Sunday, July 27, 2008

Relationships Over Revenue -- How One Small Publishing House is Changing the Rules

"The relationships we have with others in the industry are more important to us than getting a bigger piece of the pie," says Michael Visentine, the new COO at NavPress.

It doesn't make sense. It goes against the grain. How can a publisher come from a position of giving first and still make ends meet? That's the million dollar question facing the team at NavPress every day. And they love it.

"At NavPress we are first and foremost Navigators," says Executive Publisher Mike Miller. "Because we are connected to a world-wide ministry we are able to do things differently than other publishers. We are here to advance the Kingdom of God. When we concentrate on building Kingdom-based relationships with like-minded ministries, we can trust God for the revenue," he affirms.

"We have realized that we don't have to do it all, be it all, or create it all, nor should we try," adds Michael Visentine, the new COO at NavPress. "No one can be the best at everything. When we take the focus off of trying to match what the other publishers are doing we are free do what we do best and be who we are, a mission-based servant publisher."

It starts with ministries that have the same vision coming together to enhance and support each other. This benefits not only those organizations directly involved, but also enriches the customer experience by connecting people to products and services that will help them grow spiritually. This approach opens up multiple offerings for customers, creating one unique place to find everything related to discipleship and spiritual growth.

"In any company there are three basic options when it comes to meeting customer needs," says Jessica Chappell, Director of Marketing and Ministry Partnerships at NavPress. "You can make it, buy it, or partner for it. Our partners are those ministries and organizations that can bring to our customers expertise in areas we cannot, and vice versa."

Therein lies the difference between the old paradigm and the new face of publishing at NavPress. But this is not a new idea. It is grounded in what the Bible says about the structure of the church. Each believer is a unique part of the Body of Christ. No one part is more important than the other and the Body of Christ is strongest when all parts work together for the common good.

"NavPress is no more or less important than any other publisher or ministry" continues Visentine, "but we each have a distinct role. The focus needs to shift from trying to find ways to out do each other to discovering how we can best serve each other. The relationships we have with others in the industry are more important to us than getting a bigger piece of the pie."


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