All business models, at their core, must address this question: “How do we sustainably deliver value to our customers?” This topic of business models could be approached from many different angles and will be the focus of a series of upcoming blog topics, but for the purpose of this blog, I want to focus on the recent changes to the WT Enterprise Center business model and why it was necessary for a change.
As a university-based business incubator, we strive to help people create great companies. Our new business model, entitled “Incubation with Urgency”, was borne from the need to give more entrepreneurs a higher level of service, more expediently in a peer-to-peer, collaborative environment.
Why the need for change?
The change was necessary for two reasons – value proposition and sustainability. If we are to meet or exceed our entrepreneur clients’ expectations, we need to meet them where they are, and we need to meet them on their time table. And, if we are to be sustainable, the Enterprise Center must work regardless of who is leading it – systems must replace the leader in every growing enterprise.
To grow sustainably and add value to entrepreneurial clients, more responsibilities are placed on the executive leadership team. In our case (and maybe more personally)… in my case, it has become increasingly difficult for me to schedule regular meetings with clients as their lead coach. I had to shift some things that I was doing “in” our business to working “on” our business. Bringing in a Lead Entrepreneur-in-Residence coaching team was the first step to sustainable change.
Before, all clients met regularly with staff members who were professional certified coaches. Now, clients meet regularly with our Entrepreneur-in-Residence coaches. We will add a team of specialists that clients can also engage with regularly – specialists in business disciplines of accounting and financial management, human resources, marketing and sales, legal issues and information technology. This creates more capacity to serve more entrepreneurs, more expeditiously and more specifically tailored to their specific needs and growth challenges.
What has happened since the shift?
In only a month since the shift, clients have successfully made the transition to working with our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. We have more deal flow and more capacity than ever. Coupled with that, we also got increased funding from our partners at the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
Clients are healthy, happy and growing and so is the Enterprise Center.
How has your business model changed?