Sticking with your business model

I read a blog from Michel Besner, and one of his recent posts was 8 signs your business is (or will be soon) in trouble.  He highlights the following 8 signs in his blog post:
  1. You can’t explain your business in a few sentences.
  2. Target customer should be clear.
  3. What is the problem you are solving?
  4. How can your customers measure the success of your product?
  5. Is your only problem sales and marketing?
  6. Your competitors don’t care about you.
  7. Nobody else is remotely doing what you do. 
  8. Nobody seems to get excited about what you do.
 In many of my classes at Babson we talk about business models and how many businesses start to fail because they stray from their business model.  There is a focus for students to understand the components of a business, ensuring that these components fit into a business model and that the business model can change to fit market needs.  Where is the focus for businesses to ensure they are staying on track and following their initial business model?  Who's responsbility is this? 

If you're in a start-up, maybe it's the founders and C-level executives.  Could it be Product Management that really follows-through on maintaining the goals of the business model?  Since Product Managers set the vision for their products, perhaps product management is a good place to start.  If we (PM's) see a change in the market, we poise our products/businesses to pivot in order to fit in with the changes.  PM focuses on the problems that you're solving for the target customer you have.  While we talk about our competitor, do we do enough to understand if we are impacting them?  Should we do more?  Product Management / Product Marketing should be focusing on how to explain your business or product in a few sentences; if this can't be done, I think you need to spend time with the key players in the organization to get your business model refined.

Item 7 is pretty interesting- does it really indicate that you're struggling?  If you're new to the market and no one is doing what do you, how can that really indicate that your business is in trouble?  Perhaps if all of these are put together you have a bigger problem on your hands!  Overall, I found this interesting because PM's can and should be responsible to work with the business to identify many of these areas.  Who's fault is it if the business is failing?  Can you come back if it is?

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