Transparency, a successful business model differentiator @ De Merkplaats (Brand Bay)

alphons-geerlings1Alphons Geerlings – founder of De Merkplaats (“the brand bay”) – opened my eyes with his remarkable business model. “It is simple” he says. “If I go to a restaurant – btw we go to Van Harte a lot – ,  I know exactly what I need to pay. “ And that is exactly the way his business works. “We are very transparent in our costs although we are a servicing and consulting company.  The services incl. prices for a quick scan, registration and support are presented in their first email and client contact.” What is interesting is that De Merkplaats can manage everything through email and phone. No meetings required. “And if you insist to drop by, we charge you an hourly fee.” For issues around trademarks – such as ‘stealing’ URL’s – Alphons charges a fixed rate based on some hours of work. “I ensure my clients we fix it in this amount of time.

“But what about YOUR business model Patrick? Can you tell me exactly what you do and what you will deliver in a half-day session? What can I tell my clients?”. “Wow Alphons, I am suppose to be the business modeler here” I said thinking about what to answer. “I facilitate a session, help clients with business plans, financial modeling and implement their new models.” “Interesting” Alphons said “but as a client I only want to pay for a short session”… Very interesting thought… “A kind of Easyjet model where you pay for a standard service (the flight) and pay more for additional services.

Inspiration for new models in consulting? His easy and transparent model makes me also think of new models for the consulting industry. Working with fixed prices for standard services such as a workshop, a phonecall, a presentation and so on. Different rates if you want to drop by at their office. But that requires a huge turn around of their current model. Mmm… interesting new opportunities.

Trading brands… And Alphons continues his journey. He sees clients want more and more services. “My clients are interested not only in registration and protection of their trademarks, but also to come up with new brands.” He helps them developing, buying and selling their brands. Some companies have registered trademarks in their safe while other companies are desperately looking for registered trademarks. It is a new service and it is very enjoyable. It IS actually a becoming a Merkplaats or Brand Bay now…

afbeelding-092CC proof – a new global product. Last week we did a session on business modeling with the Merkplaats/CCProof team Kim Zuijderwijk, Mirjam Mollema and and CCProof ambassadors at the beautiful channel house of De Merkplaats in Amsterdam.  With CC Proof you can now easily register your ideas and concepts in writing or visualized digitally. No need to hire a notary, lawyer or go to the tax authorities. But there is more… You can also submit your idea for review by third parties eg. TV production companies, Advertising agencies and so on. Or… CC Proof can also support you in developing your idea.

We put the Business Model Canvas on the wall and started to brainstorm. Who are our clients? What is the channel we use? Who are our strategic partners? What are additional services? Carel Alberts walked during our brainstorm and connected the post-its to the central issues we need to address. He also helped me facilitating.  “I have been teaching the whole day and I know this model and especially how to make the team do the talking” 😉 Result of the workshop is an action plan, monthly sessions @ CC Proof office and… you can book Business Model 4 hour sessions with a transparent and fixed price at the beautiful gracht/channel house of Alphons. 

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