No, they’re not all home runs, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it

At Morgan/Dorado we work with quite a few early stage companies.  The rewards of helping out a very early stage company can be great, but so can the risks. They don’t all make it.

Last fall we worked a bit on a project to help produce free classes in Borders Book Stores. This was a pilot project that ran in the Sacramento area.  Yesterday’s Bee had the news that Borders has chosen to not continue the program. It’s an interesting program and may yet work for other retail chains:

No best-seller: Retailer Borders Books is ending its pilot program that turned parts of three local bookstores into “free universities.”

The “Borders Live Classes” experiment launched in February, with Sacramento-area experts offering how-to workshops, everything from eliminating paper clutter to buying foreclosed homes to matchmaking online.

Although as many as 450 attendees were showing up weekly for classes at the local stores, the program is not going to be rolled out nationwide as hoped.

Borders spokeswoman Kolleen O’Meara says it’s ending the program Saturday because each store’s employees were spending too much time preparing for the five or so daily classes and not enough “concentrating on our customers.”

The decision is a disappointment for Stuart Skorman, the Bay Area entrepreneur who sold Borders on the concept, recruited local instructors and handled marketing.

“We were really pleased with it,” he says, adding that attendance had tripled since it started four months ago. He’s convinced enrollment would have continued growing, helping create loyal Borders customers.

Now, he’s in “serious negotiations” with another local company to host the program. Skorman offered no more details other than that classes could resume in September.”

Just because they don’t all work out is no reason to stop doing it. We love working with people with new ideas.

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