Innovating on business models: key to success on mobile services

Interest in technology and how it can be used to meet user needs has taken an upward trajectory, with all manner of solutions created to leverage available tech. One aspect that I believe is lagging behind is the monetization dynamics employed by the creators of these new services to fully realize their revenue or value potential. Not that it is their problem entirely, but more that the mobile industry is yet to become sufficiently  flexible to embrace a mash up of revenue models or create entirely new ones. The view of the mobile ecosystem has largely remain unchanged.

This is where the different thinking comes into play, taking a fresh look  at the ecosystem and determining new points of value or establishing new roles for current and emerging players. How exactly do we go about this?

A business model would assume that there is a business to speak of, and a business can emerge from having a new product or service with a different value proposition, an unmet or unsatisfied need or the emergence of new technology.

With a slant toward mobile services, first look at the customer that you are trying to reach. Keeping in mind that you can’t be everything to everyone, figure out who if your service is mass market or niche. Next iron out  your value proposition to this consumer segment; are you playing a performance , price, usability or customization card? Now that you have figured out who you want to sell to, what will your relationship be like? Are you looking to build community or are you looking to have a self service model where your customers only get intouch when there is a problem? Key resources is a part of the business model puzzle that many startups ignore, more so garage or single person setups. For your service to live up to its value propositions you will need to figure what it will take from a cost and human resource perspective to realize the promise.

Revenue is the reason why we build businesses and one needs to decide on the structure of their cash cow. The different streams are, but not limited to one off sales, subscription fees, advertising, licensing and per use. This may be determined by your distribution channel and can also be a mashup of different streams.

The last piece of the puzzle and where I see the biggest opportunity to do things differently is partnerships. In established ecosystems, simply reworking the roles of the different players and introducing new players will lead to innovation. Mobile network operators are seen as the billing component in the mobile ecosystem. What if you assigned them a different role in your model? How would that new relationship change the dynamics of your business?

More than provide hard and fast answers, I hope that you are inspired to look at your business model differently.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.
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