This month we spoke to Denis Oakley about his business, which helps business leaders conceptualise and then design new business models based on their ideas of what their industry really needs.
Hi Denis! Tell us about your business
I help bold leaders make ideas board ready. When you have what seems like a crazy idea that could change your business or the industry radically, it’s often abandoned. It’s too risky, too crazy, too out there. I work with Directors and Board members to beat the idea into shape.
How can we turn it from a bright idea into a strategic plan that has legs? How do we find the best business model to deliver your product or offer? How do we develop your business model so that it makes life really difficult for competitors? How do we avoid competition entirely?
I’ve spent the best part of twenty years thinking about business models, working with start-ups and enterprises to create new business models. This draws on an academic background in the philosophy of ideas, and very practical experience as a systems engineer plus an MBA from Warwick Business School.
What particular challenges did you have to overcome in setting up your business, and since then?
I’d never done consulting, except as a small cog in a very large company years before. I didn’t even set out to be a consultant. I did some gigs on Fiverr for $5 each and had fun. Then I started writing about business models on my blog. Some people read them and wanted me to work on their business models. I’ve now written more than 250,000 words about business models on my website and get tens of thousands of visitors a month.
The biggest challenge, given that setting up a business wasn’t the real intention, is how to manage my desire to be a company of one – focusing on doing the stuff I love – with all the admin, sales and marketing stuff that stops me doing that.
How does Pandle fit in?
Pandle is great because I get it from my accountant for free. That’s saved me £40 a month switching from xero. And because the accountant runs Pandle, all I need to do is to look at the dashboard to get a good sense of what is happening each month and whether I am hitting targets. Less admin, more fun in other words.
What do you have planned for your business in the future?
Given all the technological and societal change we are experiencing, most SMEs are going to die over the next 10 – 20 years.
My mission is to create a tool kit to enable their owners to create a huge growth in the diversity and number of business models that SMEs use. This will make SMEs far more profitable, reduce the need to compete with big companies and each other, and above all give their owners and employees a much better quality of life.