I want to launch a new reality TV show: Business Model Makeovers. I actually pitched the idea to Sudhir Syal at ET Now – he listened politely. But really, I can’t let this die. It’s too good.
Imagine: a bedraggled entrepreneur, bags under eyes, opens the door to a group of Startup Angels, with light streaming all around them. Perhaps they’re all dressed in white. Perhaps wearing stylish little wings.
The Angels swoop down upon the business, and miraculously, within 2 days, the entrepreneur looks well-rested, her customers are full of compliments and referrals, and banks have competed to provide low-interest loans.
Voila: A Business Model Makeover.
Yeah, I confess: I stole the idea from all those Nanny-Makeover and Disaster-Home-Makeover shows. Have you ever seen them? They’re awesome.
I especially loved one episode where a Miracle Nanny, in crisp uniform, shows up at a house to find one kid stuffing a shoe in the dog’s mouth, another wrestling his Mom for the car keys, and the teenager in the backyard doing drugs. Within 24 hours, she has the kids in matching outfits, singing the score to Sound of Music, while vacuuming and dusting the house. I exaggerate only slightly.
So, who would get a Business Model Makeover? Well, we’d have to be very strict about what type of business could participate. Criteria would include:
- Has customers.
- Has great service or product.
- Has more people who want to be customers.
- Every time they add a customer, it’s bad news: either they lose more money, or they get closer to having a nervous breakdown.
There’s a company like this in my neighbourhood. Fabulous croissants. Amazing brioche. And every time she adds a customer, the entrepreneur’s stress level increases, and the mistakes in the services increase as well. It’s gotten to the point where we, her existing customers, ration our word-of-mouth referrals. “Yum!” a friends munches, “where did you get this bread?” “Sorry, I can’t tell you.” I’m not kidding!
Clearly, this bakery needs a Business Model Makeover: some help understanding what needs to change in the operations in order to allow for good service, reasonable scale, and a (relatively) stress-free life for the entrepreneur.
It might require a change in the way she accepts orders, or prices her goods, or mans the baking, procures supplies, or in the way they make their deliveries – I don’t know. She’s given some hints to me about her business. But every time I stand outside her bakery, starting to quiz her, she seems to get a bit nervous. Maybe I shouldn’t have waved the baguette with such vigour.
But see? If there were a TV show, we could get the Startup Angels to help her out – officially. And we would ensure ourselves an endless supply of absolutely fabulous chocolate croissants.