To survive and thrive in today’s business environment, it is therefore essential for Solopreneur consultants and other business owners to make an annual assessment of their venture’s business model and evaluate how the organization can deliver the right services in the right way and demonstrate to clients that the value provided improves the bottom line and makes clients look smart to the higher-ups.
The business model is the blueprint for the process your organization follows to connect with clients, deliver services and make and sustain a profit. The business model reflects what you believe about what clients need and value; the way in which those needs ought to be addressed; the types of solutions offered; and what clients will pay to obtain those solutions. Additionally, the business model shows organization leaders how to make the enterprise function efficiently for both leaders and clients. Perfecting it is the cornerstone to success (along with a healthy dose of good fortune!).
One direct way to reality-check your business model is to take a good client to a restaurant for some combination of libation and/or meal at the conclusion of a project, when the client’s trust in you is high because you’ve delivered the goods and exceeded expectations. You will likely be able to persuade your client to open up and tell you what’s going on in his/her organization as regards challenges and opportunities, plans for the future, services that are valued and the preferred method of delivery for those services.
You are certain to learn all sorts of useful information that will show you how you might refine, adjust, package and/or price your services for many of your clients. Knowledge of client priorities and concerns is the first step to winning future projects, says Alexander Osterwalder, co-author of “Business Model Generation” (2010) and founder of The Business Model Foundry.
Knowing how your clients can get the job done without you is also useful information (although painful!). As mentioned earlier, your real competition may not be another Solopreneur consultant but the client, who decides to table the project indefinitely or do it in-house. That’s not easy to counteract.Your only defense is a solid business model that helps you position and promote your solutions as preferable in some vital way.