When developing your business it is vital to consider everything you need to grow.  Start by creating a business blueprint to visualise your business model, which you and everyone else can work from.

A question I like to ask myself and other business owners is are we seeing the full picture?  We have many pieces to our businesses, in fact hundreds of pieces!  From sales, to products, to resources and staff structure.  Business is a combination of many different parts held together by 100’s of different processes.  When we are performing the processes the full picture can often be obscured by how close we are. To full appreciate the complexity I like to zoom out, take in a birds eye view, go to the macro level.  To do this we can create a business model blueprint.  A top down view of our businesses. From a process management perspective this also has huge benefits as we often need to clarify starting and finishing points for each process.  This blueprint is a great method to visualise where these points are. Don’t be thinking this is just for big companies.  This is as important for the solopreneur or the 50 plus employee one.   Let me ask you a question – how often do you feel overwhelmed by running your business?  It often happens when we start thinking of all the things we want or need to do, like a snow ball rolling down a hill, it starts small then by the time you’ve finished its’s huge.  The overwhelmed bit often confronts us when we think of all the connecting issues we need to tackle in order to satisfy that first task. That  is the big benefit of modelling it takes what’s in your mind and visualise it on paper.  This then removes that pressure and clears your mind allowing it to focus on the components and finding the solutions not in creating those connections. It’s also as relevant whether you are starting a new business, getting to grips with an existing one or scaling up, this a perfect starting point.  A model contains all the elements required to deliver your value proposition to the customer.  From marketing and selling, through to identifying the resources and operations required to create it.  Through capturing an overview of all stages you gain a true representation of the entire business. Depending on your business size or the diversity of you product offering you may prefer to do this by business unit or product division.  However for most small companies one model should be sufficient to cover it all.  The most logical method is just to get started and if you find the model becoming to confusing then find a suitable split and divide it up. The other huge benefit from having a business model is when planning your 12 month – 5years and 10 years goals (which you really should be doing by the way!) you can visualise how your business will look at that point in the future.

The figure below shows the template we use for business modelling.

Within the model are all the key components of your business.  Your starting point could be the value proposition, such as a product idea which you then need to find a suitable market for, or it may be a specific segment you want to supply and then design the product to suit.  From that starting point you then complete each segment until you have fully visualised your business model.  To start you can print this model our or draw it out on a white board.  Then using post it notes populate the model with your business operations.   For a blank version of this model click here ….

For further reading check our our other articles and a great book recommendation is Business Model Generation by Osterwalder & Pigneur who were the inspiration for this model. In our next article we will be delving deeper into the market based components of the model and later the business operations, before our final article in this series summarising with examples. Next you start reviewing the processes you have in place to ensure the business model works correctly and develop or improve processes where issues stand out.  We will be discussing this in later articles.

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