By Mike Lessiter, President, Lessiter Media
From the Mike Drop column of the April 2018 Lessiter Link newsletter
At the ASPIRE meeting held on March 1, we announced the specific program details on the “Lessiter Learn 2 Launch Lab.” As we are a growth company, this is an important program to meet our mid- and long-term objectives.
I’ve been working the acquisition front for several years, and it’s been an ongoing “Rock” of mine. I’ve been making phone calls and inquiries, talking with brokers and attending trade media functions, but it’s been slow-going. We’ve signed a dozen or so nondisclosed agreements but made only one official offer in 2017. There are good reasons for being very selective: 1) Many titles are overpriced or severely wounded 2) a close examination often shows that they don’t align with our parameters (see below) and 3) every project we take has an opportunity cost we must consider. That is, the manpower, attention and expense that would keep us from pursuing another opportunity.
Yet, we have long had a strong history of internal magazine, event and digital launches here by our team, seeking out ways to make a bigger impact in our markets. The last 5 years alone include Dryland No-Tiller, Dealership Minds Summit, On the Record newscast, Strip-Till Farmer (and, subsequently, the conference and print magazine) and the Precision Farming Dealer Summit. Over the past decade, launches have contributed more than $22 million in ongoing revenue.
So, we’ve formalized an all-new company program — with a budget — to provide the resources to explore new opportunities identified by you and your teammates here at Lessiter Media. These may be opportunities hiding within our daily work, or it could be moving to an adjacent sandbox that can also offer diversification at the same time as growth.
The funds can be used for things like market research, competitive analysis, survey of audience needs/ wants, capital needs and return on investment. We may hire expert help and freelancers, or even as “freelance to free up” LM staffers from time-consuming tasks and duties when it makes the most sense.
There is a 1-page proposal form by the IDEA BOX in the breakroom to capture your ideas. Upon review and approval by the L10 Management Team, resources are allocated, and each project is assigned a chairperson and L10 representative. We’ll take ideas from anyone and anywhere, and the one doing the idea-generation does not necessarily need to serve on the analysis team.
The launch process is fun, challenging and invigorating, and I guarantee that we all learn something new as each idea is vetted out.
The first project has already been approved and funded. It comes from an idea submitted by Jeremy McGovern of American Farriers Journal. For this debut project, we are studying an annual publication for veterinarians on what they need to know about foot-care to become more proficient in their jobs and to help the horses and owners. As with all “Learn 2 Launch Lab” projects, we’ll provide progress updates at ASPIRE and in Lessiter Link — and recognize the efforts of the dreamers and doers.
One more thing ... discovering that a project is not a good fit for the company or at this particular time is an equally good outcome of the Lessiter Learn 2 Launch Lab. There are no failures in this way, because we can save ourselves from a bigger problem, and we all learn more about our businesses in the process. So, fire away as you contribute to our growth goals!