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With so many unique business models to choose from, entrepreneurs and business owners have an opportunity to truly create something new and exciting. Selecting the right business model weighs heavily on your success — the correct one can lead to explosive growth, while the wrong one can lead to failure.
When unique business models surface you have a limited window of time to execute, as niches and industries quickly become saturated with competition.
Early adopters who are able to identify unique business models and create a well-thought-out business plan are able to distance themselves from those that show up to the party late.
To help spark the entrepreneurial fire inside you, here are three unique business models that are prime for the picking. If you have the interest and expertise, now is the perfect time to start one of these businesses.
1. Niche-specific online communities
Online communities that are niche specific are quickly becoming popular, fueled in part by the popularity of Facebook Groups. If you do a quick search, you can find large Facebook Groups for virtually any topic. These groups feature members that are all knowledgeable, interested in and passionate about the given topic.
While Facebook Groups can be a great way to build a thriving community of like-minded individuals, it’s very difficult to monetize the group and have complete control over it. Ultimately the group is owned by Facebook, which means it’s possible the group can be shut down at any time.
Rather than investing time and resources into building a group that you have little to no control over, consider building an online community on a standalone platform, where you have full control and can turn it into a business.
“There are several platforms you can use to create an online community,” says Deep Patel, founder of Brandmates. “There are many membership plugins available for WordPress that are very beginner friendly, as well as several forum software solutions available, which can be customized to create your community and introduce several monetization channels.”
I truly believe that this is the future, which is why I created an online community for entrepreneurs and business owners. It’s a side project, and one that I plan on building later in the year and monetizing in the future.
To give you an idea of monetization opportunities, I will use my community as an example. Google AdSense is enabled, and there is an upgrade option available for those who don’t want to see ads and also receive additional perks, like the ability to add a signature and access private forums.
I expect to see many online communities shift from Facebook to other platforms, giving the entrepreneurs and business owners the ability to create a real business around them.
2. Drop shipping websites for eCommerce
Drop shipping is an online business model that is becoming more popular because of the flexibility it allows, along with the low costs associated with launching the business. To start, you need to come up with a creative brand name that will not only grab attention, but also is available as a domain name.
You can either create a very general store with many categories and products, or create a hyper-focused niche eCommerce store. It’s much easier to market an online store that is developed around a single niche, rather than a store with a lot of random items. Tools like Oberlo help you find products you can resell using a drop shipping business model.
Thanks to online marketing and platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook ads, you can sell almost anything. I was approached by a brand earlier in the year that created an eCommerce store that only sold products featuring sharks. Socks, shirts, clocks, mouse pads, blankets — you name it — if it had a shark on it, they sold it. They were doing north of $1.2 million a year with profit margins greater than 70 percent, all without stocking or touching a single piece of inventory.
Drop shipping is one of the more popular unique business models gaining traction, so the competition is high, especially in popular niches. They key is to find something very specialized, like the shark example above.
3. Blockchain-powered decentralized systems
There has been a lot of talk in the media about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining, but it’s the technology, blockchain, that has opened the doors to a new and exciting business model. If you are new to blockchain, Ivan Goldensohn, CMO of Dispatch Labs explains why it presents an amazing opportunity for early adopters:
“Decentralized systems and shared ledgers can accelerate how the world evolves. Building a mature shared-ledger protocol, based on real-world needs, delivers value for real people and businesses. Blockchain is a platform on which anyone can develop a great idea, and bring it to the world, completely decentralized.”
Decentralization is a concept that applies to politics, technology and business. No central authority has control over a system; rather, control is distributed among the people within the system. In a decentralized business structure the power to make decisions is distributed among the participants, which is appealing in several industries and applications.
Unique business models are always surfacing
Paying attention to current events, technological advances and trends is something all entrepreneurs should be doing on a consistent basis. Doing so keeps you ahead of the curve, and can present you with the opportunity to pave the way for future unique business models.