I think I’ve seen enough. I’ve been through several economic crises and one terrible pandemic across my adult life. The latter, I mean the COVID-19 pandemic was the worst ever. Economically speaking, it made the world completely stop for slightly more than 2 years. That was indeed a nightmare for everyone.
To build a strong business model that works without any hiccups even during major recessions and other rounds of major pandemics, there is one thing this business model needs to focus on as the objective.
What does sustainability mean? Simple, no matter what happens to the world out there, the income will still be coming in as usual. This is important for our survival. If you noticed during the pandemic last time, there were so many ‘white flags’ images posted on social media, especially on LinkedIn. Many people lost their jobs, closed their businesses and their income gone. They were using the white flag image together with the pledge posted there looking for help. Some didn’t even have food to put on the table for their family.
To incorporate sustainability in the business model, you need to insert these four elements into your business. And I’ve been having these embedded into mine long-time ago. It works great so far and I believe it will continue to be working great too in the foreseeable future.
What are those four elements? There are passive income, deep value, internet-based and one-small-amount fee at a time.
Let me explain
Being active in running a business can be tiring. You won’t be staying this fit when you’re in your 50s, 60s and beyond. This element will have a direct impact on your long-term survivability should you decide to stop working or somehow the situation you’re going to be in one day will force you to stop working. In my case, I don’t intend to be actively running a business or businesses till the day I die but rather spend the precious time I have left enjoying with my loved ones and perhaps travelling here and there. Yet I need to make sure the income is there and will continue to be there forever.
Building a passive income element in the business model, you need to be creative—in terms of designing the right mechanism and infrastructure to make it possible. What sort of mechanism and infrastructure I was talking about? It refers to a way where the users or customers can purchase something from you, again and again. Many times. It can be things they can download, things they can subscribe or things they can use. Something like that. Here, all you have to do is to get that thing ready, just work on it one time, and make it available for users to pay for it.
The more value users see in your products or services, the more the brand will be relevant to them. When users see your brand is relevant to them and their life, they will buy more. This is the real meaning of deep value. The question is, how do you build a product, service or things the users really want to buy and keep on coming back to buy more?
Solve real problems. This is what your product, service or thing needs to do. Find a problem or problems out there and then create products, services or things that can really solve it. That being said, you can’t be in a rush. Rushing to build something really special to solve things requires time. Else, you can do a lot of mistakes and these mistakes could be fatal.
By having your businesses on the web, the investment will be way lesser compared to the physical ones. However, it should be within the law of the country. This means, you still need to register the company to make it a legal entity. The rest of the stuff can be online, no problem. Stuff like websites or platforms, mobile apps, payment systems, e-commerce et al can be made available through the power of the internet. Even marketing, sales and customer service can be made available online too.
There are so many software, tools and even apps out there you can use to make things happen. And the best part is, almost all of them are free or extremely cheap to subscribe to. Nowadays, creating a business, nurturing it and growing it to become a global brand is never been this easy. You should take advantage of this.
One-small-amount fee at a time
From the internet-based business point of view, nobody is charging thousands of dollars for people to do something in this era. There might still be some out there, but those I believe are rare cases. Most of them are charging as low as $1 and some could go up to $29 or more. These rates are pretty cheap if you compare them with the value of the features, products or services you’re about to get. Why they are charging this low? Well, they would rather play a volume game rather than a one-off.
Here’s one example. In the physical world, a publisher, be it a newspaper or magazine, can charge your company approximately $250 or more for them to publish your media release. That rate is for a one-time publication. But if you were to go to this one content-sharing platform called 300th and publish your media release there, it will cost you only $15 per month. This rate is not a one-time publication but unlimited. Which one is more attractive? I can bet you will say the latter.
This is how you should play too. Go low on rates and play a volume game. This is the best way in my opinion you can push your product, service or thing in a more sustainable way. And you can charge them many more times since the rate is so freakin’ cheap.
Building the business model with the above elements requires time. You won’t see money from Day One. Based on my experience, you will start to see sustainable income start flowing in only after 18 to 24 months or so. But, it is going to be worth every second of the wait.
Why that long? That is because you need to build an ecosystem of user journeys within the business. An ecosystem that can run smoothly without your active presence. And this will take a while. I’ve done all these already and so far the businesses I am presently running are doing okay. Give it a shot and see how things pan out for you.