Revamping your Business Model? Enjoy the Study

Are you studying other business models? If you’re a business owner or manager, you should be.

Quick aside: If your answer to my title question is “no” uh-oh.

If you’re working for someone resting on their laurels, I strongly encourage you to start looking around at your options. Your boss should be a mentor for you, and they probably won’t challenge you if they aren’t challenging themselves.

“invention saturday” by western dave on Flickr

To not study other business models is to deny the learning (‘Ike loa) which can better shape your own model, helping you continually improve it. You will also enjoy the innovation triggers. If you feel you’re not coming up with enough new ideas on your own, this is the sure-fire way to get them in buckets.

Study Within, and Study Outside

A good approach is to devote your ongoing study in two different arenas, one within your industry, and one outside it. Then, take a look at two specific things: The constants they hang on to, and the change they embrace. From there, jump to a third: The change they lead with what they create.

For instance, as a workplace culture coach and the founder of Say Leadership Coaching, I’ll study other education and coaching models which impress me with their success (business formula/strategic initiative), their customer service (how they serve the market), and their value-alignment (how they go about achieving the first two, and where I will learn about their workplace culture.)

In recent years, I’ve studied the medical field as my choice outside my industry. When my book, Managing with Aloha was released, I noticed that in addition to managers in the hospitality industry I came from, my biggest audience were managers in education and in medicine. So it was a twofer for me: I could study their business model while simultaneously learning more about a customer I was seeking to better serve.

These days, I am very fascinated by the publishing industry, so much so that I think we’ll save that for another post; what a feast of learning, with opportunities accelerating daily. Even if you are not a writer and have no interest in ever publishing something, this is an industry to watch for those filters I mentioned earlier: In light of the ways the Indie Author movement, the Kindle, and now the iPad are promoting digital reading, what will happen to ‘old-school’ publishing? (There are many others involved, but in my view those 3 are the biggest movers and shakers.)

  1. What will be the constants they hang on to successfully – and why?
  2. What will be the change they embrace – and why?
  3. Will they ever lead again, and if so, what have they created?

In publishing, the answers are getting very intriguing because they differ so much between business owner (publishers), two different customers (authors and readers), and the ultimate end-user served: the betterment of reading in a changing world.

What ‘business modeling’ approach are you using as a leader?

Will my ‘focus framework’ be useful to you, or can you suggest another framing for me and others reading?

“Tinkertoys” by rkeohane on Flickr

sayalakai_rosasayMy mana‘o [The Backstory of this posting]
Each Tuesday I write a leadership posting for Say “Alaka‘i” at Hawai‘i’s newspaper The Honolulu Advertiser. If this is the first you have caught sight of my Say “Alaka‘i” tagline, you can learn more on this Talking Story page: About Say “Alaka‘i”.

With this particular post I used a different title there, and added some Sense of Place questions [MWA Key 8]:
Hawai‘i Business Models: Which ones intrigue you?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Talking Story connections [Learning the 9 Keys of MWA]
If you have now Become an Alaka‘i Manager, how would you connect this post to your ongoing learning of MWA Key 6?

6. The ‘Ohana in Business:

The best form for your life can be the best form for your ‘Ohana in Business ® as well, where the goals of each will support the other. A business can be more than self-sustainable and profitable: It can thrive. We learn a value-based business model and organizational structure simultaneous to learning productivity practices which drive ROI (return on investment) and ROA (return on your attentions).

Talking Story Category Page: Key 6—The ‘Ohana in Business

Here are the results of another Talking Story archive search which may interest you: Constants and Change.