One of the first questions I ask new clients is their business model: how do you make money right now?
Answers run the gamut—services, products, books, speaking, retainers, project fees, hourly/daily rates, leveraged services by team members.
But it’s the rare consultant who is 100% happy with their business model as it stands today.
Some of that may be that we are wired to always be looking for improvement. But more than a little comes from choosing the wrong business model up-front.
Take “Todd”. When I first met him, he was running a boutique, project-based web design firm specializing in financial clients. He initially saw web design as the ticket to steady project work that would allow him to grow his cadre of people and create a profitable niche for himself.
The only problem? Todd is literally a genius at technical digital marketing. The web design work wasn’t tapping into his deepest talent and he found himself dedicating more and more time to something he liked less and less.
And, 90% of the firm’s work was project-based, giving it a feast or famine aspect that made managing resources and keeping clients happy a constant challenge.
After some extended gnashing of teeth and number crunching, Todd made the decision to morph his business model away from one-off web design projects and into retainer-based digital marketing. Was it easy? No—he had a significant investment in the status quo. But was it essential for his vision, his bottom-line, and his sanity? Absolutely.
Whether you’re just starting up or are deep in the thick of your business, here are a few questions to consider to structure (or tweak) the right business model for you.
There is no one “right” business model.
Instead, think of it like this: what’s your best business model to reach the biggest dream you have for yourself?
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