Powering Up Organic Growth
Maurer, Rolf, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management
Ideas for expanding existing franchises or launching new ventures are vital to a company's growth. FOLIO: asked four publishing executives how each empowers managers to find new ways to build their company's business.
Every spring, we hold a meeting with senior management on the editorial and publishing sides of the company to propose new ideas with revenue-generating possibilities. Each person makes a fairly formal presentation, and within a few weeks we narrow down six ideas to two or three. Next, the proponents of the remaining projects fill out a five-page cost/benefits form--sort of a mini-business plan that details who would be responsible for the idea's execution, what new equipment, staff or outside partnering would be required, as well as how much revenue it will generate. This step determines whether the idea is a viable plan. We then reassemble the ideas and decide how much money can be allocated to each.
As to how quickly we expect a return on investment, it depends. We knew our trade shows were going to lose money in their first year, but we were convinced of their long-term value. But if we increase a magazine's frequency, we expect immediate benefits.
Vice president and publishing director Women's Health Magazine Division, Rodale
At Rodale, we start with an annual strategic planning session where we set the top priorities for our various brands for the next five years. We look for new ideas that support our long-term goals. While a minimum return for a new venture for us is in the neighborhood of $100,000, the amount of time it takes to reach that figure can vary. If a project is strategic to our five-year plan, we are prepared to wait as long as two years before expecting a profit--but it must also continue to show a profit and prove expandable.
Competition for funding comes into play if you must go beyond your brand to receive funds, such as with a magazine launch. The Rodale corporate board must then decide what to invest in.
Executive vice president, COO, Gruner+Jahr USA
We have three magazine groups--Women's Service, Parenthood & Shelter and Teen & Fitness--vying for money and resources for proposed projects. …