3 inspiring start-up models

When it comes to starting your own business for the first time, carving a niche for yourself or thinking creatively can help you stay ahead of the curve.

More than ever, entrepreneurs are straying from typical bricks-and-mortar or franchise business models, and launching their unique start-up online. From businesses specialising in dog treats to "mum-trepreneurs" selling cloth baby nappies or hand-woven bags, the array of start-ups in cyberspace is overwhelming.

Here we take a look at three start-up models.

Bricks and clicks

"Bricks and clicks" is a business model that combines a physical presence with e-commerce operations, and according to The Economist, could be the answer to building a profitable online business that will appeal to all demographics.

Having a strong online offering combined with a physically attractive shopfront has the potential to capture customers from multiple markets (online and offline shoppers, or both). Bricks and clicks enables entrepreneurs maximum penetration in their target markets, particularly in light of recent research showing online shopping makes up only a quarter of Australian credit card spending.

However, The Economist warns against keeping your physical business separate from your online operations or risk miscommunication - there should be a clear link between both "bricks" and "clicks" in terms of business and marketing strategy.

Mum-trepreneurs

The digital environment has taken the idea of combining parenthood and entrepreneurship to a new level, allowing new mums, in particular, to build a business from home.

Parents who require a flexible, and mostly creative, workplace can now easily start up a business from home and drive a new income. The options are almost endless, with common businesses including baby items, tote bags, skincare, consulting, freelance writing and event planning.

Mass customisation

Giving consumers the option to be picky has become a sustainable business model as the desire for customisation grows.

Mass customisation or the tailoring of products and services for customers' needs and wants is increasingly popular option. Research has confirmed high levels of interest from online consumers for personalised product features - supported by a willingness to spend more to receive such personalisation.

Entrepreneurs can capitalise on this trend by offering design-your-own products, such as the ability to build your own chocolate bar, shoes, jewellery and even cars. Social media and digital technologies mean that consumers are constantly on the lookout for unique products that are geared to their desires, which in turn means you can charge a premium for doing so.

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