION 15: FINANCIAL SUMMARY
ILLUSTRATION 16: MAIN EXPENSES AND EVALUATION
ILLUSTRATION 17: DISTRIBUTION
This paper is about the app Helpertation. An app that allows academic papers to be uploaded before submission so that others can check them for grammatical or linguistic errors for little money. Helpertation would be a great help to many, especially foreign students or those working in other languages. By having another real person check it, errors are uncovered that mechanical translators cannot find. Both parties benefit from the app, as a user gets help in checking their work and the helper can earn some money by taking the time. To stay in the customers' minds, Helpertation uses the slogan: Help with your Assignment. Ideally, this advertising message stays in the customer's mind for a longer period of time and prompts them to use the app. Our mission is to give everyone the opportunity to write an error-free thesis in a foreign language. The Helpertation principle is not yet very widespread. All the competitors that can be found are only represented as a website and not in the form of an app. The focus is that all examiners have to prove their language skills in order to guarantee the quality of the correction. A rating system is also planned so that others can immediately see whether the examiner is suitable.
Initially, the app will be developed as described. Later, other user languages are to be added. The app lives from its users. As the number of users increases, the function of the app will also improve, as demand can be better met. With a view to the long-term goal of 3-5 years, a plagiarism function could be added or a forum opened where students can help each other.
Customer service provides general customer service and technical support. Response time is kept as short as possible and incoming questions are answered by experts.
Our company will also pursue a pricing strategy based on several factors. The transaction will take place directly between the person who wants to have their work corrected and the proofreader. Prices will be set according to a precise scale that takes into account several important points. The company's profit is generated through a 5% commission on all transactions. Further income is generated through the placement of advertisements. In addition, there is the income from premium users. To purchase the app, it is important to know that downloading the app is free. Prices for corrections are set by the requestor, with a small percentage paid to the company itself. The price range is between a minimum of € 1.00 and a maximum of € 7.00 per page. In addition, it is possible to have an entire document corrected for a maximum of 15.00 €. The premium version, which hides advertising and opens up a chat function, can be booked monthly for 2.29 €.
From the point of view of the commercial management of the company, distribution is one of the most important instruments of the marketing mix, along with product, price and advertising. By controlling these variables, two types of objectives can be achieved: general and specific. As marketing tools, we will use advertising on social media such as Instagram and LinkedIn, partnerships with international schools and billboard advertising in international cities. We will help foreign students and workers, but also people who want to supplement their income, because this service is mutually beneficial. Our identity will be that of qualified help, quality support, personalised advice and a responsive response. Thirty percent of sales are spent on marketing.
A successful sales strategy is the key to the successful completion of any business. For this reason, it must be well defined. The app needs a sales manager, at least in the initial phase. As the business grows, it might be more interesting to have a sales team as well. Building partnerships could also be a good idea to promote and generate interest before and after the launch. Another task of the sales staff will be to maintain customer relations, i.e. answering customers' questions and opinions and handling complaints about the interface. The owner of Helpertation is providing capital of €200,000 from her own account for business expenses. We will also apply for state aid for our start-up.
The company has to be prepared for some risks in the implementation. These are explained in more detail in the document and documented with possible solutions.
II. COMPANY OVERVIEW
For the following elaborations, the business idea of the App Helpertation is used. It is an App for Students in which they can upload academic papers before submission so that others, for example native speakers or professors can review them for little money in order to find grammatical or word errors. Helpertation would be of great help to many, especially for foreign students or those who are working in other languages. Due to the control by another real person, errors that mechanical translators cannot recognize will be revealed. Both parties benefit from the app, since the student gets help with the examination of their work and the helper can make some money by taking the time to read a few pages. The App will be developed in Santander by a group of seven students as an sole proprietorship.
With a good slogan, companies manage to land in people's minds - and stay there. Potential customers thus build a connection with the advertiser. The goal is for the customer to get a positive first impression. To stay in the customer's mind, Helpertation uses the slogan: Help with your Assignment. Ideally, this advertising message remains in the customer's mind for a longer period of time and prompts them to use the app.
A mission statement is a guiding and defining action-oriented statement that sets out the purpose of the company and how it satisfies customers. Our Mission is to allow everyone to be able to have a mistake-free dissertation when writing in a foreign language.
HISTORY AND CURRENT STATUS
The Idea for the App was launched in October 2021. Since then, it is elaborated and defined more clearly. Currently, the Company is at the formation (mission/vision/strategy) of the Start-up Development Phases.
Illustration 1: Start-up Phases
MARKETS AND PRODUCTS
The company satisfies the need of many students. Nevertheless, there are few technical programs to check the correctness of the work and only occasional human correction. The principle of Helpertation, which allows students to earn some money on the side by helping others, is not yet very widespread. Furthermore, all the competitors that can be found are only represented as a website and not in app form.
The main goal is to offer students a cheap alternative to technical translators and programmes. However, it is also a way for other students, professors or native speakers to earn some extra money. The main focus is that all examiners must provide proof of language skills in order to guarantee the quality of the correction. In addition, a rating system is being considered so that others can immediately see whether the examiner is suitable.
III. PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Anyone who has ever studied or prepared a presentation for work that is not in the native language knows the problem of uncertainty in grammar and words. Helpertation offers a platform for anyone who wants to have more confidence in their project or work. Through the help of verified native speakers or professionals, this goal is achieved. For a price set by the users, these works can be improved by the proof readers. For a fixed fee, a premium version can also be activated, which provides a chat function for content-related questions or suggestions.
The attributes of the apps are mainly the user-to-user communication and the possibility to leave notes in the papers, which help the author to improve grammar and words. The app form makes it easy to make corrections on the go, on the train or even during a lunch break, and authors can view them on the website and revise their work on the desktop. Moreover, each user can decide for himself how much a correction is worth to him and offer it accordingly. There are only costs if someone requests a correction or books the premium version on a monthly basis. The app can be used for any proofreading language, you just have to find a suitable proof reader. The app itself will initially be offered in English, German, French and Spanish and will be expanded later. In order to take advantage of these benefits and to support the demand, a technical team must be hired to guarantee the safe implementation and professional handling of the app and the website. In addition, permanent checks must be carried out after publication and the customers' reviews must be taken into account.
First, the app is developed as described. Further user languages will be added later. The app lives from its users. As the number of users increases, the function of the app will also improve because the demand can be better satisfied. Considering the long-term goal of 3-5 years, a plagiarism function could be added or a forum opened where students can help each other.
Aftersales customer service provides general customer service and technical support. The response time is kept as short as possible and incoming questions are answered by experts. As already mentioned, care is taken to verify and qualify users and they can be reported to the team at any time in case of misrepresentation. The terms of payment are clearly communicated at the time of purchase and formulated in a comprehensible manner. Where possible, all common online payment methods are offered.
Downloading the app is free of charge. The prices for the corrections are set by the enquirers, but it must be noted that a small percentage is paid to the company itself. The price range is set between a minimum of 1.00 € and a maximum of 7.00 € per page. In addition, it is possible to have an entire document corrected for a maximum of 15.00 €. The premium version, which hides the advertisements and opens a chat function, can be booked monthly for 2.29 €.
The app and the website are designed to be as simple as possible to create a user-friendly interface. The different menu items can be accessed via a menu tab. A text and a marker tool are provided for the corrections and the texts are opened via the app. Example Layout can be seen in:
Illustration 2: Website/ App Layout
For a Service Business For service businesses, different employee requirements are needed. Developing an app and a website is not a one-person project. There will need to be a team of developers with wide-ranging technical skills. Front-end and back-end developers, native developers, UI/ UX design, technical writers, quality management and skilled web developers. A marketing and customer support team is also needed. Finance and other business areas will also need staff (speakapp.com, 2021)
The biggest benefit of the app is its efficiency. The time needed for correction is reduced because the app finds the correction partner for the user and the user can be sure that the correction will be done cheaply and reliably. The proofreader can earn money by checking a text for errors in his or her mother tongue or a language he or she knows well, which takes relatively little time. Another benefit is quality. Each proofreader is checked for their language level and can be rated by users. If the ratings are poor, the proofreader is checked and possibly excluded from the proofreading process.
However, these advantages have yet to be recognized by the market, as the app has not yet been published. The target group will nevertheless quickly recognize the advantages, as the project prepares a benchmark.
To protect the software from the competition and to maintain the advantage of Helpertation some intellectual property rights are needed. Every kind of method protects different parts of the project.
1. Trade Secrets and Confidentiality Agreements
Every process, needs to be protected to keep all internal information a secret. The communication both internally and externally needs safe processes to protect all operations. The more is invested in education of employees how to protect intellectual property, the safer your intellectual property will be.
Trademarks are good to protect the product name, slogan, and logo.
If the software will be successful, competitors will want to copy the idea, layout or parts of the service. If they can use names and create logos that look almost identical, they could mislead your customers to their apps instead.
Patents are the most common choice for Products. Software is considered as a product and patents were an important piece of the software industry. Even when patents are obtained, enforcing them is a whole new challenge. Issues of piracy, globalization, and determining need to be covered.
4. Copyrights for users
Copyrights are used to protect written materials from being copied. Copyright will not protect the software of Helpertation but everything that will be uploaded by the users' needs to be copyrighted (Ascendle, 2021).
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT
The product is in the early phase of the product life cycle. It is currently being developed and the objectives and processes are being defined. Marketing and financing also need to be worked out further down the line. After that, obstacles such as technical development will be overcome and the legal situation as well as data protection and payment methods will be worked out.
IV. MARKET AND INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
We operate in the education industry, more precisely in its online marketplace. Our industry is international because even though each geographic area has its own educational system, the resources used by each one is the same as for the others (example of Teams, used by a multitude of countries during the pandemic for the online classes). We can choose different segments for this industry because of its wideness depending on which marketplace we are. In our marketplace, we chose to divide our segmentations in two parts: the students who need help correcting their assignment and on the other side, the students and teachers who will be correcting the assignments. In other marketplaces, other segments can be chosen. For example, in the books manufacturing market, a company can segment its customers depending on the type and subject their books are covering.
This industry has experienced some challenges in the last two years due to COVID-19 that has brought out the need for resources other than just the ones we have in presential classes. The educational industry now knows that there is a need for online resources that can ensure the continuity of classes if an event, such as a pandemic, happens.
To illustrate the trends in the market right now, we chose to present the TOP 3 Education Apps on App Store France. The first one is Pronote, used by middle school students to check their schedule and grades. The second one is Duolingo, an app with an international scope that allow you to learn a new language in a funny way. The third one is NosDevoirs which is an app that helps students do their homework. This last one is an app belonging to our marketplace so it's one of our competitors. In the description of the app, they explain that if the students have a question on a topic, he can send the question on their website and receive, in a few minutes, answers from other students. The App also has experts giving explanations on the different topics the students ask explanations on, is used on 35 countries by more than 200 million single users and has more than 50 million questions with at least one answer. This App is part of the company Brainly. We can observe this company and its business model to build ours.
Analysing the market/ the industry sector is primordial when you want to launch a company. It permits us to see the potential of sales and to understand the relationship between the competitors, and the different parts of the industry in this sector. It helps you to see the dangers your company could be confronted with, and to find a way to avoid them.
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Illustration 3: Market Industry Analysis
Porter's 5 forces
Rivalry among existing competitors
The number of competitors is huge. There were 23 380 translation agencies in the world in 2010. These are only the real translation agencies with real people translating your text. Then, there are also the automatic translators such as Google Translate, DeepL, Reverso, etc. and also, the dictionaries. These are only for the written part, the one that interests us for our project. The concentration of the industry finds place in Europe, and if you look further also in America. They own respectively more than 40% of the total of translation agencies in the world and more than 40% of the total sales turnover. As said before the industry sector grows by more or less 15% each year (on average). The 40 biggest companies own only 15% of the market so 85% is owned by little companies. It means that there is no real leader in this market and that maybe the quality of the work isn't good in general. Also, if you look at the automatic translators, you can see that the large public like them because they are free and fast but they make mistakes. The rest of the people use translation agencies as, even if you need to pay, you have a higher quality work without mistake. The problem is that this option takes more time. Then, as the barriers to exit are low, no company is forced to stay in the market, the rivalry is regular.
Threat of new entrants
The barriers to entry in the sector are low, it means that many concurrent can take your part of the market, if they have better technologies than yours. We can easily see the economy of scale in the sector: the free automatic translator which has a great rate of production but are low-quality (so low cost, low quality) get the large public and the translation agencies that are payable and have less productivity but higher quality (so high cost, high quality) get the rest. The capital requirement for launching a company in the translation sector is not that high, you only need to have what to pay your employees, run the company and develop your website/ app (which is not much for a company development). There is no material to buy etc. Furthermore, the access to distribution channels is easy because the internet is open for everyone and for everything. What would be more complicated in this case would be to have an agreement with platforms like Google Play, Play Store, etc. for the distribution of your app. If you don't want to do that, some websites offer the possibility to download the app from their website (as office 365 for example) but you will have less visibility if you use only that option.
Threat of substitute product
As a substitute product, there are the real languages dictionaries, and if we go further, if the clients have intensive language classes or go to another country to learn the language so they are able to translate everything correctly by themselves, they won't need Helpertation anymore. Also, a part of the competitors, the real translators' agencies are an alternative product to our app. The thing is, all of these products are expensive (some of them are a considerable cost, it goes from 15 or 20€ for a dictionary to thousands of euros to go abroad) compared to the 1 to 7€ per page that Helpertation proposes. These are also time consuming. Looking at those characteristics, we can suppose that only a few people will lose money and energy in these alternative ways. Customers are searching for easy ways to do what they want and the alternative ways are all more complicated.
Bargaining power of buyers
It is difficult to give a number of customers, but we can say that in 2018, 46,52 billion euro (US) were generated in the world. It means that customers are many. The more you have customers, the less they are able to require things from your company, because losing one client is not really a problem. If there are many people leaving, then you should change something, but here, the number of clients do not give them power. On an automatic translator (the free version), the size of the document translated is about 3,000 to 6,000. In a regular translation agency, the price is different with the size of the document. As we already said, the price is an important variable in the translation sector and the large public prefers to use the automatic and free ones rather than pay. The ability to substitute is also based on the price and translation is still the least expensive. But, if they want to change for a product of substitution, they are switching costs, which are the costs that customers must deal with if they are changing brand. Here, it will be mostly time and money, as the new company or the new way used will have to restart everything from the beginning.
Bargaining power of supplier
As the translation sector is a service sector, the suppliers are the same as the number of concurrent. So there were still 23 380 translation agencies in the world in 2010, and this number has obviously increased. As a result, all suppliers are unique as the company they are. Still because of that, it is impossible to substitute your supplier, if it's not by changing your employees.
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Illustration 4: Analysis of the value system of the sector
Definition of our marketplace
Helpertation is part of the educational resources industry, working on the assignment correction market since we offer a resource to help both students and professors. We are operating in an online marketplace since our services are offered through our website and App.
As mentioned before, our students will have an emotional benefit since our App will allow them to feel more confident about submitting an assignment they did in a foreign language. For our teachers and correcting students, the benefit will be financial because this will allow them to make some extra money thanks to their corrections on the submitted assignments.
There is no specific geographic area, and we are not focusing on a geographic place. In the beginning, we will be proposing services in the most spoken languages (English, French, Spanish and German). Later, when we will have more financial resources, we will be able to add more languages and cover a larger geographic area.
Illustration 5: Conceptual Picture
What is happening in our market?
Nowadays, there are a few platforms that do dissertation and assignments' correction for students. However, the market is not very developed so we can make our way through it. With the particularity of our features enounced in the product and market sections and our App, we hope to stand out from the crowd. Later, if our customers have some suggestions to improve the quality of their experiences on our platform, we will of course take those into account as the opinion of our students and teachers is important for us.
There are a lot of apps such as Photomath and Quizlet that will help the students study and even solve maths problems but there are not a lot of Apps to help with the assignments and some of them are to help in the moment and answer question more than to correct the whole assignment to look for grammar and orthograph mistakes. However, the Apps that already exist in the categories mentioned before, have grown quite well and are very used. These Apps are all four stars and more on the App Store. They usually use social media network to advertise their services and some of us saw their ads on Instagram for example. Therefore, the strategy they used is similar to the one we are going to use and we expect our results to be, at least, similar to theirs.
Unmet customer needs on the market and Solutions proposed
The idea Helpertation is quite new in its form. It exists several options on the market when it comes to correct grammatical mistakes in a foreign language. Most of them like Deepl or Grammarly are based on a computer program and not human correction. The competitor program found which shows more similarities with Helpertation is a French website named Scribbr. It allows users to submit their dissertation and make it correct by academic correction professionals. But that tool operates only in the French-speaking world.
So human correction is quite rare among existing platforms. No offers that provide human correction in foreign languages have been identified on the market. The app fills that gap. In addition, all the other competitors found exist as websites. Helpertation provides a cheap solution at hand, to help students revise their school works. It also gives them opportunity to earn some little money while helping their peers.
Expected customers are mainly students as they are really concerned by the needs, solutions are given to. That said, the app can also interest any other people which could require corrections for their writings in a language they are not native in.
In the marketplace, there are some direct and indirect competitors. A competitive Matrix Chart is done to identify the competitive environment. Market share corresponds in our case on number of languages available on the website/app.
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Illustration 6: Competitive Matrix Chart
Currently, we have competitors in the translation market service. Some of them have a free version but it is all the time machine translations. And for other competitors with certified translators, the price is higher so this could be suitable for companies or organisations but would be much less affordable for our target group: students - individuals.
V. MARKETING PLAN
The purpose of Helpertation is to sell a service to help foreign student and those who are working in other languages with give a grammatical and word correction. This will be accomplished with a working app where native speakers or skilled peoples could earn money in exchange for qualified help. The target audience is people who need to write in a foreign language, whether they are students or workers. Marketing tools to be utilized will be social media advertising like Instagram and LinkedIn, also partnership with international schools and billboard in international cities. We will help foreign student, worker but also people who want to supplement their income, this service is beneficial for both parties. Our identity will be one of qualified help, quality support, personal advice, and reactivity. Thirty percent of sales will be allocated to marketing.
TARGET MARKET STRATEGY
Identification of the market niche
Our customers are students from all kinds of programs and educational levels that have an assignment in a foreign language to do. They also are other students and professors who will join the platform to be correctors of those assignments that are sent to them to make some money. Our goal is to be able to help the students in their assignments by having other students or professors speaking the language the assignment had to be written on correcting their work to check for orthograph and grammar mistakes.
During our studies, we all had to do an assignment in a language that is not our native one. It is, for some of us, an additional stress because sometimes we are not confident about our level in that language, and we became unsure of the quality of our work.
Because we were once those students, and still are, we have created this platform that will help those in this situation. The students will be able to feel more confident about their work when submitting their assignment and will not fear for their grade to be lowered because of the quality of their grammar and orthograph.
For our students and professors that will join our platform as correctors, the goal is to be able to give them the chance to make some extra money by correcting papers written in their native language. This will be a financial benefit for them, and it is a job that they can do it everywhere by simply connecting to the app so it will be a practical way of earning some money.
As demonstrated before (refer to the Product and Service Sections), this is a market that already exists. Such platforms have been operating already but they only exist under the form of a website. The particularity of our platform will be the APP that will allow an easier control and management of the assignment's submissions and corrections. The corrected papers will also include comments from the correctors to help the student improve his/her grammar and orthograph level.
Therefore, we are not creating a new market space here, we are just adding a new company to the market that already exists.
PRODUCT/ SERVICE STRATEGY
How the conception of our service fulfils unmet marketplace needs
When you are foreign student or new foreign worker, you need to improve your skills in a language that is not your own. To do this, you regularly need to check that your sentences are correct and that the words you use have the right meaning. When speaking, our interlocutors may hear mistakes, but the main thing is to be understood and to be able to communicate without misunderstandings. On the other hand, in writing, whether for dissertation, work files or administrative documents, every word is important, as are grammar and conjugation. Currently, to meet this need, there are only online automatic translators, but they leave many mistakes depending on the meaning of the sentences. Helpertation will the opportunity to improve in a new language by receiving personalised advice according to the level perceived in the document and the mistakes often made.