Have you ever looked at a product or service and thought, “I could do that better!” Mona Raglow of Raglow Consulting had a similar epiphany while pursuing a path of reinvention following a layoff after more than three decades in corporate America.
“I’ve done many different things since I was laid off in 2008, but there was a common thread: helping people with their personal effectiveness and productivity,” she says.
Two experiences in particular proved especially eye-opening: the continuation of her work with Franklin Covey’s education division as a contractor, rather than a full-time employee; and working as a partner in a stress relief center in Leawood, during which Mona would help people identify their priorities and act as their accountability coach. Through that work, she noticed a significant gap, then seized her opportunity.
“I’d help clients at the stress relief center create their plans, but I never really had a great tool—we were using notepads and three-ring binders,” she says. “There were too many planners and other things on the market that didn’t work for me, so I decided to create my own.”
She started with a blank notebook and, using her extensive experience from “helping educators and employees maximize their time,” she began sketching out tools and features that worked for her. It was then that the monaplanner© came to life.
“I know a lot about how the brain works and why we don’t get things done, and I made the planner to counteract that,” she says.
When her prototype was complete, Mona started using the monaplanner and soon attracted the attention of friends and colleagues.
“Other people started noticing I was using something different,” she says. “They’d also say to me, ‘You’re so organized! How do you stay so organized and get so much done?’”
That led to Mona’s second “a-ha!” moment—that she could market and sell the monaplanner. She assembled a focus group of friends to review the monaplanner’s first iteration, then incorporated their feedback and made adjustments. The next step? Bringing the new and improved monaplanner to life.
Mona started with a graphic designer she met on a freelancing web site and a print on-demand service. In the meantime, a friend mentioned to Mona that her son was interning with AlphaGraphics Kansas City. The rest, as they say, was history!
“I had previously worked with Haley [Haar, AlphaGraphics Kansas City owner], so I set up an appointment to explore my options,” Mona says. “Once I sat down with her again, I saw how amazing she was at going above and beyond at giving advice on a variety of topics. She made me realize I didn’t want to use the print-on-demand company.”
With Haley’s guidance, Mona made significant changes to the monaplanner, including improving the paper quality, using a different design program to optimize the project file and creating sturdier, double-laminated covers, along with a spiral bind and rounded corners.
“It was basically Haley saying, ‘Here’s what I would do,’ and I was smart enough to listen and make it happen,” Mona says.
AlphaGraphics Kansas City also helped Mona change the way she sold her monaplanner, making it even more convenient for customers far and wide. They created a customized portal that links to Mona’s website, so potential customers can simply visit the site, receive information about creating a customized cover, then place an order and have their monaplanner printed by AlphaGraphics Kansas City.
“That’s something I would have never done without Haley’s input,” Mona says. “We launched this about 2-3 months ago, and anyone who has ordered one absolutely loves it. I get orders now from people I don’t know.”
As a result of the experience, Mona’s added yet another role to her impressive resume: unofficial AlphaGraphics Kansas City ambassador.
“I get protective when someone else talks about another printer or that they picked up an order someplace else,” she says. “I’ll say, ‘Do you know Haley and Matt?’ I want to take care of them like they’ve taken care of me.”
Image via Raglow Consulting