Map, Model, Plan

Before I continue with the phases of the Empathetic Business Model, I want to take a moment to post about development tools and their place in the sequence of business development. The key words here are development and sequence.

When I began working on the research for the creation of the Empathetic Business Model, the intent was not to replace a business plan nor the business development process that helps create a business plan. The intent was to create a model that touch on the emotional side of business. A side that few explore and fewer employ.

Most companies, start-ups and want-to-be entrepreneurs I have listen to in group discussions over the past few years begin with a name for a business and some rough details about the business. Initially, this is a good thing. Yet I liken it to a writer who starts with a title of the book and not the story inside. Keeping with this analogy of a story, a writer friend once told me that to write a great story you need to work in a defined sequence. First a writer must have a unique idea or dynamic conflict. Then they must sketch out this conflict in a world somewhere, add your cast of characters and then, develop their relationships, characteristics and their roles. 

As he stated, a writer creates a situation and then imagines how various characters would interact around the situation and with each other. This is the emotional or empathetic phase of writing. It defines why the story exists. Now comes the plot or scheme. He defines the facts around the situation.  The facts are established about who will do what, when, where and how. How will the characters respond? The writer brings the story to life by writing it out. Finally the story is packaged into a book and the publisher adds a sellable title.


What can we learn from book creation? It’s very similar to start-up business development. For a business opportunity we need a conflict we can be resolved either by resolving an existing issue or creating a demand for something new. This is our plot or idea for a business. Now we begin to write the story or concept by setting all the emotional pieces into place. To do this we begin by understanding the customer through empathy. What do they see, feel or want? Create the dynamics of the relationship between you and those you will serve. Design the map of the customer/provider journey. This I call the Empathetic Business Model.

Now begin organizing and building the story of business model. Organize the sequence of events and how things will play out. Define the resources, movement and structure. This is business modeling. A great source for modeling can be found in The Business Model Generation.

Finally, bring everything together in your business plan. Your story for a successful business venture. A name is placed around the framework of your business concept that will appeal to the target market.

The best advice from my friend, act like a writer and follow the sequence writers do to create a sellable book and forget the title, it will come later.

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