We introduced our 49-steps for starting and running an online business this past week at Fool University
Kim and I had the pleasure of spending a full day with the folks at Motley Fool last week to teach at their in-house learning program – Fool University.
This is the second time we’ve been asked to teach at Fool University, and I must say, it’s very interesting because it takes the edge off corporate environment.
Randy Coon, Chief Commercial Officer at Motley Fool, asked us to help kick off a new class introducing online publishing and direct marketing to an array of internal professionals. There were about 25 people in the class representing basically every aspect of the company, including editors, analysts, managers, business developers and IT people. The group was similar to our first time teaching there.
When Kim set this visit up, she explained that our introductory program had been updated from seven concepts of content marketing to the Mequoda System Strategy Workshop – a detailed 49-step process discussing how to start and run an online business.
The Mequoda System Strategy Workshop is more tactical, and we now use a single case study approach with Flora Daily. This allows us to show the whole package of how a new digital product, brand or website network can go from an idea to reality. We include information on branding, content planning, revenue models, a five-year forecast, necessary technology and website infrastructure.
We were curious to see how Randy, a savvy online publisher and marketer, would take to this new program.
After presenting it, Kim and I approached Randy with anticipation and asked what he thought.
Randy seemed pleased with it, as he mentioned it was more cohesive and easier to follow due to the use of the same case study, and its easy-to-understand subject matter, throughout.
The Mequoda System Strategy Workshop connects all the pieces needed for creating and running an online business.
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Mequoda System Strategy brings all departments together
One primary reason we’re pleased with the Mequoda System Strategy Workshop is because it’s a functional organizational strategy.
In the past, the traditional publishing environment often didn’t work very closely together. They operated a decentralized approach keeping all departments working separately.
Back in 1995, I presented in-house workshops on how to launch and run successful magazines as a public program. Some of these workshops were presented at large corporations like Rodale, Meredith, and Time, Inc. During these programs I was surprised at how little cross training had occurred.
Randy’s program at the Fool is designed to prevent that as it brings in every discipline at the company to cross train. This way, the marketing department can understand technology; the editorial department can understand production; all departments learn metrics and how everything within the organization ties together.
Satisfaction from an attendee
After the presentation, I was approached by an audience member who said it took two years to fully understand the company’s approach to giving away free content, creating premium content and the conversion marketing process of turning free into premium.
Now, he said, it seems so simple, while 18 months ago, he didn’t understand it at all.
At the end of the day, we teach three separate business pieces: audience development, premium content and database marketing. Ultimately, they are all connected.
What the attendee said was great feedback. It reminded me that there are two discreet audiences for this program. Because of the way we now teach how to launch a successful product or business, the program is just as applicable at a larger existing company as it is for an entrepreneurial team looking to launch something new.
Through the eyes of an entrepreneur, who is in charge of everything, it’s necessary to get all the infrastructure right. If you fail to get all aspects correct, the business will probably go down in flames.