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Wondering how many would be interested...

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by Jon Aston, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

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    An old friend (and former client) of mine just gave me a demo of an online business education 'portal' that has my head spinning...

    The service combines:

    • Excellent video summaries of the best business books - on a variety of topics from business development, to leadership, to marketing, to social media strategy
    • Action Plans - Steps that each of you can take (today) in your business, to implement the core concepts from each of those books
    • Regular webinars with best selling authors - including many of the best minds in business today
    • An online community with which you can discuss actions, share ideas and experiences, co-develop projects, hold each other accountable, and egg each other on toward greater success.
    Now, here's the kicker:

    It only makes sense for my friend to target larger organizations - businesses with large management teams... but he has agreed to provide me with a portal to share with a group of (typically smaller) sign companies. The community would consist of you and your peers - other progressive signshop owners/managers, who are interested in learning and sharing and building a better business today.

    I think it's an exciting opportunity, but am wondering how many of you will be interested.

    I'm guessing annual membership will be in the range of about $500-600/user, per year. Multiple users from the same company will get a reduced rate. I'm also inclined to offer a discount to signs101.com premium members, equal to the full cost of annual premium membership - as an added incentive for everyone to support what Fred has built for all of us.

    SO?

    Are you interested?

    If so, please let me know how interested you are (very interested? mildy interested?) and - please - let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions.

    All input is welcome.

    Thanks in advance, for your time and consideration!
     
  2. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Major Contributor

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    All Over
  3. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Not to steal your thunder, but I did a Google search for "Business Education Portal" and found this at the top of the list.

    1. MIT OpenCourseWare - Sloan School of Management (mit.edu)
    Undergraduate Business Courses
    Graduate Business Courses
    MIT OpenCourseWare might be the next best thing to getting an MIT education for free. Through this free online publication you can find bachelor-level business courses, as well as master-level courses, offered by MIT's Sloan School of Management. The curriculum includes lecture notes, videos, labs demonstrations and more. Registration is free and more than 50 courses are available.

    MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.

    Here's the link: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/sloan-school-of-management/

    And, yes, you really can access the stuff....FREE!! Sure, it doesn't come with a piece of paper, but who cares?

    Looks like I'll be making plans for my Fall semester.

    Here's the main link to all the courses they offer...free: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/

    Here's the Google Search I did: http://education-portal.com/articles/10_Places_to_Get_a_Free_Business_Education_Online.html


    Jim
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  4. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    i could be interested. But I would like to have some specifics on who is doing the coaching.
    Dan Kennedy? Middleton?
     
  5. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    well. vistage just got scratched off. The dam site started talking suddenly. Made me jump out my chair momentarily looking for the stranger in my office.. I hate that.
     
  6. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Major Contributor

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    Lol thats funny, I wouldnt scratch it that quickly. Their are some big sign company owners in there as well as some big CEO's like the guys from Roland.
     
  7. iSign

    iSign verboden

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    Just as non merchant members are discouraged from self-promotion, and posting of links to non (S101) supporting entities... for various ethical reasons, and reasons related to the need for Signs101 to market our advertising opportunities to potential (and existing) merchant members... and to give them greater exposure then the random link postings of potentially competing products or services...

    ...I think a degree of respect is due to the merchant members who have paid for the rights to post self-promotional threads about products or services they wish to make available to us. I am not yet citing specific rulings against the sort of thread piracy I'm seeing here, but making more of a suggestion as a professional courtesy to set those link posting desires aside when a valued merchant has started his own thread to discuss his own offerings.

    Most here will have noticed that 90% of Jon's posting at Signs101 has been to freely offer advice and or links to other useful items of interest to the sign making community.

    Now that he has an opportunity to discuss some revenue generating opportunity of his own, that he thinks may benefit some of us, I would encourage the many members here, who benefit from Jon's generous postings to let this thread be about Jon's topic, and not about various tangential discussions with no ties to Signs101.

    Jon will most likely follow me and say he doesn't mind, but for the record, I think I am suggesting a courtesy that he does deserve & I stand by my suggestion.
     
  8. iSign

    iSign verboden

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    On the topic of my interest I think I can say I am certainly interested enough to request further discussion.

    I would pay (and frequently have paid) 8 to 10 times more then that, annually, for the combined costs of professional consultation services, seminar attendance & other related business development costs.

    I think this "portal" sounds like a place where business, marketing & social media topics could be explored in depth, in a forum environment like S101, but with additional value being offered through access to the other industry leader information outlined above.

    For now, I could sum up my current thoughts by saying that Jon's own participation in those discussions would have a lot to do with the specified costs appearing appropriate for the perceived value... many here know i have been one of Jon's clients in the past, and this went on for all or part of several years. I always felt that I gained more in value then the cost to me.

    This new concept might have me questioning if I would find sufficient value to justify the cost, but if Jon were to announce a presence & participation level even half as significant as Fred's involvement here, that to me would tip the scales quite favorably, and I am interested in hearing if he would intend to participate heavily in any forum associated with this portal concept.
     
  9. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

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    iSign, you're a good man. And you know me well. And I guess I am kind of predictable. And thank you!

    I did say "All input is welcome". As it stands, I have nothing invested in this project, so it's all good. If this seems worth doing - like enough people think they will benefit, then I might just do it. If the feedback is all negative, or ambivalent, then I might not. Or, the feedback I get could just reshape the thinking and result in a better product/value.

    I don't think Vistage or MIT's opencourseware fulfill the same need.

    If it's all the same with everyone, I would like to hang back and hear from more people before commenting further.
     
  10. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Pardon my :thread Jon...my apologies.

    I guess I thought it was more a "feasibiity" question as to whether or not a venture like that would pan out. Given the right conditions, I think it would be helpful.

    After looking further through MIT's stuff, I can see major gaps between a few good general topics...nothing toward industry specifics like you propose.

    On the flip side, is it possible for something like this to backfire on the small time operator?

    Obviously, the facilitator of such a venture will ultimately have access to a very large chunk of statistical and general information about a particular business. What are the chances of that information being legitimately sold to would-be competetors?
     
  11. iSign

    iSign verboden

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    Jon,
    if the access to video's, webinars, action plans & a forum are all access to something that access could later be removed, would annual fees be the only business model you would consider?

    If something like that resulted in exposure anywhere close to what I experienced with extensive consulting services, I could anticipate becoming overwhelmed with too much good information, as a much more likely outcome then ever feeling that there was not enough valuable information. Based on that, I wonder if you had considered quarterly or semi-annual subscriptions as well?

    Particularly in it's infancy, I think the first wave of participants might be more brave to try something new if they only paid 1/3 that kind of money. I think I joined a gym for 90 days, and it turned out I didn't have the discipline for that kind of workout at that point in my life... so I didn't renew... but the money spent never bothered me that much because it wasn't so big of a number.
     
  12. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

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    Tech, there is no "coaching" offered presently, per se. I see this as more of a "Mastermind" opportunity for users. That said, I have been thinking about alot of ways I might add value - and coaching would certainly be one - but I wanted to start this conversation on the basis of what is, rather than what might be.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  13. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

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    I envision this as a more structured, more focused set of business development topics - discussed by a smaller, more focused, more intent group. And I see it as being complimentary to signs101.com, not in competition. I hope Fred sees it that way, too. (I just realized I was assuming he would... Fred, my apologies for assuming anything. If you want me to move this discussion off site, please let me know).

    Thanks! I imagine I will be deeply involved, with (probably) daily frequency.
     
  14. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

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    "No harm, no foul", James. That's exactly how I interpreted your comments.


    I see the same problem with opencourseware (MIT's and everyone else's). I also don't see most busy small business people sitting through online lecture after online lecture in the hope of attaining a higher education.

    I think opportunity here is much more practical (and I'm not knocking the value of higher education, BTW), on many levels: learn core concepts in a minimum of time, get practical, "how to" advice on applying them within your own business, get faster results, learn from each other (and each other's completely relevant experience).


    I don't really understand what you're driving at here, James - I'm sorry. But it seems like the sort of concerns that should rightly be addressed in the site's terms of service. Let me add that - in my business - client confidentiality is a given. That won't ever change.
     
  15. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

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    Trial memberships, limited access memberships, etc., are all legitimate considerations. It's just too early for me to commit to anything - including the annual subscription model and actual cost.

    Let me share a little more about the product I've seen, and why I think it's valuable... the sort of 'intangibles' that I purposely wanted to avoid in my introductory post, but that I think it will make better sense in this context.

    There's already a fairly extensive (and quite tangible) library of video summaries and workbooks.

    • As an individual, you can just key in on whatever book tickles your fancy, watch the video, do the workbook on your own timetable, comment on the experience/results. Others may follow your lead, on that particular book.
    • Small groups of individuals with a common interest can key in on whatever book speaks to their common interest, watch the video, discuss and do the workbook, on a set timetable, discuss the experience/results. Others may follow their lead.
    • The whole community can vote on which book to do next, together. The vote/discussion might very well be influenced by the "scouts" or small groups who forged ahead above.
    In other words - assuming you join for the right reasons - I think the community will make and keep this whole service very engaging, and focused on action and results. I sincerely doubt that anyone will not get tremendous value out of joining and participating.
     
  16. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

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    Tech, what turned me off was the fine print explaining the chart that compares the performance of Vistage clients to non Vistage clients. Hello Enron! Hello Lehman! That's the kind of BS that gives MBA's a bad name. If Vistage is a respectable organization (and I assume they are), they should take that misleading crap off their website.

    Ironically, I think my pal - the one responsible for me starting this conversation - is a Vistage member himself. :D
     
  17. Jon Aston

    Jon Aston Very Active Member

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    OK. I think I've addressed all questions and concerns - so far. If I haven't please toggle me.

    Very interested in more feedback from the rest of Signs101.com, please - and thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  18. Circleville Signs

    Circleville Signs Very Active Member

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    Jon,

    I think something like this could be valuable - here is my concern, and it somewhat mirrors that of a few others.

    I can't afford to get "washed". What do I mean by the term "washed"?

    I use that term to describe what happens to me when I get "kid in a candy store" syndrome. I can very easily see that type of site DEVOURING my days - especially if it is something that I am paying for. I wouldn't have a problem with it devouring my days if I wasn't so ADD. My fear is that I would be jumping from topic to topic, without anyone checking me, saying "wait - you haven't done what the LAST workbook said to do -why are you moving on?".

    That being said, if we are talking about an investment of less than $50/month, I could see this being very beneficial. I would recommend that the site administrators try and build in some type of elective "track builder", what would enable me to build a curriculum of related topics, and NOT LET ME GO OUTSIDE OF THAT unless I authorized it several ways and times.

    Of course - not everyone is as ADD as I am...LOL.
     
  19. SqueeGee

    SqueeGee Active Member

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    I think how the accountability piece is structured is going to be what makes this thing fly or not. I've read lots of books that by using what I learned in them, would make my business much, much better. The problem is that I don't take the next step. Ultimately, I may be worse off than if I hadn't read it at all because now I feel guilty for having the knowledge to do better but not.

    I don't need help finding good books to read, being convinced that the ideas in the books are good ideas, having direct contact with the author, etc. I need help putting the ideas into action amidst the craziness that is the small business owner's life. If the program can guarantee implementation and action, I'm there.
     
  20. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    I agree with both Gary and SqueeGee...

    For something like this to work for me - there has to be a very structured path. I don't have time to structure it myself other that maybe set it up originally - otherwise I spend way to much time jumping from thing to thing and then not finishing any of them because I get too busy. I understand the mastermind concept, just not sure how it would work for me and my short lil attention span and be continually beneficial. Like SqueeGee said - I've read the books, know the ideas are good, but I want those to translate into real world strategies that are workable for me... not a theory, but solid courses of action.

    That's something I would pay for. Outside of that I'm not sure I could justify the cost/time. While cost is minimal, if I can't pull a benefit from it - then it's an unnecessary expense. And time is the other issue. Do I have TIME to effectively use a resource like this? What I'd like to see is for the benefits to be so good - that I decide I don't have time NOT to use it.

    Just my personal opinion for what it's worth :smile:
     
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