Start-Up Junkies: Earth Class Mail
The ambitions of the Earth Class Mail company are serious, but there is a lack of any contingency, strategic plan, and a back-up plan in Ron’s view of the business. First, the postal service remains to be relatively unbeatable because of the various delivery services that the digital tools (computers, E-Mails, phones) cannot provide, such as shipping of physical objects (books, valuable papers, etc.) that need to be physically present because they become invaluable otherwise. For example, some of the valuable papers have specific markings and are printed with specific inks that will not be visible on a digital copy.
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Second, Ron did not provide any specific strategies about how he plans to have a million customers soon. The only strategic goal he has mentioned is to change postal mail into digital mail so that people’s letters or papers exchange can be facilitated. He states that the company will use technological advances and robotics to meet customer demands. He does not explain what exactly is going to happen, how the company will gather the mail, how it will be digitalized, what technology will be needed to e-mail this amount of letters and papers to customers, who will be hired to control operations and management, etc.
Third, Ron does not consider the possibility of hacks and other web attacks that could potentially harm their company and the customers. It is unclear whether the company will have any protective technologies against hackers and if it has such technologies, Ron needs to explain how the company will utilize them.
Fourth, assuming that Ron’s employees will scan and mail the documents and letters, another question arises: how will the company ensure confidentiality of their services? The employees who will scan the documents will certainly have the chance to read or at least look at the text in the letter that might contain sensitive information or something that was sent specifically to a particular individual. Any breach of confidentiality will result in massive lawsuits and complaints, but it remains unclear whether Ron can ensure information security.
The first step for the company would be to review its confidentiality policies and see how the information can be protected both from the employees and from potential hackers. The second step would be to create a clear, long-term strategic plan where all aims and objectives are expressed in detail and discussed by the team. Without any discussions and goals, Ron’s company will not be able to compete with such a strong rival as the postal service. The third step would be to evaluate what services of the postal service are used by the majority of customers and if they can be substituted by digital distribution. Some of the people use mail to exchange letters and postcards just because they do not like digital pictures and E-Mails. These customers will not find Ron’s company extremely valuable. Therefore, the company needs to evaluate what postal services actually can be digitalized and whether it will be efficient. The fourth step would be to understand what companies will be interested in funding such business and how they can be attracted. Major players in the digital world such as Google or Yahoo already deliver digital mail, but their services do not significantly influence the postal service. Thus, Ron needs to understand how his view of transformations should be presented to future investors and whether these transformations are possible at all.