Picking a pattern for your business model

Business Model GenerationI’ve been studying business models for a couple years now. The one thing I discovered about business models that’s most useful for entrepreneurs are the patterns.

My introduction to business model patterns started with the book Business Model Generation.

This book covers a variety of business model patterns applicable to both large enterprises and entrepreneurs. The basic patterns from this book that apply to entrepreneurs include:

The long tail business model Selling niche products and services to a large number of customers not being served by the mainstream. This is sometimes referred to as Selling Less of More.

Multi-Sided Platform Selling to two customer segments by offering a (free) product or service to attract a large number customers in the first segment, then selling access to that segment to the second segment.  Selling advertising on an information website is a good examples of this.

FREE as a Business Model Marketing free products or services to attract a large number of prospects, then convincing a small number of those prospects to convert to paying customers. This is sometime referred to as a Freemium business model.

In addition to these business model patterns, there are a variety of traditional patters not covered in the Business Model Generation that apply to entrepreneurs.  For example, there is the foot traffic business model used by brick and mortar shops and restaurants and the seasonal business model used by tax accountants and holiday retailers, among others.

If you look at each pattern carefully, you’ll see that business model patters have nothing to do with a business’ value proposition (i.e. the product or service).  Instead, the pattern has everything to do with the technique used to acquire paying customers.

Discovering this was the Aha! Moment for me.  It helped me notice how first time entrepreneurs (who usually fail) spend 80% of their startup effort on their product and 20% on their customer acquisition strategy. While seasoned (and usually successful) entrepreneurs flip it.  They spend 80% of their startup effort of their customer acquisition strategy and 20% on their product.

With this insight in mind, I now believe that the most important thing first time entrepreneurs (or any entrepreneur who’s struggling) should do is study the business model patterns, then pick one to implement.

The New Inbox: It’s still about the power of permission

We are all familiar with the magic hands of social and mobile captivating the business media with its new shiny objects. This, and this alone, is why the marketing industry needs a reminder that email is not only alive, but that it’s still the centerpiece of any results driven marketing campaign for the vast majority of successful companies.

Simms Jenkins in his book The New Inbox makes this case masterfully. Continue reading “The New Inbox: It’s still about the power of permission”

The three most important leadership quotes from Steve Jobs

Now that I’ve had a couple of weeks to digest Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs, I am finally ready to move past the overwhelming grander of the Steve Jobs’ persona and provide what I think is a meaningful takeaway from the book.

With Isaacson providing so many nuggets of insights on both the good and bad behaviors that personified Steve Jobs’ life, I decided that it would be important for me to focus the majority of my reflection time on narrowing down these insights into one timeless quote.

To say the least, this was a daunting challenge which I was only partially successful. Instead of one quote, I have one theme: Leadership; and 3 timeless quotes. Continue reading “The three most important leadership quotes from Steve Jobs”

Four Tony Dungy leadership quotes all startup founders should live by

It’s been almost a year since I read Tony Dungy’s book “The Mentor Leader.” It’s the type of book that immediately inspires you to take action. I made several immediate changes in my life based on his very sensible perspective on mentor leadership. Tony Dungy laid out this perspective using practical examples from his life, which made it easy for me to apply. Continue reading “Four Tony Dungy leadership quotes all startup founders should live by”

Four Key Leadership Concepts from Seth Godin’s Book ‘Poke the Box’

I can confidently say that the best 100 pennies I’ve spent in my entire life was the Kindle purchase of Seth Godin’s manifesto about starting…Poke the Box.

For anyone who has aspirations to change the world (no matter how big or small the change may be), reading a manifesto about starting is just the motivation you need to get those ideas out of your head and made into a reality. Continue reading “Four Key Leadership Concepts from Seth Godin’s Book ‘Poke the Box’”

Breaking the Cycle of Unhealthy Relationships

Western ideology has contributed to a variety of unhealthy philosophical beliefs when it comes to love, relationships, and intimacy. These Western ideologies are particularly damaging to those of African descent because many of these thought patterns are in direct contradiction to the ancient teachings passed down through generations of ancestors whose descendants are now dispersed in the Diaspora.

Thankfully, Sobonfu Some has accepted the life mission to help resurrect African spirituality, which is the foundation of traditional African ideology.

Continue reading “Breaking the Cycle of Unhealthy Relationships”

Why do Black people throughout the world struggle?

In the past, I have heard several people refer to The Destruction of Black Civilization, by Chancellor Williams as the Black Bible. With such a lofty analogy attached to this book, I wonder to this day why it took me so long to read this amazing story of Black history.

Well, Black History Month 2007 would be the year my eyes would be open and all I can say at this point is thank you Chancellor Williams!

All of my life I have questioned why Black people throughout the world have experienced such a plight and why it has been so difficult for us to overcome it. Well The Destruction of Black Civilization is a book of answers, as it answers most of the major questions that people have about the African race. Such as: Continue reading “Why do Black people throughout the world struggle?”

Poverty and poor performance in school

It’s a known fact that the public school systems in communities where the majority of the population are living near or below the poverty line are failing the students. Many educators and policy makers are blaming poverty as the reason for the poor performance of these schools, but is this assessment short changing a whole generation of students? Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu thinks so.

This is why Kunjufu was inspired to write the book, An African Centered Response to Ruby Payne’s Poverty Theory. In this book, Kunjufu does a masterful job of proving that poverty and poor education are only associated together because it is convenient for policy makers and educators to pass the blame to parents and students rather than actually fixing the schools.

Continue reading “Poverty and poor performance in school”

A mystery with a “gangsta” rapper?

Deuce’s Wild is the second edition to Clyde Ford’s Shango Mysteries Series. In this book we find our leading man John Shannon caught between a fatal feud of cultures, as he works to uncover the killer of recently slain hip-hop star Deuce F (aka Yousef al-Salaam).

Deuce F is a former “gangsta” rapper that recently converted to a controversial sect of Islam and as a result began its teachings through his music. While the NYPD seems to think that the rappers death is a result of a gang feud spurred by violent hip-hop culture, Shannon at the urging of his son, investigates further and it seems that the closer he gets to the truth the closer he comes to losing his own life. Continue reading “A mystery with a “gangsta” rapper?”