How to Successfully Re-Engineer Your Business Model
COVID and Brexit Version
It has been a pretty tough time from both a personal and a business perspective for most people around the world, and with the added uncertainty of leaving the European Union for businesses in the UK and Europe thrown into the mix, it has made a lot of business models falter.
The original business plan may have worked for you, but in times of change you might have to consider re-engineering what you sell, how you sell it, who to, or a combination of all three.
This highlights some of the areas that you need to consider when you are looking at rewriting your sales and marketing plan for the business.
Understanding revenue streams
Before you can effectively write a sales and marketing plan, you need an audit of your business. You may think you know your business inside out as an employee, but upon speaking to the owner or manager, you may be surprised at how much you actually don’t know. If you are reading this as the owner or a director of the business, you might need to view your business as though you’re a new customer, with a fresh perspective.
Start as though you don’t know anything about the business and go from there. DON’T look at the business’s existing website: in 80% of cases that I see, the real value of the business is completely missing from the website, and often the wording is so complex that you can’t even tell what the business does or who it serves! This is why I don’t want you getting any preconceived ideas.
Let’s break it down
The first question you need to ask is “What are your revenue streams?”
A revenue stream is something that brings money into the business. This can be a direct product or service, but can also be supplementary revenue outside of the core offering.
For example, your core offering might be to provide heating systems into commercial properties. A supplementary revenue stream might be service and support or a 24/7 help line. It might also be supplying spare parts. There may be opportunities to bill a client for some ad-hoc work, or on a subscription basis.
Once you define your revenue streams, you may need to break them down into sections, as you may need different marketing campaigns to target different buyers at different points.
Picking out USPs and competitive advantages
During the process it is vital to look out for any USPs – short for Unique Selling Points – or competitive advantages. When you become more skilled at this, you will be able to identify new potential USPs or competitive advantages as you listen to the other person talk.
I will give you an example of what I mean. I ran a marketing workshop in Tbilisi in Georgia to 35 business owners. Two businesswomen were running a desktop ink supply company. They were struggling against the major ink manufacturers, as their product was exactly the same, with no obvious USP or competitive advantage.
I asked about outside of the core circle and questioned them about their delivery time. The competition locally was sourcing cartridges and offering clients five-day delivery. They told me that they can deliver in three days, but this detail was nowhere to be found in any of their marketing collateral. This is a clear competitive advantage – and I would say a USP too.
I then asked them “can you deliver the next day”. They looked at each other and said “yes”. This is another step that wipes away the competition for exactly the same core offering. So we built more value into this next day delivery. I asked, “could you charge a premium for the next day delivery, and make three day delivery the norm?”. “Yes,” they said, and almost overnight, we had an uplift in revenue for their premium delivery service.
Throughout the interview, remember to listen and question these areas, often outside of the core circle. List your core revenue streams first, and then the ones outside of the circle.
Changing it up when needed
Break down each core revenue stream and find differences to the competition during the process. Keep this basic, but make sure that you understand what you do, who you sell these to and how important it is to the future of the business. I conduct a lot of interviews where the current revenue stream is not the same as the future target, so nail down what the next one to five years should look like.
An example of this is a client of mine whose most popular current revenue stream is actually a dying technology. Although they are enjoying a good time now, revenues are gradually declining. From a sales and marketing perspective you need to be ready for this, so your plan can adapt to the changes in the market.
One thing that we are doing for this client is hosting a series of meetings to discuss revenue streams changing and how we are going to educate our customers and prospects that we are not ‘pigeon-holed’ as a supplier of ‘widget one’ anymore. It’s a delicate marketing balance, and something that takes some time. As always, the sales and marketing efforts need to be aligned with each other, something I see that is sorely missing from a lot of businesses.
It’s time for the educational drive
Once you have your amended, or future revenue streams in place, a series of educational and newsworthy marketing collateral is required, before you start with the sales drive. This will let your audience know what you do and your credibility in this new area. Ensure that you back this up with examples, independent tests, client trials and subsequent testimonials from them are a couple of ideas, but others might include hard evidence of our product of service being faster/stronger/lighter/cheaper/longer lasting and so on.
And back to the website!
The final step is to look at your website again. Now, is the vision, USP and competitive advantages you uncovered during this process communicated clearly on your business’s website? I would bet that it isn’t. Well, this is your main piece of collateral in the vast majority of cases and generally the first exposure to any new prospect in the modern world. It’s vital to make sure your website is a strong, convincing first impression for new and returning customers.
Onto the marketing campaigns and sales team
All this is great, but if you don’t deliver your vision to your potential customers, you will have wasted time and effort. Create a Gantt chart of activities, which will be covered in a further blog piece, to target your revenue streams to your potential markets.
Ensure that the sales team are involved and on board, as your efforts on the marketing plan will directly support them succeed in their role.
A final word
If any of this has resonated with you, or you feel that your business model is stagnant or changed during COVID and Brexit, then please do get in touch. I am happy to spend some time on the phone or over a coffee or a virtual coffee to explore your issues, problems and offer some advice on where you go from here. Don’t worry, you don’t have to engage my business to do this, but we are there if you do need a formalised lead generation plan and a team to deliver it for you.
Fill in the contact form on the contact us page if you want to chat – your message will come directly to me.
Have a great day 🙂
Strategy Director at GMA
Connect with me on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/gmadean/