Biryani and Business Model Innovation

The Coronavirus Pandemic will severely affect every sector in the economy. The way we do business and the way we make money will change in some shape or form. After periods of depression or recession, often we see the birth of new companies that demonstrate innovative ways of making money. This Pandemic will pass and when it does, we will find ourselves on the other side searching for ways to sustain our economy.

For many, their existing business models will work. Their relative success when compared to the past may be greater or smaller. They might have fewer or a greater number of customers, but the fact remains that there will be opportunity for changes in the market.

Very often we talk about Innovative Products and Services. A quick look around the marketplace will show you which companies are innovative and which ones are not. While innovation is often seen in the products and services, it can also be in a Business Model.

Financial journalist Michael Monroe Lewis once said of the business model: “All it really meant was how you planned to make money.” So, let’s ask ourselves the question, “How do we plan to make money in a post-pandemic era?”

If you are a Small Business, you are in luck because if you choose to innovate with your Business Model, it is a lot easier for you than it is for a large corporation.

So, what is Business Model Innovation anyway? Think of a business models as a recipe to make your favorite dish. Let’s say you love Biryani. Your business model is all the ingredients you put together to create that wonderful dish. Now, here’s the key. You can change things around just a bit to get different results. You can add things you like and take things out that don’t work, but ultimately you need to create an end product (biryani) that the person eating it likes. For some people, you might add more spices and for some you might use chicken instead of mutton. The end result though is fine tuned to the person consuming your dish. Your mother made it differently, and so did you grandmother. You cook the dish differently when all your family members are well, and you make changes to suit specific dietary requirements in case of an illness.

Think of Business Models as the perfect recipe to delight the consumer. Do whatever it takes to make the customer happy and they will come back for more. This is the time to throw out all the traditional ways of thinking and just think about what would make the customer come to you time and again. Are they recovering? Are they hurting? How if your customer doing? The recipe you employ depends on the market you are targeting.

Have you considered that your customer may not want a pay upfront fees and would rather subscribe to a service? Perhaps they like a freemium model where they get the basics for free and then pay for the extras. It could be that they are price sensitive and don’t want to play for frills or they could just want to pay for what they use and nothing else.

Each of these scenarios are different business models. Today you have the opportunity to think differently about how you will service your customers. Business Model Innovation may be for you if you answer ‘No’ to one or more of the questions below.

  1. Are your customers currently buying what you are selling right now?
  2. Will your customers behave, think and buy in the same way in a post-pandemic era?
  3. Will your customers still remain customers if you don’t change the way you do business?


Remember, as a small business you are in a better position to re-invent your way of doing business than anyone else in the market. You don’t have the red tape and you can be as agile as you want to be. So, go out there and innovate!!! Ok, may be not ‘out there’… for now, ‘work from home’ and innovate!!!

 –  Rohit Jayakaran

In case you need some help and would like to talk to someone about some outrageous ideas you seem to be coming up with and would like a subject matter expert to sense check them for you, I would recommend you take a look at the #ImpactPandemic Project. All the details you need are below.

What is #ImpactPandemic?

The rapid spread of COVID-19 at pandemic proportions has left us in challenging times. However, in the inconveniences that we face today, there are opportunities for us to help one and another. This is the chance for us as individuals to band together and work together to help sustain progress of the human race.

With this in mind, we are calling out to all those of you with Business Skills to make them available to Small Business Owners who need them the most. All we are asking for is for 3 hours of your time, spread across a period of time to consult with Small Businesses in the UAE to help them grow from strength to strength.

This project is a completely voluntary and all we ask is for those who benefit from the Business Skills of others to pay it forward to others in the marketplace. By sharing and spreading our knowledge we can create an #ImpactPandemic across the country and the globe. 



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