In coding we have code smells. Indicators of bad code that hint at underlying problems in software. In writing we have “darlings” that should be killed. You know the kind of thing, multiple ideas crammed into an article that don’t really belong there. They are usually indicative of an article that should be split into a series or edited heavily. In other words, an article that’s trying to cover too many things at once.
Trying to do too much at once is very common in business model design and as your model evolves, you have to wield your editor’s knife carefully and precisely, surgically removing all hints of confusion.
In business models, I think of our code smells and darlings as artefacts. They remain like echoes of a former iteration, hanging around after a pivot. If you review your business model regularly you’ll spot them. They interrupt the flow of a business process or a customer’s understanding of your offer. Take note whenever someone is listening to your story and then raises and eyebrow or frowns in puzzlement. For you, the business owner, that should feel like a bump in the road, something that clearly needs to be fixed.
Take time out, stop and think
Time for reflection is so important. Unfortunately it’s a scarce resource in many startups, but it shouldn’t be. After all, it’s free.
If you don’t take time to reflect on your new business model changes you’ll suffer the negative effects of iteration. You’ll just keep adding more and more stuff like layers of paint on an old door.
So take some time out, sit back and think, sit back and don’t think. However you do it don’t be afraid to remove things and simplify your business model. You’re probably doing way too much already. Bury your artefacts, not your startup.