'Kill Your Darlings' - Rethink Your Business Model

Posted by Michael Lindberg on Oct 30, 2017 8:12:12 AM

rethink your business model

Rethink Your Business Model

Many years ago I had a boss who told me to “kill your darlings”. He felt that I stubbornly held on to my personal favorites in the marketing material I created – and he was right. Just because it had worked well once didn’t mean it would still be the best thing to do.

The same is true for business models.

Many companies have a hard time “killing” their business model and embracing a new one that most likely will result in more success. Crazy, because history has shown over and over again that no business model lasts forever so why do so many companies and their leadership stick to something that needs to be improved in order not to become obsolete?


Peter Drucker, the management professor widely recognized as “the man who invented management” reportedly once said that the biggest curse for any business was twenty years of success. The reason for this is that the business conditions change so rapidly that what worked well yesterday may work OK today, but tomorrow be obsolete. Complacency - believing that you are so good that everything will work well - is one of the most important dangers for any company, because if you're complacent you may see the changes, but not understand that they can become a tsunami if you don’t react to them.

Kill Your Business Model

So why not try to “kill” your business model before the market does? During the dot-com boom, Jack Welch, the CEO of GE, required each of his business units to go through an exercise that he called “Destroy Your Business.com” in which he asked them how dot.com competitors could put them out of business. So before it’s too late live by the mantra “If it ain’t broke, break it.” For sure, someone is trying to “break it” so why not do it yourself and keep current and potential competitors behind you?


Another thing to do is to continually be on the lookout for new business opportunities that can potentially replace your current business model. Things are moving fast and if you are fast and agile as well you have a great opportunity if only you look for it. Open up for change and accept upfront that there will be failures, but with persistence and creativity, you will find viable alternatives that ensure the future success of your company. But you have to first kill your darlings.




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Topics: Change, Business Model Innovation