There can be many reasons why over night a successful established business will not work anymore. But what to do in such a situation? Giving up and all the efforts of the past do not capture any value in the future? Well, first it can be good to calm down, take a long and slow breath and changing perspective. It is helpful to dissociate from the current situation and to leave the emotions somewhere else.
Therefore, we can do an exercise. Imagine putting all the negative emotions in a box or in a drawer next to you. They are not gone and can be taken very time, but in this moment, we do not need them as we will have another approach: If you placed the hindered emotions besides, it is time to change the perspective to a dissociated meta view. Let’s say if you are sitting at your office desk, just bring another chair two meter next to yours and take a set there. Now you can imagine seeing sitting yourself at the office desk working. When you are looking at yourself, maybe you can recognize something, maybe something that you are doing great or something that you can improve. Take your time and reflect. Write down your observations and if the moment feels good, leave the chair and put it back to its original place. Now it is time to leave your observer role, so make some squats or pushups and stretch your back, inhale and shake your body.
Back at your office desk, you can now start to work on optimizing your business model. Therefore, you can fill out a Business Model Canvas template with your current business model. Depending on how often you did this before, this task will be a routine or maybe also something new. You can also take your notes from your observer position, reflect it and use it as a resource. As the classical Business Model Canvas has nine building blocks, you can go through each one and write down the current situation.
As a next step you need to identify where your existing business model is struggling. This can be in the value proposition, the revenue model, issues in the supply chain, partnerships which are not working any more, cost explosion, key resource limitations and so on. After you identified one or maybe more pain points, you can use your notes from the observer position again to reflect and to integrate them as positive drivers for your regeneration. Please consider that also a negative note can be transformed to a positive one. Take your time and go through all the blocks again.
When you think that it looks good for a first draft, choose some people of trust to proof and tackle your new business model version. Consider discussing it with critical, curious, open-minded and in another turn as well with people who are new to the industry sector. Adapt it if necessary and generate a quick first prototype for market testing. Feedback loops will increase the level of quality and extend the lifetime of the new business model. Business Model Innovation is not a one-time act, it is important to adapt it constantly to the market and customer needs. If this process gets automated and an ongoing routine, it will make life easier in turbulent times and helps you before crashing down your business by a direct hit.
PS: Your negative emotions are maybe still in a box or in the drawer. It is up to you if and when you will release them :-)
For about 20 years Josef Baker-Brunnbauer has been working in various industries for start-ups and established companies in international projects for leading companies. He advises companies on business model innovation, product innovation, change and digital transformation projects with his consulting company product-xyz.com. He has published the new book “The Secret Key: Business Model Innovation for Established Companies” and he completed training in software development, psychology and international management at universities in Austria, Germany and China. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, discovering new opportunities outside of his comfort zone, cooking and endurance sports (triathlon, 24-hour road bike races, climbing and backcountry skiing).