What’s the Best Type of Internet Business Model?

Business Model Definition:
A business model is the structure of a business in terms of it’s customer base, ways of earning revenue, products and service offerings, and operational set up. When we talk about business models we are referring to what it’s designed to be and do.

The best business model is the one you can live with, and work with, day in and day out, and that does the best job of delivering your product or service to your intended audience. Hopefully you can also choose a business model that uses your particular skill set to create and then manage something new and valuable to others.

Different types of products and services are best served via different platforms, so we’ve outlined the various models by which people can make money online, and offered and pivots or tips for each to get you thinking. As a next step check out our explainer for Internet Revenue Sources, which goes over the types of Online Revenue.

Authority / Dashboard / Information Aggregator Site

Content rich source of created and curated information directed at a very specific niche audience.
Be the 100% go-to authority on one topic.
Own a Category
Choose big fish in small pond approach and own a niche; what area, topic of interest, or type of information can you own or aggregate that no one else has taken on but would be very helpful to others.
Be the Biggest
Choose big fish but this time in a big pond and do the same as above.

Special Requirements
Strong backlink strategy, new daily content absolutely necessary.
Very slow ramp up to search traffic and income.
RT Ratings buys electronics in only three categories and tests them against each other for specific criteria.
craigslist goes head to head with all the biggest online listing and selling spaces; successfully.

Piggybacking to Help Someone or Their Customers

Add On or Enhance
Focus on providing expertise in or filling a gap in in lost opportunity you notice in a larger enterprise
New Solution
Provide a solution to complimentary solution to another company or their customers

You are almost completely dependent on whether the business you are complimenting continues to be successful.
Victor Airways saw empty seats on private charters, bought in bulk and resold.

Offering a Marketplace for an Unrepresented Niche

Underserved Communities
Connect buyers and sellers in a niche that’s not currently represented or not well represented.
Atypical Products and Groups
Choose a group or product category craigslist or Amazon is not good at.

Special Requirements
Can require expensive hosting if lots of traffic making transactions.
Online used clothing marketplace Tradesy found a niche with expensive designer clothing and shoes.

Directory or Classifieds

Explore Unsearchable Categories
Curate and collect a category of products, services, or people that Google Search or Google Maps is not good at making easily searchable.
Add to Authority Site
Operate as a stand alone, or as an attachment to an authority site on the subject.

Easily duplicated and scraped by competitors.
Curated by the public, but strongly supported by ad revenue, Find a Grave offers an incredibly useful service.

Copycatting or Cloning a Successful Enterprise

We don’t specifically recommend this but it would be remiss to leave it out as well since duplication can be done without impacting an existing entity if you think about it creatively and don’t tread on their customer base.
Offer Better or Cheaper Product
Duplicate another very successful business but offer services for less or a more user friendly slant.
Consider Another Country
Launch a popular US service or site somewhere else.

Legal action and other negative outcomes if you tread too closely on someone’s idea or branding.
Oliver Samwer of Rocket Internet in Germany copying everything from AirBnB to Amazon.

Coaching, Training, or Selling a Productized Service

Specialized Information
Provide individualized or group insights for a specific niche category.
How to Version of Your Skills
Choose a category that fits using existing skills to move others along a guided path to some end result.
Variety of Ways Audience Can Connect
Offer coaching calls, how-to tutorials, do it for you’s.
Use written material, videos, webinars, group calling, and individual calls.

Lots of face time with customer base if not set up properly.
Tom Ferry, a real estate educator, has become one of the top sellers of training and coaching to Realtors wanting to up their game.

Selling on Existing Marketplaces

Top E-Commerce Reseller Sites
Set up shop on Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy.
Consider Type of Product
Use information products, or physical products via dropshipping, private labeling, or custom manufacturing.
Be An Importer
Be the US seller of a product from another country
Buy in Bulk
Consider breaking a bulk item into smaller units to sell, providing packages of products that work well together, or selling wholesale quantities to businesses.

Must choose a product with high profit margin, low chance of returns or chargebacks.
Need product with lower likelihood of duplication by other vendors.
Lover of books created a line of literary inspired candles and started From The Page, a very successful shop on Etsy.

Authority / Information Aggregator Podcast

Dig Deep for the Niche
Content-rich sources of created and curated information directed at a very specific niche audience.
Own the Category
Choose big fish in small pond approach and own a niche.

This can require the owner to be the face of the brand and is a very public facing business model.
The creators of The Daily Tech News Show aggregate all the best tech news into a snapshot style podcast.

App Development – B to B

Static Niche
Consider niche with low rate of changes required to keep audience.
Unmet Service to Category of Business or Consumer
Choose very specific niche with a service needed but as of yet unmet.
Reachable Audience
Choose niche with easy contact collection instead of solely depending on app stores.
Go High End
Choose higher price point and differentiate.

Special Requirements
Lots of updates and technical support.
AssistiveWare autism communication app at $189 per download.

Software as a Service – B to B

Unmet Service to Category of Business or Consumer
Choose very specific niche with a service needed but as of yet unmet.
Reachable Audience
Choose niche with easy contact collection.
Business Tool for Non Tech Owner Category
Consider operational template or support for one specific type of business like thrift shops or music stores.

Special Requirements
Lots of updates and technical support.
Property inspection app SnapInspect, simplifies the property manager’s job at resident move out time.

Von Says…

Until you execute, it’s just an idea. Don’t get wrapped up in endless searching, listening to gurus, or talking but never doing. Get your best idea down on paper and start planning.

Here’s More Info on Online Business Ideas and Information

Internet Revenue Sources Explained
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