The Happy Start-Up: Business Models, Business Plans And How To Do It Your Way
The simplified explanation of a business model is how the business intends to make money. It’s a framework for creating economic value and let’s face it without profit, there is no business so it is imperative you get this part right.
When designing your business model there are a number of elements you need to consider. It will be here that you can spot opportunities for innovation or to differentiate your business from the competition, which will in turn add value to your proposition.
Your business model isn’t set in stone though. There is no one business model blueprint that you have to follow for your particular business. Only you can decide what you want to include or leave out, your business is yours and you can build it as you wish.
Because this is the Happy Start-Up, I want to keep things simple and light hearted. Honestly, there is no need to get bogged down with intricate analyses of business models if you don’t want to. But if you are looking for more in depth instruction, my upcoming business development program Success Your Way will help you do that. Registration opens soon – sign up to be notified.
What I did
For Happy Piece, I first had to decide how I was going to operate. I found this tricky. I knew I wasn’t ready to run a charity at this point and certainly in the way that traditional charities work, accepting donations and such. Instead, I decided on a for profit business. The whole aim is to sell as much as possible. The more Happy Piece products we sell, the more women we can work with and the more money we can plough back into the development programs like the one at Aspire Rwanda.
I needed to determine the percentage we’d donate and how we would do that. I also needed to decide on how we were going to pay for the stock. I realised I couldn’t pay 100% of profits to charity because I also needed to invest in the production and put money back into the business so we could work with the designers to make the stock.
So with that clear I was able to move on to working out specifics.
- Happy Piece will be selling handmade jewellery and accessories made in Rwanda and the UK. Each item sold will directly help Rwandan families through the Aspire development program.
- My target market are intelligent women with a conscience, they care about what happens in the world and they believe in our cause. They are also stylish and fashionable, stay up to date with trends and will like that their purchase will be helping others.
- The products will be available for sale through our e-commerce website happypiece.com. We will also endeavour to secure stockists around the world who will sell Happy Piece from their boutiques.
- We will build relationships by being transparent, approachable, in it for the long term. We want to share the work we do in every way we can, through video, photos and stories. We want our target customers to know our designers and exactly what the development program provides so it is clear exactly where the money is being spent.
- I invested my own money into the business to start with, after that 50% of profits will be reinvested back into the business and 50% to the development program.
- I will be selling wholesale and retail through the e-commerce website.
- We will make money buy selling our accessories for a profit and bringing out an additional product line every season. Every collection will be based around our values and happy mindset.
- Our prices will allow us make a profit on each item.
Now you might have noticed something reading through this. It’s like a mini business plan! Unless you are seeking outside investment, I don’t think you need to write a 40+ page business plan. There I said it! I’m sure others will disagree but from my experience a business plan is just that, a plan for your business. It is a roadmap for how you are going to implement your business model. So start with that. It doesn’t have to be pages long with financial projections, profit and loss statements and your team resumes. You will be working with it, so you need to want to look at it.
All you really need to know is:
- How are you going to make money?
- Who will buy it? Is there a need or market for it?
- How are you going to tell them about it?
- How are you going to make it available to them?
- How will you communicate with them?
- How much money do you need to get started?
- How much profit will you make from each sale?
- Are there other streams of income you can consider in the future?
Doing it your way
You can research and go into these in depth or you can use it as a brief framework. You can also make your it work for you by thinking about how you process information best. Are you visual? Or do you prefer bullet points or to write it out so that it sinks in?
You can write it long form, in bullet points like I have done here, sketch it or collage bits of magazine clippings onto a big sheet of paper, whatever it takes for you to get the answers to these questions out of your head and into some kind of organised plan to work from.
Does that sound manageable? Go do it!
Have you thought much about your business model or how you will actually make money? What conclusions did you come to?