Branding with an Open Heart Series – Lesson 24: Formation
The Digital Business Model
A Business Model is a description of how your business will operate. A Digital Business Model is a description of how your business will operate online. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Really. Don’t make it hard on yourself. There are many people on the net that have replicated 6 proven business models and are doing really well.
Now, some companies choose to operate using several business models in one business. But, when you are just starting out or re-branding just focus on one for now. After you succeed in that one model, or if you feel that particular model is not working for you, pick a different one. You can also use different business models for different products and services. Such as, coaching off and online, and then later designing an eCourse to provide your customers with do-it-yourself eBooks. There is no one way, right way or wrong way. Remember it is about designing your lifestyle.
I started out doing offline coaching face-to-face. Then, because I wanted to spend more time at home, I decided to coach via the phone. Now, I am providing eCourses, virtual coaching and eBooks. It works for me. Now you have to find what will work for you, your personality and the lifestyle you choose to have.
If you love working with people on a one-to-one basis or group settings, then the personal services model is for you. It can be face-to-face, Skype (or Google Hangouts), email or phone depending on the type of service you provide. Coaches, fitness instructors, virtual assistants, concierge services, pet groomers, image consultants are all types of businesses that involve helping people with their needs on a personal level. This can be very rewarding, but remember providing personal services can take lots of time and patience.
Do you have an awesome product to showcase to the world? Do you have a brick and mortar establishment and want to reach a different market? Maybe, you sell someone else’s product that you truly believe in. Whatever the case, selling products online is convenient and pain free for your target audience. Just remember you have to account for time constraints, shipping and packing expenses that go along with selling products online. If you are the manufacturer of your own product then you have to factor in more time for creating the product, not just filling the order.
Google is exploding with information, free and paid. People are searching for all types of stuff on Google in hopes of solving their problems. You can create a digital information product in written format, audio or video. You can create eCourses, eBooks or freebies. The beauty of creating information products is that you can create it once and forget about it. The information product will sell while you sleep. People can download the product instantly and there is no packing or shipping involved. Your business can run on auto-pilot.
Both Membership and Subscription models can run on auto-pilot, however, you have to provide enough information and a platform of non-stop interaction if you want to keep members subscribed. You can have monthly or yearly memberships; the time frame is totally up to you. The trick here is to change up the pace every now and then with new information so your customers do not get bored. That is…if you want them to keep renewing their subscription. Some subscription based models are in the low monthly price range and some are high. The same goes for membership websites.
Multi-Level Marketing + Direct Selling + Network Marketing
Not everyone wants to branch out as a solo-entrepreneur with an innovative idea. Some prefer to start as online business owners with a support system, website and business model already set up for them. And, that is fine. As long as you remember 2 things:
Marketing is the same no matter what type of business you choose. With that said…you cannot market to everyone. You still have to choose a target audience and then narrow down to your perfect client. And that rule is to keep you from annoying the hell out of everyone who crosses your path…especially your friends and family.
You still need to brand yourself to set yourself apart from the the company=s brand!! So, if you are going to stand out from your industry than you have to learn to wear both hats [the entrepreneur and the business owner]. So, figure out what you can do with your business that no one else is doing.
Here is my take on affiliate marketing. You really need a lot of traffic to make this work and to create a substantial income. So here is what I recommend. As you build your business (and loyal followers), start to use products and connect with fellow entrepreneurs. If you trust and believe in their brand, see if you can become an affiliate and work it into your product line, free offers or marketing strategies. I only promote the brands I believe in. It can be a product I use now, or one that I have used in the past. Don’t promote just anyone to make some side change!
Spend some time online and see who is using the business model that you may want to use for your business. Understand how it functions and the skill set that you need to make it work. Maybe you need a new set of skills. If so, then you need to factor that into your to-do list.
Pick 3 business models that you think you might like to use and list the necessities to make it work. Now, do some research!
“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” ~ Jack Welch
Are you using a digital business model now? Please share in the comments below the type of digital business model you are using and exactly how it is working for you and your clients.