We host quarterly Executive Forums for Nonprofit CEOs

Five Steps to Optimizing Your Business Model


group table compI recently worked with eight CEOs/Executive Directors  (at a roundtable just for them) to explore optimizing their business model  as a critical element of creating sustainable high performance.   Click here for more pictures.

These are the steps we explored:

Step 1: Know your vision for your organization and share it.

Where do you want to see your organization in the next one to two years?  Can you answer this in one or two sentences?

If not, you may need to develop and clarify your vision as the leader of your organizationHere are some suggestions to consider in developing a vision.

Think you don’t have a vision?  I have never worked with a business owner or CEO where it was not possible to unearth their vision.  It is there.  To have a vision for your life and work brings forth your highest capacity as a human being.

If you are a bit lost here, get help uncovering your vision.  It is both your birthright and responsibility as a leader.

Once clearly developed, the next step is to share it with your team and eventually, everyone with whom you have contact.

Engaging everyone in the vision creates a positive impact, and a shared vision within your company.  The more people are invested in the vision, the more sustainable it is.

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Teri and Katie Deconto of Mercury Studios exploring big opportunities.

Step 2:  Know where you are now. 

Which activities/products/programs are making money and how do they impact the vision and mission?

The most valuable activities attract customers, clients, donors, investors (depending on your business model) and move the dial on your vision and mission.   Customers, clients and donors are willing to pay for the true value of what you are creating because these activities are highly impactful.

Some activities may be high revenue and low impact; others low revenue and high impact.  Can you tweak these business activities so you are generating more revenue or creating more impact?

Step 3 below will help you achieve this.

Consider mothballing activities that are low revenue and low impact. What purpose (if any) are they serving?  Evaluate your activities with help from  your CFO or CPA.  Contact me to learn more about how to organize your numbers to know where you are now.

Step 3: Discover new opportunities by deepening your knowledge of your customers.  

Who are your biggest customers/donors/investors?

How well do you know their vision, business objectives, preferred modes of communication?

What problem(s) do you solve for them?

Whole successful fundraising and marketing campaigns come from asking these and other questions of yourself, your staff and your customers.

Step 4: Know Your Value.

What is the market value of what you are doing?

If you stopped doing what you do, where would people turn?  Are there real alternatives?  What is their cost?  What is your unique value?

Your value must be greater than the cost of what you are doing or no one buys.

Your ability to articulate your value is one of your most powerful tools for generating revenue

Step 5: Act in alignment with the knowledge gained from steps 1 – 4.  Choose and create opportunities that will implement your vision.  

Align your resources (people, financial and time) and your programs/products/activities with your vision.

Simple sentence.  Complex job.


Is this holistic way of approaching your business of interest?  Contact me to explore how to create sustainable high performance in your business.

There is no obligation, just a willingness to explore your possibilities.


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