By Sibusiso Gama
As Club Readership we wanted to grow our business by ensuring that we have a sustainable business model. We also wanted to identify a market and client base that we can sell our products and services to. After being clear with our market and client base, we wanted to grow revenue by selling more books to them.
We have been successful with regards to fixing our business model for publishing and selling of books to authors and organisations. However, we have not been able to sell bulk orders so far. We hope that by the end of the jamlab accelerator programme we would have made a sale of at least one or two bulk orders. We’ve managed to build relationships with a number of clients and/or partners and they were able to share with us their needs and that has helped us in terms of packaging our service and products. In the beginning of the fellowship we had set ambitious goals in terms of the number of copies we had wished to sell by end of May 2019, however, being part of the programme revealed to us that there is a lot of work that needs to be done before we can make a sale. The introduction of the lean canvas during the afternoon sessions helped us narrow our client /customer base and better our overall business case.
Other learnings which were significant are; generating leads of customers, cold calling and negotiating towards a sale. We have also developed relationships with different organisations which can potentially lead in helping us make sales in future. Furthermore, we’ve learned how to find ways to follow up with clients, in our instance like sending a new article that is relevant to the clients and their audience. In addition, we learned the importance of valuing clients and their needs. We were able to take notes as well as their suggestions so that we can make our services and products better. Moreover, we were able to also develop better management and accountability systems for our team by using google sheets for reporting and updating progress. We have also managed to recruit more people into our team and we hope to have recruited two more by the end of the accelerator programme. We managed to do on boarding for our new recruits so that they can learn as fast as possible about the business and their roles.
In the next two months we are planning to approach a number of professionals to be board members of our organisation. As the accelerator programme comes to an end, we want to understand the best way to package and sell our products and service to clients. By the end of July 2019 we hope to have pitched to a number of funders/donors to support our work and having raised enough resources to sustain our organisation. We also intend to have sold to one or two bursary organisations or companies a bulk order of books or have them sign up for our workshops.
We are excited about what lies ahead in terms of opportunities and different guest speakers who will share their knowledge and skills, in particular those coming from the space of publishing or doing workshops where we can learn a thing or two from. The best highlights for us in the accelerator programme are the afternoon discussions whereby we learn from Indra [de Lenorelle, director of jamlab] and other participants who share their lessons and challenges.
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