One company I came across this quarter that I will continue to keep track of is Livemocha. I really like their product, particularly how they have made it social, making an online language training program as practical and realistic as possible. Since I work internationally and travel a lot, the idea of an online social language training program that I could sign up for a couple months ahead of a trip is very appealing to me. Perhaps even more appealing is the idea of an ongoing online and classroom based training program for languages spoken in countries I work constantly. Livemocha has my attention, and likely my business into the future.
As I am a business class novice, my key takeaway from class will probably be a bit basic as compared to the rest. I had heard the concept of the sales funnel before, but had never really explored it. I learned the value of tracking potential customers throughout each step of your customer acquisition process, and then using the information you gather to identify the hurdles for customers in your acquisition process. Never having worked in a retail environment, this was new to me. I am working hard to figure out how I can use this concept to improve my work with rural farmers in East Africa, which will likely take a much more relational form than the online form we discussed in class.
One other key lesson I took away that was easier for me to connect to what I currently do was the idea of positioning. Our guests, Andrew Wright and Rob Salkowitz, said that positioning is all about what space you occupy in people’s minds. They said no two companies or products can occupy the same space, so getting into and staying in that space is the trick. I think about this relative the work I do with farmers, not only in how we position ourselves in their minds, but also how we position ourselves in the minds of investors and other supporters. I have been challenged by this to think about everything we do, from fundraising to implementation, to make it all consistent relative to our overall vision and mission.