Founder | GrowBiz Media
As the traditional print magazine business model transforms, more print editors are leaving their jobsâsometimes their own decision, sometimes notâand many are taking bold steps into the online world. One example is longtime Entrepreneur editorial director Rieva Lesonsky, who left last April to launch her own marketing communications company.
âOver the years Iâd preached, in print and in public appearances, that business ownership was the only way you can really be in charge of your own destiny,â Lesonsky says. âI decided it was time to put up or shut up.â
After leaving Entrepreneur, Lesonsky launched SMB Connects, a network that put small businesses together with government agencies and organizations. âOur plan was to create a subscription offer that corporations would sign up for to reach fast-growing business owners,â she says. She struck several content deals with publishersâincluding AllBusiness.com and American City Business Journalâand marketers such as Toshiba.
In September, Entrepreneur sued Lesonsky, alleging that she âstoleâ its Franchise 500 ranking concept by creating a Franchise 300 ranking for AllBusiness.com. After months of negotiations, Lesonsky and Entrepreneur settled, agreeing that SMB Connects and AllBusiness.com were prohibited from calling their list the âFranchise 300,â or any other âconfusingly similarâ name.
Since then, Lesonsky has shifted focus from SBMâs sub-based list service to a fee-based content provider. Under a new nameâGrowBiz MediaâLesonsky and her team create and supply information for entrepreneurs and small- and mid-size business owners.
âSmall business is, as Bill Clinton used to say, the engine of the American economy,â says Lesonsky. âWith millions out of work, it is likely that many will decide to start a business in 2009 and 2010. The need for GrowBiz Mediaâs expertise and services is only going to grow.â
VITAL STATS: Lesonsky projects $400,000 in revenue for her first full year of operation.