Business studies question

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  • Business studies question
  • Creating a business model canvas for an online classifieds (something like Gumtree, for example) where there is no charge for most people (freemium) to either advertise or buy, do vendors and/or customers count as ‘Key Partners’?

    From what I understand, key partners are ones that make the business model work. Things that others are better placed to do for your business. Things that can and should be outsourced as they are outside of your ‘business type’. Clear cut in many businesses (like a bike manufacturer eg. GT / Giant) but I can’t seem to apply this definition to something like a free-to-use classifieds.

    I currently have

    application development
    online platform

    Should I be including vendors and buyers? I assume not buyers… but perhaps. They aren’t actually ‘our’ customers…

    Thanks in advance.

    Premier Icon davidr

    I tend to say that key partners are those who do something that your business model depends on and that you couldn’t source elsewhere. For example, in a ‘conventional’ business, someone who supplies a hard to get part, not your stationery supplier.

    In this case I’d struggle to see vendors as a partner as they have no particular tie to your business. They’d be customers surely?

    I have the book in my study so will dig it out later to see if it has an illustration of this.

    Premier Icon davidr

    BTW both vendors and buyers are customers. They are using your service and you are creating value for them. They may not pay, depending on your business model, but they are customers.

    Premier Icon geoffj

    Don’t over think it.
    Those using your product are customers i.e. Sellers & Buyers.
    It’s fine to only have 3 key partners.

    Also remember the business model canvas is only a template – extra marks for tweaking section headings and adding/removing bits to suit your proposal e.g. There’s a business mission canvas too, which is worth looking at to see customisation.

    Edit: I like to start with the VPD elements first – everything else should hang from those.


    The company who hosts the site or provides the platform are suppliers. I would say advertisers are customers as they provide the revenue. Buyers & sellers are really just ‘users’ and don’t figure economically other than to attract advertising. Your key partners might be a company that writes specialist code for the site (and has a vested interest).

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