WAN-IFRA: What changes did you make at your magazine to make it profitable
Nikolaus Förster: In contrast to many other publishers, we decided against try to save on personnel and quality. We did the opposite: We changed printers, deciding to go for high quality paper, decided towards the end of the year to choose a medium-sized marketing company for advertising and – perhaps most importantly – since December we took over ourselves the job of customer communication and subscription sales. By doing this we invest in the quality of the product and put great emphasis on a good company culture and a close relation with our customers.
How did you manage to make these changes?
These changes were only possible because we are completely independent – so we are not under any obligation to any banks, associations or corporations. Everything that we do serves the aim of being successful in the long term. It is not a question of short term profits, but of a strategy that will make us successful in the long term. But all that is only possible because we have a team which is interested in what’s new, and does not hold on to inherited publishing practices.
Is it possible to encourage entrepreneurialism amongst editors?
Impulse editors do not make decisions based on commerical interests, but according to purely content-related criteria. That is important for our credibility, which is the core of our business model. Therefore the editors of course see, which strategy we pursue, and support it. You can behave entrepreneurially as an employee too. Those who have tackled different business models over the course of many years know how to analyse very exactly what looks to be promising.
So, how do you encourage entrepreneurship among editors?
Among other techniques we are introducing a profit sharing system. Every permanently employed employee can decide how much capital they make available to the company. How high the return is depends on the extent of the total net earnings; this sum is distributed out year after year. The whole team should profit, not just individuals. That will also contribute to making everyone take an interest in the strength of the Impulse brand.