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President’s Post: First and Goal

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by Florrie Binford Kichler, IBPA Board President

First and Goal

In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are. —Arnold Glasgow

Colts 10, Kansas City 10. Two minutes left to play. Colts have the football. First down, 10 yards to go. The Colts quarterback takes a knee three times, runs the clock down to six seconds, and the team kicker kicks the winning field goal.

In the game of football, “taking a knee” refers to the quarterback dropping to one knee immediately after receiving the ball from the center and ending the play. Although boring to the fans, taking a knee is a strategically important play, as it generally occurs near the end of the game, either when the team that has the ball has a small lead or when the game is tied. If the quarterback tries to run or pass, the opposing team could intercept the ball and get a chance to score before the game ends.

Although the Colts quarterback could have chosen to go for the fan-pleasing touchdown and the big win, that choice could have resulted in a big loss. Taking a knee allowed the clock to run down without risking turning the ball over to the opponent, and it resulted in a three-point win.

As publishers we face similar decisions on a daily basis. Do we go for the big score—take the big-risk, big-reward opportunity to pursue the huge special sale, up that print quantity by 50 percent in anticipation of a favorable review in a big-name publication, move to those bigger offices that will triple our overhead but allow us to hire the help we need? Or do we “take a knee”—think lower profit margins but lower risk, adjust our plans to include less excitement but more practicality, win small, but win sure?

Either way, in football and in publishing, to win, you must first know where the goal line is (strategic plan) and then have a program (business plan) for crossing it. I mentioned in this column several months ago that your board of directors was working on a strategic plan for the association. As we begin the new year, I am pleased to present the mission statement and eight goals that are the foundation of that plan.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Independent Book Publishers Association is to support, educate, and advocate for our members, and to improve the standards of independent publishing.

Goal One: Support

Offer a variety of benefits and cooperative marketing programs, including new technologies and markets, and institute an ongoing evaluation of the same in order to help member independent publishers work more effectively and profitably.

Goal Two: Education

Improve the standards of independent publishing by developing the skills and knowledge of independent publishers through educational programming that attains the highest standard of excellence.

Goal Three: Advocacy

Provide a strong and sensible voice for independent publishers, and work proactively with industry players to create a better business environment for all.

Goal Four: Communication and Marketing

Create visibility, awareness, and understanding of our mission within the organization and the industry through marketing, public relations, and publications.

Goal Five: Membership Growth

Focus on identifying, recruiting, and retaining micro/individual emerging publishers with sustainable publishing programs, and on developing a comprehensive program of benefits and programs to serve and foster the growth of the experienced publishers who will be the future leaders of the association.

Goal Six: Industry Leadership

Increase PMA/IBPA industry visibility and develop strategic partnerships to advance our mission

Goal Seven: Fiscal Responsibility

Develop financial means to insure that PMA/IBPA effectively meets the needs of the membership.

Goal Eight: Role of Board of Directors and Bylaw Evaluation

Evaluate the role of the board of directors and the bylaws to determine if changes need to be made to reflect the direction of the association.

From this point forward, these eight goals will be the yardstick against which all activities of your association are measured. Although perhaps somewhat self-evident, these guideposts are unique because, for the first time, they are written.

What is written is measurable. And measurability entails accountability.

Next Up: The Business Plan

The business plan for PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association, is, as I write this, in its final stages of creation. It includes specific objectives and an action plan with deadlines to begin or continue to achieve the eight strategic goals above to fulfill our mission.

As we move into a new stage in our association’s development, we are fortunate indeed to have the strong foundation of the past upon which to build. By proactively planning for the future, step by step, your board and staff are positioning your association for long-term success in serving you, our members.

Touchdowns make headlines, but sometimes taking a knee is what gets you the win.

My virtual door is always open. Please share your comments, thoughts, and ideas by emailing me at fkichler@patriapress.com.

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