Revenue Models and More: An Interview with Sherri Langburt

by Jill Foster on November 11, 2009

Women Grow Business interviewed Single Edition Media founder Sherri Langburt via email, and now brings the discussion to you! Thanks Sherri for sharing your insight.

If you are a woman running your own business, learn how you can be featured here at Women Grow Business (think fun, resourceful, and simple!).

What decisions have best enabled your company to endure the current economy (and excel)?

As a self-funded company in this economy, one has to be able to find creative ways to sustain during the product development stages. Knowing that money coming in from advertising and product sales can take longer in this environment, I have played with our revenue model and found alternative non-traditional ways to generate income which have ultimately created new and unique lines of business for us to pursue in the long run.

What most influenced you to launch your business?

Apart from my life as a single woman without any resources or support, and years working in the technology/new media experience, it would have to be my first hand experience dealing working with food industry marketers and brand managers. Consumer packaged goods companies that continue to deliver single-serve meal solutions to market for the Mommy market was the impetus. The message that “Moms are C.E.O” of the family may be true, but in fewer homes than ever before. Why not market to singles, a large, often affluent demographic? It is 2009—single women and men (let’s not forget the male population) are the majority in this country for the first time and I realized that if they are not part of the target demographic for portable, affordable and nutritious cuisine, then something needed to change.

What key strategic and operational tactics helped your business first get started?

From the start my objective was to get the work done while keeping costs to a minimum. Despite interest from early stage investors, bootstrapping the business until it became profitable was the approach which made the most sense to me. This required a lot of bartering for services in-kind and a conviction that patience with the product development life-cycle, and continuous improvement, was a reliable model. Our first release of the website did not have much of the functionality I wanted nor did it have a look and feel that popped, but I clung onto Guy Kawasaki’s motto, “don’t worry, be crappy,” knowing that new features, functions and enhancements could be integrated as we moved forward.

What failure or missed benchmark proved a good business lesson (and why)?

In the world of the Web, traffic is one of the critical success factors. We started off with a bang after being featured on day one in the New York Times, but sustaining those impressions was not possible given our marketing budget. To compensate, we quickly shifted our model and become a service provider and niche agency which focuses exclusively on the single consumer segment. Impressions are people which we strive to make one at a time, among readers and our clients.

How do you use social media for your business?

We have built a tremendous partners program comprised of bloggers for the single demographic—they have been instrumental in growing our business, particularly with the campaigns we run for our clients.

Where do you envision your business in five years?

We hope to be making a difference in the lives of single people not only online but through real-life education, learning seminars and awareness building programs.

Sherri is the founder of Single Edition Media and lifestyle expert who is teaching non-married individuals the art of living happily ever now. Single Edition is the premier lifestyle destination for singles: women and men of all ages who have never been married as well as those who are divorced, solo parents or suddenly single. Ms. Langburt has 14 years of new media and technology experience, including having worked with leading brands such as Weight Watchers, Nestle, Kraft Foods, General Mills, Quaker Oats, Frito Lay and Unilever.

Image Moving Forward by Andreas, Creative Commons)

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