August 21, 2015 – Wooassist had a team retreat on August 15-18 2015 in the beautiful island of Bantayan, Cebu. The 4-day event was filled with fun and games, but what made it special were important inputs from each team member.
Faced with the question “What sort of company do we want Wooassist to be?” each team member, including Managing Director Nicholas Jones, shared their views and opinions. Now, we’ll get to see how the team envisions the company’s future 3 and 5 years from now.
More Products and Websites
The company’s Project Manager, John Gamor, decides on offering more products by 2017, stating that the year will be a much more critical period for Wooassist. He also adds that there is much potential for the company’s current business model of hourly support packages. He adds:
By January 2017, I envision Wooassist to have more products apart from the current hourly support packages. These could be productized services and/or themes and plugins and/or even something new we have yet to think of.
Managing Director Nicholas Jones agrees with John, saying that products seem to be the Holy Grail for many service companies:
Maybe we can have some success in this area, but I think it is best for us to treat it like a marketing exercise to demonstrate our expertise and get our name out there. If we get some traction with one of these then we can look to invest further.
By 2018, John believes that Wooassist would have multiple offers in different disciplines, such as theme/plugin development, complete website development, etc. For him, this could be the period that Wooassist finally gets its own physical office. Fast forward to January 2020, John states:
I envision for Wooassist to be known as one of the best WooCommerce and WordPress support teams, offering the full-package. I also predict a team of around 20 by 2020
More Clients and Employees
For Wooassist’s lead developer Junix Villacorta, the company will focus on more clients by 2018.
We will be handling 5 times the clients we have now, and 3 times the number of recurring customers with most of them buying the 40 hour or special package.
Junix foresees Wooassist to be a bigger company, with 4 times the number of employees we have now. And, there will be multiple groups of people handling different clients.
He further explains that the groups will be in tiers, wherein the higher tier groups will work for special clients. In addition, there will be a team dedicated to sales, speaking on the phone with clients. Nick prefers the developer/sales person to have a technical background since he will be selling a technical product. Nick adds:
We can look at adding someone from the Philippines, as well as our western sales/PR person, experienced with sales to the team, the project manager might fit this role, or we might find a developer that has these skills
Wooassist would have developed 10 products during this period, including plugins, themes, and website packages. This will provide the alternative income for the company. Junix points out:
We will have a lot of documented processes on the wiki, for tasks that we do most often for clients that will help new employees understand more on how we do things as a company.
For Junix, year 2020 will focus more on improving each team’s output, and the skills of individual employees. We will be using a better system to handle clients that is well-designed for our structure, task handling and reporting. Junix says:
We will have closer ties with Woothemes/Automattic, and we can help in development for WooCommerce. We will also have built more premium plugins, and a lot of free plugins available on the WP repo
Future of Wooassist for Nicholas Jones
Managing Director Nicholas Jones sees Wooassist big enough to support an organizational structure with dedicated project managers, sales manager and administration/financial manager. He foresees a team of about 35-40 Philippine staff, and maybe 1-2 US or Australian staff in a sales PR role. Nick adds:
How the team is made up, I don’t have any vested interest. Whether they are distributed all over the Philippines, or we have an office, I am happy with whatever is the most practical and cost effective. I imagine it will be a combination of both office and distributed.
More so, Nick wants a turnover of around 1-1.5 million $US annually. He states that having around 40 staff, and a 1.2 million $US annual turnover, is something he can visualize and believe to be very achievable.
Nick also shares three major channels for Wooassist to achieve this goal:
- To get more successful online stores with bigger budgets.
- Focus on lower budget clients that need development work and struggle to find anyone else to work with.
- Move into the product space and sell themes, plugins, SaaS app or a combination of these.
Nick admits that he is leaning to #1. He believes that through hard work and a bit of luck, we will start to get some clients that sell closer to 1million dollars, through their online stores. He adds:
This is who we want, but to break through that we need to get more of these clients and then more will follow as we can build a reputation. We need a team large enough to always be able to take on new clients
Nick wants to continue to invest in content marketing by way of articles, themes, plugins and help in the support forums. He sees the team being involved in marketing, with an average of 20% of employee time spent on Wooassist marketing.
On a final note, Nick believes that online stores with bigger budgets have larger potential to make profit. These companies will be professional, and have a product and business model that can offer real value to their target market. He stressed:
These companies will treat us more like strategic partners rather than hired help