Question :
Hello Experts, I am in need of some guidance on the best way to execute a program thathas been created – web / app or perhaps both? – I appreciate your time.I am writing on behalf of my husband, Mark Sutherland, whounfortunately at the age of 57 was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, June 2018.Prior to this diagnosis, we knew that things were changingfor Mark and so we spent many months writing an online course based around hisyears of expertise in high performance, which we named ‘The Sport of Business’.About Mark He coached the NZ Kayak team whose athletes won many World Championships andOlympic Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals (Paul MacDonald and Ian Ferguson)He was the trainer to the NewZealand Short Track Ice Skating Team that broke the world record and won theworld championships in the 5000m relay. He coached or trained nine worldchampion athletes from 8 sports with 3 World Records and lectured at 2Universities.In 1994 he made a deliberate four-year transition frominternational sport to performance coaching of business people. He surveyed andstudied the needs of management teams and business owners to find out what theconnections were between top sport and business leadership and management.He then introduced the skills,insights, experiences and principles of high-performance sport to businesspeople to help them elevate their performance and that of their business.Mark’s clients said that he was a ‘real world, straight-shooting,no-nonsense coach’ that quickly got to the heart of the matter and eliminatedthe Bull Shit allowing them to be successful. About the courseIt is a five-week online course or as Mark called it your Training Program,which focusses on unlocking your ‘Inner Champion’, helping you to build yourbusiness using the principles of high-performance sport. He shares 30 years’experience in the high-performance arena of elite sport and business.His purpose was to educate business owners by teaching themabout the proven and powerful strategies of Mindset, Resilience and Highperformance.His motivation was to help business owners lift theirpersonal performance so they can successfully drive their business to the nextlevel, resulting in more clients, more sales and more profits.  Coaching was Mark’s passion. The development ofthe Online CourseThis course was picked up by JBA in 2017 and their instructionaldesign and tech teams spent hundreds of hours building and developing it.However, as a tech business, they needed to constantly ensure their productswere aligned with a viable commercial strategy. This necessitated iterationinto virtual reality training with the corporate market in mind.  The Sport of Business was developed for onlinetraining platform to be of value to those who are either self-employed, aconsultant or the owner of a small business.  JBA advised us that this was no reflection on Mark’s IP northe quality of the content. They said it was an incredible body of work and atrue testament to Mark’s legacy in the sporting and business world.  They were so generous by providing us with all the webrootfiles and the final storyboards (in PowerPoint format)Due to Mark’s Alzheimer’s disease and that he no longerworks, I need to know what I should do. I really believe in this program andwhat Mark has spent years creating – how do I go about marketing this andfinding someone to help put it online or an app. I am 65, retired, not up todate with the full capacity that technology is moving at –  I’m stuck. Are there any suggestions?Thanks for your time and your maanaki.Debbie.

Question submitted 20/04/20 @ 02:58pm
Industry: New Product Development / R&D
  • Hi,

    I would start by looking at companies like JBA, for example, other engineering firms, large and small, if, as this sounds, it is a ready to go product and isn’t too specific to JBA, you should be able to get some calls. You and your husband hopefully will have built up a network of friends, and through your husband’s work a network of young people who he will have “touched” during his coaching days. They will also have friends who are likely to be potential clients with the right skills to help you with how to put this up as a product, what to charge and so on. I would start with this group.
    There are also Software as a Service and Digital experts on this panel who could point you in the right direction.

    I hope this helps

    I have two options you could look at – both relatively cheap to host but you would need time, effort and money to invest in making them fit for purpose.

    So 1) is GlideApp, which is an App development tool that works with Google Sheets – I’ve just built an App myself on that platform but have needed help from one of the experts to refine it. Relatively straight forward – has payment gateways, video capabilities etc. and a young NZ expert at hand in Rotorua.

    2) is Mighty Networks, which I am a real fan of, although costs a bit more for the site. It’s like a sophisticated Facebook Group with private social network and easy interface to build courses into it with payment gateway embedded.

    Key issue with both options is how you get them to market and that will obviously involve leveraging off existing contacts, and marketing etc as with any new product.

    Anyway have a look at them both and revert back for any queries

    Hi Debbie,
    This sounds so frustrating, almost there and then not, and time needs to be on your side.
    Could you engage a tech company that feels like it wants to take on shareholding in the business once you get it to live stat. Is this the way to approach it? Ideally they have the tools to market it too. Could you go back to the software developer used for ‘Projects made easy” (??)
    But do you engage a ghost writer and take it to a book asap, build this story, create the marketing platform and behind the scenes the tech is created.
    Is it feasible to develop a series of podcasts, breakdown versions that are easier for SME’s to buy in this environment and easier to get to market.
    But if you want some ideas on marketing – happy to chat? 021654926, he needs to build his digital profile.
    It would seem this is a tool that is needed and massive expertise.

    Kia Ora Debbie – this is a wonderful and I can see and imagine a really challenging situation – my father had the same, and it is a period of time that is both confusing for the person and also for the people around – God’s blessings to you both now and into the future.

    What I hope might be helpful – is that what is needed is a ‘person’ to take Mark’s work and translate it into the next level or next version that could be taken to work – would that be something you would be happy with? For that to happen, it really requires finding someone who believes in the philosophy and method Mark was espousing and then how they might take it to market. A question, are there any people you have come across who have experienced Mark’s insights and methods first hand, who could be potential partners going forward? Often the best people to take these opportunities forward are the very people who benefited from his work.

    I will think about others – my sense is about ‘getting a champion to take it forward’.

    Kia Kaha, my love and respect to you Debbie.

    Debbie, my heart goes out to you and Mark. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers a few years ago. It sounds like Mark has developed some wonderful materials and insights that can help a lot of people.

    I tend to be a realist in my perspectives. So, take this as just one opinion and one perspective to add to the mix. Starting and then growing a business is really really challenging, in reality. In the beginning, it’s more than full-time and it’s 7 days per week. The idea and the content is an amazing starting point, but it will live and die on the passion of the people that take it forward. It will need funding and commitment and a lot of hard work.

    Is your motivation to get Mark’s amazing work in to the hands of those that can benefit, rather than making money from the IP he has developed? Either way, what’s key is finding someone that will own this project and drive it like it is their own. And, then some capital to get it moving. If you can find such a person, perhaps you could jointly form an entity where this person receives a large shareholding. Or, they license the IP from you and they start a company around this. Or you could license the IP to companies that can put the IP to great use, like existing coaching companies or tech companies that focus on online learning.

    As this is a hugely personal piece of work inspired by Mark’s experience, has there been someone close to him over the years that has been profoundly impacted by either Mark as a coach or by this coaching programme? Someone with a personal connection that resonates with the programme Mark has developed? This may be a great starting point to find the right person to drive this forward.

    Then, depending on who this person is, there may need to be capital provided for tech. If you have the funds, then you could contribute. Otherwise a tech provider that focusses on online learning potentially could do this for equity instead of cash, particularly if their business has been impacted by Covid-19.

    Food for thought. Happy to further the dialogue!

    It sounds like some amazing love to bring the programme to more people. Kia kaha

    Hi Debbie, happy to chat. I have a couple of sports coaching courses online (www.xlr8sportstraining.com)
    Mixed success over the years with coaches and teachers mainly. We built our own platform to house the Powerpoints, videos and training manuals. The registration, payment, assessment, through to certification is all handled via the website. It would be great to see Mark’s knowledge and insights get online. Take care and feel free to connect if you want to share ideas. JT 0274877987

    Hi there Debbie – and all strength to you and Mark.
    I too have been down this journey, and know the lows (and highs) of what you’re going through.

    I was going to suggest that you try not to take this on yourself, but find a partner who is already active in the business coaching arena. I imagine that business coaching professionals are reassessing their own businesses right now, as ‘in person’ training is likely to be off the agenda for some time.

    You’d need to find someone who has at least some appreciation of the online world, or maybe can partner with the right people to complete your ‘build’.

    If you had more bandwidth, you could go down the franchising route, but I don’t think that would be ideal for you right now – much better to work with a motivated partner and build this into a business together.

    Good luck!
    Kia Kaha!

    hi Debbie,
    Such a critical challenge and I understand the predicament.

    My 2c; I always suggest to people to go back to first principles when looking to move their business or idea ahead; why are you wanting to move this ahead and what is it that you (assuming you’re the founding shareholder for arguments sakes) want from the business? Lifestyle? Certain Income? Wealth? Or just to share the gold from Mark’s experience?
    This first question will then inform all future decisions, and whilst I tap this suggestion out very quickly, its not a question best answered rapidly.

    The steps I advocate are:
    The Why > Shareholders objectives > Business Vision > Business Strategy > Tactical action plans
    Its oversimplified of course, but people tend to jump straight to stage 4.

    I tend to agree with the partner route, either an individual or a company. One caveat, Business partners are like life partners: the right one can be hard to find.

    Once you’re clear on the Why, or if you just want to get something built, My partner has built an online course using Thinkific. It is easy to use, has inbuilt billing and manages the course and content relatively well.

    Hope that helps.
    Aroha Nui


    Kia Ora Debbie,

    I too have experienced Alzheimer’s in my family and so my heart goes to you and your family at this tough time. Lots of great advice and suggestions have been offered in this thread. I would just reiterate a couple of points – this is a significant project at a time when you will be facing many other challenges. Partnering with someone either in the business world (ideally someone who has experienced Mark’s coaching, tools and techniques) who can support the process of developing the package through the next iteration or someone already in the coaching/mentoring field who could see a way to add this into their suite of offerings.

    If you were keen to capture the legacy of Mark’s approach and style and share then another option is turning the content into a book (but this is certainly not a great way to monetise the IP). I am thinking about the book “Legacy: 15 lessons in leadership” by James Kerr as an example. You might want to consider publishing this as an e-book. Getting clarity of what you are hoping to achieve from your/his endeavour (your why) will help decide next steps. Happy to chat if I can be of any assistance

    Dear Experts; Will, Shaun, Anna, Andrew, Leslie, Jamie, Debra, Josh and Deb.
    I wish to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to each of you for the time you spent in replying to my question. (Also, I appreciate your empathy towards my situation looking after Mark). There have been some great points raised which I will work through with our two daughters. Then, if I have any questions about your thoughts I will connect with you. I wish each of you all the very best with your business and hope that the rest of 2020 will be successful for you. Once again, thank you. Debbie Sutherland.

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