Recognising an Expiring or Expired Business Model
Everything in life one way or the other experiences expiration, humans including working business models. It is one inevitable fact many business founders or mangers hate to hear as the reality on ground is that it is bound to take place.
One fascinating part of it is that a business model doesn’t expire all of a sudden. It shows the founder(s) or manger(s) signs ahead of time in diverse forms. There was a time Just In Time model flourished as made popular by Michael Dell but now more people are adopting demand pull production. Will they yield to the signs being shown to them? It is only based on two things, namely- the political will to yield and call for help and then having a full understanding of the implications of not yielding.
Having a business model is the DNA of any business. So, one would be right to say that the success and sustainability of an enterprise is hinged on its business model. Having established that, there are primarily two forms of business models: Analogue and Digital. Some businesses have chosen to apply both. Also, there are other variants of both forms: For-profit and Business-for-social-good (non-profit).
Why would my business model expire? That is usually the strong question on the lips of founders and managers particularly those with years of experience and relatively some form of good business success to show in terms of assets and brand name.
I will summarize only 2 key factors that influence that:
1. Change in the taste of existing and potential consumers. Interestingly, such changes are reflected in ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ they would want to consume your product or service. It is incontrovertible that the consumers’ changing taste behaviour can be likened to the inevitability of sunrise and rainfall. So, a wise founder or business manager continuously seeks to be abreast with his consumer’s current taste.
2. Also, evolutionary changes in some or all areas of the value chain process; which may have been influenced by technology, gets many businesses on the way to expiration in no time. These evolutionary changes are real and anyone who is slow to embrace them may be living to fight globalization and civilization- the mother to innovation and of course invention. Proactive founders and managers are futuristic in their approach before their consumers have a good switch in taste.
Furthermore, I’ll share just one tale-telling sign of an expiring business model for the purpose of many ‘doubting Thomases’ of founders or managers who are are best described as ‘Seeing is believing apostles’:
The huge sign becomes obvious the moment a company’s brand or any of its products/ services is nosediving in terms of consumer appeal, acceptance and most importantly revenue. How do you come to know this? Through market research! Secondly, through objective and unbiased observation of consumer trends.
It behoves on all businesses to inculcate frequent research into their modus operandi or else, they may be caught unawares. I would have loved to sight valid examples to buttress my points. However, it will be unjust to infer to the frailties of certain extinct or dying brands due to expiring or worst of all expired business model.