This guide is for digital marketers and Growth lovers
The entire universe is built on patterns So does businesses and startups. Whether you run a SEO Agency or Digital marketing agency ot just want to grow your startup and increase traction, you must know the patterns that lead to success.
In fact, business plan, and business patterns play a big role in differentiating market leaders from Other types of business, and help them grow their brand.
Aren’t you wondering what kind of startup business plan or what patterns do successful entrepreneurs follow that helps them turn their business ideas to a great business?
It was like a mystery to me right before I found this…
The secret behind a successful startup is to follow a proven growth hacking strategy and concentrate on four important elements:
Learn the types of business models and develop a lean business model (You can get help from business model Canvas) Follow the right business model pattern, also known as Business Strategy, tat enables you to innovate, and add value to the market.
Invest time an effort in market intelligence, and conducting comprehensive market research about your rival, your customers, and your own brand. Only implement the right Growth Hacking Strategy that matches your business pattern, and help you get more customers. In This article, We focus on business plan, and business patterns, an I will take your hand and walk you through every single steps to help you learn:
What type of business plan should you develop? What business pattern or business strategies works for your business? Lets jump right in.
Start with a Business model but understand the business plan values
Let me start with a very basic definition, and then later on, I’ll share with you a few more comprehensive ones.
A business plan is your business idea and how you plan to become a great entrepreneur, or conversion rate optimization expert broken down in a bit of details so hat everyone understands it, preferably on a piece of paper, or in a word document. The point is that it does not have to die in your mind, you got to pen it down.
Your Business plan, is all about how you want to get to the business that you’ve dreamed about. A business plan is not for MBA students, or early stage startups.
In fact, whatever business you have in mind is going to need a business plan Because you need to know how it works.
Traditional business plans were very lengthy, but you can focus on developing a lean business model and remove the unnecessary fields,
and write it on a piece of paper, or so that you list down your key milestones, Business expenses, and revenue streams, partners, and resources, Expenses, and costs, and key activities, and responsibilities to grow your business.
The trick is that your business plan is not set on stone, and has to be flexible, and lean. It as been proven in many cases, that what you plan now
will most probably change in a course of time, So, make sure not to marry to your business idea, and initial business plan.
But Business Plan is not everything, You need to know the difference between, business plan, business model, and business pattern.
There are dozens of academic explanation of what is a business model And what is not, But the best way to understand a business model and it’s components is to refer to The New, New Thing By Michael Lewis.
Here is how he describes it: “All it really meant was how you planned to make money”. That’s it.
Let me give you an example, When Microsoft wanted to capture the market, Their business model was to sell software for $120 That cost fifty cents. So that way, they make enough money to pay the sales people, producer, and keep the lights on, and earn profit.
Well, that was a simplified version of a business model and there are, indeed, a lot more into it.
In reality, your business model is a set of assumptions about what your business will and won’t do.
The main reason that I call it theory is that what you think might work for your business, Or the way you want to grow your business, May change over time, So, you need to test your business ideas, and see how viable they are.
two essential components of business model: A business model, has two essential components
The first part is all about making your product or turning your business idea to a tangible sell-able solution. That include activities like designing it, purchasing the raw materials, engineering, coding, outsourcing, and building it.
The second component of your business model is all about finding the best way to sell it. That includes activities such as customer discovery, reaching out to potential customers, Pricing, and delivery of your product Or rendering your service.
Thanks to business model canvas, You can craft a lean business model on a piece of paper, and in no time. Now that you understood the difference between business model and business plan, It’s time to get to the third piece; Business Pattern.
AKA Business Strategy
SEO as a service is a pattern based on premium business model
Here is a simplified definition of business pattern:
“When you work on your business model canvas and it’s 9 building blocks, you may find similar behaviors or arrangement of building blocks in different businesses models. These similarities are called business model patterns.”
Well if that’s too academic for you let me explain it with different terms as understanding business strategy or business model pattern is very easy.
When you observe different types of businesses, You can easily see that they all follow different patterns to sell their products. One business may offer exclusive products.
Another one may do the opposite and offer low price services, A business may distribute its product directly, and sell it through website While another type of business leverages on channel partnership, and sales force. Some businesses do copy cat, and some innovate. A group of businesses may do everything in-house, and another group may outsource lots of their work.
These are different types of patterns that businesses use. they are also known as different business strategies. Makes sense? Good.
There are plenty of business patterns or business strategy that you can implement in your business But you have to make sure that you are using the right pattern that enable you to scale easier.
If you have difficulty coming up with new business patterns, this list should be very helpful.
business-pattern-listIn this article I’ll walk you through five different business strategies, and business model patterns that you can use to implement in your start-up or business.
I’ll also provide you with real business plan examples and support you to develop your business plan, and define the right business pattern that help you grow your business 10x faster.
The first business pattern has more than 1 side.That’s why it’s called
Multi Sided Platform Business Model
Multi-sided business strategy is designed for Businesses that serve minimum two customer segments, through one platform.
Normally online businesses, that focus on B2C and in a few cases B2B segments tend to use multi sided business model pattern to attract visitors with one stunning offer, and engage them with their platform, while they target the other segments to pump in money, and invest in the platform to use their database, and reach out to customers.
multisided-platform-business-modelHow Does Multi-Sided Platform Business Plan Work? The main characteristic of Multi-sided platforms business plan, known as multi-sided markets, is having two or more distinct but interdependent groups of customers.
In fact, this business plan ties the customers segment together, so the platform is valuable to one customer segment ONLY IF the other groups of customer segment is actively involved.
The value that multi-sided business models bring to the table is through attracting more users and facilitating interactions between different customer segments, also known as network effect, otherwise there will be no business.
There are plenty of examples, but two good examples are Facebook and Master Card.
The main questions that you, as an entrepreneur, or marketer, should ask yourself about multi-sided business plan are:
How big is our target market (for both sides of the platform)
Do we want to target Mobile users, or desktop users?
Can we attract sufficient numbers of customers for each side of the platform?
Which side is more price sensitive?
Can that side be enticed by a subsidized offer?
Will the other side of the platform generate sufficient revenues to cover the subsidies?
What are the core services that we offer on platform, and generate revenue?
What add-value services should we include in the platform, that do not generate revenue
How should we monetize the platform?
Let me share a great example of multi sided platform with you that you use on a daily basis.
Google is a multi sided platform. When you look at google’s portfolio and the number of services it provides, i.e. Gmail, Google Docs, Google Search, AdSense, AdWords, Google Plus, Startup Incubators, etc.
You can see an inevitable element that’s included in every single product and that element generates huge portion of Google’s revenue; Advertisement. Their platform is free for everyone, but if you want to use their platform to reach out to free users, you need to pay for it.
Google’s Value Propositions:
Since google have access to all user’s data, move, searches, and online behaviors, We can easily say that Google’s business model is empowered by its Value Propositions. Google’s business model is based on providing extremely targeted text advertising in the digital space.
Google has leveraged on this quote from Winston S. Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
The general rule f thumb for every business is that you need to have a unique value proposition for every single customer segment, and never generalize everything. That’s why Google has several value propositions for different user segment. Let’s examine the further.
Google’s Value Proposition For Webmasters. google-adsenseOne of the most important elements that help business grow, and get more customers is how visible they are in the eye of search engines. In fact, when it comes to Search Engine Optimization, online businesses try different ways to increase their ranking, but the first thing they do is to register their website, and submit their business in google’s database.
Since this service is free, almost every webmaster is using free submission, and eve reporting services from google to track its ranking in google.
Since google has a huge database of webmasters, They came up with a unique value proposition that targets webmasters.
The first Group that google targets is website owners, known as webmasters.
The main benefit that google gets from is the ability to expand its reach beyond its platform, And show advertisement across the internet, But still manages every transaction, reporting, and advertisement serving mechanism from its platform.
Google’s value Proposition to them is that we enable you to make money by monetizing your contents. Google enabled bloggers, content publishers, and journals to earn money through its AdSense service, where you, as a content publisher, can place google Ads on your website and show them your visitors. In return, google will share with you a percentage of revenue made from user engagement with ads on your website.
This way, google’s business model is not limited to showing ads on its pages such as search engine, Gmail, etc. Now, if you use business model canvas template, and place value propositions, and customer segments, It will all look like this.
Google’s Value Proposition For Advertisers.
There is a second target group that google pitches with a different value proposition and that’s Advertisers. google-adwordsGoogle’s business model and its value proposition to advertisers depends heavily on the number of visitors it can attract.
Since Google’s considered to be the most visited search engine, achieving good results is inevitable; In fact, it’s something that Bing and Yahoo have been struggling with. On the other hand, Google’s AdWords service encourages businesses and individuals to promote their service using google Ads.
Advertisers get a chance to optimize their online advertisement campaign and search for related keywords and demographic target that increase the chance of user engagement. On the other hand, Google’s ensures advertisers that their investments are safe as it only displays their Ads when users search for their target keywords. Finally, Google Ads are shown to users who use any of its services as well as it’s network of content publishers who earn from AdSense service.
Google’s Revenue Stream.
Google business model is definitely a multi-sided platform that has a noticeable revenue model. Google’s business model is about making money from 1 segment “Advertisers”. It’s obvious that the more Ads it displays to Web surfers, the more revenue google generates from advertisers.
Another Differentiation factor that put google in a good position is the fact that Advertisers can not buy advertising space from Google and they have to go through a bidding process set by AdWords.
While advertisers optimize their ads based on
demographic, and other factors,
AdWords looks into the popularity of the keywords ,
broadness or narrowness of the target audience
and propose a biding price.
The rule is simple: The more popular a keyword, the more the advertiser has to pay for it. On the contrary, google subsidizes free offers to another two segments: “Web surfers and content owners, also known as webmasters“. Indeed, google’s revenue from AdWords allows them to continuously improve their free offerings to search engine and AdSense users which motivates even more content owners to become Google AdSense partners.
The main reason that I used Google’s example is to show you the type of opportunities that a multi sided platform business pattern brings to the table. You have to look at your business model and see if this is the right business pattern for your business or you need to choose a different business pattern.