by Florrie Binford Kichler
IBPA Business Plan 2011–2012: Where We’re Headed
Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.—Yogi Berra
“Will this (program, service, educational event, benefit) support IBPA members’ efforts to run their businesses efficiently and effectively?” That’s the litmus test that drives IBPA’s business planning process each year.
It’s also the biggest challenge. Certainly nobody will disagree that the answer to the question above would be a resounding “Yes” for an infinite number of programs and services.
Nor will anyone disagree that the financial resources needed to support those programs and services are finite. Balancing the program-service wish list against budget realities, while trying to anticipate a future that seems to change almost daily, if not hourly, is an ongoing task for your IBPA board of directors and staff. Rest assured that the overarching goal in IBPA business planning is to squeeze maximum value for our members out of every dollar.
Following are some of the high points of the IBPA Business Plan for 2011–2012, along with the organization’s Vision and Mission Statements as established by the board of directors.
Vision: What We Are Building
The Independent Book Publishers Association is the leading professional trade association for independent book publishers. We support, foster the growth of, and advocate for emerging and established independent book publishers.
Mission: Why We Exist
The Independent Book Publishers Association mission is to advocate for, support, and educate our members and to improve the standards of independent publishing.
Evaluate and determine the future of IBPA Publishing University East 2012. For many years, IBPA Publishing University has been tethered to BookExpo America due to the accessibility of speakers and the large number of publishers who attend. When BEA moved around the country, IBPA Publishing University moved with it and was able to bring publishing education to our members in a variety of regions.
Since BEA has been anchored in New York, IBPA Publishing University has been less accessible to members in other regions, with traveling long distances to New York City becoming increasingly expensive. Your board and staff will be looking at alternatives for taking IBPA Publishing University East on the road—to the North, South, East, and Midwest—so more publishers can take advantage of publishing education cost effectively.
Hold IBPA Publishing University West in early spring 2012. And speaking of on the road, in response to popular demand resulting from a survey taken by our members in the far West, plans are in full swing for an additional educational event in Northern California in the spring of 2012.
Create and implement a system for ongoing analysis of current benefits and addition of new benefits. Proactively searching for ways to reduce costs for, and increase the value of, services for IBPA members has always been a priority for your board and staff, and we’re ramping up the process for the upcoming year and beyond. Watch for an ever-increasing number of discounts on services and marketing opportunities that will be unique to IBPA members. Our goal is for every IBPA member to be taking advantage of at least one benefit by the end of fiscal year 2011–2012—and to continue increasing that number.
Evaluate and recommend the future of direct mail marketing programs. A master e-catalog of IBPA members’ titles and widening digital marketing prospects for our members are just a few of the items on the horizon to help you reach more readers than ever. “Direct mail” isn’t just print, and we are hard at work on bringing innovative e-opportunities to take full advantage of the cooperative strength in numbers that comes with your IBPA membership.
Launch Ask the Experts Online. As I write this, we are close to launching our online version of the hugely popular feature of the last few IBPA Publishing Universities called Ask the Experts. As you read this, you will already know that Ask the Experts Online—for members only—is your opportunity to submit your questions on approximately 20 different publishing topics to a pool of experts who will answer each question individually. All questions and answers will be archived on the IBPA Web site for access anytime, creating a singular body of publishing knowledge.
Create and implement a mentoring program. IBPA’s major strengths as an organization have always included the diversity of size and experience among its members—and the willingness of members with more expertise to share with those who have less. The IBPA Mentoring Program will facilitate that sharing by matching mentors to mentees in a one-on-one experience that promises to be one of a kind.
Of course, these business plan highlights are coupled with the IBPA office’s daily administration of hundreds of member phone calls, 70-plus marketing programs, 30-plus benefits, attendance on behalf of members at major book industry trade shows, Publishing University Online, Publishing University in person, advocacy on your behalf involving everything from vendor disputes to industry issues that affect independent publishers, the Independent, the IBPA Web site, all social media on behalf of our members—and more.
Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.—Peter Drucker
As we all know, goals need to be specific and measurable and to have deadlines and strategies for completion. You’ll have to take my word for it that the full IBPA business plan meets all those requirements, since space limitations and the hope of retaining your interest preclude that level of detail. Suffice it to say that your board and staff are proceeding full steam ahead on turning the business plan into the business reality—for your benefit.
Which is not to say that the plan is written in stone. Mike Tyson, former heavyweight champion of the world, said, “Everyone has a plan—until they get punched in the face.” We’ll do our best to roll with the punches, keep that crystal ball polished, make adjustments as needed, and provide IBPA members with the top-notch support, programs, and services you deserve.
Follow Florrie and IBPA on Twitter at twitter.com/ibpa, and on IBPA’s blog at ibpablog.wordpress.com. Join Independent Book Publishers Association–IBPA group on Linked In (linkedin.com).