It Takes a Village

Can you build or revamp an entire business with a functional website that runs operations seamlessly in just six weeks?

This is just what the students at this term’s Intro to Online Business at Stranac Academy were tasked with doing. Their client? The Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club- a Facebook group with over 5000 members and the cornerstone of the expat community in Belgrade. Run by two lovely volunteer co-presidents with full time jobs of their own, the time to manage activities, registrations and field questions was taxing. Our goal was to…

Create a website that:

  • Houses the answers to the most frequently asked questions in the Facebook group>  minimizing the time spent of co-presidents on individual emails
  • Automates event publication & registration> eliminating manual e-mail registration and individual e-mail confirmations
  • Allows publication of want-ads by users and automates the buying and selling process> automated e-mail confirmations free up co-presidents from manual moderating
  • Collects e-mail addresses for members> connected to the e-mail marketing tool that will organize and track all contact details
  • Has the opportunity for paid advertising> allowing the club to earn income

And, we did it!


  • We started with analyzing the business requirements and co-presidents’ needs
  • We named owners for each area and created a site plan
  • We used Asana for the project planning and business analysis phase, but moved to Trello for the task & issue management of the site
  • We broke into teams for Marketplace, Events, City Guide, Home Page & Sidebar/footer
  • We created a User Manual with training videos in Snagit and Jing for the co-presidents

We learned about:

  • Business Analysis
  • Site Planning
  • Teamwork
  • Task Management
  • Plugins
  • SEO
  • Call to action
  • Email marketing
  • Process documentation

Everyone came together and did their part. It was a sensational success and learning experience for all. Each team also created training videos housed in a User Manual that the co-presidents can reference, helping them be completely autonomous and not needing to rely on paid “expert” help.

The team presented their work to the client in the beginning of April 2015 and they couldn’t have been more delighted with the results. The co-presidents were most impressed by the way the team took their needs into consideration and made everything user friendly and low maintenance.

I’m so proud of everyone in the class and thank them all for their very hard work. A special thanks goes out as well to our lovely co-presidents for allowing us to use their business as a Guinea Pig for our class this term. I’m looking forward to next semester already!

Click here for information on upcoming courses offered by RockStarVA @Stranac Academy.

Here we are planning away at the e-word classrooms at Stranac Academy and then at the Presentation to the co-presidents at SmartOffice:

Planning away at Stranac

Planning away at Stranac

Presenting the project to the "clients"

Presenting the project to the “clients”

Enthralled in the presentation

Enthralled in the presentation

About author

About me:
A native of Upstate New York, Catherine has lived in Italy, France, Croatia and New York City. She now calls Belgrade, Serbia her home, where she lives with her husband and three pre-school aged children. Catherine studied foreign languages at Bennington College in Vermont and is a systems aficionado. She enjoys cooking and making home-made creams and concoctions for herself and her family.

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