What’s your business model?

by Franco on March 9, 2008

Can you describe your business in one sentence (or two at the most)? If you can’t you might have a problem with focus. A lack of focus makes everything harder. It means effort and time is wasted pursuing too many different and unrelated goals.

Here are a few viable online businesses and their (short) descriptions:

  • “I broker used textbooks to college students. They email me a list of ISBN numbers and after researching online I return a quote for the whole package which includes my fee.”
  • “Info-Class tracks and sells information about current class action lawsuits to interested parties.”
  • “I make custom buttons for seamstresses and designers. They email me a description or a picture and I quote them a price per piece depending on the timeframe and quantity they need.”

Here are some poor business models:

  • “I like to post cartoons that catch my eye along with recipes I haven’t tried but that sound good. I have a paid password area where people can read about where to buy cooking supplies.”
  • “WaterWorks is a site dedicated to watercolor art. I post tips and tricks from readers and images of their work. I have a line of car polishes I sell on the side too.”
  • “My site tracks items on sale at Wal-Mart. I have a ‘donate’ button if people want to support my site. Oh, and I post funny pictures of my snakes too.”
  • These folks aren’t focused or realistic. They really aren’t serious about running an online business.

Stand back from your site and ask some basic questions

What am I selling and who are my customers? Be specific, the clearer your answers are, the easier it will be to shape your site to fit those answers.

What experience do get from my website? Is it just a fluffy, low-cal site that no one will bookmark or recommend? Or do you have real content and products they need?

Am I fulfilling my customers’ wants or needs? They might want a little entertainment or information to go with their visit, that’s fine. But you also have to have something they are going to want to buy. That is the point of being in business in the first place.

Why would someone buy from me rather than another, similar site? This can be a hard one to look at honestly. You should try to offer some unique experience, product or service. Check out your and find a way to make yourself different and better in some area. Mention that difference. Mention it again. If you are small, you have the advantage of individual customer service. If you are huge, you have the advantage of lower pricing and shipping. Find that thing that makes you special, whatever it is.

Join the Global Mentors Team for more information, tips, and strategies to help run your business more smoothly.

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