The Ten First Steps for Community Ecommerce and
Telework Preparedness



1.   Create the Ecommerce and Telework (EAT) Center Storefront


Goal: To create a centrally located storefront for the EAT Center to attract a wide variety of patrons who wish to learn new skills to help them raise their income levels and maintain their preferred lifestyles. The center will serve as an outreach and training hub with one fulltime equivalent champion for the first year. Half time funding is planned for years two and three with revenues from sales and services building eventual sustainability.


Strategy: Using the first incentive of ready-cash from online auction sales from items brought to the center as the initial attraction, additional incentives for participation will be the friendly offer of free training, Internet and computer access, and specialized training workshop events to create for-profit services. Local media will be used to keep the center’s many activities in the minds of the community. Ebay-Day events will be promoted as fundraising activities for local organizations.


Outcomes: The number of participants and participant hours utilizing the center, the number of items sold, the total resulting new income, the number of media exposure events, and the number of Ebay-Day fundraisers will be graphically displayed at the Center and updated regularly.



2.   Hold a Major Presentation Event to Announce the Purpose and Goals of the Center and Project


Goal: To introduce the services, staff, volunteers, and community opportunities presented by the center with emphasis on the opportunity for additional funding if the community rallies to demonstrate widespread active use of the center. This presentation will be videotaped to allow for maximum dissemination.


Strategy: Create a multimedia presentation showcasing successes of other communities and individuals specifically related to the intended outcomes of the project in the context of “learning what’s working for others like you.”  Articulate the community mission for the project as related to the goals of the Ten First Steps for generating new skills, relationships, collaboration, content, Ebusinesses, and visions for the future uses of communications technology.


Outcomes: The presentation will be video-taped so everyone interested will have a chance to see it, including other communities. The ideal outcomes are unbridled enthusiasm for what a community can do for itself as well as widespread participation in the center and the

many following activities to be specifically recorded as measurable outcomes. An online public calendar will serve as the basis for local organizations planning their own awareness-raising events.



3.    Launch an Emall as the Local Web Community Content Resource 
for Ebusinesses and Collaboration


Goal: To demonstrate the benefits of posting local content on the web to draw business to the Emall as well as to better share information and new learning services throughout the community.


To facilitate maximum community inclusion from the very beginning of the project through local organizational incentives of assistance creating a web presence with initial emphasis on listing existing business web sites, bringing more businesses online, followed by community content creation and collaboration activities.


Strategy: A public graphical display on the Emall and at the Center will celebrate all sponsoring organizations and businesses to make it explicit that participation will be rewarded with recognition. All local businesses will be invited to co-sponsor these content and collaboration creation events in return for technical assistance creating Ecommerce web pages and/or other content contributions to the community Emall.


Many model low-cost events, are described in The Community Bootstrap (See Appendix G: The Community Bootstrap Academy)


Specific events will be held for business and community leadership with information packets containing an executive overview on their advantages for direct participation.


Special integrated presentations for K-12, parents, and economic developers will be held. An emphasis will be on youth involvement and youth trainees will be specifically sought out.


Web-raising content creation events will be held designed specifically to generate web-content to draw potential customers to the Emall web site. Such content would include all local and regional businesses with web sites, volunteer mentors listed by topic, relevant success stories, Ecommerce models, and training resources. Incentives include free workshops on creating web pages for local community based organizations, businesses, families and individuals.


Outcomes: Records will be kept for the number of events held, the number of participants, the number of sponsoring organizations and businesses, and feedback from participants. Documentation will include emphasis on new relationships, initiatives, and new web content created and the range of organizations, businesses, families, and individuals involved in creating and maintaining them.

4.         Hold a Skills Drive to Create a Mentorship Roster


Goal: Conduct a skills assessment to create an online Mentorship Roster to list local talent alphabetically by topic and by name to meet the need for coordination ofmatching local expertise, with local learning needs – i.e. the haves with the have-nots. (Example Mentorship Roster; AskA+ Locator Appendix J.)


Strategy: A survey will collect resident skills, recording who is willing to share them, as well as skill needs and who needs mentoring assistance. In rural communities, those with technical skills are often shunned instead of celebrated. A social recognition strategy is needed to provide external recognition for the social value of their skills.  Local social recognition will grow as people learn to appreciate that learning new technology skills is easier in a social setting. This project provides a structure to assess and record collaborative successes – gathering and sharing information and encouraging new learning through peer mentorship.


Outcomes: Records will be kept for the number of new mentors and new skills generated by all project participants and multiple ongoing training initiatives.



5.         Hold a Multimedia Fair for Local Champions to Demonstrate New Technologies and Applications and to Create a Series of Locally Driven Workshops.


Goal: To demonstrate the benefits of new technology and advanced telecommunications applications as a model process.  Whereby, the citizens can conduct training workshops, advertise their expertise, and related services and whereby communities can continually stay current on continually advancing applications.


Strategy: Drawing heavily on local volunteer talent, as well as established experts, demonstrations of new technologies and applications will be conducted covering the full range of things that can be done with a computer and Internet – given friendly and knowledgeable assistance. This will create new relationships between those with skills and those with learning needs. Citizens will volunteer their presentations as a way of creating awareness for their new for-profit services.


A workshop series utilizing local talent will be created. These workshops will require a small fee for attendance and will include such topics as multimedia family scrapbooks, digital restoration of damaged photographs, a showcase of local and regional Ecommerce success stories and strategies, Ecommerce tools for Ecommerce web sites, collaborative emarketing solutions, and so on.


Outcomes: Records will be kept on the number of persons participating in the presentations, the number of new relationships resulting and the number of new technologies and specific advanced telecommunications applications demonstrated. Records will be kept for the number of advanced workshops held using local talent and the number of participants. Link lists will point to examples of advanced community applications and will provide a summary of ongoing means for seeing the latest advanced applications.



6.         Create a Local Online Newsletter as an Incentive for Collaboration


Goal: As a conduit for citizen engagement, online collaboration, and storytelling of what’s working - each step of the way – a collaborative online newsletter will be created and regularly updated throughout the project.


Strategy: Collaborative incentives will be created for all citizens willing to regularly share their expertise. Effective use of free collaborative tools such as listservs with web-based archives will be accessible via the newsletter and Emall, including use of “blogs” a new form of self-publishing allowing anyone interested the equivalent of an online newspaper column – with a link included in the newsletter as their means of ongoing contribution. (


This newsletter will be an incentive for citizens to regularly get online to see what’s
going on locally with the majority of the content being provided by locals. The
newsletter will showcase the Center’s many activities and frequent workshops held
by locals. All three communities will be able to gauge their progress against that
of the other communities thus facilitating the rapid sharing of new ideas and resources.  Example from Bethel, Alaska.


Outcomes: The newsletter serves as an ongoing evaluation mechanism for the community to self-assess its own progress throughout the project’s timeline as well as allowing the external evaluator, and the whole world, the ability to monitor the project’s progress. The number of contributors will be recorded along with the frequency of their contributions.



7.         Create Teleworker Portfolios as an Incentive to Mentor and to Develop New For-Profit Services


Goal: Create incentives for sustained peer mentoring by offering advanced Teleworker training to include creation of an electronic portfolio resume documenting successful online mentoring and collaboration. Viable for-profit online services  will be identified and wherever possible implemented as a real business promoted through this project.


Strategy: Citizens engaged in mentoring others will enjoy the incentive of the development of an online portfolio detailing their successful online training and collaboration skills.  Incentives will include specialized telework skills training and telework jobs awareness reserved for mentors only – i.e. citizens who have agreed to share what they have and will learn.


Teleworker trainee’s mentoring activities will be an explicit method for creating local  awareness for their developing for-profit services based on the provided teleworker training.


As their skills and confidence develop through use of the existing “Rural Ecommerce  and Telework Strategies” online course - this “ideal” center will not only assist citizens in developing employability and Ecommerce skills, but would assist those who are ready to create a real business.


Outcomes: Records will be kept on the portfolios for each Teleworker trainee, including the specific training received, the number of mentees, specific skills taught, and specific new for-profits services developed. New social relationships will provide an ongoing means for knowledge sharing and measurements for this will be publicly recorded.



8.         Create an Ebusiness Incubator at the EAT Center


Goal: Establish an Ecommerce-marketing workgroup “Learning Circle” to make explicit the need for ongoing learning as essential to sustained Ecommerce success.


Strategy: Create an initial Ecommerce-marketing “Learning Circle” group to establish a functional model for ongoing group learning, both online (using listservs with web-based archives) and face-to-face. The theme for this first learning circle is effective collaborative Emarketing focused on helping local businesses who have established a web presence. Other “Learning Circles” will be created with a similar ongoing online learning and collaboration format to demonstrate the advantages of this effective strategy. This creates online collaboration skills essential to Ecommerce and community learning.


Outcomes: The number of participants in the Emarketing group will be recorded as well as the specific level of online and offline interaction. The number of additional learning circles created and their length of duration will be recorded along with their listserv usage levels and number of participants.



9.   E-market the Community and Its New Ecommerce Businesses


Goal: To clearly portray the readiness of the community as connected, collaborative, and current by effectively marketing the talents, businesses, and best features of the community.


Strategy: Reassessing its readiness, the community will move to the next level for marketing its new services and Ebusinesses based on enlightened expectations.  A sample 3-inch CD created to give to tourists by the Chamber of Commerce in Ely, Nevada, is available on request. (An outstanding example of Multimedia production!) See also as an example community Emall.


Outcomes: An identifiable community marketing component of the Emall and EAT Center both online and offline. A formal mission statement and strategic plan will be created by a community steering committee as part of their commitment to this project.



10. Hold a Celebration Showcasing Achievements


Goal: To hold an event to formally recognize those who contributed to the successful sharing of new knowledge and measurable outcomes. Realizing there will be lessons learned, a reassessment will clarify the next steps for this project based on the new awareness of options, new relationships, and new enthusiasm created during the initial execution of these Ten First Steps.


Strategy: To reinforce the social incentives for continued contributions, innovation, new content, new skills, new businesses and enlightened expectations for what’s now seen as viable next steps.


Outcomes: The total sum of the number of measured outcomes throughout the first 18 months of this project will be presented as hard data in graphical format online and at the EAT Center. This event will be held again at the end of the project.