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Companies Need Multiple Business Models

Benson Garner, President — Innovation Principle

• competitive strategy • WayPoint Analytics • profit strategy • business model

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I recently sat down with Benson Garner to discuss the idea of business modeling as an ongoing process. If we want to become market leaders, to have people look to us for advice, we need to be aware of changing market conditions and adapt accordingly. As such, business modeling needs to a fluid, continuous process rather than just a periodical activity.

"When a lot of people look at business modeling tools, they see it as a checklist," Benson said. "They usually don't get to the point where it becomes a core competency or skill-set they can use. However, when you start to treat it as a skill-set, it becomes something that's constantly in use. An executive with the skill-set can take a look at the market and recognize whether certain changes will affect his business enough to warrant changing the business model."

"One of the big keywords these days is 'disruptive'," Benson said. "There's a lot of buzz around how changes can disrupt your business or conversely how you can make changes within your own business to disrupt the market's status quo. A lot of people will get really hung up on this idea. They may hear something at a conference then immediately make changes within their own business."

"Many companies will seize on something as the next big thing, but then nothing will actually develop," Benson continued. "An executive with advanced modeling skills is able to see through all that noise. This enables him to identify if a change is capable of affecting his business."

"A business model is a lot like an engine in a car," Benson said. "There are all sorts of parts that make that engine run. If you hear a funny noise under your hood, it could mean that the engine block is cracked or you might just need to take it in for an oil change. Much like a mechanic, somebody with advanced business modeling skills is able to tell the difference."

I've found that just by thinking about the business model process, I've become more aware of market and consumer trends. This can play into Benson's idea of "environmental scanning," which involves being able to look outside your business to see what others are doing and how the market is reacting. By seeing the broader picture, you can help your company innovate solutions before the market forces your company to think about making a change.

For more information about Benson Garner, visit: www.bensongarner.com

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