Creative Ways to Refresh Your Business Model

This blog was written by Isaac Jeffries, an associate of TDi.

Designing new business models is exciting – conversations full of optimism and intrigue, especially when you get the gut sense that this idea is a winner

It’s important that we don’t fall in love with our first idea. Yes, it’s a good idea, and there are several aspects that will probably succeed. But an idea being exciting does not mean that it has earned permanence.

It’s more likely that this idea contains the DNA of a highly successful model, but it needs to go through some refinement in order to get it out.

What we should talk about is persevering with the essence of the business, whilst letting go of some particular details.

It’s called “Pivoting”

Keeping one foot planted on the ground, then moving the other around to find a better position.

 

“An awful lot of successful technology companies ended up being in a slightly different market than they started out in. Microsoft started with programming tools, but came out with an operating system. Oracle started doing contracts for the CIA. AOL started out as an online video gaming network.”

– Marc Andreessen, Entrepreneur

 

Pivoting is tough to swallow, because it starts by accepting the idea that:

“We won’t survive where we are, but we might thrive somewhere slightly different”

This comes with the excitement of future success – there are several ways in which we can pivot, and there’s a good chance one of them will work if we think this through.

However, it requires a risk seeking disposition – a willingness to try something that might not work.

Here are some useful questions to prompt your thinking:

What if we had to offer the same value proposition to the same customer, but through a different product/service?

What if we had to offer the same product/service to a different customer segment – what would be different about the value proposition?

What would happen if we gave our core product away for free? Where else would we make money?

What if our service delivery had to move to an entirely digital platform? How could we serve customers without ever meeting them in person?

What partner activities could we do better ourselves?

What headaches could we remove through outsourcing? Which resources and activities could be palmed off?

If we wanted to massively increase prices tomorrow, what would need to change within our customer segments and service delivery? What would a premium model look like?

What problems will our customers be concerned about in five years’ time?

 

You’ll be surprised by the opportunities that sit slightly to the side of your idea.

Better yet, you’ll be surprised at how a small change can open up a whole new market, and yet other drastic changes may not diminish your value proposition at all.

Remember, experiments are your best friend. If your gut instinct is right, an experiment will back you up.

By being proactive, we can spare ourselves a lot of wasted energy and emotional stress, and quickly find our real audience.


Try it for yourself. Ask your team:

Are our customers validating our current business model?

If not, which parts are being validated?

Which elements (product, price, customer, design) are up for grabs in a pivot?

Using a Business Model Canvas, what would 3-4 different pivots look like on paper?

How can we quickly and cheaply test our new assumptions?

If our tests come back with good news, are we prepared to try something new?


Isaac Jeffries is TDi’s first ever employee, and has with over 180 impactful businesses around the world. He’s currently designing and building social enterprises in India, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. He writes at isaacjeffries.com

Customer Empathy Interviewing

When was the last time you asked your customers what they thought? We use Customer Empathy Interviews to help businesses deeply understand their customers and design competitive products and services. It’s also been one of our top coaching tips for business owners...

Pivoting your business model during a crisis

A conversation with Geert from FarmWallGeert Hendrix founded FarmWall in 2016. Farmwall is an agrifood-tech startup that designs urban farming technology and experiences to enhance fresh produce accessibility in the city. In our constantly developing world, the need...

Business During COVID-19: In perspective

At TDi, we believe in the significance and power of small business’ and social enterprise’s contribution to life and the economy. It is this belief that drives us to support them now more than ever.

Working from Home

It’s one thing to make the choice to work from home, but it’s another to be forced to for reasons beyond your control. Even the seasoned work from homers are feeling the pinch in this time of forced isolation – I am no exception!! Oh, and throw in supervision of remote learning for your children and it’s even more challenging.

Surviving the campsite in the COVID-19 crisis

Two weeks ago, I shared with the team an analogy of a campsite. I reflected that our house has burnt down and we are struggling to reconcile the shock and the grief of all that is happening. I shared with them that I’ve been thinking that we need to set up camp, for now while we figure out how to reinvent for the new normal. We have a temporary place of residence and it’s not what we would have chosen but we can create from it. So, for the past two weeks, we have been focused on getting the campsite set up, trying to work out where stuff goes, who’s sleeping where and how to trade out of a tent.

COVID-19 Support Options Available for Your Business

We have compiled a comprehensive list of support available to Social Entrepreneurs, Not-for-Profits and SMEs in Australia.

Navigating upheaval: our last 7 days

Like most small business and NFPs we only just began to comprehend the wholescale impact of the Coronavirus on our business and the Australian economy last week. Within 7 days it hit us hard.

Koongarra cultural tourism: creating experiences and opportunities in Kakadu National Park

Meet Difference Maker James Morgan and cultural tourism entrepreneur. James was a participant of our most recent Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) Accelerator Program. “I feel privileged to have an education, but I had to move away. I want to create more...

The hidden value of creative industries: bringing life to many economies: International Women’s Day 2020

It fascinated us that creative industries aren’t included in Papua New Guinea’s GDP, in fact there is very little data to understand the economic impact of creative industries in PNG. This is staggering considering that creative industries represent $US2.250 Billion in the global economy (World Economic Forum, 2015). This includes all creative industries including visual arts, media, TV, music etc. Other research suggests Handicrafts contributes around US$32 Billion to the global economy (The Aspen Institute Artisan Alliance) but this is a difficult figure to nail down when whole economies don’t even count handicrafts in their GDP.

Other interesting facts from the World Economic Forum’s study found that Creative industries are more inclusive employers employing more youth (15-29 years) than any other sector, employ a higher percentage of women compared to other sectors globally and small business makes up a large portion of this sector as well. In the US artists are 3.5 times more likely to be self-employed.

TDi enters a new stage of consciousness and clarity

What is TDi? This is a question we are asked all the time, and have struggled to answer with real clarity. TDi started as a private quest in response to societal problems, long before it became a public conversation which culminated into the entity today we call The...