Outside the Box Business Models to Consider (With Examples)

Thinking outside the box has become a more popular term recently. What does thinking outside the box really even mean? Here are some business models that for some, might be outside the box.

They are different and can be combined to get the best results. You might already be familiar with all of these business models, but think about how you could use them. And how you could possibly combine them with other ideas.

In this post, we are going through some examples of what are the different kinds of methods you can make money with your business. Most of the time, when thinking about starting a business, it comes to mind that you should sell a physical product to consumers. I am guilty of doing this as well.

However, this post is supposed to open your eyes to different kinds of business opportunities that are out there. Hiding in plain sight, waiting for you to take advantage of them. These are not secrets; they are just things to help you think differently and open your eyes to how to think outside the box when starting a new business.

Different methods of making money with businesses

Like I said, probably the most common one we all think of when thinking about creating a new business is to sell a physical product, for example, mobile phones, to consumer customers. One example of this is Apple. Sure, they sell to businesses as well, but their main customers are consumers who can afford high end devices.

In the following subheadings, we are going through other kinds of methods that can be used when thinking about your new business idea. We are going to take FAANG companies as examples. If you are not familiar with the term FAANG, that is short for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google.

We talked about the Apple model of doing business already, so let’s continue with our second candidates. Those being Facebook, also known today as Meta, and Google.

Free service with ads

Facebook offers a free service known as Facebook. Google is free of charge as well with billions of customers. However, they make huge amounts of money by ads on their site. This is one opportunity to use in your business as well. If you can attract high amounts of traffic for your YouTube channel or website, as an example, you can make money with ads.

The point of this is that the service is free. This attracts people to come see the content you are offering to them. Even if one particular customer doesn’t bring much ad revenue to your business, when your content reaches thousands or millions of viewers, those small streams of ad income can become significant.

There are some really good benefits on running business like this. One, is that there is no roof on how many people can read and enjoy the content you have created, and you don’t have to print additional copies for every one of them.

You also don’t have to invest a lot of capital at the beginning, since you don’t need to manufacture thousands of physical products before starting to sell.

This is just one of the examples, other than selling physical products to customers. Let’s continue to the next one.

Marketplace or platform for other businesses

The second example on the list is Amazon. They offer service to other businesses to operate on their platform. Sure, they have a lot of other things going on as well, but in this section, we are focusing more on creating a platform for other businesses to operate on.

If you were to create a website that offers other businesses to sell their products on your site, there are a few options you could use to monetize that. The first one being fixed costs. Those might be starting fees or/and monthly fees.

The second one is charging some percentage of the total sales the business makes through your site. As an example, if Business X sold 100 dollars’ worth of items through your platform, you could take a 5 or 10% fee, for example.

This is another way of doing business, without having a physical product. Let’s move on to the next one.

Subscription based business model

Netflix is a good example of a subscription-based business. They offer you to watch as much TV series and movies in one month as you can, in exchange for a monthly fee. This is a great business model for other things as well.

One example, of what this is good for might be a newspaper or premium website. You could charge monthly payments from your users, but you should really bring them a lot of value to keep them paying every month.

The good thing about this business model is that if you can keep your customers subscribed for years, they will bring a lot more revenue compared to one-time bought memberships. It is also easier for customers to pay just 10 dollars monthly, than to pay 500 dollars upfront for a life-long service.

Sometimes that 500 dollars upfront would be cheaper in the long run, but even if it was possible, I think most of the people would choose 10 dollars monthly instead. It gives them the freedom to unsubscribe anytime they want if your service is not satisfying anymore.

Final words

I think this can help you to figure out the next big business you have in mind. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other ways to monetize different kinds of businesses as well. As you can see, among the biggest and well-known companies we use every day, there are so many different business models.

You most certainly don’t have to sell physical products to consumers. There are lots of opportunities in business-to-business space as well. Businesses might also have higher purchasing power than consumers, so you don’t need so many different customers.

Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of companies that do sell physical products to consumers and you can do it as well. This was meant to open your eyes to the alternatives as well, since most of the times when thinking about new businesses, the first thing that comes to mind is just that. Selling physical product to consumer customers.

Post about how to come up with new business ideas can be found here.

Hopefully this was helpful to you, have a nice day.