At the Value Creators, we favor a much different business model than the one that’s traditionally taught in business school. Our model focuses on value, understanding that value is experienced by customers, and that it’s entirely subjective. You can’t put numbers on it, you can’t capture it in a plan, it’s not something that can be distributed to shareholders. It’s not a thing of any kind.
We build the Value Creators system on the firm foundation of economics. In this episode, we’re going to explore the basis of sound economic theory and a sound understanding of value. A key word is subjectivism, which may sound very wonky, but it’s the gateway to understanding value.
To talk about value and subjectivism, our guest today is Professor Mark Packard. He’s the Research Director at the Madden Center for Value Creation, part of the College Of Business Management at Florida Atlantic University. He’s the author He’s the author of Entrepreneurial Valuation, An Entrepreneur’s Guide To Getting Into The Minds Of Customers.
- Subjectivism and Value: The conversation starts with a focus on subjectivism in business, particularly in understanding value. From a subjectivist perspective, value is not intrinsic; it is determined by the consumers’ subjective evaluation of products or services. Businesses must focus on providing things of value that consumers appreciate and are willing to pay for. This understanding shifts the perspective of businesses from being value creators to value facilitators, aiming to deliver a better and more valued experience to their customers.
- Empathy and Understanding Customer Needs: To succeed in business, entrepreneurs must have empathy and gain a deep understanding of their customers’ needs and value experiences. This involves spending quality time with customers, observing their lives, and interacting with them to truly grasp their desires and preferences. The goal is to identify what customers would value the most and offer products or services that align with those preferences.
- Innovation and Technical Knowledge: Successful businesses combine customer needs knowledge and technical knowledge to innovate and create superior value propositions. Entrepreneurial success comes from finding solutions that customers value more than existing options. It requires constantly learning and refining the understanding of customer needs and leveraging technical knowledge to develop products or services that cater to those needs in novel and effective ways.
- Crossing the Chasm: Achieving scale in business involves crossing the chasm between early adopters and the early majority. This requires having a clearly superior value proposition that resonates with a broader audience. To succeed, businesses must focus on customer experience, as early adopters’ satisfaction and positive word-of-mouth play a pivotal role in convincing the broader market to adopt the product or service.
- Balancing Uncertainty and Adaptability: Business success is not solely reliant on luck, but rather on a combination of understanding customer needs, technical knowledge, and continuous adaptation. Uncertainty is inherent in entrepreneurial ventures, but businesses can mitigate this by fast-adaptive learning and a willingness to revise and refine their value propositions based on feedback and changing market conditions.
- The Role of Knowledge Building: To become better entrepreneurs and business leaders, individuals must focus on knowledge building. This involves running experiments, interacting with customers, and processing feedback rapidly to continually improve the understanding of customer needs and create innovative solutions that provide superior value.