6 online business models that work in 2021

The creation of a company is accompanied by many steps. Once you’ve come up with the idea and validated your project, it’s imperative to establish a business plan. In this document, you need to explain your ambitions to achieve them. It should not only describe your business strategy and legal form, but also your business model. The latter is a key element that will allow the entrepreneur’s initial idea to see the light of day.

The business model, also called the economic model, has been used for many years to launch an entrepreneurial project. It allows you to concretely outline the financial structure of a company, taking into account the various services or products necessary for its creation. It contains the market studies, necessary to assess demand and know in which sector we are evolving, the inflows but also the outflows of money.

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The democratization of access to entrepreneurship, the ease of getting started, social media and other recent developments have made it possible to multiply new business models. While it’s not always easy to pick one, some are doing particularly well online in 2021.

The market, still so popular

For several years, markets are booming. This term encompasses both C2C, adopted by the Airbnb market, and B2B and B2C. In France or the United States, this business model has already allowed several companies to experience success and evolve rapidly.

Among them, ManoMano, which greatly revolutionized the distribution of DIY and gardening items on the internet. Its business model, based on connecting buyers and sellers, allowed it to become the third French DIY e-merchant behind Amazon and Leroy Merlin. The marketplace model allows ManoMano to work hand in hand with its merchants, in addition to having thousands of referenced products. Gradually, it managed to expand internationally, but also operate four fundraising campaigns.

The freemium model is being adopted across all industries

In recent years, a new economic model has emerged: freemium. This business model consists of offering part of a product or service for free and charging for premium features. Deezer, Buffer, Mailchimp… These companies were quickly able to sell additional features to their customers who used their free service.

Over the years, this business model has allowed them to become benchmarks in their respective industries. This is also the case with Spotify, which has also adopted this economic model. The music streaming platform manages to attract more and more premium subscribers. It now has over 165 million, a number that is still rising, as is its income.

Pre-sales seduce startups

At its launch, companies producing goods must face many challenges, including producing before selling. Therefore, it is necessary to have funds to stock up. The risk then is an overproduction of products, without having tested the market. For these reasons, several of them are now opting to pre-order. In fact, they only start producing a product after the customer has purchased it. The advantage of receiving payments before production is that few funds are needed to get started.

This business model has been greatly democratized with the emergence of funding platforms such as Ulule. These are increasingly shared on social networks, giving them significant visibility. This is how the clothing brand Asphalte achieved dazzling success. After the failure of its first project, the company revised its business model and opted for pre-sales. Its on-demand model allowed it to sell 42,000 shirts during its first crowdfunding presale.

Tips, an open door to the creative economy

Tips are highly appreciated by content creators because they ensure they have a steady income stream by basing their compensation on their audience rather than advertising or sponsors. Today, tips is an economic model present in several sectors, aided by the emergence of platforms such as Tipee, specialized in crowdfunding or Substack, which allows newsletter creators to monetize their content thanks to its tool.

More recently, the tips have also extended to the field of photography and video with the arrival of OnlyFans. A paid formula that attracted athletes, influencers and sex workers. Created in 2016, the platform now has 130 million users and 2 million creators, proof that the tip economy is a booming business model for content creators.

Intermediation changes consumption patterns

When starting a business, it is not always easy to find customers. This is why many startups have developed around intermediation. Specifically, they are platforms that connect buyers and suppliers of products or services and that are remunerated through commission.

When you want to sell a piece of clothing, it is now common to do so on Vinted, Vestiaire Collective or Grailed. For rides, many travelers instinctively turn to BlaBlaCar. Based on the increase in internet usage, these two companies have greatly transformed our consumption patterns. For good reason, the fact that they facilitate contact between clients or professionals, and thus allow them to find what they are looking for more quickly.

SAAS for software vendors

In turn, SAAS (software as a service) is a very specific model that is anchored in B2B. To finance its activities, the company provides software through a subscription system. To save money, many companies have looked into using a SAAS. To meet this strong demand, software publishers are increasingly turning to this business model. Several of them took advantage of its emergence, such as Content Square, which specializes in optimizing the digital experience, and Aircall, which specializes in cloud-based business telephony solutions.

Finally, although there are many business models, it is important to choose the one that best fits your project. The efficiency of the economic model will determine the potential and speed of growth of an activity.

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