Business Concepts

This is the Academy of the IKV Melota.
This is where you will find useful information on HOW TO to many of the things that we assume are regular processes for our ship.

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Despite the tendency of many female motorcycle clubs to promote themselves as sexy and glamorous, running a club requires commitment and work. "It's just like a business," said Candi Simpson of her work with the Arch Angels Motorcycle Club in Atlanta. As the vice president, Simpson, 34, takes her skills as a hotel accountant and applies them to her five-member club, which she helped incorporate in 2004. Though Arch Angels is small, it -- like the other bike clubs mentioned in this article -- concentrates on charity work. "We must focus on an image that we must maintain, so that we can be taken seriously," she said.

This page is about the business of running a ship:

Whenever you are looking around at the clubs around you, observe the effectiveness and cohesiveness of those clubs. Some clubs seem to better organized than others. Some clubs have better turnout at events, get invited to events, have events that others flock to, and have a better internal cohesion. There are reasons for this. The better, more organized clubs, whether the Rotary Club, the Salvation Army, or the IKV Nosefinger*, seem to have various traits as a commonality. They are organized. They follow a reasonable procedure set. And their Membership has a since of duty to the organization and their fellow Members. These are businesslike traits. All clubs understand that there are times to play and play hard, but there are also times to be a business to get things done. (* I'm assuming that there is no such ship.)

However, when various business traits are suggested to these clubs as comparisons or suggestions, the usual refutation that brought up is

"You are taking this too seriously. This is not a business".

One of the major arguments heard is that "we are not a business". Yes, it is possible to have a small gathering of indivuals coordinating loosely for fun events. But, for a larger group, at some point, there must be a defining structure with goals for success else the anarchy of the mob would hinder the club's progress. This Thesis is to provide practical operational concepts that once understood and adopted, could improve each local chapter of any nationwide club and by default, any national club as a whole.

This Thesis will ultimately tie in heavily with TiQbatlh's two Recruitment Thesis Papers as I will also use the terms "Sheep" and "Wolves" as defined by TiQbatlh in his two Thesis papers, incorporated herein by reference.

For most of us as Members of a club, it/they/we is an organization that through the labor and contributions of its Membership pursues goals that often involve the use or transfer of assets and labor. The Membership has a vested interest in the fruits of their labors and the use of the funding raised or donated by them. The difference between our club and a normal business is that the club is not trying to create a monetary return for the vested Membership.

This concept is by no means original to me. I was taught this concept by a Professor of Accounting many, many years ago.

When we look at the club as a business parallel, we start by relating the ship's officer's functions to real business functions:

Club Office         Real World Function
Captain = CEO Defines organizational goals.
XO = VP Executes plans to reach the organizational goals.
Pursor = Treasurer Responsible for organizational cash assets.
Commo = CIO Responsible for information assets & communication,
                                       and is the de facto Head of Marketing for our ship.

Quartermaster = Quartermaster Responsible for hard assets and logistics
Members = Employees Workers who accomplish the organizational goals.
Members = Stockholders Owners who expect a return for their investment.

Members are very important. Obviously since they are listed twice in this list. But why are Members both employee equivalents and stockholder equivalents? How is the Member a stockholder when there is no stock? These are important questions and the answers to them explain why it is so important to have a good, solid, and devoted Membership base.
As "Employees", the Membership is obviously how things get done. It is vitally important to have Members present at scheduled events, otherwise the events don't go well or at all. Having nobody show up for a scheduled fundraiser is the same as having no employees show up to do the work in a business. Likewise, having nobody show up for a meeting means that organizational goals cannot be pursued effectively. The direct cause an effect is not quite the same, but overall, the practical application is the same.
TiQbatlh made it quite clear about having Wolves to guide the Sheep in accomplishing the organizational goals. Your Wolves will generally make the events. They understand that though there can be various reasons to not make an event, that it is through their actions that ultimately the ship is made more fun. It is the Sheep that have the main tendency to feel that an event is not important relative to some distraction. Their sporadic input to the ship reflects their interest in the ship. It is the Sheep that the Wolves must encourage and watch after in regards to attendance matters.
From a social perspective, the more Wolves and Sheep that show up to an event, the more fun that there is to be had. Bigger groups mean bigger parties. Bigger groups mean more funds can possibly be raised. Bigger groups are noticed better by the mundanes in public.
Very important is the business aspect of attendance. This will eventually show up in the fun factor. It will reflect poorly on a ship if the ship commits to an event and an insufficient number of Members actually attend. If the ship is offering its services to mundanes, this reflection can cost the ship prestige and future opportunities. On the other hand, a ship that delivers Warriors as promised may be given opportunities for fun and fundraising in the future based upon excellent past performance.
Practical example: The IKV Melota used to ask if we could volunteer to do security for events. We also used to ask if we could do fundraising at various locations. By expanding our presence and building a reputation for delivering solid manpower to events, we are now being asked if we will provide manpower for events. A local newspaper and a statewide television documentary show have contacted us for interviews.
Whether looking from a social or a business perspective, potential recruits are going to be more interested in a well organized, fun atmosphere. Full attendance by happy "employees" increases recruiting possibilities as potential recruits see the benefits of joining the organization.

The concept of the Membership being "Stockholders" generally requires a little more explaining. However, it is a perfectly valid concept that is supported by the legal theory that I learned years ago in college and is not merely a creation of my imagination. The theory is that as Members of the organization, each Member has a vested interest how the organization utilizes their cash , asset and labor contributions.
Time spent for the organization is Consideration (the legal term) in this case. Just the same as time spent at work is of value and compensated by our regular employer. Obviously any cash or non-cash donations are assets contributed to the organization. So we pay in our time, we donate a little cash. Sometimes we manage to donate a little plywood or venues for events. These are Consideration paid in. What do we get for our assets paid in? The Return on Investment is not cash as it would be with a for-profit business, but the enjoyment and opportunity of participating in the club. The time with our friends is why we are in the club. Thus it is return. Access to various club assets and services is a return on our investment. The privileges that the club acquires from mundanes is a return on our investment.
We want the club to do well. The better run the club is, the more fun it is, and by default, the better the return on our time and assets invested in this organization. Yes, We the Membership are de facto stockholders with a very much vested interest in the allocation and use of the labor and assets that we have contributed to the organization.

The executives of a business or club have a fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders or funding board to utilize the organizational assets to the best of their ability with the object of achieving the greatest return on the assets (money, usually) supplied. With our clubs, there is no difference. The executives of the ships should guide the ships in such a manner that the organization is making best use of the assets and labor contributed in order to provide the greated amount of fun that can be had for those assets.
Given the Stockholder description above, that means that they are responsible to the ship's crew (stockholders) to make sure that the ship is well run and attractive to potential recruits. If the executives are doing their jobs well, there will be planned events, parties, awards, and fun things to do. There shall also be the desire by Wolves and Sheep alike to make as many events as possible to avoid missing out on the fun. There shall be contentment and cohesiveness amonst the crew forming a bond of loyalty that drives the Wolves and Sheep to be with their fellow klin.
Obviously, it is very important to hire a qualified person for the job. When you face a job interview in the real world, or conduct an interview of somebody that you are hiring, there is a seriousness about the qualifications for the job. This is business. During ship's elections, care and thought should be taken to concentrate on the qualifications of the candidates for each position. After all, you as "stockholders" are "hiring" these Warriors to be your executives. Considerations about qualifications for leadership, time available to perform the position, and also the physical capacity to perform the function are all serious business. You can think that you have a perfect candidate, but if they cannot be at events due to work or lack of transportation, are they really all that qualified? Do you want an absentee position of leadership? On the flip side, there may be a Warrior who always makes every event. But does this Warrior really understand simple accounting (pursor)? Does this Warrior have a true charisma to lead (Cpt, XO)? Does this Warrior have a mind capable of leadership (Cpt, XO)?
While discussing the business aspects of leadership, it is also important to remember that fiduciary responsibility is real. If an executive ceases to be effective due to a change of work, it may be necessary to ask them to step down in favor of somebody who can do the job. If an executive is too weak to guide and always succumbs to complaints by the inevitable "complainers", then they will not be effective. The executives need to be strong enough and qualified enough to insure that the goals of the ship are being met.
In the case of ship's assets and funding, there should be no forgiveness for improprieties. An executive who fails to maintain proper accounting or who has assets and cash unaccounted for under their watch are immediate candidates for replacement and investigation, in that order. It does not matter if it is Worldcomm, Enron, or the IKV Medusa's Beauty*. This is business.
The ship may be an club, but it is a business and they must answer to the stockholders who are the Membership. The Membership of the ship contributed blood, sweat, tears, cash, and other assets. The Membership as stockholders have a vested interest in who they "hire" and maintain as the executives governing those assets.

It is extremely important that there is a sense of Honor, Loyalty, and Duty instilled in each Warrior, whether Sheep or Wolf, Member or Executive. This cohesiveness provides a desire to succeed and to share the fun with others. At the time of this writing, the internal strife between employees and leadership has nearly forced American Airlines into bankruptcy. This is an example of noncohesiveness causing the business to not succeed. I am aware that there are some ships that have internal strife and other internicine issues. You can observe them and note that they are not succeeding in any sense of the word. They are not being real assets to KAG. If a ship cannot make events that are nearby or its own, then they are a definite weakness within the organization. If ships spend too much time trying to interfere with each other, then they are not being assets to KAG.
This was originally written in 2002. Long before 2009, those ships observed effectively if not actually ceased to exist.

The way to make a business work is to treat it as if a business with a goal to succeed. One way to make a club succeed is to treat it as if it were a business with a goal to succeed. You can have fun, like Southwest Airlines. But be sure that Mr. Callaher expects a profit. You can have fun being a critter club that supports the local Zoo. But the "profit" is the fellowship of the Volk and the proximity to the zoo. We intend to have fun doing the klingon thing. Our "business" of the IKV Melota will succeed as we continue to remain committed to a solid businesslike structure.
With proper management and leadership in place, as well as a stable base of commited Members, then the Membership of the ship(s) shall be the ship's greatest asset. Yes, we are individuals. However, with a committed Membership base, the Wolves can try to decide among them who will attempt to take the time off from work to make quadwide or fleetwide events. The Wolves know that it is important and fun to have face time with fellow klin from other quadrants. If a ship or ships are coming into "our" territory for an event, the Wolves know that as a local ship they should make a showing since they are already local.

Each club can examine itself and determine if its current structure will allow it to accomplish its goals. Can ShipX attend a statewide event? Can ShipY host a statewide event? Is ShipZ satisfied with just attending local passive events? If a given ship is meeting its goals, then there is no real reason to change. If the ship is not meeting its goals, or has been and now aspires for greater goals, then please entertain the concepts given within this Thesis paper.

Cdr. Salek Sutai
Ship's Brewer
IKV Melota


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The IKV Melota is a non-profit organization supporting Mr. Roddenberry's vision of the future. We find it very distressing that Viacom and Paramount do not share his visions. We recognize all trademarks and copyrights as belonging to their owners and hope that the owners have sense enough to realize that we fans pay the bills. There is no need outside of testosterone and rectal attitudes to pursue fan sites.

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