I recently wrote about the importance of creating a plan for your Moodlepreneur venture. In that article I presented a non-traditional approach to the business planning process and, if you’ve followed along, you should have a good idea of how to write down your Value Proposition, Key Resources, Revenue Streams and other vitals of your Moodle business. As the article states, it’s better to write these things down and never look at them again than not to do it at all and just wing it, because at least you will have thought about them and they will still help to guide your future decisions, even if unconsciously.
The business planning process also provides a wonderful opportunity to hone and refine the niche you’re targeting with your business. As we’ve written about else where (see here and here) tightly defining and focusing on a niche is a crucial success factor, especially when setting out for the first time. Yet, as a fellow Moodlepreneur myself, I also understand the fear and desire to “think big” about what your Moodle venture can become; defining and then pursuing a niche can seem overly confining and limiting.
Luckily, this is simply not true. As you’re business gets off the ground and achieves sustainability, you can continue to expand and grow it as rapidly and broadly as you see fit (and the market will bear). Fortunately, there is also a planning process that can help you do this now, so that you can see what the future potential of your business can be. It’s known as an MGPP, or Multi-Generation Project (or Product) Plan.
NASA used this type of planning for the moon program (check out this amazing video series as an example). They didn’t just say ‘We’re going to put a man on the moon!’ and try to tackle the whole thing at once. They broke the larger goal down into phases, fully expecting the process to take years and only working on more immediately achievable goals like developing the re-entry module, practicing spacewalks, designing the rocket, and so on. They only had a best-guess idea of how it would all fit together, but they did everything with a willingness to adapt to unforeseen developments.
For your own moon shot – building a profitable education & training empire using Moodle – it’s a good idea to think and plan ahead in a similar way. A few years back, Penny Mondani created a good example of an MGPP for an eLearning business that covers three generations. Check it out here.
In this example, over these three generations the ‘Vision’ section progresses through three phases:
- Generation 1: Provide a revenue stream with a high ROI
- Generation 2: To be known as The Source for e-learning and testing in our field
- Generation 3: To be known as the World-Class benchmark for e-Learning and testing
At the same time, the ‘Products & Features’ section progresses thus:
- Generation 1: Simple courses with basic features, Bundled courses for certification
- Generation 2: Site Membership (extra services & courses for one price) – 3 levels, Add more technological features to courses
- Generation 3: Continue to add current technology to course content, Offer more bundled services.
In other sections, such as Budget, sections are left blank for generations 2 & 3 because specifying these would be too speculative. The plan needs to be able to evolve as more becomes known about the market and the product itself. The timescales should be decided by you rather than arbitrarily imposed, but should be as challenging as you think you can handle, in order to keep your business energized.
My goal with introducing the MGPP is to suggest a way to get thinking about the lifecycle of your product as a way to remove the fear of focusing on a well defined niche for your initial launch. As with NASA, you need to take the first steps, but quite literally, the sky’s the limit.
This Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: Course Merchant, the leading provider of eCommerce, Training Management and Digital Marketing software for the Education and Training industry. Click here to learn more.
Having looked at the example MGPP, what other sections would you (or do you) include in a multi-generational plan for your Moodle business? Let us know in the comments below!