HomeStartups10 Proven Business Model Ideas: For Startups in Difficult Time

10 Proven Business Model Ideas: For Startups in Difficult Time





Situations like a pandemic, war, lockdown can prove to be very difficult times for businesses in such unforgiving time and competitive market. Even worse for startups in general. But there are several startup business model ideas which are flourishing during this time. These are some of the industries to invest in during situations like the COVID 19 pandemic and lockdown.

It is essential to keep in mind that even after such emergency times end, a lot of these businesses will still be relevant since the new ‘normal’ will be very different from what we knew for years.

All the businesses talked about in the next few sections are some of the best options to delve deeper into the market. It can not only yield profits for the owners but will also help you add value to your customers during these difficult times.

In the following sections, we will not only see how businesses work but also how do they earn money and what audience group will benefit from the services and products offered by that business. It will help you get a grounded understanding of the business and the industry these ideas will help you target.

Common Prerequisites for these Startup Business Models

For all the businesses we talk about in the next section, there are a few things that are common among these businesses.

Internet Connection

All these startup ideas are digital in nature, so the business models will need you and the users/customers to have an active internet connection. Since all the businesses are catering to the customer’s needs online, it is essential for that the internet connection is in place.


All these businesses make it necessary for the customers to either have a laptop or a tablet, smartphone, or any other smart device. Most of these businesses will need the consumers to have digital infrastructure to access the services and products.

Online Payment Options

Some of the businesses need the consumers to pay for the services, which makes it essential for the customers to have online payment options sorted in case they opt-in for a service. This can be another cause of the problem for the business to lose out on consumers

These are the primary needs that need to be sorted from both the business and consumers to avoid issues in the same. Having a strong support team can help the consumers to navigate better through the anticipated problems.

The best companies thriving in the lockdown are discussed in detail in this section. These businesses are divided based on the industry they fall in to help you navigate better through all the information.

List of Time Tested Business Models

EdTech Business Model

The education sector is the most hit during these times. Both students and teachers have turned to online mediums to cater to the students. Several businesses are aiding the educational sector and helping the students in these difficult times.


EdTech refers to the companies which provide the technical infrastructure to students to aid their learning projects and classwork. Ed-tech companies offer their learners with resources, including videos, quizzes, and notes to learn the concepts better. Coursera, Udemy, Byju’s are some of the best examples of Edtech companies.

The major stakeholders in the EdTech business models are the students, the instructors, and the company. The students are the primary revenue streams, the instructors are the significant contributors, and the company bridges the gap in the education sector. The company needs to make sure that they offer the best services to all these stakeholders to gain good profits. It could be a multi-sided business model/marketplace as well.

Revenue Model

While we try to understand how does a company works, their revenue model is one of the most basic information, and we review. Here are the primary revenue streams of an EdTech company which constitutes their revenue model:

  1. Service Charges from Students: The company charges the learners a service charge, which covers the course and the technical infrastructure that the company is providing the student with to access the way.
  2. Commissions from Instructors: Depending on the individual differences in the business model, the company charges commissions from the institution or the instructor who are hosting courses online with the help of these EdTech companies. These makeup for a considerable part of the revenue generated by the company
  3. Advertisements & Special promotion pages: Ed-tech companies offer special promotional packages to the instructors to help their courses rank better in the system and get their ways a broader reach to the audience. These packages are also significant sources of income for the companies.

These are some of the ubiquitous streams of revenue for any EdTech company. This is how they make money, and it is a wise choice to build a business in the EdTech industry right now.

Online Assessment Software Business Model

Online assessments are booming during this time of COVID19 pandemic. Several processes, such as entrances exams for colleges and hiring processes for companies, cannot be stopped because of the current scenario. Online assessment software caters to the needs of companies and educational institutions who want to hire and admit accordingly.

Online Assessment Software

For the online assessment software business model, there are majorly four stakeholders. These stakeholders will include companies/institutes opting for the assessment services, candidates giving these exams, learners opting for some other resources on the platform, and the company.

Understanding the Stakeholders

Companies & Institutions

They are the primary stakeholder of the online assessment business. This is because they are also the most important part of the revenue model of the company. The company needs to provide them with the best service possible.


These are the second most active user of the platform. Since these candidates give the exams organized by the companies and educational institutions, they become an important stakeholder for the company. Providing these stakeholders with the best services is important because they are potential advertisers and users of the platform. Several conversions can be expected from this group.


Most online assessment software has additional resources on their platforms such as eBooks, online courses, personality assessments, and several others. These resources are a mixture of publicly available ones and paid ones. Hence, it is essential to provide learners with the best resources to convert them to paid users.

These are the major stakeholders that the business can focus on to grow their businesses and build a higher revenue rate for themselves.

Revenue Model

Here are some of the most common revenue streams for any online assessment software company discussed in detail:

  1. Companies/Institutions – Massive hiring or admission processes are the major revenue streams for any online assessment software company. Since they are conducting these exams, they pay for the best packages that the company has to offer.
  2. Resources – most online assessment software host paid online courses or provided their users with eBooks and several other resources. These resources make up for a good percentage of the total revenue generated by the company
  3. Advertisements – These platforms host advertisements on their websites which also add up to the revenue generated by the company

These are some of the primary revenue streams of any online examination software. These might vary depending upon the individual business model of the companies.

Online Meetings – Meetups Business Model

Online meetings have been growing during this time because people cannot meet in person, but the work is not going to come to a halt because of the COVID19 lockdown. Online meetings help people to meet up virtually and discuss the updates.

Intelligent Candidate Video Screening

Interviews are an essential part of the admission processes at several institutions. This is especially very important when it comes to higher education degrees or internship opportunities for the students. An intelligent candidate, video screening application, helps the individuals to record their answers to the questions on the software, and the interviewers can view all the answers on their dashboard. This saves time, the energy of both the parties and also maintaining the social distance in this COVID19.

The major stakeholders of this business are the companies and institutions hiring the video screening software for their interviewing processes and the candidates. The major revenue is generated by the interviewers who hire these services. Advertisements can be another way of adding to the revenue generated. However, the interviewees are not charged any commissions to complete their applications.

Online Meetings/ Meetups

Online meetings are used in both formal and informal settings. Video conferencing and e-meetings are used in traditional settings to hold work meetings and virtual updates of the remote work going on in companies. Online dating is one of the informal uses of online meeting technology. All of these ventures are discussed in detail in this section.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has been widely used and debated in this period of lockdown. Video conferencing has been used for several purposes like classroom education, office meetings, virtual parties, and more. It is the go-to option for people to meet online and establish several tasks. It is a great business idea to build a startup similar to Zoom or Skype during this COVID 19 pandemic.

The major stakeholders in the online meeting business model are majorly the users and the company. There are significantly fewer classifications of the types of users. Most of these companies have premium subscriptions, which are an essential source of income for these companies. So the users can be divided into prime users and users who are using free resources.

Revenue Model

The major revenue for the video conferencing companies is generated by the premium subscriptions of the services offered by the company. The traffic on the websites and the app downloads are another part of the revenue generation model. Several businesses also host advertisements on their websites, which add up to the revenue model of the company.


Several groups are opt-in for e-meetings rather than video conferencing. The difference between the two is that e-meetings can be held over conference calls or messages. In contrast, video conferencing offers you the feature to have both audio and visual of the members of the meeting. Webinars are one of the most famous examples of e-meetings which help the organizers to interact with a large crowd without having to manage the audio and video of all the participants.

The business model of e-meetings is similar to that of video conferencing software. The major stakeholders are the users and the company. The e-meeting software, like the video conferencing software, has a similar revenue model, including the premium subscriptions to the services offered by the company. The only difference between video conferencing and e-meetings is that video conferencing software provides more features than the other one.

Online Dating Business Model

Online dating app is another fantastic part of the online meeting. Several platforms enable users to meet compatible partners based on their AI algorithms. These platforms ask users to create their profiles with some built-in questions, and it helps them find profiles that have similar answers. The users can talk to people online whose profiles they find exciting and can start dating them as well.

Online Dating

The Online Dating business model of dating apps or sites works on simple terms. The users and the company are the only stakeholders. The company needs to provide its users with an easy to navigate interface, and data security plays an essential role in these platforms, especially for female users.

Revenue Model

The revenue model for online dating apps is tricky since these apps will get deleted if they work well. So these companies offer their users with premium subscriptions to their users. The premium users get additional features for their profiles, enabling them to meet better matches. The major revenue generation stream for these apps is the premium subscriptions and the advertisements hosted by the applications. The advertisements make up for a considerable chunk of the overall revenue generated by the company.

These are some of the significant online meeting businesses which are flourishing during this time of lockdown. People have additional time in their routines to scroll through these sites and make the most of them. The business owners need to pay attention to increased demands and cater to the needs of the people accordingly.

OTT/ Online Entertainment Business Model

Now that people have more time to spend by themselves or with their families, there is an increased need for entertainment sources for them. Several online companies are filling this gap during the lockdown. Online gaming and online video streaming are two of the most popular entertainment devices used during this lockdown. Both of these ideas are discussed in detail in this section.

Over-The-Top Media Services

Over-The-Top media services or OTT platforms are online video streaming services which the users can use directly via the internet. These services offer videos on demand to their users. Several common examples of the OTT platforms are Netflix, Amazon Prime, Voot, Hotstar, and several others.

Read more – Netflix business model, how does an OTT platform make money?

The entertainment business model for OTT platforms is not very elaborate. Since the users can directly watch the video via the internet, the major stakeholders are only the users and the company. The users are directly opting for the services offered by the company. This keeps the business model of the company pretty simplified to study.

Revenue Model

The Over-The-Top media services are essential on various types of subscriptions. For most OTT platforms, there are some levels of subscriptions which differ based on the costs and the services provided to the subscriber. The most general kind of subscriptions is basic, standard, and premium subscriptions, where the premium subscribers get all the help of the basic and standard subscriptions plus added benefits.

Online Gaming Business Model

Several teenagers and adults have taken advantage of online gaming during this lockdown. From Ludo King to PubG, the population has made the most of their time by playing these games. The online gaming industry has seen a boom since the lockdown was announced.

The online gaming business model only has the company and the users as their stakeholders. However, gaming applications need to be very easy to navigate and, most importantly, engaging. Gaming apps only work in the market if they can gauge the attention and curiosity of the gamers. The company needs to focus on delivering the best to the gamers on their platform.

Revenue Model

The revenue model for any online gaming application is pretty simple. The majority of the revenue for any gaming application is earned via two basic mediums:

  1. Advertisements – some games like Ludo king, snakes and ladders, and others have small advertisements put on the sides of the gaming platform. The company’s significant sources of income are advertisements and funding. Read more about Classified Script.
  2. In-app purchases – Several games like PubG and COD have in-app purchases that help enhance the quality of the game. Many users who ace the game want to increase the difficulty level of the game with the help of these in-app purchases.

These factors sum up the revenue model of the online gaming industry. There might be some changes based on the individual business model of some companies.

Online Marketplace Business Model

Online marketplaces refer to the e-commerce industry that caters to the requirements of their users online. It is an elaborate network of stakeholder which replicates the traditional market online. E-commerce websites have made it possible for consumers to shop for anything from the comfort of their rooms. Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, and several others are some of the e-commerce giants, which are household names now.

The online marketplace business model is elaborate and structured. There are several stakeholders in this business model that help the network in place. Before understanding how the system works, let us take a look at all the stakeholders involved.

Understanding the Stakeholders


The primary stakeholder, like any other business, is the consumer. The buyers or as we call them, the consumers make up for the significant part of the business model for any online marketplace. The consumers keep the company going, and the company needs to make sure that the consumers are provided with the best services available.


The sellers are primary providers to the consumers. They sell the goods, and the company allows them to expand their business. It brings them a wider audience and helps them to supply goods to a larger audience from their current limited resources. Verified buyers can make a great deal of profit in online marketplaces and expand their business.


The delivery professionals working with the company have an essential role to play. Once the goods leave the seller’s premises, it is the rider’s responsibility to deliver it safely. The transit that a good goes through before reaching the consumer determines the final quality of the goods to a great extent. Hence, the company needs to recruit trustworthy riders for its service.

The Company

In any online marketplace, the company is an essential stakeholder since it bridges the gap between the other three stakeholders. The company brings the buyers and the sellers closer and gives the riders employment opportunities serving the greater population. Hence, the company plays an essential role in the entire dynamics.

Revenue Model

After one understands how does the company work, it is also essential to look into the best opportunities to generate revenue from the entire dynamic business model. The general revenue streams of any online marketplace are discussed below

  1. Delivery Charges – The company charges delivery fees from the consumers to get their goods delivered to them. Most of these delivery charges go to the rider.
  2. Service Charges – the consumers are also charged service charges which goes to the company for bringing the services so closer to them and benefitting the process
  3. Commission from Sellers – the company charges commissions from the sellers for providing a platform that helps them expand their business.
  4. Advertisements – several online marketplaces host advertisements for several products and businesses. This is one of the significant sources of income for several online marketplaces
  5. Premium Subscriptions – most of the e-commerce businesses provide their users with premium subscriptions, which come with added benefits. This is also a good source of income for the company.

These are some of the generic sources of revenue for online marketplaces. They can vary based on the individual business model and revenue model of businesses.

Online Fitness App Business Model

The concern around fitness has seen a spike during this lockdown. Since people have spare time to focus more on themselves, they are paying more attention to their well-being. There are online applications that have guided workouts and meditation routines. Several applications also have diet routines that complement the workout regimen one is following. Best examples from this industry are HealthifyMe, becurefit, and more.

The online fitness app business model includes the user, the instructor, and the company. The company needs guiding videos and sessions from the experts in the industry to improve the quality of services provided to the users. The company also needs to provide the instructors with the best deals to maintain loyalty. So the online fitness industry is very interconnected to support retention.

Revenue Model

The online fitness industry has several revenue streams in their business model. Some of the most generic ones are discussed below:

  1. In-app purchases: most online fitness applications have in-app purchases where the users can purchase either a diet plan or a workout regime or both. They can also book appointments with experts through the app.
  2. Premium subscriptions: Several online fitness applications offer excellent subscription packages, which help the users to enjoy several benefits the app has to offer.
  3. Commission from instructors: If the instructors can host their workout sessions on an online platform, the online fitness platform will likely charge a commission from the instructors.
  4. Advertisements: Most online fitness applications have promotions in their apps related to health and wellness. These advertisements make up for a good part of the overall revenue generated by the company.

These revenue streams sum up the generic revenue model of any online fitness company. There are several other ways an online fitness company could earn revenue from its business model.

These are the top 10 businesses flourishing during the depressing times like COVID 19. It will be a wise choice to establish a business in one of the given sectors since they come with a full proof plan. All the ideas discussed in this article have been tested by the biggest companies in the industry.


  1. Wonderful article. Magistral Consulting helps in strategizing for startups and helps in raising funds. Here is the link to our website

  2. In this pandemic, it is tough to start a business and take it to top. But you guys have given a nice idea of starting an online business. I appreciate.


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