As your business changes, your business model may not

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I often read references to legacy companies that repeat the same mantra at all their trade conferences, thought pieces and future predictions: we need to find new business models.

Since I never went to business school, I’m sort of stepping out on a limb here. But it seems to me that a business model consists of one or several streams of revenue. The combination of these it what constitutes the business model. Therefore it isn’t necessary to have multiple (or even new) business models, in plural, but rather to try to change the ratio or composition of the revenue streams that your model consists of.

Whether I have the terminology right or not, I think there could be a benefit in thinking about the problem in a more granular way. Coming up with a completely new model, seems big and overwhelming. Finding a single, small, new revenue stream is manageable – although it doesn’t instantly solve the issue at hand. It is more or less the difference between making big changes slowly, and making small changes all the time

When searching for a new business model for a company, one must also be honest about the possibility that there simply isn’t one. Constantly searching for a new model, almost like looking for a paradigm shift, is tiresome and difficult. If there isn’t a new model around the corner, it could also overshadow the work with changing the ratios and tweaking the existing revenue streams. Finding and improving smaller parts of the puzzle. The two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, although in practice I think they often are.

There are industries going through substantial paradigm shifts in terms of product fit and consumer expectation. Assuming that their business model can go through the same shift could end up being a wild goose chase. And it could hinder these industries from being temporarily sustainable as the market changes, yet again.

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