But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in.— Junot Diaz.
Not only did I think I wouldn’t study again in my forties, but I never thought I would write a blog either. Although I had been encouraged to start a blog for my business, I didn’t really want to write about my experiences or my opinions as I didn’t feel it was necessary.
Here begins another new journey for me. Last Wednesday we were asked to choose a business we liked and to analyse it’s business model canvas and then to suggest how the canvas could be innovated or improved. This presented me with another inner-conflict. Should I choose my business, ‘Babatunde’, my accessories business based in South Africa or should I choose a business with no emotional ties? Due to the disappointment and lack of growth of Babatunde over the past 3 years, I have somewhat mixed feelings towards my business. On one hand, I love it! It’s MY business and baby which forms a large part of my identity. But on the other hand, the near misses, the disappointments and the insincere promises the business attracted left me feeling jaded and bitter.
The class activity forced me to think about my business, as well as myself. I have probably avoided facing alot of these questions over the past few years and suppressed any thoughts along these lines. We begun the activity looking at Netflix in our groups and then had to choose a business to look at individually. The Netflix example was quite challenging in that we didn’t have all the info we needed. So we had to speculate and guess alot of the time which made us uncertain as a group. Analyzing Babatunde individually was alot easier for me…
Innovating and improving on Babatunde’s business model canvas was not as easy. Although I had all the facts I needed, it felt like some old wounds were opened as these were problems I have been trying to fix for years. The most obvious being the ability to improve the quality of our products and to work with the latest materials and trims. A big part of our value proposition is that we offer contemporary African designs so it is important for us to have contemporary materials and trims in our products. This would also link to our key partners. We would need to work with factories who are willing to bring in the latest trims and push the design side of the manufacturing.
Another issue facing Babatunde was the fact that South Africa is such a long distance from most countries that buy our products. This means high shipping costs to add to the Customs and VAT that clients had to pay for their orders. This could be solved by either manufacturing in countries closer to Europe or the USA or by keeping stock in either of these regions. But would this then compromise the brand integrity and value proposition of the business?
In the past I had thought that capital was the main issue effecting the issues mentioned above. I have been trying to get business partners and/or investors for the past 4 or 5 years. But when I see the business model canvas laid out in it’s different segments it makes me realise that I was probably wrong. Although a cash injection may of helped, innovating the business model canvas of Babatunde was probably what was needed.
I am confident that this module will help me figure out exactly which tweaks are needed. Not only am I glad I have my first blog out of the way, but I am also happy to be able to face obstacles I have chosen to shy away from previously.