People often ask us the kind of businesses Benelds works with. I think they’re expecting an industry: ‘Financial Advisors’, or ‘Strata Management’; ’Ski lodges’ or ‘Bike Shops’.
In the businesses we work with I always see a sliding scale from Traditional to Modern models. The “model” is 100% independent of the product or service, yet has a phenomenal impact on where that business will go.
The Traditional Business
A traditional model is a business that has no leverage, and is solving problems with head-count. As far as software is concerned they tap out at Microsoft Office.
If they’re an accountant, they’re the accountant with 5 accountants in offices, all with their separate portfolios of clients, all just getting on with processing the work. You know the type.
A traditional model is a business that has no leverage.
Even in ‘modern’ business models I see the same pattern.
A traditional ‘online’ business that has a storefront website that hopes to sell me something, but then never speaks to me again, and has a girl in the office packing orders as they come in (if we’re lucky, within a couple of days from order).
Despite having an online presence and an auto-responder they’re still, in my mind, a traditional business.
The Modern Business
A truly modern business, to take it to the other extreme, is the accountant that has minimal headcount here in Australia, is running an offshore team that handles the bulk of processing packages, has automated key-date reminders, automates collecting information from clients before their first visit and has totally systemised and standardised the generation of letters.
They’re the accountant that’s buying up the client rosters of the retiring baby-boomer.
The modern online store is the store that sees I’ve bought road cycling clothes, so sends me emails when the new season clothes from that same brand is in, or sees that I have mountain bike tyres in my cart and offers me lightweight mountain bike inner tubes or a tubeless conversion kit just before I hit ‘pay’.
They know that I’ve bought a particular model of road-bike brake, and 6 months later tell me about a coupon code for the matching brake-pads.
At the same time, they’ve also invested in systems to educate me, so I get more enjoyment from the products I’ve bought, and want to spend more time and more money with whatever they’re selling.
They’re the sports coach delivering live training webinars 3 times a week to hundreds of clients across the world, and sending the weekly training program straight to the smartphones of their customers, with mobile responsive core-strength workout videos on the same page and ready to go.
They’re not only able offer a much more attractive price point, but also a better quality service: when you systemise and automate, the quality improves, too. All the customer’s simple questions have already been answered and you’re free to be adding value again.
Essentially, modern businesses are centred around, “How can I use systems to improve margins AND quality? How can I systemise myself out of the day-to-day? How can I give my customer a great experience so they’re happy to spend more money with me, and actively refer me to their network?”.
When you become a modern business everything changes.
From the customers’ first interaction with your business they sense that you’re on top of things.
There’s a whole lot more trust, far more ‘benefit of the doubt’ and, if something does go wrong, they are far more likely to believe that you can put things right.
Your customers believing that you’re on top of it from the get-go is a powerful position to be in, whatever your industry. Especially if you’re trying to close them.
Finally, the ultimate benefit to the modern model: when you’re a modern business, you are no longer ‘the business’. You can take a holiday, because now instead of the company being you, it’s your set of processes and tools running perfectly without you. That leaves you free to take a holiday, or sell the business for far more than those poor baby-boomer accountants selling their client-rosters to fund their retirement.
When you’re a modern business, you are no longer ‘the business’.
The point is that regardless of what business you’re in you can leverage modern tools and make a business that doesn’t require you to be in it, and improves your life.
These are the businesses we want to work with: businesses that see how they want to be, but need help getting there.