Thoughts on Business Design

Thoughts on Business Design

Where do I start?

When approaching a new field of activity, I ask this exact question. Not because I lack any knowledge about it or because I am afraid to take the first steps. It helps me focus better on the problems, clearing the way to discern the best path I can take. It may be “where” or “how”; it does not have to be one or the other. And, it is not the panicky “Where do I start” caused by an overload of things to do. It is confidently: Now, glad to take this on, “where do I start?”

In business, we have to make decisions like this almost daily, especially in the early stages of a start-up. It can sometimes be overwhelming to make decisions about almost anything – from choosing suppliers to pricing our products and services. It is probably why so many businesses struggle for years, failing to find their proper place in the marketplace despite starting from a great, clever or fantastic idea.

The path from IDEA to BUSINESS GROWTH is not an easy one, nor is it a simple one. It involves considerations about various factors – most of which we do not control. From how to approach marketing activities to the rate of lead conversion to make it sustainable, many “where do I start?” questions are coming to mind daily.

What’s in a Business IDEA

The IDEA is where everything starts, and it is critically important to get it right. Starting with the wrong idea can be disastrous, but building a business with the right but unpolished one is similarly bad. Hence I put under the term “Business IDEA” a few elements I find vital to define the business, starting with the value proposition and the customer segments interconnected with the product.

It is like saying: “the business idea is to sell these products to these customer segments because they see this value in buying them.” As simple as this may sound, not going through the process to dissect all three elements may lead to failure to launch or to grow.

Let me explain, in short: selling is always a function of value perception. We can have the most impressive products that can provide the most outstanding value – but if the potential customer base does not perceive them as good value, they will fail to sell. And, it is ALWAYS a matter of expressing the Value Proposition. Our job is to present that value in our marketing materials, online content, pitch or phrase that sells. If we fail that job, the business fails.

Say you have a great product. Try to sell it to the wrong customer segment; the business will fail. Similarly, you fail again with a captive audience you can sell to but bring a mistaken value proposition.

Building your products well based on the correct value proposition addressed to the target customer segments is paramount for business growth. Ignoring this concept or not working on it as we should means we open ourselves up to a world of stress and hardship, as years may pass before we can adjust what we started and bring the business into the realm of profitability and growth.

Effortless Business Design

There is a way to avoid making mistakes in building our business idea. In the past, we did it by working on a business plan – which had to have specific sections added to it, like product list, market segments, and other areas like this. Today, we use more agile tools like The Jobs To Be Done, The Business Model Canvas and The Value Proposition Canvas. They work with the same concepts and address the same issues but in a more visual manner. Additionally, these tools allow us to reiterate our work better, consequently, be more flexible when market parameters change, or we discover things we didn’t know due to the accumulation of data from our digital end-points.

I believe in the flexibility and efficiency brought by digital tools. In the digital world, we can broadcast our value proposition to mass audiences and read the feedback to see if it is good. Interpreting the data, adjusting the value proposition and going through yet another cycle will give us the measure of our actions, allowing us to improve with every process. And this is where the great value of a modern approach to business resides. Changing the business IDEA based on market response is the most significant and effective way to start, build and grow a business.

Any business entrepreneur or executive has a better chance to improve a business with the right tools, roadmap and habits.

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