Category Archives: Business Model Design

Does a cool idea = a great business model?

When I met the owners of NoChar Inc. and the showed me how their product can protect a town from burning down in a forest fire or how it can protect a man’s hand from a torch, I assumed they had to beat off customers with a stick.

It turns out there is more to creating a powerful business model than a cool product or idea. NoChar’s product is unmistakably cool and valuable. However, NoChar still has some work to do on their business model.

Products do not sell themselves, even great ones. That’s where the sales performance model comes into play. NoChar’s business model is very strong in the marketing areas but needs work getting this great product into the hands of customers.

If you were NoChar and had a great product but only average sales, what would you do?



The Business Model Wheel as a Brainstorming Tool

We have had many requests from readers for more information on how to use the Business Model Wheel as an innovation tool. The video below shows how to brainstorm using the wheel as a starting point. If you are not familiar with the wheel concept. You can get an overview in the Powerpoint found at


Business Models for Dummies Highlights

The recently released book, Business Models for Dummies, offers both beginners and expert’s insight into the fascinating world of business models. The book is comprised of three main sections: creating a business model, assessing the model, and ongoing innovation.

9781118547618 cover.indd






Creating a business model

There are countless methods to create a business model – from the back of a napkin to a highly formalized methodology. This book offers a structured approach to a business model using The Business Model Wheel™. The wheel breaks down a business model into offering, monetization, and sustainability. Each of these areas is further broken down into more finite components:

  • Market Attractiveness
  • Unique Value Proposition
  • Profit Model
  • Sales Performance Model
  • Ongoing Competitive Advantage
  • Innovation Factor
  • Pitfall Avoidance
  • Graceful Exit


Business Model Wheel Color

By using a structured approach to the business model, a more complete and robust model can be created.

Assessing a business model

The Business Model Wheel™ can also be used to score a business model. By using the version below, the business owner or model creator can assess the quality of each area of the model. The book goes into great deal on what factors are important as well as what to look out for.

One of the often overlooked areas of a business model is the Sales Performance Model. Many people create a model of something they think customers will want and it will be sold at a significant profit. However, if there is no proven and repeatable sales system in place, it’s nothing more than a coulda-woulda-shoulda model. Only models that produce actual sales, not theoretical ones matter.


Ongoing Innovation

Perhaps you remember the companies below. All of them had good business models and were leaders in their field. However, competition, economics, technology, and other factors are working to erode your business model. In order to combat these negative influences, you must innovate.

The book offers many potential sources and methods of innovation but my favorite is the section on Advanced Innovation. One entire chapter each is devoted to three techniques: “Getting in the insurance business, Advance Crowdsourcing, and Sales Virtualization.” If you own a business, jump ahead to these chapters. There’s gold in there.

The author uses several case studies and examples to drive home these important points. I must admit, a business model is far more complex than I originally thought. I enjoyed the systematic breakdown of the model into understandable pieces as well as the many examples that made the lessons “sticky.”

You can purchase the book at