Business modeling and sales development

Posted by Matthew Thomas

 
 
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Imatthew-thomas-2.jpg spend a lot of time thinking about people's business models. I suppose you could say it's a genuine curiosity about how things work, coupled with an utter fascination about how people work together with their individual combinations of skills, experience, abilities, and temperament.

 

Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time putting together a half-day seminar for prospective entrepreneurs. We'll deliver that seminar this week in four one-hour sessions as participants work in teams to design products and/or services around customer needs as they put together an overall business model.

 

All of this got me to thinking: how is business model development any different from what sales, marketing, and product development teams do within their companies?

 

ILike what you're reading? Subscribe Now!t's true, there's a lot of overlap. Sales, marketing, and product development have to build products and services that take care of customer jobs - and not just functional jobs, such as completing specific tasks - but the jobs that are about status, power, finesse, or security.

 

Those products and services also have to solve a customer problem - relieve one or more pain points - and, more than that, provide benefits and gains to the customer that at least meets a minimum set of expectations, and hopefully exceeds them.

 

And all of this for a price the customer is willing to pay.

 

So far, so good. So what's so different about working from a business model perspective?

 

  1. Comprehensive Scope. When we look at the business model, we zoom out from specifics to look at the overall way the business operates - from its cost and revenue structures to its key activities, customer relationships, and so on. This breaks down internal silos and helps to sift projects for development or discontinuation.
  2. Strategy vs. Tactics. Business modeling helps create a go-forward strategy, not just the next package to sell. It observes the trends, not just the immediate needs.
  3. Outsider viewpoint. We all get stuck in our ways of thinking sometimes. Having a neutral third party facilitating conversations and process can help transform mindsets to breakthrough.

 

Those are just three of the ways - there are more - but those are the most obvious.

 

Interested? e-mail me  or call 1.877.771.3330 x20 and we can talk.

 

Not sure you're ready for that? Check out this article on decision making in organizations. We've found it helps a lot of people!

Tao of action-reflection, primer on process

 
 
 
 
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Topics: business, business plan, Matthew Thomas, business design, business model, sales

Business modeling and sales development

Posted by Matthew Thomas

 
 
Subscribe to  Sustainable Vision

Imatthew-thomas-2.jpg spend a lot of time thinking about people's business models. I suppose you could say it's a genuine curiosity about how things work, coupled with an utter fascination about how people work together with their individual combinations of skills, experience, abilities, and temperament.

 

Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time putting together a half-day seminar for prospective entrepreneurs. We'll deliver that seminar this week in four one-hour sessions as participants work in teams to design products and/or services around customer needs as they put together an overall business model.

 

All of this got me to thinking: how is business model development any different from what sales, marketing, and product development teams do within their companies?

 

ILike what you're reading? Subscribe Now!t's true, there's a lot of overlap. Sales, marketing, and product development have to build products and services that take care of customer jobs - and not just functional jobs, such as completing specific tasks - but the jobs that are about status, power, finesse, or security.

 

Those products and services also have to solve a customer problem - relieve one or more pain points - and, more than that, provide benefits and gains to the customer that at least meets a minimum set of expectations, and hopefully exceeds them.

 

And all of this for a price the customer is willing to pay.

 

So far, so good. So what's so different about working from a business model perspective?

 

  1. Comprehensive Scope. When we look at the business model, we zoom out from specifics to look at the overall way the business operates - from its cost and revenue structures to its key activities, customer relationships, and so on. This breaks down internal silos and helps to sift projects for development or discontinuation.
  2. Strategy vs. Tactics. Business modeling helps create a go-forward strategy, not just the next package to sell. It observes the trends, not just the immediate needs.
  3. Outsider viewpoint. We all get stuck in our ways of thinking sometimes. Having a neutral third party facilitating conversations and process can help transform mindsets to breakthrough.

 

Those are just three of the ways - there are more - but those are the most obvious.

 

Interested? e-mail me  or call 1.877.771.3330 x20 and we can talk.

 

Not sure you're ready for that? Check out this article on decision making in organizations. We've found it helps a lot of people!

Tao of action-reflection, primer on process

 
 
 
 
.
Read More ›

Topics: business, business plan, Matthew Thomas, business design, business model, sales

Steward Leaders: [Designing A Business] Client-Centeredness

Posted by Matthew Thomas

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matthew-thomas-2.jpgAs leaders who want to "Do Good while Doing Well," we care how the people around us feel, and we care about what they think. Whether employees, constituents, clients, customers, funders, or even the general public, people, and the impacts we have on communities of people, are important to us. Doing this implies a certain level of client- (or customer-, or constituent-, or member-) centeredness.

I can relate. I'm building my personal brand around client-centeredness. Our firm as a whole focuses on helping organizations and their leaders - which is inherently a client-centered position.

It's sometimes difficult to keep this focus, isn't it? And honestly, some of our best business advice, if taken to an extreme, pushes us off client-centeredness to a different orientation, for instance:

  • Focus on what you do well;
  • Keep overhead low;
  • Protect your intellectual property;
  • Help your clients/customers/constituents discover what they really need (even if they don't know they need it yet).

Like what you're reading? Subscribe Now! All of these things are good things. And, taken together, they are the hallmarks of good business. But unless client-centeredness is not just the "what" of our business, but also the "why," these good things can become very self-serving:

  • Focusing on what you do well can a focus on ourselves;
  • Keeping overhead low can become either cheap on the customer side or abusive on the employee side;
  • Protection of our property can make us grasping, militant, or litigious;
  • Helping people surface unknown or unrealized needs can cause customers to waste resources on trifles rather than truly gain value.

The "why" reminds us that we are client-centered not just because it's what we do, "we serve customers," but because the client (or customer or constituent, etc.) really matters. They become, at some level, the reason we exist. We are stewards of others' resources - not the least of which is customer trust.

(Related: The Story We Tell with Cost and Value)

When designing our businesses, we have choices as to where we start. We start with an idea; we start with a customer; we start with a product; we start with a value proposition; we start with an activity. Client-centeredness means that no matter what our starting point, at some stage of our business development we take a clear-eyed look at our business model and business plan and orient ourselves to the customer/client segments we have identified, and then build for them - not just to them. We build the kinds of relationships they need. We communicate and deliver value along channels they prefer, and we tailor our value propositions to their most essential jobs, desired gains, and most grievous pains.

Recently, I've been using a tool called the Business Model Canvas to help leaders think through their overall business design. (Don't worry, it's incredibly helpful for non-profits and other non-traditional organizational types as well!) It's not a tool we have designed ourselves - but we know a good one when we see it. Check it out here.

Once you've had a chance to sit and look at it, let's talk about how we could use it to assess and design client-centeredness in your business or organization.  Feel free to call me (toll-free) at 1.877.771.3330 x20, or e-mail me . I'd be glad to help you find simple, clear approaches to increasing your client-centeredness.

 

In service,

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Topics: client centered, business plan, steward leaders, steward leader, business design, business model, business models