business models

Our New Business Model Blueprint

Uncover New Opportunities with the Business Model Blueprint

 

If your business needs a refresh or a boost, capturing ‘today’s reality’ in this 1-page business model template is a great way to get started. I created this template and use it with every business I talk to. It’s available to anyone who wants to use it for themselves or with their clients.  And now, it’s finally in a spiffy new format that’s an easy-to-use editable PDF form available for download on our homepage.

 

For anyone who likes the Business Model Canvas by Osterwalder and Pigneur, you’ll notice the familiarity, and I think you’ll love the changes we made—especially that it’s so easy to fill-in and edit. I added space to identify the business purpose, customer needs and differentiation, and revised some of the language to make it more user-friendly. These are the core reasons I remade the original into my own version.

 

If you’re new to the idea of documenting your business model, here’s the gist. The business model is the ‘formula’ for how the business creates value—it represents all the main drivers at a 40 thousand-foot view. It’s much easier to analyze and see new opportunities when all the moving parts are spread in front of you in one easy-to-take-in visual table. It captures information on vision, customer needs, product, marketing, operations and finance. Anyone who wants a lean approach to strategy and innovation should start by looking at their business model in this 1-page template.

 

Business models become outdated as internal and external factors change over time, so it’s necessary to make changes. To be vibrant and sustainable, businesses need to update their business model, not just products, services or marketing alone.  And thus, we also created a set of questions to evaluate your business model and identify target areas. This will help you think about things like changing customer expectations, changing demographics and trends, leveraging the latest technologies, dealing with workforce trends and aligning with new strategic partners.  

 

I could say more, but you should just check it out and see for yourself how you could use it to think differently about your business, your clients or your workplace.

 

If you’re in the central PA area, drop by the Lunch and Learn I’ll be doing on Oct 30 at The Candy Factory in Lancaster.  Learn more about that, and the innovation workshop we’re doing in November, at www.alignltd.com/events.   Meanwhile, you can download the blueprint at the bottom of Align’s homepage or our Services page.

 

I’d love to hear your feedback!  

Laboring over the right things

Are you laboring over the right things?

As we celebrate Labor Day and take a moment of reprieve from the daily tasks of our work, be sure to ask one critical question: “is all this work paying off?”

What matters?  What should your priorities be?  How do you know you’re going in the right direction?

A lot of people consider the Fall as a season of opportunity—even though it’s actually the end of the major ‘growing season’ in the US.  Kids go back to school and we emerge from summer (hopefully) having had at least a small opportunity to rest and relax.  Things get back to ‘normal’ and, hopefully you’re invigorated to close out the year on a high note. Maybe you’ll even use this time to start something new.  Hence my question- “is this work helping you grow?”

As a business leader, here are a few specific questions to consider:

  • How specifically do you define the best customers—so they are easier to find and get in front of?
  • How deeply do you understand what ‘makes them tick,’ so that you can deliver a solution they buy and love?
  • What gives you a competitive advantage and meaningful differentiation?
  • What special things are you doing that provide a high perceived value for customers, without incurring a high expense?
  • How do you measure progress—prior to sales?

Got you thinking?  Want to be a standout business?

A strong business model can help you improve the answers to these critical questions so your business is more competitive and positioned to grow.  It’s about strategy and execution. It starts with a one-page framework to pull all the ‘moving parts’ together (which you can find on our homepage). 

Most businesses performing below their potential either need to improve an average or outdated business model, or need to do better at implementing the existing strategy.

Models, metrics and accountability don’t sound all that refreshing, but I assure you that the satisfaction you’ll feel from achieving progress is as refreshing as watermelon on Labor Day!   As you ponder whether your hard work is leading to the outcomes you desire, use the Business Model Blueprint, designed by align, to guide your thinking.  Cheers and Enjoy!

 

PS. One parting thought… if you want to know more about improving your business model and strategy, join me October 19 at The Lancaster Chamber for the 2-hour workshop Designed for Growth—The Art and Science of Your Business Performance.”

 

What's in your Business Model?

The best businesses compete on business models, not just products.

What do Uber, Airbnb, Netflix, Amazon and Google have that allow them to dominate their market? -- Finely tuned and innovative business models.  In fact, their business models are so innovative they’ve created new categories by re-imagining the rules of how a business should operate in their industry.  Nespresso, Hilti, Dell, iTunes, Xerox and Dollar Shave Club are other examples of success born from a brilliant business model, not the product or marketing alone.

The business model is a blueprint for how all the moving parts of the business work together efficiently and in sync to produce social and economic value.  It’s the link between the business’s purpose for existing, and its strategies for operations and sales. All strategic planning should flow from the business model.

The book, Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, popularized the business model concept and gave us all their Business Model Canvas as a design template.  I’ve adapted their version to create one that I believe is more complete, yet nowhere near as dense and speculative as a business plan. You can download it from the homepage and use it to evaluate your own business model. It’s a high-level organizing framework to explore the main factors of how the business operates.

ALIGN’s Business Model Blueprint identifies 12 key components, starting with the purpose for the business.  Besides making money, there’s a reason the business came to be.  Hopefully it’s rooted in the founder’s passion, talents and understanding of a market need.  Among the other components, businesses also need clarity around the customer group(s) they aim to serve and the problem, need, or ‘job to be done’ this group experiences. Turning inward then, we seek to understand what your business is exceptionally good at, and what competencies can lead to a competitive advantage and differentiation in the market. The value proposition lives at the intersection of the customer needs and the business expertise. Finally, how your goods and services are monetized is key.  What product or service ‘bundle’ is offered that provides such a high value to the customer that the selling price greatly surpasses the cost of production?  

These are the key elements we look at in phase one of any project, whether it’s a growth initiative, innovation or strategic business development. So… what’s in your business model and what elements need updating?  Download the Business Model Blueprint, fill-in your information and target at least 2 areas where it could be stronger. Let’s talk about how ALIGN could help.