In March 2020, Metro Manila and neighboring cities were placed under an enhanced community quarantine to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies were thus rendered unable to operate despite having good products.
The constraints many businesses faced during this difficult time tell us that many businesses did not have system thinking in place when they designed their business.
1. Those limited to existing customers had to fight with competition to retain declining numbers: a target market issue.
2. Those with nonessential products were not allowed to operate: a product or service issue.
3. Those who were not ready for e-commerce and digital transactions suffered in revenues and profit even if they were allowed to operate: a channel issue.
4. Those who operated did not change their communication and brand messaging to adjust to consumers’ higher need for certainty: a brand positioning and customer retention issue.
5. Those relying on traditional fixed revenues were disrupted: a revenue model issue.
6. Those who relied on a single source, low-cost supply chain and had no business continuity plan ended up with inadequate inventories. Either their supplier was not able to ship or the shipment got stuck in the port: a value-chain issue
7. Those who were slow to adapt did not have agile processes in place to help them have a business model pivot: a process issue.
8. Those allowed to manufacture and had enough supply of raw materials did not have adequate labor since many live far from their plants: a human resource asset issue.
9. Those who did not have a strategic alliance with suppliers or internal competencies were forced to pay a higher cost to digitize their operations, competing with almost every business catching up with digitalization: a complementor issue
10. Those whose businesses were not able to operate did not launch another product or business to be ready with dual transformation when lockdowns were lifted: a reconfiguration issue.
11. Those who felt helpless and hopeless simply cut expenditures without resorting to helping their employees survive through market development: a cost issue.
These mistakes in business models were decoded last year during the pandemic. It is based on the 11 building blocks of the Mansmith Business Model Map. A template, with definition of terms, is available for download, with video case examples, as a public service at the Continuum Academy website (www.continuum-edu.com).
Josiah Go is chair and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders Inc. Attend his Continuum Academy’s event “Opportunity Seeking When Growth is Difficult” and “Evaluating Business Model Risks” on June 29.
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