Three momentous forces — technological, social, and economic — have conspired to rock the business world and caused things to become more complex and uncertain. And, as a result the old ‘go to’ methods fall flat.
Point blank, it is a fundamental change in how ventures will survive… or be castoff.
Awareness separates industry has-beens from heroes
Fortunately there is a characteristic that distinguishes ventures that tend to survive from those that are cast off.
They pay attention.
They focus on not only ‘why’ they are doing something but also the ‘how’ it can be executed. It all starts with the venture discovering the voids that represent the opportunities in the market, what role they can play in filling it (strategy) and the best plays (tactics) for any particular situation.
Ventures that do this seem to know exactly what their customers desire and deliver upon it flawlessly time and time again. You’ve heard of some like Apple and Zappos, but the vast majority is comprised of local concerns or even pivotal employees. Like Alice, the fixture at my local pastry shop who is quick to suggest seasonal specialties and newly discovered variations because she is intimately familiar with your tastes and requirements; it’s like having your own personal pastry chef.
So, if it’s this simple why do so many misfire?
A word of caution
Figuring out what, exactly, you are solving and how you fit (value provided & distribution module) into the customer’s total solution is a complex problem. Too many people want to skip the set up because it takes hard work. They prefer to push right into enacting potential solutions. Here’s why:
- Boundaries between industries are blurred, thus there is no longer a defacto methodology of operation
- It’s about challenging accepted beliefs
- The status quo stifles imagination
Sounds like a tall order to overcome. Don’t worry. All you need are a few simple tools and tips, which are outlined below.
It’s all in the framing
Here’s the most important take-away from my years of engineering training. With any process – trouble-shooting, experimentation, or operational – for it to be successful you do ‘first things first’.
“If I had an hour to save the world I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute finding solutions.”
– Albert Einstein
In our case it’s craft the overall strategy and then allowing the right playbook to fall in place. Here’s how it goes:
- Define the state of the target market; identify current pains
- Look for openings. What should be happening that isn’t? What role can you play in the solution?
- Brainstorm a set of possible models
- Prioritize them based on factors such as customer problem (pain level), reach ability, market size, and risk.
- Select the right tactics… one’s that can be quickly deployed, provide solid learning, and are focus on addressing a singular need.
Here are a few tips that can help you enhance your results:
- Use a GAP Analysis to discover a market’s/industry’s challenges and opportunities
- Play a game of “What If”… use lateral thinking to push boundaries of situations and challenge conventional approaches
- Develop a large number of model ideas then isolate the best ones
- Employ Scenario Modeling to understand how the business model might have to evolve under certain conditions
For those seasoned in business if this all sounds familiar there’s a good reason. The Design element is the intersection of Innovation, Strategy, and Marketing. Thus it pulls from three of the most explored fields, which means that there’s a ton of high quality reference material, case studies, and analytical frameworks.
Here’s what success looks like
You will know that you have done this phase well when:
- One, you have identified true needs & problems
- And secondly, developed testable business model prototypes
If you have anything to add to the conversation please chime in below; be blunt but not cruel.
In the next part we will explore Getting Out of the Building. See you next Monday.
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- Business [Re]Ignition: The 7 Rock Solid Elements of Execution Business Model Innovation – Part 1 (donaldmcmichael.com)
- Business [Re]Ignition: The 7 Rock Solid Elements of Executing Business Model Innovation (donaldmcmichael.com)