Every organisation has a business model, deliberately created or not and it is responsible for the result they generate. A firm’s business model is its plan or diagram for how it competes, uses its resources, structures its relationships, interfaces with customers, and creates value to sustain itself on the basis of the profits it generates.
It is important for an organisation because it provides a framework from which it can continually ask the question, “Does this business make sense?”
Four major components make up a business model;
Core strategy – what is the business mission
Strategic resources – resources needed to fulfil the mission
Partnership Network – who do we need to help us?
Customer interface – who are the customers? How do we reach them? How do we connect with them?
All these four components are equally applicable to our careers and we can as well ask those questions of ourselves – what is my career mission and what is the strategy? What resources do I need to fulfill it? What resources do I need and who can help me?
In coming up with a business model, organisations conduct a value chain analysis (process of analysing the activities involved in moving a product from the raw form to the end user) to identify ways to create additional value and assess if it has the means to do so. This thought process is what has positioned some organisations on top of their industry or made them disrupt their entire industry.
For instance, Uber and other app based transport systems came up to solve the problem of convenience, accessibility, ease of pay for riders and real time dispatch and high demand for drivers taking out the traditional cab system. This was because they were able to look at the value chain of the transportation business. The result of such an exercise and the business model that came up speak volume about the importance of having a thoughtfully developed business model. Such an exercise is not out of place to be well positioned in our careers.
Our careers are no different from typical organisations and are prone to same factors affecting the survival of these organisations. If the survival of organisations depends on having an effective business model, then our careers too should have a functional business model for the following reasons;
- A large chunk of the turbulence in today’s job market is driven by forces beyond our personal controls. We must have a model that helps us to continually assess where we can add value and to know if our iceberg is already melting
- The organisations we work are prone to changes that are beyond their controls too. They try to change their business models to remain competitive since they cannot change the environment they operate in. Most organisations are going lean and even if they don’t want to, the internet is changing the way business is being done. Hence, this puts some careers at risk. Having your own business model helps you to answer the question – is what I am doing making sense?
- In addition to the above, change in one industry can affect other industry. A business model takes into consideration all participants that make a business idea viable, having your own career business model helps you take into consideration at all times all stakeholders whose interest may impact your career. The traditional cab business may not have thought it could be disrupted by the use of internet for instance, but some guys who thought wisely saw the possibility in this.
- Career Planning versus Career Improvisation. A career planning that does not factor in career improvisation in a constantly changing world is a fallacy. Career improvisation is the application of accumulated career capital to new, frequently unanticipated opportunities. Businesses survive because they are always adapting their model, so also does a career survive in this age only by improvisation. Just like a typical business model, your career business model gives you a framework for achieving improvisation.