Everyone has a story, from when you were born, to how you grew up, and where you currently are. Just like people, companies also have their own stories, being aware of our story is important, as it helps create a picture of our past, how we got to where we are, as well as what’s next for us.
Let me introduce you to our business journey…
The Year is 2005
Everything started in 2005 when the founder received a vision, which was prophesied during a church service of a future tree. This tree was destined to surface in the desert at an appointed time, growing into a large tree, where its leaves and fruit would heal all the people who came to this tree. The tree would bear fruit all year long.
The vision started to transform into a business idea, where the founder saw the need of a business, aimed at helping potential entrepreneurs and business owners to learn how to help themselves so that they can also help others to empower themselves. So, this concept, the idea of the tree with its leaves and seeds became the driving force behind our business’ brand, we registered in South Africa as The Learning Tree in 2008.
In 2010, the founder decided to pursue another business venture in the Middle East. During that time the new business idea started to transform into the vision that had been prophesied in 2005 – the tree started in the desert, as predicted, and the initial vision became our business vision, but just in different words – “Shaping the future of global prospective entrepreneurs and business leaders, to succeed in their journey of personal and business growth”.
Soon the founder realised that he needed help from someone who had a drive and passion for business, like himself, someone with good experience. This trusted partner became his son, he joined him as co-founder and CEO. The business model drove online business solutions, and coaching services, helping prospective entrepreneurs to start their business enterprises, as well as existing business leaders to improve business performance, becoming more profitable, increasing revenue, and creating wealth for all its stakeholders.
A lot of effort was spent on creating a website – numerous painful and EXPENSIVE lessons were learnt, and even more very expensive lessons were learnt when we converted and imported training material into the Opensource LMS (learning management system) on our website. Eventually, by the end of the year, we started to sell a few products and services. This came with the learning of more expensive lessons when we discovered how online marketing and sales worked for B2C and B2B customers. I must admit, the challenges we faced in the marketing and delivery side was a learning experience to write war stories about.
We wanted to stay true to our vision and mission and decided to kick out our Opensource LMS and went for a more Cloud based SAAS LMS. This proved to be very simple, as well as a more reliable solution, less intensive on resources. As the customer numbers increased over time, the learning content remained a challenge, we needed the services of a full-time content developer to oversee the development of our business solutions, and so, another family member, the founder’s daughter was appointed as the director of content development.
Based on our learning experiences, we wanted to build our own integrated, digital marketing process, which was to be supported with an off-the-shelf theme based LMS. A lot of effort and money went into the designing of this process, the process turned out to be one which we were very proud of. The website provided a great online experience for our B2C’s. However, integrations were once again a challenge for us, we needed more support from affordable coders to fix things that kept popping up. But, if you know anything about coders, you would know that the word coder and affordable, are rarely found in the same sentence, just like unicorns, they don’t exist. More expensive lessons.
The customer numbers were growing steadily, which started to put a strain on all our resources. Our experience once again helped us to make quick decisions, we bought another LMS and migrated our content onto a development site, while our production site stayed intact, servicing our customers. The change gave our site a fresh look, with a great response rate which rolled hot of the press. The first pilot was conducted jointly, between selected businesses in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and South Africa.
Being involved in cloud technology remained a challenge due to the continuous changes taking place, we realised it’s either, we learn to adapt, or we die. 2016 Was one of those years were numerous changes by global giants such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook affected online business. Being a small business with limited resources, we managed to redirect our strategy but struggled to respond with our limited resources, especially since we were a self-funded business.
This year proved to be something totally different, we decided to focus our solutions and our digital marketing efforts on business startups and launched the FundMe Program, which was a unique business development and funding program, designed to help the best performing entrepreneur to get their initial funding to start their ventures. We introduced a coaching method which supported the entrepreneur on their journey to success. The traffic which we directed to our website was amazing, we could not believe this was even possible.
To remain competitive, you should continuously listen to your customer and the needs out there. We embarked on a process to rejuvenate our learning method, to ensure that we deliver business solutions as efficiently as possible. The 70:20:10 Learning Model was adapted to support our learning processes, helping our customers to implement what they have learnt as effectively as possible. Secondly, we are piloting communities of business partner leaders and experts to better support our B2C and B2B customer segments. So, watch this space…BIG and EXCITING things are coming…