and Business Planning
US Order was one of the earliest entrants into the online banking
market in 1992. The company created a device and process that
not only facilitated remote banking from home, but also presented
a wealth of other opportunities for applying the technology to
other markets. One outgrowth of the success of the US Order technology
was the creation of WorldGames, a company that sought to leverage
US Order's technology in the gaming market (e.g. horse racing,
lottery, etc.) The company was established without any staff,
business plan, or funding but simply based on the enormous size
of the gaming market and its lack of technical sophistication
for its transaction-based businesses.
The key challenge of WorldGames was to take what existed as a
concept and determine whether or not a business could be developed
from that concept. Widening that challenge was: no dedicated staff
or budget, no market knowledge, nor a clear set plan. Other challenges
- Analyzing a market with very little consolidated and publicly
available data on its function or profitability.
- The need to source data from individuals in the market, without
an existing network in gaming to tap.
- The existence of several distinct market sectors in gaming
from which to choose to pursue a business, expanding the scope
of available data to consider.
- Even after data could be collected, the need to create a full
business plan and strategy for US Order to consider in making
its decision to pursue the business and to invest in it.
- Lighthouse was given just 90 days to generate a plan.
- Opposing and constantly changing opinions and levels of commitment
among US Order's executives and investors to the concept of
pursuing a business in gaming.
Given the complexity of the assignment and the challenges, Lighthouse
first better defined and refined the needs and goals of the client
and in turn the focus, priorities and scope of the project. This
allowed the client to gain a better sense of what it wanted to
achieve and allowed Lighthouse to lead the client through a logical
and linear set of phases to understanding the market and clarifying
the opportunity. Once begun, the project included:
- A fast but to determine its segment, dynamics, trends
and fit with WorldGames technology.
- segments and how to pursue each.
- segment resulting in a detailed market, customer
and competitive study, a series of proposed business plan approaches
to entering the market, and a set of recommendations that sought
to balance the market opportunities with the company goals and
(after the company chose a licensing path) and a strategy for
pursuing partners and structuring the relationships.
- Developed a clear and comprehensive overview of gaming in
general, establishing a series of criteria for determining the
most appropriate segments for application of US Order's technology.
From this analysis, Lighthouse was able identify horse racing
as the market with the best fit and potential for WorldGames.
- Conducted a more in depth assessment and market study of horse
racing to understand its financial, business, and operational
- Developed a business strategy and recommendations for entering
- Led a strategy review with senior management to assess the
options and ultimately to determine a strategy for entering
the market as a technology licensee.
- Pursued and secured licensing partnerships for use of the
company's technology with several industry leaders. Lighthouse
identified likely partners, led the exploratory conversations,
and was part of the negotiating team for securing agreements.
In this later role Lighthouse assumed the role of both advisor
to the company's senior officers and temporary member of the
management team in the absence of a dedicated team of managers.
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