Let's Talk Business - Adjusting Your Business Model - Week 8

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{ from 52 home @ home }

Hello! Glad to have you hear to chat about all things business. Today, I'm building upon my post with Oh My Handmade on how to position ourselves for growth, and I thought we could talk a bit about assessing our business models. It's an underlying theme that came up in nearly all of your questions. I know, I know, it's maybe not as exciting as discussing such sparkly topics like branding and marketing, but it's important nonetheless. In fact, it might just be the difference between a shining success and a fizzling fadeout for our shops. 

We can get all technical with business models. But for today's purposes let's just think about how we do what we do. 

Let me start with a little example. 

Do you have those little frozen yogurt shops in your area? You know, the ones where you choose and serve your yogurt and add all the treats you like from a crazy long toppings bar - creating a super delicious, just-the-way-you want it dessert?  I'm speaking from experience.  Here in rainy Portland, when we are graced with a bit of warm weather my four year-old unfailingly proclaims, "Let's celebrate the sunshine! Let's get some ice-cream."  And last year, while pregnant, I was never one to turn down a celebration. Clever child that boy is. 

Anyhow, we'd go to our local do-it-yourself yogurt shop and I remember thinking, 'these people are genius.'  I bet you know why.  

Because at some point, in frozen yogurt brilliance, someone adjusted their business model. 

Instead of hiring a half dozen employees to offer items from a menu- they decided to let the customer basically run the show.  They completely scaled down their offerings to just yogurt + toppings (hence, narrowing their niche. wink, wink) and completely cut cost by allowing the customer to do all the work.  And buyers are enthusiastically happy about all this! 

So, what does this mean for us? 

It means we need to rethink how we run our business. We need to find our areas of weakness and flip it. 

Maybe we're making & listing & selling one item at a time. How can we do this differently? 
Perhaps we are creating only custom orders. Is this working? 
Maybe we've got too much inventory and buyers are only interested in one item at a time. How can we encourage larger sales? 
We might be approaching each day by trying to do a little bit of everything. How can we be more efficient? 
Are we in the non-stop cycle of making + selling? What can be tweaked so something is selling itself (eg. patterns, ebooks, pdfs, wholesale accounts, etc.) 

Ok, now you tell me- What have you taken away from this post? Other than probably craving frozen yogurt goodness, how can *you* adjust your model to increase your success?