Creating a Profit Model with Sunny Su, Founder of Paradigm

The 2020 FYSO Accelerator cohort had the opportunity to ask Sunny Su – a designer, innovator, and strategist how businesses can create a profit model.

Sunny Su, IDSA, is an internationally-acclaimed designer, executive, and founder of Paradigm, an HKSTP 100 company.

His formidable integration of design, innovation, & strategy has helped numerous global brands (e.g. Coke, LG, Bosch) & startups (e.g. MorningBrew, Neurun, Nohbo—featured on Forbes, BizInsider, TODAYShow, SharkTank) to fundraise, develop, & launch transformative new product, brand, & digital experiences.

You can watch our full interview with Sunny here:

The way Sunny recommends thinking about profit is by imagining a pyramid – with your low-effort, low price items or services on the bottom and your high-effort/high-expertise, more expensive products or services on the top. Then, he recommends that you create a customer journey that can help pull your customers up through the triangle. 

Do you run a tech company and think this doesn’t apply? Well, it depends. Depending upon the value you’re trying to create for your customers, there are many technology organizations that also offer professional services (ex: Salesforce, Marketo, and iFundwomen). Here’s a great Forbes article that talks about when professional services as a strategy makes sense for SaaS companies. Also, this pyramid model aligns with the “freemium” model used by many organizations. 

The difference between this customer journey triangle and a sales funnel is that, as Sunny explains, sales funnels are typically 100% direct, but with the customer journey triangle, anyone can join the community, be part of it and hangout at the bottom tier for as long as they want. The magic of this is that they get to know your brand and value without feeling any pressure to make a purchase, and will eventually move up the triangle when they’re ready.

So, how do you create your triangle and what do you put in each tier?

Bottom Tier

In the bottom tier of your customer journey triangle you should provide your customers, or potential customers, free or inexpensive materials that they will find valuable. This can be things like ebooks, marketing materials, or whitepapers that you can replicate indefinitely, easily market out, and help prospects begin getting to know you and what you offer.

Middle Tier 

Once customers begin to realize the value of your product or services, you can begin offering them more valuable, but also more expensive, materials. If you are a service provider, this may mean a workshop or classroom training session. Middle of the triangle is where you can provide value to more people while generating revenue for your company.

Top Tier

The final part of your customer journey is when you move customers to the top tier of your triangle – the high ticket items or services that provide customers the most amount of value. This is where your company can make both the most impact for clients and the most revenue. A service company may provide one-on-one coaching to executives or strategic consulting engagements at the top of their customer journey triangle. Technology companies may offer professional services to ensure successful, impactful implementation.

Profit triangle

Sunny also explained that at the end of the day, when it comes to marketing, nobody has the “right” answers.

That being said, building a brand that people trust and stays true to its mission will be more valuable to your business than simply a beautiful logo. Your brand is your identity – make sure that it’s reputation is something customers can trust.

“Nobody knows the “right” answers… but by being procedural about your experimental process, that’s the strategy.”

-Sunny Su