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Darwin and Evolving Your Business Model

By August 1, 2017Newsletters

Pop Quiz: What does broadcasting have in common with your local mall?

Both have business models developed over fifty years ago that are now noticeably past their sell-by date. Most businesses today have organizational and structural models that were developed in the 1900s. These models have worked for most low-tech industries for the last fifty years, but inevitably will require substantial changes over the next ten years due to:

  1. Decreasing cost and increasing power of applied technology disrupting most industries
  2. Proliferation of the “gig” economy
  3. Global competition
  4. Substantial changes in buyer behavior with boomer decline and millennial ascension

In a decade, these forces and others will drive drastic changes, not only the products and services delivered and consumed, but the underlying and evolving business models that provide the theoretical context for their existence. The retail industry, for example, has been historically “physical” with consumers visiting stores directly. The rise of alternative avenues, such as fast-growing online retailers, has driven late adopters (Circuit City) out of business and slow adopters (Target) into crisis mode.

To ensure you are on the right road to evolving your business model, follow these four guidelines:

  1. Dust off your MBA textbooks and do a proper Porter’s Five Forces and SWOT Analysis on your company and its environment; update it semi-annually, get outside input, and BE HONEST!
  2. Support and listen to leaders who are informed, emotionally intelligent, and confident
  3. Work with speed and agility; analysis paralysis and the search for perfection destroys value
  4. Drive for a business model that runs on low cost

Businessmen and women often talk about survival of the fittest, but over the next decade, we believe that the following Darwinian missive is most appropriate, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

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