Business planning

What different types of business models/plans are there and what do they tend to work best for?

Brittany Williams Founder and CEO of a startup company for dog owners and enthusiasts.

April 12th, 2019

I'm just starting the planning stage and could use some help organizing and figuring out what model(s) might work best for my start-up. I am in the pet industry related to knowledge, resources, email funnels, blog, and eCommerce store. The blog and eCommerce will be integrated after I have the capital for them since the others have minimal costs associated with them. Thank you to every one who responds!

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business coach

April 14th, 2019

A plan (execution strategy) is not a model (broad template of relationships). A model can be applied to almost any kind of business. The choice is fairly open, and should reflect your strategy. No one can tell you which model is absolutely best because you're the one who will have to run it. That's why you research the what-ifs and determine if you can reach your goals following a particular model, taking into account your resources, interests, audience, and products. You could run your e-learning business using an association model and it could work fine. It doesn't matter which goes with which. It only matters why you are following the model. You make a plan for your business path based on a model. You could run your manufacturing business with a partnership model. The combinations aren't the limit. Your ability to execute is what limits your options.


You don't need to apply a model at all. You can start with a plan, then work on your marketing strategy which tests all of your assumptions. When you have finished your marketing research, you can begin your product/service development which is now informed by your marketing strategy to ensure you will be able to sell what you're bringing to market, because you've already tested product-market fit. Then you will also know whether starting without e-commerce or any other component will even work, instead of possibly starting on the wrong foot and never getting over the first wall.


My suggestion is that at this stage you would benefit greatly from some direct hand-holding in developing your idea more fully. There's a great organization called SCORE, and they offer free regular meetings with a counselor who is a retired executive and will walk you through each of the steps in developing your plan, product, strategy, and so on.

Brittany Williams Founder and CEO of a startup company for dog owners and enthusiasts.

Last updated on April 13th, 2019

Herbert: Easy, you use both depending on what works best for each part of the company. Pipeline for the email funnels and platform for eCommerce for example. I don't like limiting myself to one strategy.

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

April 15th, 2019

This depends on your eCommerce aspirations, but the initialization is the same: Objective, strategy, tactics. If your eCommerce is you selling your proprietary products, you have one set of requirements (differentiation being significant). If you envision a marketplace, it is entirely different. If you are building a hybrid, where you curate the products on a proprietary platform (that can be opened to a marketplace) you have yet another set of requirements.


If your ultimate outcome is eCommerce, even if you have capital for such, you should start with building your profile and "brand" as an expert in the space. The blog, with significant social presence, will be key to get people to see your role as the developer/curator/source of high quality advice, insight, and products. This is not just posting to FB/Insta/Pinterest/whatever, it is a bi-directional communications where you make yourself available to the market you are trying to reach. They must, especially in this space, trust you first. You cannot outbrand the big players who can beat you to death with their checkbook; you must out-trust them.


Develop a staged strategy from which tactics will flow. A great template was built in the DTC strategy of Glossier. They started as a blog, then added products, then made their own based on the input from their target base who is radically engaged with them on ideas, questions, product development and service.

Herbert Roy George Enterprise and Technology expert with enormous digital experience

April 13th, 2019

Hi Brittany If you want to talk about business models its best to not start with the technology. There are two types of business models you can think of - one is called pipeline and the other is called platform model. The first is based on supply side economics and the latter is demand side economics. Once you decide what you want to do strategy wise and marketing and funding wise then you can think about technology.

Brittany Williams Founder and CEO of a startup company for dog owners and enthusiasts.

April 16th, 2019

Dane: I looked into Glossier and some other similar DTC companies and now have a better understanding of how my business will operate and how it will/could develop and shift over time based on consumer interactions now that I have a better idea of the direction I am going.

Brittany Williams Founder and CEO of a startup company for dog owners and enthusiasts.

Last updated on April 16th, 2019

Paul- Thank you so much for going in depth about the difference between plans and models and how they interact with each other! I signed up for SCORE and am working on finding/choosing a mentor.