Business Models That Work in the Information Age

Business plans and models are the backbone of a company. They map out the unique way in which that business will sell, and the processes behind it. However, many entrepreneurs find themselves using a business model that they think should work, but it’s just not performing.

Let’s step back to consider the age in which we live. We are currently in a very fascinating time that is distinctly different than most people will ever experience. We are actively in the switch between the industrial age, and the information age. And just like the industrial age was termed the Industrial Revolution, our current age is now called the Information Revolution.

Think about the major differences between the industrial and information ages. What stands out is that one age is before the internet and the other is after the internet. What worked in the past for businesses is very different than what works now! In many cases, the tools available went from physical, literal items, to digital tools. We are a transitional generation.

Working a Business in the Information Revolution

When choosing the business model for your product or service, it’s important to educate yourself around what’s working now. People used to pay for information. Door-to-door encyclopedia sales was a thing! But now, with the internet, there’s no premium on information. It’s everywhere, anytime you want it. What people pay for now is support and implementing the information.

Four things that people pay for in the information age:

  1. Access
  2. Action plans
  3. Accountability
  4. Association

You might be asking, “Access to what? Association to what?”
To a brand. To your brand.

Focus Your Brand on Your Ideal Client

The most important thing in the information age is to craft a brand, strategically, that speaks to your one ideal buyer. Picture your ideal client in your head. What problems and challenges do they have that you can solve? How will you solve them? How will you communicate the solution to them? If you take the time to dive into questions like these it will really help hone your vision around your offer.

The concept of one buyer is different from the industrial age when you think of the example of a general store, which was an approach of serving many people with many needs. But that rarely works today. Leads don’t just come to us, we need to go to the leads. Understanding that fundamental difference is critical before we explore the business models that are working.

Once you’ve developed a brand that’s intentionally marketing to your one ideal client, then you want to decide on your one offer. What are you selling to them? What hasn’t changed since the Industrial Age is that people buy solutions to their problems. There are many ways to deliver your services so that you are matching your buyer’s desire with your solution.

Examples of Effective Business Models for Coaching Businesses

Below are examples of stable business models that are forecasted to work for the next ten years, and beyond. These models focus on coaching-type businesses.

One-On-One
Many coaching models use the one-on-one business model. You and the client meet in-person, on the phone, or through a video call.

Group Coaching
This business model is similar to the one-on-one model except that you meet with a group of people at the same time.

Group Retreat
The content is delivered during a day, or multiple days, to a group of people either meeting with you in person, or online. If in person, the group retreat is often in a special location that lends itself well to the topic and content.

Digital Course
In this model, clients receive pre-recorded digital content, either all at once or parsed out
over time.

Mastermind
A mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring group used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members.

Membership
In this model, clients pay a recurring fee at set intervals such as monthly, or yearly, to access the product or service. This model can have an exclusive feel to it that many buyers want.

Affiliates
An affiliate model rewards one or more affiliates for each lead or customer brought to the company by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

Direct Sales/Network Marketing/Multi-level Marketing
These models come in the form of a direct seller making money by buying products from a parent organization and selling them directly to customers, or as multi-level marketing, in which the direct seller earns money from both direct sales to customers and by sponsoring other direct sellers and earning a commission.

How to Choose the Right Business Model for You

Choosing the right business model for your specific needs comes down to how you feel about it. Your vision, values, and preferences really do matter. Those preferences can include how you want to work with people, and the kind of time you want to spend. To feel good in your business, short-term and long-term, choosing the business model that suits your preferences really does come into play.