Companies of all sizes and across all industries are exploring new business models, developing new customer experiences, and experimenting with new selling channels and platforms. Focused on creating value in today’s business environment, these companies are leading the pack within their respective industries. In many cases, the first step is to simply reimagine your business model, break the mold, and come up with a better one.
Retired U.S. Army Major Generals, Robert W. Mixon, Jr., and John Batiste have been through this “re-imagination” process a number of times throughout their military and corporate careers. Both men served their country for over three decades in various military leadership roles before joining forces to co-found change management firm Level Five Associates. Together, they help organizations develop strong leaders and unique cultures using their own trademarked “Big 6” Leadership Principles.
If we’re seeking to reinvent ourselves we need to be prepared as leaders with the uncertainty that’s going to come along with this. The skepticism, with the fear.
I interviewed Robert and John for my new Innovate for the Future podcast series, which encompasses five different episodes focused on building strong bench strength, developing effective corporate cultures, re-imagining business models, and making other bold moves for 2016. In the fourth episode of the series, Robert, John and I discussed why companies need to regularly reimagine their business models in order to create value, find new revenue streams, and unleash the importance of unconstrained thinking.
As the fourth component of The Innovative Distributor™, reimagining your business model not only helps encourage innovation but it also drives revenue growth and addresses distributor-centric issues like margin compression. In fact, one of the statistics that came out of our Innovate! book research was that 85 percent of distributors believe that they need to reimagine their business models before someone else does.
Robert concurs and says creating a sustainable, innovation-focused business requires the ability to think in an unconstrained framework. “When you go out onto the production floor and try to ‘figure it out,’” says Robert, “you’ve automatically limited your options.” A better approach is to use prompts like, “How would you conduct your distribution operation if there were no constraints?” to literally think outside of the box (i.e., the typical distribution warehouse) and reimagine their current business models.
Challenged by time and resource constraints, small- to midsized firms often use SWOT analysis (a structured planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and/or enlist outside business consultants to help with the process. “In some cases it makes a lot of sense to bring in a third party,” says John, “who can do the analysis upfront, conduct the research, gather feedback, and then lay out a strong plan for the future.”
Having worked with many distributors over the years, we know that while the fundamentals (i.e., buying in bulk, breaking down shipments, shipping smaller packages, etc.) are not focused on providing customer value, there are some real opportunities to enhance user value, manage shrinking margins, and boost revenues. That’s where a new set of eyes can prove particularly valuable. “An independent opinion can help a company think more strategically and globally,” says John.
With technology continuing to impact the way distributors do business – and, the way customers want to do business with them – companies that put time and effort into reimagining their business models will be able to work more effectively in this age of disruption. The leaders that create relevant, sustainable business are the ones that recognize the need to drive change, transformation, and innovation in order to deliver value and capture new revenue streams.