February 2, 2023
Startup Finance

7 Revenue Streams: How To Pick The Right One For Your Business

Identifying and capitalizing on the most profitable revenue streams is key for your company’s long-term success, as the right source of income can facilitate its development and growth. On the other hand, choosing the wrong revenue stream can lead to financial losses and even business failure. Before settling on a certain method of producing money, it’s wise to do some homework and think all the details through.
John Ladaga

Are you struggling to determine the best revenue streams for your business? There are many opportunities out there, and it might be difficult to narrow down your choices to those that will be the most profitable and successful over time. Especially in today’s economic climate, putting all of your financial eggs in one basket by relying on a single source of income is a risky strategy. Even if you have a steady income stream now, you can (and should) look for other sources.

In this article, we’ll share our tips on how to zero in on and choose the right revenue streams that will propel your company to the next level of success.

There are many revenue streams, and choosing the right ones is crucial

Definition Of Revenue Streams 

The various sources of income that a company might tap into are known as revenue streams. Product sales, service fees, and investment returns are just a few examples of the various ways in which a company might bring in money.

The key to running a profitable business is having multiple sources of income so that if one of them suddenly dries up, the others can help you weather the storm. For example, if your company’s revenue is derived primarily from the sale of tangible goods, you may find it difficult to endure economic upheavals when consumers cut back on their spending.

Businesses that focus on a single product or service may find additional success by expanding their product line or service offerings. A software company, for instance, might provide two different versions of its product, one with fewer bells and whistles and the other with more expensive premium add-ons.

How Many Revenue Streams Should You Have?

Although there is no consensus on the exact number of revenue streams for a business, most professionals believe that it is beneficial to diversify your earnings. By doing so, you can safeguard your company’s financial health in the event that you face a short decline in revenue from any one of your revenue sources.

When planning a startup or small firm, it’s important to think about numerous revenue streams from the beginning to ensure financial stability in the early stages. You can do this by giving advisory services that capitalize on your industry knowledge, partnering with other companies to co-create and market products, or simply selling things online through the many sales channels available.

Making your company as robust as possible is of utmost importance, and one method to do this is to look into several sources of recurring earnings. Although you may never be completely safe with any one source of income, diversifying them helps you stay stable regardless of market fluctuations or economic shocks. Ultimately, what really matters is a company’s long-term success, and that requires a steady revenue stream.

The Importance Of Revenue Streams

Understanding revenue sources is crucial for businesses, as it aids in gauging the health of a company, identifying trends and predictability in sales, and figuring out ways to boost or stabilize earnings.

Knowing where your money is coming from allows you to monitor trends and make informed estimates for the company as a whole. If you are able to monitor your finances and notice fluctuations, trends, or decreases in revenue, you may zero in on the source and prioritize your efforts accordingly. Gaining an in-depth familiarity with the various revenue models will help you spot potential growth areas.

We’ll stress this again: revenue streams should be diversified to lessen vulnerability to economic downturns. Thanks to technological progress and the general trend toward digital transformation, most businesses now have access to fresh opportunities for expanding their product lines. You can also boost revenue by venturing into new markets and offering supplementary services like subscriptions or online training sessions.

What Are The Main Types Of Revenue Streams To Explore?

Various revenue streams can be explored by businesses in order to create revenue and maintain competitiveness. Freemium business models, in which clients gain access to a product or service without paying anything upfront, are becoming increasingly common. Businesses that count on widespread user engagement or adoption will find this revenue stream particularly useful because it increases both customer acquisition and brand recognition.

Variable pricing, tiered pricing, and volume discounts are all examples of frequent pricing strategies that bring in extra money. By using these methods, businesses can set rates for each consumer that are unique to their preferences and past purchases.

Having outside parties cover costs is another way to bring in money. A corporation might, for instance, negotiate license or commission arrangements with other entities in order to monetize the sale of its products and services.

Last but not least, a company’s value proposition consists of the benefits and advantages it provides to clients that are not available from competitors. Entrepreneurs can increase the likelihood of long-term success and expansion by learning about the various revenue streams and selecting those that work best with their business strategy.

Following are some of the main types of revenue streams:


When a corporation offers a free version of its product or service but then charges for more advanced versions or extra features, it is using the Freemium revenue model. The software and technology industries have found great success with the Freemium model, which allows them to provide a rudimentary version of their product at no cost while charging for more features, support, and services. 

However, there are drawbacks, such as the fact that it may be hard to turn free users into paying customers and the fact that the company may require a sizable user base in order to make a respectable profit. It’s also possible that people won’t upgrade from the free version to the paid one if the company doesn’t provide enough value in the latter.

Partnership Revenue 

The partnership-based revenue model is a popular way to make money from free web content. It involves a collaboration between the service provider and a third-party company that offers paid premium features to users. The outside company pays a commission to the service provider as an incentive for users to upgrade to the paid version.

The benefits of his model are not negligible. For starters, it helps keep the service free for the vast majority of people. Two, it provides the service provider with a reliable source of income for running costs and future growth. And lastly, the service provider has an opportunity to cross-sell their subscribers on additional offerings. 

The partnership revenue model offers advantages, but it also has significant drawbacks. For instance, the service provider has to relinquish some authority over the customer’s experience, and if people aren’t willing to pay extra for enhanced capabilities, that could stunt growth in the long run. Moreover, finding reliable partners that are also prepared to pay a reasonable commission might be challenging.

It’s true that there are obstacles to overcome when using the partnership revenue model to monetize free online services, but overall, it’s a feasible option.

Pay What You Want 

Businesses of all stripes, from cafes to software developers, have been warming up to the pay-what-you-can pricing model. A product or service can be offered at any price the customer is willing to pay. Proponents of this pricing strategy contend that it gives consumers more freedom to pay what they consider to be a fair price. The advocates of the pay-what-you-want approach also claim that it can increase a company’s goodwill and create a stronger feeling of community. On the other hand, its detractors argue that it is unsustainable because customers frequently end up paying less than the full price.

Setting Standards 

Establishing yourself as a thought leader can do wonders for your company’s success. It will help you draw in more clients, and it will also allow you to set higher prices. This is the fundamental tenet upon which the business strategy for establishing standards relies. Make more money by setting the bar high in your industry with a groundbreaking product or service that other businesses will strive to emulate. 

Problems can arise with this model also, of course. Firstly, getting recognized as a leader in your field of expertise takes time and effort. Secondly, customers may switch to less expensive options even if you can charge a premium price. Lastly, maintaining your position as an industry leader involves an ongoing investment of time and resources to set up these standards.

In general, companies that are up to the task of this revenue model have an enticing choice.


One common strategy for generating income from intellectual property (IP) like patents, trademarks, and copyrights is licensing. In this setup, the IP owner sells a license to a third party in exchange for compensation. The cost may be paid all at once, or it may be spread out over time in the form of a royalty. 

The intellectual property owner can benefit from this income model because licensing payments are not contingent on the creation or sale of a physical product. It’s important to note that there are drawbacks here as well: Finding businesses that are willing to pay for a license can be problematic. Additionally, the risk of losing a licensee exists even if you find one, and depending on the state of the market, licensing fees might rise or fall dramatically.

Intellectual property-owning companies can pursue a licensing revenue strategy, but doing so is not without its difficulties.

Examples Of Revenue Streams 

Corporations can generate revenue in a number of different ways. In general, there are benefits and drawbacks to each potential source of income. And one source of income may be more appropriate for you than another, depending on your value offer and target market. 

We’ve outlined seven potential income generators, each representing a different broad category.

Product Sales 

The term “product sales” refers to just that: selling products and services. If a buyer buys a product instead of leasing it, they will have full ownership of it. The best example of a business model that benefits from this type of revenue is an online retailer. Although, traditional stores also employ this practice. Ikea, Walmart, and Casper are some of the companies that use the product sales method. 

Some businesses combine the two methods. Google sells hardware such as the Pixel phone line, Chromecast media players, and the Nest smart home system in addition to their software offerings like GSuite.

Subscription Fees

Many companies today rely on subscription services, where customers pay a recurring fee for ongoing access. The small monthly payments are easily manageable and can be easily forgotten, ensuring consistent revenue. Customers subscribe to a service by agreeing to pay a periodic charge in exchange for continued use of that service. 

Some examples of the “subscription” revenue stream include:

  • Netflix;
  • Amazon Prime;
  • Gym memberships;
  • Adobe.


There is a wide variety of licenses available. Before the subscription model became prevalent, software licensing was the primary source of income for most companies in the industry. Microsoft is still an example of a software developer that uses perpetual licensing. Their products are available on a subscription basis, but individual product licenses, such as Microsoft Word, can still be purchased.

Licenses can be obtained for more than just software. The use of a trademark or other copyrighted content can be licensed to another party. Examples of licensing would be Disney (for instance, when they allowed McDonald’s to utilize its characters for their Happy Meal toys) and record labels allowing film studios to use their music in their productions with proper licensing agreements.

Asset Sale

It’s common practice for companies of all sizes and in various sectors to generate revenue by selling assets. If your company sells a product, the buyer will eventually become the owner. When a firm is sold, the buyer acquires all of the seller’s assets. The typical sale is a one-time occurrence. 

After a purchase has been made, the buyer has entire discretion over the product, including the right to put it to any use, including disposal. Typically, a company’s income is derived from the selling of some sort of tangible item. Some examples of asset sales include real estate companies that sell properties and auto dealerships that sell used cars. 

Advertising Fees

To monetize your business’s online and offline properties, you might charge advertising costs to promote products and services. Businesses with highly visited websites frequently rely on advertising as a primary source of revenue — selling advertising space is how you make money.

This is helpful since it allows you to quickly and easily monetize a high-traffic area, whether it be online or off. One drawback is that advertisements seem to be sprouting up overnight, so think twice before subjecting your clients to one. Putting advertisements on your website, podcast, or YouTube channel are all great ways to generate additional income.

Leasing And Renting 

Leasing and renting are sources of income since they involve selling exclusive use of a product for a predetermined time period. Airbnb and car rentals are other examples of this revenue stream. This strategy works best if you already have rental property. Subscription fees and product sales are common additional sources of income for businesses of this type (since people can opt to buy the products, too).

Consulting Or Services 

The group of people you’ve assembled can also be a great asset. Utilizing your staff in consultation or service provision is a great way to increase your business’s effectiveness. Consultants and advisors in finance and marketing are two common examples. Businesses in this category might be either project-based or retainer-based.

In a retainer arrangement, clients pay a fixed monthly fee in exchange for a predetermined service level. It is possible to generate income without developing new assets or releasing a new product by providing services or consulting.

Choosing The Right Revenue Stream 

How do you decide which of these potential avenues of profit for your firm are ideal? What matters most is the kind of your current assets, your clientele, and your major source of income. You should start by taking stock of what you already have. That goes for everyone on your staff as well.

How can such resources most productively generate extra cash flow? Do you, for instance, have a competent team behind your SaaS startup that might provide a service in addition to having a subscription-based SaaS business? Do you have an established podcast that listeners would find valuable and would be interested in sponsoring?

Finding new sources of money to bring in is great, but only if it doesn’t add too much hassle to how you do business. That’s why it’s smart to make the most of what you already have. If necessary, you may always build upon those resources, however, it is important that your growth is guided by what your clients want. 

The right revenue stream for you depends on a set of factors

Find out what your current customers require by conducting a survey, and see if your company can meet that demand to generate additional income. If you own a retail business, for instance, you might learn that clients appreciate a monthly subscription box because it ensures they always have access to the things they use most. If so, offering this type of service can generate additional income for you.


Overall, it’s important to take your time while deciding on a revenue model for your company. You can make a well-informed selection that aligns with your business goals and objectives if you learn about your customers’ wants and preferences, examine your competition and industry trends, and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of different revenue sources. 

Since your organization and industry are likely to undergo change over time, it’s crucial that your revenue stream be versatile and open to adjustment. It is also wise to have multiple sources of income so that your company is not dependent on any one factor. You can ensure that the revenue stream you select will contribute to the continued success of your firm if you take the time to investigate and evaluate your possibilities.

If you're looking to model out and play with different revenue streams, checkout our software! We make it easy to build investor-ready models, without having to be an expert on finance. With Sturppy, you can try out different revenue streams and find the one that suites your business best.