The business model: A pillar of corporate longevity
A strong business model can ensure the long-term success of your company. Your plan can help you innovate and effectively manage change.
By Fonds de solidarité FTQ
During periods of change or economic uncertainty, many companies seek to reinvent themselves. For instance, they may try to offer a new sought-after product, but this type of solution is often temporary. For long-term success, Québec SMEs should consider revising their business model to ensure their efficiency, but also their adaptability when integrating a new product or service. By doing so, they'll be able to innovate where it matters most. Here are some avenues you and your company can explore.
Reviewing your business model and showing agility
A good business model is based on a clear and coherent economic plan that takes into account your customers, your infrastructure, your financial viability—everything that contributes to your company's goals. However, this plan can become obsolete, which is why you must be willing to make changes.
What appears certain today could all change tomorrow. For example, new competitors, challenges, or opportunities may emerge where you least expect them, and technological innovations may change the way you work. The only solution is to adapt.
That said, being agile isn't easy when everything related to your business is in constant flux. To succeed, you need to know your customers as well as you know your market and organization, and understand what they truly want. Look around, listen, implement new solutions, conduct customer surveys, or do market research. The important thing is to be open and curious. Although your business model must be tailored to your company, nothing is stopping you from drawing inspiration from other players or industries.
When it comes to your business model, adaptation and innovation may involve offering a new product, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. It can also mean setting new goals, implementing a new production line, or testing new materials. In any case, all areas of your company—your processes, resources, suppliers, business partners, etc.—are part of your business model and must be considered when you want to make a change. This innovative approach will have the greatest impact on the success of your organization. Take risks and put your ideas to the test. The sooner you try things out, the more quickly you'll be able to confirm whether your plan works.
Looking at your company's evolution from this perspective will help you distinguish yourself and ensure your longevity, especially in times of unforeseen change, such as during a crisis.
Mastering change management
Knowing how to manage change is necessary to create more value, not only for your customers, but also for your teams. Don't leave your employees in the dark. Keep them in the loop and consider them throughout the process. Communication is key! If you involve all your teams and keep them informed, you'll foster a strong sense of synergy. As a result, you'll have an easier time ensuring that your physical locations (factories, shops, offices, etc.) and digital environments (social media, online store, communications, etc.) are sufficiently in sync so that any changes in one area will also be taken into account in the other. This will create consistency both within your company and in the customer experience.
Rethinking procurement and ensuring efficient distribution
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, procurement and distribution have become more crucial than ever in the war between Québec businesses. They're also essential to your business model. For example, you could review your supply chain in order to prioritize sources you can access more directly, plus support the local economy. You could also gain access to secondary or lesser-known suppliers by expanding your network online. After all, it's perfectly acceptable to do business with more than one supplier (link in French)!
In terms of distribution, the main issues are costs and delays, especially now that online shopping has skyrocketed in the province. In Québec, we've also seen companies like Metro, Lufa Farms, and the SAQ review their delivery methods to meet demand. If you distribute a significant amount of goods to individuals, consider setting up your own internal delivery service. You could also negotiate agreements with private truck delivery providers. For businesses in urban areas, bike delivery might be a good option. You get the idea—be creative!
Ensuring continuity, even in times of crisis
Times of uncertainty and change also remind us of the importance of having a business continuity plan and making sure it's up to date. It's a bit like a crisis communication management plan, but on a larger scale for all your business activities. By preparing for the worst, you can plan ahead on ways to limit the repercussions of a potential crisis on your organization, which will allow you to protect your assets, reputation, employees, and operations.
For example, your business continuity plan could outline the steps to follow in the event of a communications system failure, or the minimum amount of products or materials that should be stored to counter a supply problem. A good business continuity plan should allow you to keep your company running for a given period, no matter what unforeseen events come up.
In short, to help ensure the sustainability of your business, it's recommended to have a well-thought-out business model, one that's not only built on a strong foundation of knowledge, but also agile enough to allow you to make changes and innovate. Finally, it should take into consideration all aspects of the supply chain, from the needs of your customers to the product or service you're offering. If you run into problems, trust your business continuity plan—as long as it aligns with your business model!
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