To make her new book, The Big Book of Boredom Busters for Kids,author Autumn Cherry enlisted the help of the Southwest ISBDC, Students from the University of Evansville, and Students from the University of Southern Indiana. It took the hard work of these three organizations to turn Cherry’s book into a growing, profitable business that now includes both the book and an accompanying cellphone-based app.
Autumn Cherry was born and raised in Evansville. As an adult, Cherry moved between different cities for over 30 years. Later in life, she moved back to Evansville to raise her two children. Upon her return to Evansville, she was often confronted with people saying things like, “There is nothing to do in Evansville.”
Cherry disagreed. In response, she began brainstorming ideas for fun things to do with her children. She wrote her ideas down until her list eventually grew to number over 1,000.
Cherry decided to turn her list into a book called The Big Book of Boredom Busters for Kids.The new book is a directory that collects and organizes nearly 1,000 ideas of how kids could spend a fulfilling afternoon in the Evansville Area. It highlights some of the parks, activities, volunteer opportunities, and recreational facilities that make Evansville an attractive place to raise children.
Cherry’s first step in publishing her book was to establish a solid business plan. She contacted the Southwest ISBDC for help. Advisors Doug Claybourn and Julie Folzhelped with the business planning process. They brainstormed ways to make the venture profitable.Claybourn and Folz used their connections to find sponsors for the book. They also found businesses to sell copies of the book at their stores. These efforts helped monetize the project.
Claybourn and Folz then connected Cherry with marketing students at the University of Evansville. These students developed marketing plans for Cherry to implement.
First, the students developed situational analyses that served as the foundation for the rest of the planning process. Next, the students segmented the market, set objectives, and made marketing mix suggestions. These suggestions included ideas about Boredom Busters’ logo, brand, website, methods of advertising, distribution, and book design.The students also spent hours researching fun activities in the Evansville Area and suggested additional content for the book. Cherry took the student’s ideas and made changes in the book’s design, content, website, and distribution methods.
The UE students also suggested that an app should accompany the book. To turn this idea into a reality, Julie Folz of the Southwest ISBDC introduced Cherry to Josh McWilliams and his computer science students from USI.
The University of Southern Indiana’s Technology Commercialization program hosts a summer internship program for computer science students. The program’s interns took on the Boredom Busters project and worked with Cherry to develop the app she wanted. There are many challenges that accompany the development of an app, so the students worked through a long design process. They brainstormed with Cherry, storyboarded what the app would look like, and then wrote code for an iOS and Android app that went live in September.