These entrepreneurs have dared a business model that takes your breath away, they say

Winning the Lépine competition is not necessary to create a viable business. Without revolutionizing their universe from A to Z, a designer can also be inventive, pragmatic and flexible in the way they conduct their business. “An innovative business model has as much potential as a technological innovation. For example, adapting the mode of management of a sector to its own domain can prove to be profitable”, assures Matthieu Somekh, the director of the Marseilles incubator ZeBox.

Accommodating a model is precisely the strategy followed by Jean-Baptiste Massif. Three years ago, this 41-year-old former wealth manager, with a hipster look, created Quasiaqui, a real estate platform based on the principle of rental with option to purchase (LOA), very common in the property sector. automobile. The apartment tenant may, at the end of the contract, either acquire the property or return it to the owner. “We allow people who are solvent, but who do not fit into the grids of traditional banks, such as freelancers, to access property.” The 10-person start-up is paid by agencies (499 euros to access the service and 12% commission on the fees received) and is targeting 500 referenced agencies and around 400 transactions in 2020.

think outside the box


SP IconoClass

Another example with IconoClass. Marie Taquet, 25, has transposed the famous “Satisfied or your money back” guarantee to her sales school, founded in 2018. With its slogan “Hire or your money back”, IconoClass undertakes to donate tuition fees to students who cannot find no employment in the six months following the end of their training. And, if they want, students can pay for their tuition after signing their CDI. A valid principle for the 20 new students who started classes at the start of the year. Confident in the ability of good salespeople to land a job, Marie Taquet, a former headhunter, is counting on “the reservoir of talent just waiting to hatch and on the SMEs or start-ups that are asking for them”.

Iconoclast, Antoine Huvé is also one in his own way. This 37-year-old real estate specialist created recherchemonnid.com in 2015. A business that reverses the traditional pattern of real estate on the Internet. Instead of placing ads online, the site asks individuals for specific information about the property they are looking for. Customer files are then sent to agents established in the geographical area concerned. If one of them has an offer that “matches”, he proposes it. The start-up (10 people) is remunerated by taking a commission. According to the founder, who has raised 3 million euros since its launch, this reverse model corresponds well to the evolution of the market. “Today, each ad triggers dozens of responses, not always very serious. Thanks to our device, the real estate agent has the certainty of dealing with customers with a real purchase project. It claims 6,000 professionals registered on its platform.

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Ignoring everything about the sector in which one is embarking is also sometimes the best way to be inventive. “Not having been immersed in the restaurant business led me to think outside the box and innovate in a niche where not much had happened for years,” says Maxim Simon, 38, co-founder of the crêperies. Mardi (two restaurants in Paris) and ex-finance specialist.

With his partner, they developed a machine to make pancakes. “We needed to save time. We didn’t know that, among the crepes, it is forbidden to make crepes on anything other than a bilig. That’s why we did it,” he explains. Patented, working perfectly, simple and automatic, their device increases productivity. They plan to sell it to other professionals in catering, leisure parks, hotels and events.

Flexibility and questioning

Thinking outside the box also means agreeing to sell to professionals. Especially when these come to walk on your flowerbeds. Laurence Le Clerc, the founder of the Grimel hat shop, in Clisson, near Nantes, is primarily aimed at the general public. At the same time, she works as a subcontractor for major hat brands, which, in theory, could overshadow her.

In reality, it interests competitors much bigger than itself and who do not have its in-house know-how, as well as generalist fashion brands looking for diversification in the world of hats. Its two activities feed off each other. “B to B provides me with regular cash flow which allows me to create serenely. B to C brings me feedback from individuals, which is useful for encouraging my professional clients to think about their own collections.”

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SP Solar Brother

Finally, being flexible also means questioning yourself. And to change certain parameters of the model to revive a declining business. On the ashes of his previous company, Gilles Gallo relaunched his solar-powered barbecue business in 2016. Solar Brother, the name of the new entity, abandons bulky models to focus on small formats: lighters or mini-barbecues, which are much cheaper on sale.

Manufacturing is outsourced to one of its former competitors and, thanks to a design based on the principles of frugal innovation, its costs have come down, allowing it to charge much more affordable public prices (from 9 at 69 euros). Result of these adjustments: sales are on the rise again. Distributed in supermarkets (at Nature & Découvertes, for example) and at independent retailers, the products generated 310,000 euros in sales last year. Like what, flexibility pays off.

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