Finding paying customers for your sustainable product or service is not always easy. Brainstorming on possible underlying needs can help you to find a target group and rephrase your value proposition. But sometimes, this is easier said than done. When we set up a facebook panel for Peerby to see if our new ideas were tackling underlying needs, their community told us this is not what they are waiting for. So, now what?
Innoboost is publishing a series of blogs in anticipation of our inspiring breakfast on 19 January, where 7 companies share their experience on circular business. This week we share our learning from the Peerby case about the value proposition building block.
Searching for untapped value in your business
Peerby allows you to borrow or rent items from your neighbor. By connecting people with each other and encouraging collaborative consumption, they try to establish an alternative for our consum driven throw away culture.
Instead of using the Peerby platform as a starting point, we started looking at all resources and capabilities of the company. Most of them were intangible, like having the knowledge and experience to start a community, real-life data on when products break down or their ability to steer community members to certain locations. For each of these assets, we asked ourselves: who would be interested in this?
For us this was a real eye-opener: there are more opportunities if we look beyond the product or service and look at capabilities of the company as well from a broader perspective. Real-estate agents might be interested in how often neighbors borrow something from each other, because it expresses ‘trust’ in their neighborhood. Postal services might be interested in community members that can take packages with them if they are going in a certain direction anyway. Governments might be interested in Peerby’s knowledge on how to stimulate sharing.
Selecting most promising directions
To select the most promising directions we judged ideas upon three criteria:
How well does it fit’s Peerby’s mission to move away from the throw-away culture?
What is the estimated business potential?
Is it scalable?
None of the selected directions was targeted at paying community members. The ideas were derivatives of their core business ‘borrowing or renting items from your neighbors’.
Widen your view on the circular economy
What we learned from this, is that we must search for untapped value. Maybe you have access to a distribution network, a community or a sustainable image. What’s exciting about this, is that each company is unique, meaning that there are a lot of opportunities if we widen our views. Although the circular economy is about closing material loops, intangible resources and capabilities can help you to strengthen your proposition and business model. Rethinking the system goes beyond materials.
What untapped value can you use to accelerate the shift towards a circular economy?
Stay tuned for more blogs of Innoboost. Want to continue the discussion? Don’t forget to subscribe for our inspiring breakfast 19 january!