Fireside Chat: Fei Yao, New Campus
Fei Yao, is the founder of New Campus, a Model Business School to meet the needs of our changing world.
This month, we’ve been fortunate to welcome Fei as our inaugural Raise Role Model at Next Chapter Raise. Our Raise Role Models are a showcase of female founder success through growth or scaling. The hope is that their experience can provide insight and inspiration to other women entrepreneurs.
Fei has had a remarkable journey so far. She started her business online long before it became popular. She then transformed it into an offline business before transitioning again to online during Covid 19.
New Campus’s mission is bold. They believe “accelerating social, environmental and technological change on a global scale requires us to re-examine traditional ideas of leadership on a global scale. We’re a school whose mission is to empower an inclusive new generation of modern leaders by giving them the skills, insights and connections to stay ahead.”
Fei has fascinating insights into building a successful online business during our fireside chat with our community. When starting her entrepreneurship journey, Fei joined an accelerator in Singapore which was a new experience for her in terms of meeting people outside of her network and hearing stories from other entrepreneurs. This changed her view of career options that were possible and helped her develop New Campus.
Like a lot of startup entrepreneurs, she went through several iterations of the business including setting up in Dubai. Over time, she built up the offline component of the business including having in-person speakers. This came after her audience started responding well to in-person interaction. It was very clear how important it was to have that human interaction. Of course, Covid 19 put an end to all of that and once again, the company was forced to pivot.
Having already established an online business and worked through the whole technical setup, it was much easier the second time around. It meant they didn’t have to focus on education around virtual tools because the whole world is now levelled up for that. Instead, it allowed them to focus on content and relationships with their clients.
According to Fei, if you’re working as part of a team, there are some key considerations.
For your team:
- In a remote work culture think about how to ensure the team stays as motivated as they are at the office. Plus, don’t just assume the same rituals and work practices will translate to online.
- Have empathy. Not everyone’s work from home setup is the same. They may not have a dedicated workspace, poor wifi or their family might be around. These things can all impact a team member in terms of staying comfortable and motivated.
- Consider how to introduce new routines that can support the team remotely.
For your customers:
- Are they still the same customers you had when you were offline? Remember, some customers may not choose to move with you when you pivot to online services. There will be a natural attrition rate but it also gives you an opportunity to develop detailed profiling and refine your offering to appeal to new customers. At New Campus, they now livestream their speakers after having previously had them speak in-person. This in turn has given them a wider audience and as a result, a higher uptake.
- Consider how to market to this new user base. Your traditional paid advertising models may not work as well as they did previously so consider tailoring your services and messages to attract new customers. This may also create an opportunity to redesign your service to gain exposure outside your traditional location.
- Leverage partnerships to reach new customers. This is important for several reasons not least of which is that mutually beneficial partnerships are often free to promote.
- Going online will raise questions about the flexibility of your business infrastructure. How can you translate your offering into a flexible support online?
- Transitioning your business inevitably raises questions about your talent and skills gap. Be adept here as a pivot could save or cost you a significant amount in terms of budget.
If we’ve learned anything this year it’s that employees around the world are now able to operate remotely. But it’s important for businesses to consider how to make employees’ time more intentional as well as how to use time when in the office e.g. allocating time for higher social interaction such as town halls and brainstorming sessions. Reserve remote working time for more quiet, deep dive work.
Next Chapter Raise founder, Nicole Denholder applauds this advice saying, “what this session drove home was that Covid has helped us reimagine our working lives. It’s now possible to run a business from home, even when you’re servicing global clients and/or have an international workforce”.
The other key takeaway was this: there are business benefits to operating online and offline but for New Campus clients, they need a mix of both. Over time, as things open up, reintroduce those interactions which fostered community. The same could hold true for a lot of businesses. When it comes to teams, customers and marketing, balance is key.
Thanks again to Fei Yao and New Campus. This was an invaluable session and everyone who joined got a lot out of it. Remember, everyone’s at a different stage on their funding and business journey so please don’t be afraid to reach out to us at Next Chapter. We want to create a safe and supportive space to ensure you feel encouraged and inspired to write your next funding chapter.
Special Offers for our Community:
Power Ladies Breakfast sessions that might be valuable for your community and relevant to what we talked about today. They can get a 30% discount with code NCR
- “What I did not learn at Harvard Business School” with Ming Chen, Chief Culture Officer of Education First https://www.newcampus.co/power-ladies-breakfast/ming-chen-education-first
- “Finding your purpose as an entrepreneurial career woman” with Hind El Aoufi Founder of youforher https://www.newcampus.co/power-lunch-hour/hind-el-aoufi
- More on our calendar.
You can learn more about Fei at https://www.linkedin.com/in/yaofei/
Or check out their website to understand more about New Campus