When it feels like the world around us is burning and you can control very little, what options do you have for your business? We will walk through the three factual alternatives to respond and offer some ideas if expanding your business model seems a good idea. The intention is not to imply we can control everything with proper planning, because that simply isn’t possible, but rather to raise questions with regard to the stuff you can do something about. Careful consideration in challenging times can unlock doors you never even realised exist, so read on to think new thoughts!
Alternative 1: Close Shop Or Go Bankrupt
This one is blunt and obvious. Maybe a crisis is of such nature that it will be impossible to continue? If you decide closing shop or filing for bankruptcy is the best option you have, we suggest you do it sooner rather than later.
If this isn’t for you, keep reading!
Alternative 2: Continue As Usual
Does the future look secure the way you’re going about doing business currently? If yes, carry on.
Or? Could you shake things up a bit? Keep reading!
Alternative 3: Expand Your Current Business Model
First of all, if you don’t know exactly what business model means, we have an introductory blog post to it, “The 9 Building Blocks Of Business Model Canvas By Strategyzer”. In a nutshell, business models describe how firms function right now to get to where they want to be in the future.
While it may seem annoying to write these things down, if you opt out of it, it’s going to be really hard to respond to any sort of challenges and changes in a constructive way. This is why we recommend that even solopreneurs put the most basic thoughts on paper.
But back to this third alternative, to build upon what already exists. Expanding a current business model can happen in many different ways and in essence it involves changing your own thinking first. How can you view your business differently? Let’s find out!
What It Means To Expand A Business Model
To expand your business model, you can choose to:
- start offering new products or services: you broaden the range of existing products to reach new customers
- create something digital if you have physical products so far
- co-brand with another firm: you offer something entirely new that otherwise would not exist (made as collaboration), or you create a package deal of your existing ranges to benefit both equally
- stop offering something you’ve sold up until now, if adding something potentially very lucrative would be impossible otherwise: you remove one thing to create space for an upgrade of sorts
- create add-ons to offer an improved customer experience: you add a service to an existing product
- sell the existing offerings in new places: this could include:
- more venues (whether physical or online) that are managed by you
- “enlist help” aka affiliate marketing: you reach new audiences through other entrepreneurs by paying commission for each new customer they bring in
The good, old gift card has been heavily added and promoted already as a means for small-business owners to secure income this spring, now that it’s about a week since the coronavirus epidemic was declared a pandemic. Just remember to take those work hours into account later, if you exchange money for hours (hair salon etc.)!
There are other ways to shake things up, too, but we chose these options to help you get started with observing your activities in new ways. And now on to some practical examples!
- We’ve read of brick-and-mortar shops and stores that give you the option to buy online and pick the stuff up in person (in a secure way at the door). The team is in no direct contact but can keep the business open. This includes fabric from quilt shops and coffee from cafés.
- Taxis here in Finland are experimenting with home deliveries from otherwise swamped stores, since they don’t have their own customers right now. A pretty clever way to ensure food and other deliveries to (self-)quarantened people.
- A chain of animal hospitals offers to pick up pets coming for checkups and treatments directly from the car, which is parked outside their buildings, so the owner and veterinarian don’t have to meet in person.
Our aim is to help you find ways to make money while you sleep. In business terms this very likely includes expanding the business model into digital territory, whether you open an online shop or expand from physical to digital products.
Trading money for hours means your 8-hour working days set the upper limit for how much it’s possible to earn, but who said a hair dresser can’t sell e-courses on how to spruce up my long hair easily as an entrepreneur who works from home? I’m still hoping someone would create it! Or how about the graphic designer’s tips, compiled into an e-book, for people who have no funds to pay for a professional brand identity when first starting out? The top mistakes to avoid could mean those struggling small-business owners don’t have to find a whole new set of customers after re-branding with professional help later on (prices can be raised then).
The possibilities really are endless and it’s only your imagination that sets the limit here. That and a possible reluctance (or fear) to try new things. Doing business is hard sometimes, but remember it’s skills you can learn, step by step.
How are you doing now that none of us know what the future holds in store with regard to global economics? Let us know in the comments!