The disruptive power of the internet is increasingly wreaking havoc and failure amongst all types of businesses across wide-ranging sectors.
Size and longevity are no guarantee of immunity from these seismic changes and family businesses are just as vulnerable.
However, a simple health check can provide a valuable early warning system.
With three decades as an experienced business strategist and executive coach, working with high performing business owner and leaders, even I have been – and continue to be – surprised by how quickly disruptive change is taking place.
In the recent months, businesses I work with, including one company in construction and another in manufacturing, have had to undergo some serious introspection and challenge themselves with the: “Is my business model still relevant?” as the internet increasingly commoditized both their companies.
The two key questions members were asked by their fellow What If? Forum colleagues at the monthly Mastermind sessions were:
“What’s the purpose of your business?” and
“What would your customers do if your business was not operating?
As you can imagine, the answers were quite illuminating. In both cases the encroachment of the internet had been faster and more costly than they had ever expected or predicted.
Both companies traditionally provided added value technical services to support the product they supplied. However, feedback from customers revealed they no longer valued the members’ specialist knowledge and expertise as the information they needed was on the internet and so purchasing decisions were now being made solely on price.
After pouring over and analysing the market intelligence information, taking on board the feedback from their What If? Forum colleagues and much soul searching, both decided to opt for pivoting their businesses towards either new products and / or fresh customers that required and valued the technical knowledge and expertise along with the pre and post-sales support and service their business models are built around.
The payback has been almost immediate and both businesses expect to beat their 2013 targets, where only a few months ago, their breakeven was the best they were forecasting.
What is the purpose of your business and is it going to be relevant for your customers in the weeks and months ahead? Or have you already had these conversations with customers. Please let me know what you have discovered and how you are reacting to the fresh development.
To discuss how we can freshen up your business relevance, leave a comment below, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, follow @richardwhatif on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn or post on www.whatifforums.com.