Choosing the Right Business Model for Your Startup

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There are many ways to set up a business model, and more are developed every day with the growth of the world wide web. The classic brick-and-mortar storefronts, pure service ventures, and manufacturing and warehouse models still exist, but have been expanded from their classic versions to remain competitive in today's environment.

In addition, purely web-based businesses and incorporating internet opportunities into the classic models have been added to the mix. These various distribution channels serve to both multiply the startup opportunities and increase competition for consumer spending.

With so many options available for how you set up your business, it is critical to consider which alternative best fits both your personality and your business idea. If you are looking forward to working with the public and doing something different every day, a purely online business is probably not for you.

If you are eager to work independently with few distractions, and you prefer to be in an office in front of the computer most of the time, a brick-and-mortar store is probably not for you. Be realistic about the environment that motivates you to do your best work. Brainstorm the different ways that your business idea can be developed to be successful in that environment.

Different business models require different resources to successfully launch. A brick-and-mortar store or manufacturing operation requires significant startup capital to cover the lease costs, furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) expenses, staff to cover the open hours, and inventory. A purely online retail business requires more time than capital -- it can take months to show up on the top search engines, especially if your business's key words include significant direct or indirect competition.

The actual expenses can be kept fairly minimal, as you can use dropship distributors so that you carry no or very little inventory or you can use a just-in-time inventory system to keep your costs down. You can run the business from home so that your overhead expenses are kept low as well. If you have a good idea of the resources you will have to launch your startup, develop a business model for your startup that is within those means.

Whatever your basic business idea, there are likely a number of business models that could be effective for launching and growing your venture. Ultimately, it is best to diversify both in product and distribution channel, and those future expansions should be in mind when determining where to start. For example, if your goal is to own a chain of pet supply and training stores but you don't have the funding to open even one storefront, consider starting out with a limited online retail store.

Add self-published how-to books for training and animal care and perhaps a local in-home training service. Build a reputation as an expert by submitting good articles to websites and print magazines that draw your target customers. Consider adding seminars on related topics for other trainers or pet owners. Over time, you will increase your revenues to the point that leasing space is within the budget, and you will have multiple income streams up and running before your overhead becomes a major factor.

The business model you choose is not the primary factor in whether your business succeeds. Many business ideas can be modified to fit different methods of distribution, as long as the benefit to the customer is convincing.

Selecting a business model that doesn't fit your personality is set up for failure because you will lose your motivation and desire to keep pushing through. Every venture requires dedication and perseverance to succeed, so you have to enjoy at least the method enough to keep you focused on building the business.

About the Author-K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur, is founder of LaunchX and authors a small business startup blog. The LaunchX System is designed to help entrepreneurs start a business the right way. Visit LaunchX.com for a free workbook to help you choose a business idea.

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