Episode 8: Experimenting with business models
Don't have time to listen to our podcast? No worries, here is a brief summary of the discussion with Bryan Lee
Experimenting with business models
In this episode, we talk with Bryan Lee. If you’ve been following this podcast, you probably know who Bryan is, but for those of you who don't, Bryan is the CEO of Krishi Star. If you would like to know more about Bryan and his background, we urge you to check out our previous episodes. In this conversation, Bryan shares his ideas about business models and his experiences along the way.
He believes that great ideas need brilliant execution and that no organisation would be able to operate without having a strategic business plan. He talks about the different business models that were considered while building the Krishi Star business model. He shares how the first model that they were exploring was the idea of microfinance and micro collaterals, and this was because the farmers had difficulty with finance. At the same time, the microfinance model did not work for the farmers since they did not have a regular income. This is when he thought of exploring the idea of taking small bits of collateral and using that to collateralise loans for farmers to get their money. However, Bryan explains how this model did not quite work out as planned since there was not a lot that farmers had that could serve as collateral. Another idea that Bryan shares with us are the idea of collectivisation. He says that the idea behind this was to have all the farmers work together pulling the land and resources and to create an investable structure for them. Bryan shares the challenges he faced while creating this model, which was, first of all, getting people to agree to this and the question was whether farmers were truly going to share and earn equitably and live in peace and harmony. Bryan further explains the idea of collectivisation, where the foundation begins with trust and maintaining relationships.
Bryan’s definition of identifying the correct business model is acknowledging the fact that every business model at some point needs continual change because of the fast-paced
development of technology and communication in the world. In his experience, building your model piece by piece and experimenting with each piece is a great way to validate your business model. Food processing was a business that Bryan knew would work well since it is a fast-growing business and would complement the idea of making the farmer's livelihood easier. The idea behind this was to purchase products from farmer-owned factories and sell them in the market. Bryan shares some of the factors behind this idea like identifying the product they wanted to sell and understanding the requirements of consumers. In Bryan’s words, “you only know your business model is working when consumers are buying your products.”
Bryan shares that while he had his experience of identifying various business models, he came up with two segments for Krishi star, one being - a food brand and the other being developmental projects, then the redemptive framework came into play and that was to build a sustainable business model, community, and company culture. He believes that every element of business needs to be aligned with the redemptive vision. He shares the challenges he faced while trying to plan the business model, and the steps needed to avoid such difficulties and maintain an efficient business. He understands in complete transparency whether you are the buyer or the vendor, however, this can be contradictory while embracing partnerships. Bryan then also talks about how partnerships have become an important aspect at Krishi Star. At Krishi Star, it is believed that the ideal way of dealing with potential partners is to view them as future business partners even though they could be competitors.
This is an excellent discussion for those interested in starting their own business as well as folks who are already in business.
We hope this conversation inspires you to reach your goal.