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Mullins’ Seven Domains Model to analyze business environment and success

Mullins’ Seven Domains Model to analyze your environment.

If at any point you are working on a new activity, stuck in some situation or thinking of relooking at your business, you need to work it out thoroughly, and examine it from a number of different perspectives. The following tool: Mullins’ Seven Domains Model helps you analyze the impact of seven major factors –on the activity you are planning to evaluate or the venture you are planning to start.

Evaluate and think about whether the idea is viable.

Using this model, you can separate your planned activity into seven ‘domains’. The first two throw light on the Market, the next two focus on the Industry aspect and the last three domains focus on the Teams.

You need to look at each of these domains and ask key questions about each, you’ll gain clarity about how likely your business idea is to succeed.

The seven domains are:

  1. Market attractiveness
  2. Target segment benefits and attractiveness
  3. Industry attractiveness
  4. Competitive and economic sustainability
  5. Mission, aspirations, propensity for risk
  6. Ability to execute on CSFs
  7. Connectedness up and down the value chain

Again: We recommend you do this exercise NOW! Even if you don’t have all the facts with you at the current moment or want your teams to be involved, we suggest you draw the outline right away and develop on it later.

Market Attractiveness

Market Domain – Macro Level

You must look at the whole market. How large is it, how many customers can you acquire, revenue opportunity, and the quantity of units that can be sold? Then, look at trends within the market. What is the growth in recent years? Is this growth likely to continue?


Target segment benefits and attractiveness

Market Domain – Micro Level

You cannot target the whole world at once! Identify the sector you wish to target and perform this step to check if you can meet its needs fully.

Some questions that you must look at:

  • Which category/ sector of the market is most likely to benefit from your activity?
  • How are you / your product different from others in this segment?
  • What are the futuristic trends in this segment? Is it growing, and will it continue?
  • Which is the next market segment you would like to target?

Note: The data you collect must be qualitative and quantitative data.

Industry Attractiveness

Industry Domain – Macro Level

Use this step, to see how attractive your industry is on a macro level.

Define the industry that you want to compete in, and then check for the ease of entering this industry. Look at your competition as well. Is rivalry in this market fierce or civilized? Gather intelligence about your potential competitors and see what they are doing.

Look at buyers and suppliers. Understand and access how much power do they have? Are they setting their own terms and conditions sighting the power? Do an analysis of what effect this will have on your offering?

Competitive and economic sustainability

Industry Domain – Micro Level

In the previous step, we looked at the industry from a macro level. In this step, lets look at it from a micro perspective.

Let’s Start with a USP Analysis. Define, what you should do to build and sustain any USP? Identify the competencies that you’ll need, and define how your organization will develop these.

As we are looking at sustainability, identify what resources do you possess that your competitors don’t? Look at your competitors’ resources. What do they have that you don’t? This could include critical and trust seeking factors like patents, established processes, and finances.

How will these affect your ability to compete? Describe them NOW!

Mission, Aspirations, Propensity for Risk

Team Domain

In this domain, you will be analyzing the commitment levels – your’s, and that of your team – relative to the particular context.

Think about why you want to implement the new activity or start this business? Are you passionate about this idea, and, if so, why? What do you want to do with this? What are your personal goals and values / business goals and values, and how does this activity/venture align with these? And are you prepared to take the risk and put in the hard work needed to build this business?

It is also important to check if your team’s motivation align with yours and that of the organization. Is the team prepared to work really hard to make the business a success?

Ability to Execute on Critical Success Factors

Team Domain

In this stage you need to derive the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for the business, and think realistically about whether your team can deliver on these.

Here are a few questions to help you:

  • Identify the decisions or activities which will harm the growth significantly if you get them wrong, even when everything else is going in the right direction?
  • Which activities will deliver high benefits and enhance performance, even if other things are going poorly?
  • How certain are you that you and your team can deliver successfully on the identified CSFs?
  • When there is a gap in skills or abilities, who can you bring on board to fill this gap?

Connectedness Up, Down, Across Value Chain

Team Domain

This stage is all about connecting the dots.  We refer to your network and what contribution your connections can make.

Start with your suppliers and investors. Identify vendors that can supply you with the resources you need. Now, look at your potential customers and distributors. In what ways can you capitalize on your connections here? Last, look across the value chain.

Naga Darshan J
Darshan is a CRM Strategist, Entrepreneur, Author and Business Coach. He heads the sales and marketing for Rapid GPRS and has been instrumental in transformation of several businesses.

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