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Creating the Ultimate Differentiator: Tools for Business Model Strategy & Innovation

Business modeling is more than designing a new business model. It’s about defining a strategy for the future, together with your team, using visual tools.

Writing a business plan is a waste of time

We live in a time where little is predictable. Many professional services organizations navigate a space where competitors appear overnight and unexpectedly, clients demand monthly innovations, and business plans rarely last a full year. Organizations are looking for new revenue streams, new ways to add value for their audiences, and new business models.

New skills, new tools, new mindset

In today’s world, managers and entrepreneurs need new skills, new tools and a new mindset. Entrepreneurs need to think like designers and use visual tools for strategy and innovation. These tools can be used to make complex issues simple and understandable, to create future scenarios, to generate different options, and to develop prototypes. No more lengthy business plans full of Excel sheets, with numbers no one reads or understands. Visual tools are easy to understand by everyone in an organization and help you to co-create with your full team. They help you unlock the potential within your organization, collect all feasible ideas for a future strategy, engage your full team, and make strategy an experience.

Business Model Canvas

Visual tools like the Business Model Canvas can improve the way you work, help you to design your future business and be more successful in what you do. The Business Model Canvas is a strategic and visual management tool that allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model. It helps you create a business model around your idea and find out how you really add value for your clients and partners. 

Business Model Canvas

On a single sheet of paper, you can map out your complete business model, which can then be easily shared with other members of the organization, partners or stakeholders. Here at Business Models Inc., we use the Business Model Canvas in combination with a multitude of other visual tools: the Vision Canvas can help your firm map out its goals in a visual way, while the Context Canvas lets you visualize the context you are operating in. With the Value Proposition Canvas, you can design a value proposition your clients really want and test it in the market.

Depending on the results you want to achieve, you can select different visual tools. They can all be combined. Together, they make up the Business Model Innovation process: a set of visual tools to design your strategy for the future.

Use visual tools to make strategy and innovation concrete

In order to be able to use visual tools, you need a completely different mindset, so forget (almost) everything you learned during your business classes. First of all, you need people in your innovation team from different kind of backgrounds – not just your management team, innovation managers and entrepreneurs. It has to be as diverse as possible.

Plan your strategy meetings beforehand and decide which visual tools you need to get the results you want. Do you want to create a shared vision, a new business model or a new product/service for your customers? By using the Business Model Canvas, or any other visual tool, you can think like a designer, design your future strategy and become successful in your market.

To learn more about creating a differentiation strategy for your firm, check out the free Differentiation Guide for Professional Services.

Patrick van der Pijl

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