Thursday, April 2, 2009

A comment about "business models"

I never cease to be amazed at the new business terminology with words such as legacy, enterprise, and business model. Back in the old days we used a term called strategic planning (courtesy of the REAL General Electric, with whom I was privileged to serve). Earlier than that, the Russian communists developed the five year plan which was later adopted by John F. Kennedy. Business was modeled after the tradition of those who passed before with the primary objective of providing, income, employment, community involvement, technology advancement, and most important of all, TAKING CARE OF THE CUSTOMER!

Today's Business Model is often based on only one element - maximizing revenues. Gratefully, there are a few exceptions. A recently departed business friend was one of those exceptions. Ronnie was the owner of a small computer and typewriter service company. Somehow, I don't think Ronnie had a "business model". He just got up everyday, worked extraordinary hours and did his job.Tragically, he lost his life in a vehicle accident several days ago. He won't be around to tell you about his business model, but I think one of his customers expressed it pretty well.

You may be familiar with Merchants Circle. It's a web listing service that allows you to review information about local business which often includes comments by customers. I think the following customer comment from a Merchants Circle posting fairly well sums up Ronnie's business model.

I have used these guys for years and would highly recommend them. They are VERY reasonable in their prices, do great work and are not out to make their whole salary on each repair or sale. They will also take the time to tell you what they think is wrong and try to give you an estimate of how much it will cost before they start.

It may be too late for this business model to save Fannie Mae, GM, or even the U.S. Government, but for the rest of us, I think Ronnie may have left us the kind of business model that would profit all of us - both now, and hereafter. We'll miss you Ronnie!