In our "3 Questions" series, we ask top industry professionals to answer three questions within their area of expertise. In this edition, we're talking about the role revenue plays in developing new ideas with founder of Passion Profits Consulting, Dawn Baron. 

1. Why is this a challenging topic right now for business professionals?

Simply put — we have fewer resources these days. Whether your organization has had to freeze hiring, slash expenses, or terminate partnership and contracts with those who support content and idea creation, we are all feeling the pinch of the pandemic. Therefore, the challenge is how to drive revenue in spite of the fact that we have fewer resources to use. I remind myself of the following when working with both corporate and nonprofit clients: you entered this line of work because you are resourceful, not because you have lots of resources. Today, we have to remember that more than ever before. We pursued mission-driven work because we believe in the mission. When you have passion for something, you find ways to achieve it.

Now is your time to redefine the typical structure of the nonprofit. Your education and events lines of business have been turned on their heads. You recovered with virtual events — but what more can you do? Remember 10 years ago when your publications line of business stopped producing because Amazon walked in and delivered cheaper options overnight (or even instantly if you wanted to read on a device)? We were faced with challenges then too, but we recovered with creativity —  author seminars, custom content, virtual workshops.

"I remind myself of the following when working with both corporate and nonprofit clients: you entered this line of work because you are resourceful, not because you have lots of resources. Today, we have to remember that more than ever before."

2. What tips can you offer to help overcome these challenges?

We will recover here, too, and maybe even revolutionize how nonprofits operate. The majority of nonprofits have already begun to deliver virtual events and education to support and replenish these revenue streams. Zoom and video can't support the future of your nonprofit all by themselves, but you can.

Here's how: listen. If you focus your idea creation on how much money you will make, you will lose. People are doing a double-take when they see the price on a gallon of milk right now; if you simply push a new idea out because it has a price tag that will help your topline, it will fail. Instead, get your constituents involved with the solutions and then create the products and services that THEY are willing to buy.

Tip: Hold focus groups, ask questions and be attentive to trends. These days, you don't have to wait three months to determine a trend and a corresponding need; you can crowdsource and learn what your customers need most and what they would be willing to pay for it. This is how we should be creating products and services always, but we began to focus too much on production and payment. In my opinion, many nonprofits started to turn into casual grocery stores, adding one more item on the shelf every Tuesday and knowing someone would buy it. But now, there exists a new level of intention and the nonprofits who pay attention to it will survive and thrive.

3. How is one way your company is excelling in this area?

Listening can come in many ways. You can listen to answers to questions or to shared stories; you can watch social media comments and piece together stories through web behavior. We have many insights available to us. The one I "favorite" is the authentic human story. I take every opportunity to talk to customers and community members one-on-one or in small groups, and I ask them what is challenging them — then I listen to their stories. In almost every case, I am able to connect them with a solution that has a "next step" that will keep our relationship and conversation growing. We begin to build trust this way and once you establish trust, you will begin to generate ideas that are truly intended to move people forward. The community you serve will respond with returned trust and investment in your organization.

Things are hard right now, but no one ever grew by being comfortable. First and always, be kind and be human. The revenue will follow.

Dawn Baron Headshot

Dawn Baron- Founder, Passion Profits Consulting

With a passion for pursuing dreams that make the world a better place, Dawn Baron started Passion Profits Consulting to help people and organizations reach their greatest goals. Dawn specializes in approaching a problem with an open mind, new ideas and new energy. Throughout her career, Dawn has been introduced to some of the most prominent women and men in corporate and community spaces. She has supported companies with aspirations to provide for better work environments for their employees, start-ups that have unique and innovative ways to help others learn and thrive, and individuals who are looking to make a difference.