Tag Archives: business models

Harvard Business Review: On innovative business models…

August 4th, 2010

A great quote on the first couple of pages:

“business models are, at heart, stories that explain how enterprises work”

And isn’t that so true? Business models: a (hopefully) compelling & engaging story of how your business functions.

[They go on to say, strategy, is how you deal with competition].

Great book – pick it up if you can.

Taxi drivers as security guards?

November 1st, 2009

This local article caught my eye over the weekend, a security veteran and local taxi cab company are joining forces to utilise the taxi driver network to respond to burglaries (via NZHerald).

Neat little idea.

This is a basic network acquisition model, a security companies value is in its ability to respond to alarms (ie security guard distribution), taxi drivers have distribution but require higher revenue.  By pairing those both parties win.

Not original but that’s what innovation is about, taking an existing model and applying it in a new context…

I also discussed this on the radio this morning:

Twitter Business Models

April 15th, 2009

Running early for a client meeting a fortnight ago I pondered Twitter business models, so here are the results of that brain storm.

Models seen in action:

  • Simple sales channel:  Push special twitter sales via twitter, coupons, don’t dilute keep them timely, relevant
  • Customer Service:  Answer questions via twitter, talk to clients
  • New Product Development:  Get ideas from your market, market research, watch the conversation.  Sure you can run focus groups but how relevant are they really, get unbiased reviews from real users of your product whilst they use it.  Fast & real time
  • Networking & relationship building:  Using the networking model to meet people on a local or global scale, help draw people to your website, ensure that you can convert on your website.
  • Building a niche audience:  To pour qualified prospects into your sales channel.

Potential Models I have yet to see utilised:

  • Sell subscription to your network:  Have a free network of tweets, then charge for private access which includes coaching, marketing help, health etc.  (Used by the protect updates feature).
  • Provide free data:  Users can take a new action to generate some dollars (ie free weather, txt for hourly forecast or traffic reports).
  • Extra service layer:  Provide dm reminders of appointments, or account balances, notifications of specials.  Perfect for service based industries like mobile, banking, auction sites.
  • Sponsorship:  Sponsor some twitterers to join in their conversation, or to mention your account, or to generate a conversation with them.  Like endorsement good to be seen with the right people.
  • Gaming:  Provide a text like game, interacts with your brand, charge for upgrades.

The loose platform for conversations has huge huge potential, it is just narrowing down the kind of conversations you can build or extend a business off.

You are wrong. Offline and Online all the same.

September 7th, 2008

Every Monday I like to throw some ideas out there and see what happens.

They return to me in the form of ‘I’ve tried that and heres why it didn’t work’ or ‘that’s already been done’ or ‘feedback’.

This one I have been throwing around for ages and talked to a lot of people so I thought now was time to unleash it.

Think about the mass of learnings we make online, monetisation models, usability

Now let’s apply them to an offline situation.


Fundamentally we are all humans interacting with your website or service.  We all have the same basic needs and wants.  We engage with your product sometimes with an end goal in mind othertimes we get sold on that end goal.  

Imagine I have taken over the local cafe.


Hmmmm ok, immediately I think of two things.

  1. Offer coffee for free or very low cost to boost volume. (adsense model)
  2. Offer coffee for free but charge for the experience (freemium)
  3. Offer unlimited coffee at a monthly charge.  Different plans better coffee (saas)
  4. Offer a special coffee that comes nicely packaged with chocolates on the side. (price discimination)


I like this one

  1. Remove barriers to your end goal.  Buying a coffee.  Have a sliding door, efficient ordering system. 
  2. Rather than volume (above) make it usable, friendly help user have a compelling experience (create flow), they are likely to spend more. (something online world hasn’t tapped yet).
  3. How quickly can i read your menu? how does the language affect my selection? do you have a top 10 list or ‘most popular’ items.  

I’d better stop you get the idea using usability you can keep going for a while.


This one is already applied somewhat

  1. Create a community of coffee lovers, run a coffee course, teach them how to make coffee.
  2. Setup a monthly newsletter for your loyal fans
  3. Give your loyal fans cards valid for a free coffee for there friends (help them spread your idea)
  4. Offer free wifi and organise tweetups / meet ups (via meetup.com)

You get the idea.

Other filters you can view your cafe through: 

  • Conversion Rates: Optimise your entry points and languages for certain products.  
  • Authenticity: Have nice personable people greeting you, I’m more likely to open my wallet if I’m feeling good about my experience
  • Colours: Colours affect my perception of the store.
  • Analytics: Do you know what type of customers come when? how long they stay? what they buy? Most effective source?
  • Leaking links: Do you advertise / have signs that are building others brands not your own?

Conclusion: Ben should buy a cafe!

You can see that we have this great platform of learning online, we should all be looking at how we can apply these learnings into new contexts.

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