SIPA Member Profile: Nance Takes Growth Into ‘Account’

Rob Nance, Publisher, AccountingWEB

SIPA: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into this business?
NANCE: Growing up, radio was fascinating to me. I fondly recall being in bed late at night as a youngster huddled up with my AM radio searching for stray late-night signals from far away. Pulling in a station from Canada or the west coast was like finding buried treasure. Thinking that whatever I did in my career, sales experience would be beneficial, I started my post-college work life at WVSR AM/FM in Charleston, W.Va. Finding a market that was big enough—but not too big—and within a day’s drive of my family, well, that led me to Charleston. I would advise against water-skiing in the Kanawha River, though, unless you like getting sick.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.
After several years of being involved in media, then a stint as director of marketing and franchising at a 30-store automotive service chain, I took on an opportunity at a bank in Indianapolis, marketing their commercial lending operation and opening offices from coast-to-coast. That’s probably the defining moment. That position felt right for me. I loved working at the bank, having the freedom to create our own path with the head of that department, and working closely with accountants all over the country…which is certainly a part of my day now!

In brief, describe your business/company?
We are a B2B media company serving the accounting profession. Currently, we are AccountingWEB.com, GoingConcern.com and USBusinessForums.com. The brands are totally free to our readers; we are an advertising-based business model. Our parent company, Sift, in Bristol, UK, started back in 1996 with AccountingWEB.co.uk. The U.S. version of AccountingWEB kicked off in 1999; I joined the company in 2005. Overall, there are around 100 employees in the England office—and we have a dozen on the team here in the States. We operate as a virtual company in the U.S., which has afforded us tremendous flexibility. Everyone, except for three people in Denver, is located in the Midwest.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that have helped you to succeed in business?
Don’t have double-standards. I try my best to be consistent, fair and honest with people. Sure, I fail sometimes, but I attempt to keep my errors at a minimum. At the end of the day, I want our dedicated team to look back on the success we’ve created, while enjoying the challenges, creative spirit and our slightly askew culture.

What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?
We’re on the brink of a fantastic new orange marmalade recipe. No, just kidding. Actually, our recent acquisition of the dynamic, cutting-edge Going Concern brand is terribly exciting. It’s got a sizable audience—and it’s growing. Going Concern is a solid complement to AccountingWEB…very different audiences, both serving the accounting fields…together, quite powerful.

Do you see a trend or path in 2010 that you know you have to lock onto for 2011?
Mobile advertising and specialized app views, iPad, Kindle, that kind of thing…we’re a bit out there with it now, but we know that in 2011 it will be even more important. We’ve got to constantly be on the forefront, delivering what our advertisers need.

What are the key benefits of SIPA membership for you and your team?
Several strong relationships and business partnerships have developed since I first became involved in SIPA in September of 2006. I particularly get a lot of value out of the small publisher meetings, like the one we had in Chicago a couple of months back. Several of us have also taken in the annual conferences, which are always a healthy dose of learning.

Where did you grow up?
Rural Indiana. A town of 5,000 people called Winchester. Not terribly exciting. The only thing that’s changed there since I left over 25 years ago is that there are now 4,999 people living there. A pie factory still exists there, though. (Rob likes pie.) The world would be a better place if everyone was mandated to take a 30-minute pie and coffee break together at 2:30 every afternoon. There would be fewer wars, lawsuits, you name it.

What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?
Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. My favorite professor, whom I caught right before he retired, was also David Letterman’s mentor. Those were good years, going to school and working at Red Lobster. One of my BSU highlights was winning a $1,000 scholarship for writing a marketing paper on how to market Howard Stern’s radio program nationally. Writing has always been one of my very favorite activities.

Are you married? Do you have children?
My wife and I have been married for 23 years. We have two children: our daughter, Dylan (named after Bob), is a junior in high school; our son, Ian, is a seventh grader. Our goldfish, Gilbert, is a remarkable four years-old.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?
Reading has always been a hobby, which I attribute to my mother. My son and I take in a lot of sporting events, plus I really enjoy getting out on bicycle trails in Ohio.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?
The golden question. My favorite movie of all-time is Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.” Sheer brilliance. The book “Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big” is a new one that I recently read. That title says it all for us. Our company is out to achieve being the best that we can be—the leader and top voice in accounting media…highly profitable, a sought-after place to work. Having a lot of employees is not the goal.

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Two Great Upcoming Chapter Events

SIPA’s New York Chapter Presents:
“How to Make Social Media Work for Specialized Publishers”
Wednesday December 1, 2010, 12 pm

Abigael’s on Broadway
1407 Broadway (between 38th & 39th Streets)
Come to this networking lunch and presentation by
Matt Bailey, founder and president, SiteLogic Marketing
Sign up now!

Develop strong relationships and business affiliations at the
DC Chapter Reception, Wednesday, December 8, 4:30 p.m.
Kiplinger Building, 1729 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

This cocktail networking reception will provide a great
chance to connect with local SIPA colleagues and peers.
Registration is only $35 if you pre-register ($45 at the door).
Sign up today!

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

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