Change Up the Business Model

Small businesses all across the country are constantly struggling to separate themselves from the pack. After all, everyone wants to be on the leading edge of a new trend. But doing so is easier said than done. Mashable recently posted the top 17 new small businesses and how their models shake things up, and we’re going to boil down the lesson to be learned from the top 3.

In first place is Skillshare, an online educational marketplace where people can sell unique lessons and how-to’s. Users can pay $10 per month to watch as many lessons as they choose. So what makes Skillshare different from other online universities, the famous Khan Academy, and the new Google Helpouts? At Skillshare, anyone can be a teacher. No doctorate required, and the only qualification needed is to have a skill you’d like to teach. This alone has made Skillshare a huge success; people flock it. Lesson 1: Allowing regular people to be a part of the business model increases not only a company’s usability but also its popularity.

Rounding out second place is Stitch Fix. The company crafts clothing care-packages for its customers and sends them straight to their doorsteps, taking away the monotony of shopping. Prices are affordable, but that’s not the only reason for Stitch Fix’s success. The key is their use of analytical data and algorithms to help craft the care packages. The data allows for an extremely precise and unique box of clothes made personally for you based on your taste; while it’s not perfect, it always delivers outfits you would/want to wear, often with cool surprises. These packages have made Stitch Fix top of its class. Lesson 2: Using data can help hone in on what customers want, while still allowing for some creativity and surprise.

Last is Warby Parker, a glasses boutique. Warby Parker allows customers to purchase glasses in a manner similar to going to a candy store. Glasses line the walls and picking out which ones you want becomes fun, especially at the unusually low prices the company offers. The most important thing here isn’t the price, or the layout, or any one thing really. Instead,  Warby Parker changed the way consumers think about buying glasses. Consumers of the past dread the eye doctor visit, lengthy probing exam, ended by a somewhat boring selection of which lens would work. Warby Parker makes the process fun and trendy, the perfect combination for a new craze. Lesson 3: Changing the way people see your industry can create a new wave of consumers and fans.

While these businesses are undoubtedly successes in their own right, there are always new ways to shake up the business model pot; they’re just waiting to be found.


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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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