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5 Signs your. Business Model has gone sour

Shannon and I challenge each other on the professional field. regularly.

This is one way we facilitate each other's growth. The other day she asked me

What would be the 5 signs that would demonstrate a business model has gone sour?

Creating a shortlist of indicators is not very hard

  • profitability drops,

  • market share loss,

  • cost increase,

  • sales stalling

  • gut feeling

but it made me think deeper.

One of the methods we use in the process of ideation on solution benefits is called “Start Earlier - Finish Later” so I filtered my answers to Shannon's question through the lenses of this methodology.

What I came up with is a list of 5 signs to watch out for as they can indicate your business model is experiencing a slow death.

5 signs your Business Model may be going sour

1. When you stop checking in with your business model design

The idea isn’t to innovate every single day and make changes to your operations - that would not be scalable - but to run a recurring scan of where things are. When you do that - check in with yourself to see how confident you feel. You would be surprised how much your subconscious can tell you about your business.

2. When you stop being curious

Looking at information (even not directly related to your business or industry you operate in) as an opportunity to run it against your business model can be a very eye opening exercise. 9 out of 10 times, those advancements, events or ideas may not have any impact to your business but once in a while you will see an opportunity that can make a real difference. Think of it as working on a big puzzle. You will take many pieces into your hand and check it against the free spot before you find the match.

3. When you haven't spent time listening to your Customers in the last 12 weeks

I call it “the greatest sin” and yes we can debate whether Customers know what they want (I bet no one told Apple they wanted an iPod) but when you develop a mechanism of conducting customer research and extracting insights, you are in the win (Apple heard their Customers wanted 1000 songs in a pocket). When you take your eyes and ears off the market, your Customer are swimming in a different lane before you know it.

4. When quantity overrides quality

I compare business to gambling. When you win, your appetite for success grows even further and you think luck is in your corner. In business, leaders often say they want to grow fast and while this may not necessarily be the wrong approach, top of mind should be growing smart (what smart means needs to defined on business by business basis). Look at your business as a journey and not destination and you will be fine.

5. When you become too confident

Remember Kodak? Their own engineer, Steven Sasson, was the inventor of the digital camera however the company turned a blind eye on the emerging technology believing they knew better where market would go. Well….

If you see any of the symptoms, it is time to take corrective action before it is too late.

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