Business models are the tried and true ways people and companies have, and will continue to, turned products and services into livelihoods that support themselves and their families.
Life is More Than Just a Business Model
The problem is, when you hit Harvard B school, the professors there, as far as I know, do not teach you how to apply business models to your life.
I would have titled this post “The Work/Life Balance Business Model,” but it hasn’t been invented yet. Because I haven’t yet (coming soon!) attained world domination, you haven’t heard of the ANNACOLIBRI Approach, but you will (well, if you’re reading this, you will very soon 🙂 ).
The ANNACOLIBRI Approach adds needed modernization to conventional models and will help you live the life you want.
Why is Having a Business Model Important?
Before I dive into the ANNACOLIBRI Approach, let me summarize why having a business model is important. You need to identify:
- The way in which you plan to make money
It’s pretty much as simple as that.
Every business decision that you make will flow from the business model you choose. Your first decisions will involve figuring out which resources are required to launch and grow your business.
Here is in example:
If you decide to use the bait and hook business model, you will need to come up with some bait. A silly example would be giving away free lawn mowers (bait) in order to provide paid service contracts (hook) for those same lawn mowers.
In a lawnmower (bait and hook business model) enterprise, the successful solopreneur will have to figure out:
- How to finance the initial lawnmowers
There are, of course, many other things to figure out, but financing the bait, in this case, is a biggie.
If the lawnmower solopreneur had decided on a drop shipping, e-commerce model, he or she would need to figure out the needed resources for creating a website with a shopping cart, where to find vendors and how to be findable online.
Without a business model in mind, you are basically sailing a rudderless ship.
Don’t be rudderless!
Here is a wikipedia article on business models. It is important for you to take a look at your options and then decide which model is for you.
The Promise and Limitations of Conventional Business Models
ANNACOLIBRI | tech savvy coaching uses the loyalty business model, which is about providing great products and services and supporting them with excellent customer service. This model owes its success to the loyalty of customers who provide repeat business and (free) word of mouth marketing.
The loyalty business model can be marketed using loyalty marketing, which often includes such things as free gifts (think: Cracker Jacks) or frequent flier miles. That concept feels a little gimmicky to me, so ANNACOLIBRI uses trust-based marketing.
Trust-based marketing offers customers transparency in the form of being honest about the products and services offered and helping customers find the best solutions for them — even if that means hiring another company.
Trust-based marketing fosters loyalty in an era when people are looking for ways to cope with constantly increasing complexity and want assistance finding answers.
Let’s Go ALL The Way
Those of you who know me know that I am a certified Iyengar yoga teacher. Because the loyalty and trust-based business models compliment the values yoga teaches, they work well for ANNACOLIBRI but they don’t go quite far enough.
These models separate out, unnaturally, I think, work from life.
In other words, you can use conventional business models as necessary starting points for tried and true ways to make money but then incorporate elements that take your full humanity into consideration.
That’s important because, to paraphrase poet Mary Oliver, this is what you are going to do with your one wild and precious life.
The ANNACOLIBRI Approach
Below, I have outlined the components of what I believe is a more complete “business” model as well as what you need to consider as you develop your business concept.
The first component of a business plan should be how you are going to take care of yourself. After all, you are a human and not a machine. And, if you are like me, you have a body, children and relationships to tend to.
You are busy! So take care of yourself and your relationships. In practice, self care will include time away from work and technology.
Taking breaks, including long ones, will leave you feeling strong, free and healthy enough to support the work part of your life.
Product or Service
When thinking about products and services, first think about filling an actual need and then think “excellence.” These considerations fit well with the loyalty business model, above.
From the beginning, think about your audience (your “target”) as people with whom you will build relationships. Think of yourself as a gracious hostess (or host) and invite people into your world with the idea in mind that you will make a positive difference in their worlds — based on their needs — so they in turn can make a positive difference in the world at large.
In other words, bring love into the equation. Love, I know, isn’t usually associated with business plans but I believe it should be. After all, you spend a huge percentage of your waking hours on your business and with the people you meet as a result.
These relationships, ideally, will feel precious and feed you both personally and professionally.
If you are reading this, you are on the web (unless you got it from a friend who went so far as to print it out, in which case I am extremely flattered!). Your web presence, as I have said before, is everything about you that is on the web.
It is not separate, truly, from your business so it is important, too, to think of it as a container — or ecosystem — for your relationships (see audience, above).
The web, of course, is very new. Because of that, it is useful and caring to think about not only your personal presence, but also how the web will continue to develop and how you fit into the matrix of this development.
Integrated marketing communications
It’s interesting, and even a little baffling, to think about how much things have changed since we (Generation X) were born. We are the last generation that can (sometimes) get away without being tech savvy — and this is true, generally speaking, only if you established your business and your reputation a decade or so ago.
If you are starting a business, or transitioning in your career, understand this: although your experience, professionalism and skills are invaluable, you may have to repackage them and certainly you will have to apply them with a whole new set of tools to bring your products and services to the world.
Specifically, you will need to market your message both offline and off and you will need tech savvy to do it.
Today’s tech savvy world requires a new set of tools and also attention to production processes. This is because we now live in a technology and information fueled economy and all of the information and constantly evolving technology has to be produced!
Far from making humans obsolete, technology has created a situation which requires successful humans to be highly skilled in at least some of the following areas:
- Photography and videography
- Marketing and communications
- Production processes and
- Customer service
All of this needs to be done quickly, consistently and in fairly high volume (so get busy!).
Call it what you will, but, in order to restore the health and vitality of our planet, we need to think of ourselves as international citizens.
International Citizenry must be intrinsic to every business model. How will you, and the products and services you offer, provide for the earth and the earth’s citizens while providing for yourself and your families?
The take home? Don’t think of your business as separate from your life or, really, the world around you.
Use the comments to tell us about your business model.
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