Every time I hear people working in digital in Australia complaining about potential clients not wanting to pay for their services, or not truly valuing their services, I sigh…. They somewhat viciously call these people, the non payers, the Parasite Economy. But instead; rather than blaming others, perhaps they should be thinking about their own value proposition!
Because I strongly disagree with them. In my argument I like to use the analogy of the Butcher. Because A. I reckon the Butcher is a great analogy and B. It tends to upset the intellectual elite who embrace innovation and reject without thinking the “patently absurd notion” that they could learn anything from Butchers.
Evolving the Butchers Value Proposition and Business Model
But here’s the thing, the Butcher’s value proposition and business model is mature, clear and valued.
The value proposition is simple; people want to get some meat locally, but they don’t want to actually butcher a cow (yuck!) or have to store an entire dead cow (difficult).
The winning business model is to put a shop on the high street without competitors, front load your cabinets to look bountiful and be hygienic.
But when you pick at the surface, things get a bit interesting. Butchers have evolved their business model over thousands of years. You can be sure that along the way entrepreneurs have tried out different variations on the offering, and found they failed to deliver as much value as selling meat in a butchers shop. Do any of the below ring a bell?
- Selling you cows for slaughter – check
- Slaughtering you cow at your request – check
- Providing you a slaughtering room to do the deed yourself – ?
- Providing and sharpening butchers knives – check
- Providing a large cool room for you to store your dead cow – check
- Bringing meat cuts to you to buy, door to door – check
You see almost all these offerings are plucked from different parts of the value chain, but the local butcher operates the part where his value is maximised and easy to understand. He converts larger pieces of meat into a variety of meal size portions makes them available for you locally. It sounds simple, but it took thousands of years to evolve to this.
How can you not learn from this evolution of a business, or find it fascinating?
Its quite apparent that when people complain of potential customers not valuing their service, the truth is not that there is no value, but the market hasn’t yet determined where the simplest and greatest value is.
Perhaps if you look at your offering through this lens, you can evolve your offering to something that’s easier and more lucrative. Note – nobody asks the Butcher for free food as it will be good exposure for them as there is no Parasite Economy for Butchers!
And when he innovates?
Butchers know that when competing, you get the greatest acceptance and valuing of innovation when it is a small referenceable change rather than a complete paradigm shift. Which is why you see new and different sausage mixes being on sale – rather than lab grown meat in the cabinets!