Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Guest Post: "Fox On the Run"

"Things are only impossible until they're not"
JEAN-LUC PICARD, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Mark is a rocket scientist.

For real.

Mark is the youngest chief engineer 2 ever work on the NASA space shuttle project, and is now on the run all over North America, using creative problem-solving methods 2 help organizations solve ten million dollar problems.

For a small fee, of course!

Mark has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering with an MBA. Some of his unique accomplishments include increasing e-business sales 600% in one year. He builds his own airplanes and hot air balloons and his book, "Da Vinci and the 40 Answers" is based on his original, always sold out, workshop hosted at Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas.

More than a year ago, Mark stumbled on 2 this blog and has kept coming back. Today, author, speaker and rocket scientist Mark L. Fox is sharing with fellow TSB readers a guest post designed 2 inspire creativity in your world.

By: Mark L. Fox

What would you do if the direct sales from your top selling product tanked tomorrow?

Well it’s gonna happen.

It may not be tomorrow, but the death of your star will come some day. It’s a fact, so why not assume it is going to happen sooner than later?

One of the tools I use in my creative thinking workshops is to assume that my client can no longer make any money directly from selling the product to consumers anymore. In this case, how else could you make money from the product besides a direct sale? This exercise allows you to discover other revenue streams that you can capitalize on now. They are right under your nose; you just haven’t taken the time to smell them.

It’s kinda Google’s model in a sense. The primary product they have is “search” but it is given away for free. They make money on all the side doors.

What are your revenue side doors?

I recently applied this tool to a recent product I developed called Nest Egg Software. It is a revolutionary retirement planning software package which 100’s of thousands of dollars were spent in the development of it. (Go get your free account, )

Of course I could easily sell the software, but I decided to give it away for free and apply the Sunken Ship philosophy before I ever launched the product. As part of the business model, I assumed I could never sell it directly to the consumer. I did this on purpose to expand my creative thinking and come up with different ways to make money with the concept without directly selling it to consumers. Here is what I came up with as targets for revenue streams;

• Financial Advisors, who then use it in their practice for their clients
• Corporate HR departments: as a benefit for employees and let them rebrand it as their own. Every employee hates HR and it gives HR a chance to give some benefits back to their workforce
• Advertizing space on
• Radio commercial spots integrated into the blog podcasts
• Refer the “free” consumers to financial advisors and obtain referral fees
• Find other companies who use the term “Nest Egg” in their branding and create partnerships
• Banks, brokers, and financial institutions allowing them to rebrand it for their customers.
• Retirement associations like AARP

These are just a few of the side door revenue streams we are going after in the business model. We also applied the principles of Word of Mouth Marketing in the business plan as the product was being developed. We will cover more on WOM in another post.

Side doors are all around you.

Look for them and try opening a few.

Mark L. Fox

Many thanks 2 Mark for sharing his lunar level thoughts today.

If you think your organization can benefit from having Mark's level of creativity tackle some of your most pressing issues, here are some links 2 learn more.

"The important achievement of Apollo was demonstrating that humanity is not forever chained to this planet and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited"

P.S. ... May be a little cheesy, but still want 2 acknowledge Mark's contribution with a retro-musical thank you for sharing a sweet side of science ...


simon said...

The notion of "side revenue" really came from the open source movement which under its model makes software no longer a source of revenue but a medium for sharing knowledge and advertising. Companies, such as Red Hat, trying to come up with revenue from their work then had to be more creative. Service is the first opposite to product, but as Fox discloses, you're only limited by your imagination... nice article. p.s. notice he also provides his book as a PDF for free =)

East Coast Gal said...

Gair, please go back to spelling 2 as two or to or too! It's too distracting to me, I have to read it two times or more! :-)

Hill said...

So great work for informing us of the possibilities and following a certain path.

I really appreciate your hard work an giving us some information and inspiring others to follow.

Thanks so much.

I hope for more post in the future.

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