#BusinessModel Posts

The Toptal Finance Blog is a hub for in-depth studies and analysis on all facets of finance, ranging from innovative strategies on raising capital to detailed coverage of new finance trends and technologies.
Kresimir Profaca
The Rules of Motivation: A Story About Correcting Failed Sales Incentive Schemes

Rewards programs and sales incentive schemes are necessary for any business that operates outbound customer acquisition channels. They encourage certain behavior and that, if poorly constructed, can lead to perverse results and conflicting interests. Creating a holistic plan that stimulates positive company-wide behavior is an art that has huge benefits.

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Melissa Lin
Online Dating Industry: The Business of Love

It might be hard to imagine or remember, but there was once a time when going on a date with a stranger you met online was a strange concept—frowned upon, even. Today, however, millennials have led the charge on transforming the dating industry and making online dating universally accepted. In fact, a 2018 Statista survey revealed that 12% of 18-29-year-olds admit to being in a relationship with a partner they met online. And, consider that there are now over 1,500 dating apps or websites in existence.

Though matchmaking is one of the oldest industries in existence, online matchmaking is now having a moment of its own. This article explores the business of dating: the market size of dating apps in the U.S., the industry’s biggest players, and how these products actually make money (if they even do!).

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Alex Graham, CFA
Do Economic Moats Still Matter?

Companies, like castles, need a line of defense to repel the invaders’ advances. Economic moats, taking a cue from their watery namesakes, are long-term and sustainable competitive advantages that protect others from seizing market share. But on the flipside, are they actually just lazy, passive strategies that shun innovation?

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Toby Clarence-Smith
Don't Scale an Unprofitable Business: Why Unit Economics (Still) Matter

With venture funding having grown more than 120% in the US in the last five years, startup founders and investors alike have grown increasingly comfortable with low margin business models. But the successes of the Amazons and Facebooks of this world often mask failure in a slew of other sectors, where the “build it and they will come” model doesn’t always work.

In this article, Toptal Finance Expert Toby Clarence-Smith brings attention back to the importance of studying a business’ long-term sustainability prospects, with a particular focus on unit economics, one of the building blocks of profitability and breakeven analysis for startups.

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Erik Frederick
The Financial Implications of Technical Debt

Technical debt, which relates to suboptimal technology infrastructure in an organization, can actually be a huge financial burden on a business. However, like traditional financial debt, there are steps and processes that can be taken to manage and mitigate the risk. In this article, we elaborate on how CFOs can tackle their technical debt burden.

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Melissa Lin
Waking Up a Sleeping Industry: Mattress Industry Disruption

Once crammed into stuffy showrooms with eager salespeople and a dizzying plethora of models, mattress purchases used to be notoriously complicated. However, a upstarts have recently revitalized the industry with innovations in marketing, delivery, and a direct-to-consumer model.

It’s true that the mattress industry is experiencing an upheaval, but rather than the typical narrative of newer operations completely displacing older ones, perhaps there’s room for both collaboration and innovation. There are lessons for investors, entrepreneurs, and corporate moguls alike.

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Michael Yarmo
Meal Kit Industry Blues: How Can Blue Apron Lift Its Malaise?

In the past five years, Blue Apron has brought meal kits to the masses and commands a 40% market share in the USA. Yet all is not rosy; its financial losses have continually accelerated and it has ceded 17% of its market share in the past year.

Amazon buying Whole Foods on the eve of its 2017 IPO could have just been bad luck, or prescient signs of what’s to come for Blue Apron. This article looks at ways that the business can get its house in order and win back the Millennial kitchen.

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Alex Graham, CFA
Fintech and Banks: How Can the Banking Industry Respond to the Threat of Disruption?

Fintech attention tends to focus on startups and their efforts to unbundle the financial service industry’s suite of services. But how are banks responding to this disruptive threat? Despite their wealth, talent, and rich history of innovation, they have been sluggish to respond to the upstart movement.

This article suggest four ways banks can change their tact and respond better to fintech.

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Alex Graham, CFA
Great Recent Examples of Competitive Strategy Successes

Competitive strategy frameworks are widely known and mainstays of university curricula, despite being almost 40 years old. We often hear the stories of Walmart and Southwest Airlines, but what modern examples are there? In this article we use Michael Porter’s activity positioning framework to show successful applications of competitive strategy from modern digital companies.

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Melissa Lin
Experts’ Corner: Pitch Deck Tips for Fundraising Success

Fundraising, for companies at any stage, is undoubtedly a challenging process. Even for seasoned entrepreneurs and startups already experiencing market traction, a compelling pitch and accompanying pitch deck are still necessary. While there is variance around stylistic delivery of the pitch and aesthetic of the deck itself, you might be relieved to hear that the infamous pitch deck boils down to a formula.

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Tayfun Uslu
SaaS Pricing Models - Pricing Strategy Examples and Best Practices

Pricing strategy is one of the most important financial levers that companies have at their disposal to influence the financial success of their business. However, it is not an easy task. This article analyzes SaaS software pricing strategies and finds that several of the operational characteristics of the business model generate some very useful pricing advantages that can help drive financial performance.

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