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10 Ways For An Entrepreneur To Fix An Ineffective Business Model

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at September 15, 2021

You spent a lot of time perfecting your business model, and maybe it worked flawlessly for a while. However, the ebbs and flows of the market may require you to make adjustments if an outdated model isn’t doing the job it once did.

If you notice that your company isn’t seeing the ongoing success and growth you anticipated, what are the fastest, most effective steps you can take to figure out if there’s a problem with your business model and solve it? 

Below, a panel of Forbes Coaches Council members each share the first step they would recommend any entrepreneur or small-business owner take to begin analyzing and modifying a business model that just doesn’t seem to be working anymore.

1. Analyze How The Company Sells Products

To modify a business model, analyze the way the company sells its products and services to its targeted customers. Taking this first step provides information about the company’s philosophy, customer profile and segmentation, value proposition, customer channels and relationships, partnerships and strategies. This information becomes a vital focus group tool to validate the model’s effectiveness. – Lori Harris, Harris Whitesell Consulting

2. Enlist Help From Outside Of The Business

I would enlist help from someone outside of your business who is totally independent and has the right skill set to help you navigate this process. Looking at this from the inside out probably will have limited success, as it was that kind of thinking that led you to this situation in the first place. Outthink the Competition by Kaihan Krippendorff is a great resource to start with. – Peter Boolkah, The Transition Guy

3. Get Feedback From Customers Who Said ‘No’

Find out exactly what works and why. Then find out if the business model doesn’t work yet, needs more traction, or really doesn’t work the way it is but could be tweaked. Get feedback from customers to see what they value and ask people who said “no” to you why they did not feel that working with you would be of value to them. Heartbreaking, but also a really eye-opening process. – Csaba Toth, ICQ Global

4. Implement Reflective Learning With A Twist

Often, the ego is tied into the problem and resisting needed change. Implement a process of reflective learning with a twist. First, objectively explore what is not working—write it out so you can examine the words. Then, explore the causes—be even more objective here; own it, but avoid placing any blame. Next, identify a pivot to implement to solve what’s not working. And finally, commit to the pivot and forgive yourself. – Ron N Hurst, Developing Leaders

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

5. Create A Powerful Mobile Presence 

Get together with your digital strategist and web team early on. I know outstanding service providers who invested in themselves as they should, but their investments and impact online came last. Creating a new, powerful mobile presence will prove beneficial to your business model. It’s simply a reality today that your potential clients will first experience you on their phones. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.

6. Evaluate The Output Of Systemic Structures

When a business model is not “working,” it means that the strategies and tactics are not producing the results the organization was expecting. Begin your analysis by evaluating the output via the systemic structures that are producing it—namely policies, infrastructure and processes—to see whether these issues are caused by “human errors” and/or inefficiencies at the system level. – Thomas Lim, Singapore Public Service, SportSG

7. Determine Your Ideal Customer’s Needs

I have found it to be extremely helpful to ask yourself what your ideal customer’s needs are. What are they struggling with when they are trying to get those needs met? What would surprise and delight them? Clayton Christensen’s idea of your customer hiring your product to do a “job” is also a very useful perspective to take to discover a possible new value proposition. – Rajeev Shroff, Cupela Consulting

8. Assess Daily Operations Versus Strategy

The first thing to evaluate when a business model is not working would be the daily operations and practices in action versus the strategy and plan. Often, there is no alignment, and as a result, we run into challenges that we need to adjust to quickly. Having an external advisor or advisory group can expedite the process of effecting much-needed change. Communication with the key stakeholder would be essential in the process. – Izabela Lundberg, Legacy Leaders Institute

9. Ask The Right Questions From The Start

Define what “isn’t working” about the model. Be curious. This is critical in order to identify what data to review and what other elements may be involved (there may be several). Staying inquisitive as you gather information helps you zero in on what needs to change, how and when. – Lisa Marie Platske, Upside Thinking, Inc.

10. Look At Leading Or Lagging Daily Activities

When you’re reevaluating your business plan, look at the activities you do each and every day. Are they leading or lagging activities? Leading activities push your business forward; lagging activities are the minutiae that keep you where you are. Focus on three to five activities a day that continually push your business forward and modify your business plan accordingly. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience


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