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What Does a Business Model Mean?


A business model extends far beyond the mere pursuit of profit; it serves as a comprehensive framework and approach through which women entrepreneurs create, deliver, and capture value. This model delineates the company’s modus operandi, revenue generation methods, and the means to uphold its competitive edge in the marketplace.

Instead of fixating solely on profit, a business model elucidates the critical components steering a company’s path to triumph. These essential facets encompass the value proposition, target demographic, revenue streams, cost structure, core activities, essential resources, distribution channels, customer relationships, competitive advantages, as well as sustainability and scalability.

For women entrepreneurs, mastering and honing their business models is a strategic imperative. It empowers them to harmonise their strategies, allocate resources judiciously, and optimise their operations to meet customer demands, capitalise on opportunities, and navigate challenges. A well-crafted business model also possesses the potential to entice investors, ignite the passions of employees, and chart a definitive course toward future prosperity.

Understanding Business Models

A business model serves as a strategic blueprint for operating a profitable business within a specific market. At its core, a business model centres around the value proposition, which defines a company’s unique products or services, emphasising their appeal and differentiation from competitors.

For new ventures, a comprehensive business model should encompass essential elements like startup costs, potential funding sources, target customer base, marketing strategies, competitive analysis, and revenue and expense projections. It may also explore collaboration opportunities with established companies to leverage mutual benefits, such as referrals or partnerships.

Successful businesses develop business models that allow them to meet customer needs at competitive and sustainable costs. However, as business environments and market demands evolve, it’s common for companies to review and revise their business models to remain relevant and responsive.

When considering an investment opportunity, it’s crucial for investors to delve into a company’s business model to gain a clear understanding of its revenue generation mechanisms. While the business model may not provide a complete picture of a company’s prospects, investors who grasp the intricacies of the business model are better equipped to make informed decisions based on financial data and market trends.

How to Create a Business Model?

Creating a business model is a multifaceted process that lacks a one-size-fits-all approach. There are several steps you can follow to create your own plan:

Identify Your Target Audience

Define your target market and understand the audience you aim to reach. This understanding enables you to tailor your product, messaging, and approach effectively to connect with your intended customers.

Define the Problem

Determine the specific problem or need your business aims to address. Whether you’re selling products for home repairs or providing a unique dining experience, a well-defined problem or need is essential for your business to thrive.

Understand Your Offerings

Consider the products or services you can offer in light of your audience and the identified problem. Evaluate your expertise and align it with market demands. Your business model should involve adapting your products to meet market needs while leveraging your capabilities.

Document Your Requirements

Account for the challenges your company may face, both product-specific and operational. Documenting these requirements helps you assess your readiness for future business launches.

Find Key Partners

Many businesses rely on partnerships to drive success. For example, a wedding planner may collaborate with venues, caterers, florists, and tailors to enhance their offerings. If you’re a manufacturer, consider who will provide your materials and the criticality of your supplier relationships.

Establish Monetisation Strategies

A business model isn’t complete until it identifies how it will generate revenue. This involves selecting a monetisation strategy or strategies that align with your business model type. Initially, you may have a specific model in mind, but after reviewing client needs, a different approach may make more sense.

Types of Business Models

Businesses employ various models to adapt to their specific needs and strategies. These models include:


Manufacturers source raw materials and produce finished products using internal resources, machinery, and labour. Examples include Apple, IKEA, and Hyundai.


Retailers act as the final link in the supply chain, purchasing finished goods from manufacturers or distributors and directly interacting with customers. Notable examples are Amazon, Costco, and Walmart.


Fee-for-service models revolve around providing labour and services rather than selling products. These businesses typically charge an hourly rate or a fixed cost for specific agreements. Walmart is one such company employing a fee-for-service business model.


Freemium models entice customers with free basic products or services and offer premium, advanced versions requiring payment. The aim is to demonstrate the benefits of upgrading to a paid membership, with examples like Zoom and LinkedIn offering both free and premium memberships.


Subscription-based models aim to attract and retain customers by offering ongoing benefits in return for regular payments. Digital companies commonly use these models for software access, but they are also applied to physical goods. Amazon Prime, Spotify, and Netflix are examples of subscription-based business models.


Bundling involves selling multiple products to a single customer to reduce customer acquisition costs. Companies capitalise on their existing customer base by offering pricing discounts for purchasing multiple products together. An example is McDonald’s Happy Meals, where burgers, drinks, and fries are sold together as a meal.

Razor Blade

The razor blade model entails selling a durable product at a low cost while generating high-margin sales from disposable components or complementary products. Companies often provide the main product, such as a razor handle, at a low price and profit from subsequent sales of razor blades. Common examples include coffee machines that use single-use coffee pods and inkjet printers with high-priced ink cartridges.

Reverse Razor Blade

In contrast to the traditional razor blade model, the reverse razor blade model focuses on selling a high-margin product up front. Low-cost or free complementary products are provided to enhance the usage of the main product, even though they may not generate significant profits. Apple is an example of this model, where iPhones and iPods serve as the main products, while applications and songs from the iTunes store serve as consumable products.


Marketplace models provide a platform for business transactions and earn compensation for facilitating those transactions. They aim to make buying and selling easier, safer, and faster. Notable examples include eBay and Etsy.


Affiliate models rely on marketing through influential individuals or entities to promote products. Companies pay affiliates to endorse their goods, and affiliates receive compensation, either through fixed payments, a percentage of sales, or both. Amazon and social media influencers are prime examples.


Businesses with a brokerage model connect buyers and sellers without directly selling the goods themselves. Brokerage companies typically earn a percentage of the transaction amount when a deal is finalised. They are prevalent in real estate, construction, development, and freight industries. Examples include QuickBuy and ReMax.


Franchise models replicate and expand existing businesses by leveraging established business plans. Franchisors support incoming franchisees in financing, promoting, and managing new locations while receiving a percentage of the franchisee’s earnings in return. 

Chaayos and Domino’s Pizza are examples of businesses that utilise a franchise model.

Assessing the Success of Business Models

When companies formulate their business models, it’s imperative to accurately estimate the funding needed to sustain the business until it becomes profitable. Simply considering the costs associated with introducing a product is insufficient, a company must ensure that its revenues surpass its expenses to effectively maintain operations.

Analysts and investors frequently gauge the success of a business model by scrutinising a company’s gross profit. Gross profit is determined by subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS) from the total revenue. Comparing a company’s gross profit with that of its primary competitor or industry peers offers insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of its business model. Nevertheless, relying solely on gross profit can be deceptive. Analysts also take into account cash flow or net income, which signifies gross profit minus operating expenses, as it indicates the actual profit generated by the business.

Pricing and costs serve as the primary levers within a company’s business model. By raising prices or finding ways to reduce inventory costs, a company can enhance its gross profit. Many analysts consider gross profit to be a pivotal factor when assessing a business plan because it signifies a sturdy foundation for the company. If expenses aren’t managed properly, they may be attributed to the management team, but these issues are usually remediable. Consequently, analysts believe that companies with robust business models can effectively run themselves.

When evaluating a company for investment potential, it’s imperative to comprehend how the company generates its revenue, not merely the products or services it provides. This understanding offers insights into the company’s underlying business model, which plays a crucial role in evaluating its potential for success.

Testing Your Business Model

Once your comprehensive plan is in place, it’s crucial to test your business model. Conduct surveys or soft launches to gauge customer reactions and gather feedback. Inquire about potential customers’ willingness to pay for your services at the prices you’ve specified. Consider offering discounts to new customers in exchange for reviews and feedback. Leveraging direct market feedback enables you to make necessary adjustments to your business model.

Analysing Competing Companies

Instead of reinventing the wheel, it’s advantageous to analyse the strategies of competing companies and determine how you can position yourself in the market. By observing other businesses’ models, you can identify gaps and opportunities for improvement in their approaches.


  • A business model is essential for a profitable company operation.
  • It includes key details like offered products or services, target markets, and projected expenses.
  • Various business models exist, such as retail, manufacturing, fee-for-service, and freemium models.
  • Pricing and costs are critical factors affecting a business model’s profitability.
  • As an investor, assessing whether the product or service meets market needs is crucial when evaluating a business model.

Answering Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions

How is a business model defined?

A business model is defined as a description of how a company creates value, generates revenue, and sustains profitability.

What are the four basic business models?

The four basic business models are manufacturer, distributor, retailer, and franchise.

In e-commerce, what does a business model refer to?

In e-commerce, a business model refers to the approach used by an online company to generate revenue, such as direct sales, subscriptions, advertising, or marketplace facilitation.

What is the difference between a business model and a business plan?

A business model outlines value creation and revenue generation, while a business plan details objectives, strategies, and operational plans.

What is Amazon’s business model?

Amazon’s business model focuses on e-commerce, acting as an online marketplace connecting buyers and sellers.

Which business model is considered the best?

The best business model depends on factors like the industry, target market, competition, and value proposition.

Why is a business model important?

A business model is important for guiding strategic decisions, aligning operations, and ensuring long-term success and sustainability.


In conclusion, a company transcends being a mere goods seller; it represents an intricate ecosystem necessitating a precisely articulated strategy concerning its customer base, product offerings, pricing, and value proposition. The business model functions as a structured blueprint for how an organisation consistently delivers value to its customers. Through the establishment of a resilient business model, a company not only defines its operational strategy but also lays the groundwork for its financial prosperity.

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