Posted on August 2, 2023  
by Noel Guilford

I think we can all agree that life has thrown a number of curve-balls at us in recent years. From the pandemic, staying safe, working from home, navigating the cost of living crisis, and coping with record inflation. Being flexible and adaptive has become the new normal.

So why is that embracing flexibility in business seems so hard?

It’s not as scary as you might think and, in fact, having an adaptive business model may be essential for survival.

Every business has a model of the way it operates, whether it has been created by default (such as copying someone else’s) or by design using, for example, the Business Model Canvas.

Your business model describes how you create, deliver and capture value from what you do; an adaptive business model enables a business to work continuously to improve the performance of the business.

Adaptive business models are those that are flexible and can adjust to changes in the environment, the market, customer preferences, distribution channels and competitor actions. Think of those restaurant business that had to switch to a takeaway/delivery service during the pandemic just to survive.

There are a number of business model types a small business can use to adapt in the face of changing conditions such as:

  • Lean model: This model involves launching a product or service quickly (called a minimum viable product), testing it with a small group of customers, and then refining it based on their feedback. This approach allows businesses to test their ideas and make changes quickly, without wasting time or resources on products or services that don’t work.
  • Agile methodology: Agile methodology involves breaking down projects into smaller, more manageable tasks and completing them in short sprints. This approach enables businesses to be more responsive to changing customer needs and market conditions.
  • Subscription-based model: Offer products or services on a subscription basis, which allows you to generate recurring revenue and build a loyal customer base. For example, a small business could offer a monthly subscription box for beauty products or a meal delivery service.
  • Online marketplace model: Leverage online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, or eBay to reach a wider audience and sell your products to customers across the globe.
  • Service-oriented model: Businesses can focus on providing high-quality services to customers rather than selling products. This model allows you to tailor your services to meet the unique needs of each customer and build long-term relationships.
  • Agile manufacturing model: Use agile manufacturing techniques to quickly adapt to changes in demand or supply. This involves producing small batches of products on demand, rather than large quantities in advance.
  • Outsourcing model: Businesses can outsource certain functions like customer service, marketing, or accounting to third-party service providers. This allows them to focus on their core competencies and reduce overhead costs.

Whatever your current business model it is important to document its nine building blocks and constantly monitor and evaluate these, by establishing clear metrics and KPIs, to ensure that they are achieving their desired outcomes.

The key to adopting a more adaptive business model is to be open to change, embrace new technologies and ideas, and always be willing to experiment to find the best solution for your business. Make time to regularly assess your business in order to make informed decisions and adapt to changes as they arise.

Don’t be put off by the unknown – do your research to see which adaptive business model would fit your business offering best. Change, whether we like it or not, is always around the corner in one form or another. So why not embrace a flexible and agile business structure that is prepared to pivot if required?

If your business model isn’t serving you as well as it did book a call with me to discuss other options you may want to consider.

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Noel Guilford


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