Modern Business

SEBN Session on Modern Business


South East Business Networks

South East Business Networks

Modern business structures and minimum sustainable business essential components


Richard Caro presented this session to a SEBN audience.


Richard Caro

Richard Caro


What if the world changed and yesterday’s game plan no longer applied?


Buggy whips – the market shifted to automobiles and most buggy whip companies went out of business. Are you aware of how your market is shifting?


What if they redefined themselves as motion management,  horse handling solutions or great leather products?


Long term sustainability requires more that a tactical approach such as “how to sell more buggy whips?”


Current trends are global competition and disaggregation. How does this affect your business?


Global customers are possible and global competitors are likely. What does this mean for you?


Disaggregation means anyone can be part of a global supply chain.


Automation is replacing existing jobs and suppliers and they could now be placed anywhere in the world.


Many businesses may not be in touch with the final end customers.


Do I communicate with a real end customer at least weekly?


Business models

Factory -> getting the word out -> Customer is the normal process. What is wrong with this picture?


Need to add customer discovery feedback to the process!


Business Strength Inventory

Fit each of the three areas of factory, getting the word out and customer discovery:


  • Who is responsible?
  • What clout / authority do they have?
  • What budget do they have?
  • Is 80% of their time devoted to this area?


My question was whether it was possible to consider that level of devotion if you are still a small business?

Customer discovery

The lean start-up movement has popularised books like:


  • The start-up owners manual
  • Value proposition design
  • Business model generation
  • What customers want


The key is to “get out of the building” – Steve Blank.


Steve Blank

Steve Blank


So what should I discuss with the people I meet when I am out of the building?


  • How do they do stuff today?
  •  in detail!
  • Follow them around and become an expert
  • Then find  the best in the world and follow them around
  • What are their unmet needs?
  • Where are the passion points?
  • Or pressure points?
  • Listen a lot!
  • Frame a hypothesis in the form of “I think people like xxx have a problem doing yyy”


The next step is to find 20-50 people like xxx and interview them asking open ended questions and listen carefully to how they do yyy, including whether they have a problem and if the hypothesis has any merit. Be prepared to refine.  Eg Rinse.  Repeat. As Steve Blank says.


So who should you talk to?


  • Interview 100, not 5
  • It is industry specific – Who is the real customer?
  • Who are the deciders, influencers, users, beneficiaries
  • Who are the adjacent customers?
  • Who is in your zone of customer knowledge?
  • They could be unexpected – they emerge from the problem discover


I asked this question so I was particularly interested in this answer.


If the person with the money is different with the person with the need,  you have to develop a business model that means it works for the person with the money.  Otherwise,  there are scenarios where there isn’t a business case that is possible?




So for now, my conclusion is that there are many possible opportunities present and if you look at customer discovery, you might just discover some.


Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In Australia. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.