Third Degree I.D. is a limited-liability company (LLC) with three founding partners, located in Savannah, Georgia. The company designs, develops, and markets instructional products and services for the corporate, education, government, and healthcare e-learning industries. It is committed to high quality instructional design and educational new media development, and provides a core deliverable of programs, courses, and learning objects for the distance education, distributed learning, and e-learning markets.
The company employs an object-oriented design methodology that yields flexible, scalable, and reusable content, supporting clients with rich, targeted solutions that are easily replicated and maintained. It seeks a balanced portfolio of clients from a variety of industry sectors, and plans to mitigate business fluctuations with an appropriate number of local, national, and international clients.
Third Degree I.D. develops strategic relationships and builds its business on a returning customer base and an accumulation of educational content that can be re-purposed and re-sold.
The three founding partners of Third Degree I.D. will each invest $35,000 into the company, and are seeking an additional two-year loan of $30,000 to complete the start-up funding. Roughly $19,000 of this initial funding is required for start-up expenses and assets; the remainder will provide a cash basis for the initial year of operations, during which Third Degree I.D. will provide some at-cost work to influential clients to create a solid reputation for our work and capabilities; this reputation forms the necessary basis for marketing and sales strategies after the first year.
Our market research shows our sales goal of $360,000 in the first year is conservative, for a start-up educational software company with our combined expertise. Growth estimates in years 2 and 3 are based on data from comparable businesses in the same industry.
Key objectives for Third Degree I.D. in the first year are as follows:
- Establish a legal business through appropriate licensing.
- Complete business planning and pursue funding–via venture capital, bank loans, grants, and contracts.
- Establish a web presence and list products and services in industry-relevant websites and publications.
- Contract with six to eight clients requiring consulting, training, design or development work of an appropriate scope ($50,000 or more).
Third Degree I.D. designs, develops, and markets instructional products and services for the corporate, education, government, and healthcare e-learning industries. It affords companies and institutions cost-effective, progressive, flexible and well supported solutions to their instructional design and e-learning operational needs. Its principal goal is client satisfaction, serving client interests as an ally and loyal business partner. The company operates on a for-profit basis and provides an engaging and equitable work environment for its owners, employees, and contractors.
1.3 Keys to Success
Success will be dependent upon:
- persistent and creative client development efforts
- exceptional product and service quality
- time-efficient and cost-effective development processes
- expert management and knowledgeable staff
- cash-savvy growth strategies
Third Degree I.D. focuses on the following deliverables: program/curriculum design and development, course design and development, program/curriculum and course evaluation, content analyses and revision, rich-media production, e-learning training, e-learning consulting, and additional services, such as market research, editing, document workflow, and translation. For purposes of billing, project management, and client relations, these services are broken down as follows:
- Program/Curriculum Design & Development
- New Program Services
- Existing Program Services
- Course Design and Development
- Learning Object Development
- Other Services
3.1 Program Design & Development
Third Degree I.D. provides development services for clients in accordance with educational best practices and client specifications. It employs a systematic design and development process that produces instructionally sound, engaging programs/curricula that are aligned with institutional goals and exceed applicable accreditation and/or compliance standards.
3.1.1 New Program Services
New program services are available to clients who do not yet possess an e-learning infrastructure or who do not yet possess robust programming that would adequately leverage the infrastructure.
Needs Analysis Report
The needs analysis report is the end result of a client-partnered consulting and research effort. The report articulates technology, workforce, and policy/procedure needs for e-learning programs in the general context of any institutional and/or accreditation and/or compliance constraints. Clients are charged according to the scope of the project, which is generally tied to the length and/or number of programs/curricula to be developed. For example, a needs analysis report for an e-learning certificate or academic “minor” (or group of related courses of no more than six) would conclude with a base charge of $3600.
Third Degree I.D. is owned and operated by its founders. It is a small company with a lateral, non-hierarchical structure that cultivates mutual input and collective solutions. The company will operate with three full-time employees (also the founders) in the first year, hiring contractor and consultants as needed. As our business grows, we plan to add additional staff, as discussed below.
7.1 Personnel Plan
Third Degree I.D. will be formed with three executive partners, a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a Chief Learning Officer (CLO), and a Chief Creative Officer (CCO). While a number of their job duties overlap, the CEO is primarily responsible for front-end consulting, planning, and project management, while the CLO and CCO are responsible for back-end product development, refinement, and implementation. The partners work together at promoting the business and managing office operations.
Susan Hines, CEO
Susan has worked in the educational sector for twenty years. She has seventeen years of teaching experience across a broad range of institutions, including public and private universities, four-year colleges, community colleges, and college-preparatory facilities. She has taught at institutions both domestic and foreign, has been a traditional tenure-track faculty member, and has served—and continues to serve—as online adjunct faculty. Susan was Assistant Professor of English and Digital Art at LaSalle University from 1998 to 2000, before taking a job as an Instructional Analyst with the e-learning company Eduprise, Inc. (now SunGuard Collegis). She was hired by the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2002 to develop its distance education curricula and continues to serve as SCAD’s Director of Instructional Design. Susan holds several degrees in English Literature: a Ph.D. from Georgia State University, an M.A. from the University of British Columbia, and a B.A. from the University of Alaska.
Mona Meyer, CLO
Mona holds a B.S. in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine and an M.A. in Educational Technology from San Diego State University. She has over twelve years experience designing and developing new media learning solutions for a variety of educational institutions and publishers, including: McGraw-Hill, Jostens Learning Corporation (now CompassLearning), Leapfrog, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. Mona specializes in object-oriented instructional design solutions that promote active collaboration. As instructional design manager for McGraw-Hill New Media, Mona led the development of hundreds of titles for the K-12 market in a wide variety of subject areas and played a crucial role in the design and development of the Codie-Award-winning McGraw-Hill Learning Network (www.mhln.com), a large-scale Internet education portal that offers interactive textbooks, multi-player educational games, and a suite of web-based classroom management tools.
Daniel Stanford, CCO
Daniel holds a B.A. in Mass Communication and French from the University of Alabama and is currently completing his M.F.A. in Interactive Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. An avid linguist and the recipient of a Capstone International Scholarship for study abroad, Daniel has spent semesters in France and Germany. He began his career in media design at the University of Alabama Center for Public Television, where he collaborated with producers to promote programs and distribute supplementary educational materials via the Web. He has since served as a media designer at the BLR Agency in Birmingham, Alabama, where he contributed significantly to the Birmingham Museum of Art’s Addy-award-winning website (www.artsbma.org). Five years of diverse media design experience led Daniel to SCAD, where he has put his combination of artistic and technical skills to use in learning object programming, graphic interface development, and project management.
As the client-base grows, the partners plan to hire a Technology Director who will work closely with the CLO and CCO to develop database-driven learning objects, as well as with the CEO to develop broader e-learning solutions, such as installation packages for open-source course management and learning management systems (CMS/LMS). In the first year, the partners will rely on outside consultants to provide information technology, instructional design, and media development support, as dictated by project load. As the client base grows and revenue is increasingly generated through content and technology re-licensure, the partners may add additional development staff to support project needs.