I’ve been running NextStage for most of this year. Much of that time has been analyzing usage data, discovering patterns, the stuff of general manager nightmares. Next I had Joseph and his crew compare what was happening on our site with what was happening on our client sites.
The result is our new homepage.
NextStage’s largest profits come from Memberships, Research/Consulting, Trainings and Surveys. Our tools get lots of use and end up being consulting engagements for most users. The tool question we get asked most often is “Which tool should I use to do …?” and Joseph and his crew end up working for free by demonstrating the tools, something I’m putting a stop to with this new design and direction.
Everything NextStage does is built on a base technology. One of our early investors prophetically told us “You folks have invented plastic. You’re like BASF; you don’t make the basketball, you make it better. You don’t make the milk bottle, you make the milk bottle better.”
Joseph’s creating a base, disruptive technology is impressive from a science perspective but rotten from a marketing perspective. Being able to do a diversity of things confuses businesses who want small companies to do one thing. They really prefer small businesses that do one thing that’s easily described. Every time someone asks Joseph what NextStage does and he says “We analyze how people interact with information in their environment” I cringe. It’s completely accurate and completely useless.
NextStage has an incredible number of offerings between papers, podcasts, tools, trainings and the list goes on and on. There would be more tools and trainings if I didn’t put my foot down.
The end result of all this is that the KnowledgeShop is going away and we’re consolidating everything into one site (except for the blogs and I’m rethinking those, too). We’re limiting our offerings even though everything will still be offered, just under fewer headings.
NextStage members will make out like bandits in all this; with the exception of a few tools, they now have access to everything we do as part of their membership. This includes most tools, papers, research briefs, presos, podcasts and their discounts still apply to what we do sell (trainings, webinars, etc). Memberships were $100/year, now they’re $250/year. Membership also includes two webinars and two personal site assessments per year free. We think that’s a good deal and hope you do, too.
Managing an office is a challenge, managing a small business is more so, managing Joseph and his lot…priceless.