The Value of Recurring Revenue

If you plan to add value to your business in 2022, you might want to start by focusing on how your customers pay.

The traditional way that businesses earn money is via a transaction business model. This is where customers pay once for what they purchase. If you are using this model, you can expect the value of your business to be a single-digit multiple of your Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA).

Conversely, a recurring revenue model is one in which customers make ongoing purchases via a subscription. Using this model, you can expect the value of your business to be a multiple of your revenue.

Recurring revenue is seen positively by business buyers, as it is obvious how the business will continue to make money, even long after you have gone.

It may be challenging to know where to start on how to create recurring revenue, but below are a few models worth thinking about:

Products That Run Out

If you sell a product that consumers frequently run out of, you could offer it on a subscription. One such example is the retail giant Target, which offers customers a diaper subscription for busy parents who don’t have the time to rush to the store every time they run out. Dollar Shave Club offers Subscription razor blade sales (which Unilever purchased in 2016 for five times its revenue). More than 80% of The Honest Company’s revenues originate through subscriptions, and they offer safe household cleaning products and dish detergent to people who care about the environment.

Membership Websites

Consider whether clients might pay for access to a premium membership website where you give your expertise to subscribers only if you are a consultant and provide specialised guidance. Membership websites are available today for people who wish to learn about everything, from restaurant management to search engine marketing.

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Services Contracts

Consider switching to a fixed monthly cost for your service if you now bill by the hour or the project. That’s what the marketing firm GoBrandGo accomplished to stabilise cash flow and make the service industry more stable.

Piggyback Services

When a “one-off” customer purchases something from you, consider what they go on to buy. As an illustration, if you create a new website for a business, it will likely require a place to host it. You could offer to host the client’s website on a subscription basis, even though the initial website design may be a one-time service. If you provide interior design services, your clients will likely want to keep their property in immaculate condition, which means they might seek a regular cleaning service.


If you sell an expensive product that customers only sometimes need, you might consider renting access to it to subscribers. Subscribers to ZipCar can access an automobile whenever they need it without spending the money to purchase a piece of machinery. Without buying a building or signing a long-term lease, WeWork subscribers can access the company’s co-working space.
You don’t need to run a software business to get clients that automatically pay you each month. Adding some recurring revenue is the fastest strategy to increase the worth of your company this year.

Which businesses are most likely to fit a recurring revenue model?

Several business kinds are especially well-suited for the recurring income business model, even though companies from many other industries have adapted to fit into it.


Businesses that offer access to media material, such as audio, video, and books, have adopted the recurring income model very well. Famous examples are Netflix, HBO, and Spotify.
When users sign up for these services, they do so to get exclusive access to the offerings. The allure of content-based businesses is that you must be a subscriber to that service to have full access to the content you want (whether it be songs, movies, or books). You can access some e-books in Kindle format, for instance, if you have Amazon Prime. You must, however, specifically subscribe to Amazon Kindle to receive unlimited access to e-books.

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Instead of making one-time sales, many software companies provide access to their programs via subscription-based services (SaaS). SaaS removes the expense of early software setup and the challenge of putting new products into action. While the old one-off sales approach makes it difficult for software developers to distribute product upgrades to end customers, the SaaS model transforms it into a straightforward, automated procedure that allows for the smooth addition of new features.


Subscription boxes are a well-known illustration of the product-based subscription model, where buyers sign up to receive boxes of a specific product at predetermined intervals (weekly, monthly, or quarterly). These subscription boxes can be broadly divided into two categories based on demand: convenience and curated.

The products in the subscription box come into the convenience subscriptions category if regularly refilled with more of the same products. Customers who purchase these boxes typically know what they will receive and can choose the exact things they want to include in their box.

On the other hand, customers who purchase curated subscription boxes receive various products based on a theme. These clients typically don’t know which products will be included and haven’t chosen the exact items they’ll receive. These are also known as “surprise boxes.”

The popularity of subscription boxes has dramatically benefited from the development of social media and e-commerce. Customers love these boxes for their convenience and unique experience.

Moving Forward…

Subscriptions are commonplace in almost every sector, from entertainment to grocery to software. There’s a good reason why more businesses are moving to subscription-based business models: they usually work.

You can accomplish more if you have recurrent money streams. Creating reliable (as much as they can be, of course) streams of money through the sale of services or goods in advance enables more planning, growth, and expansion.
When your income is reliable and recurrent, you can concentrate more on expanding your business rather than worrying about money.

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This article by Robin Olivier was originally published at ActionCURVE

About the Author:

Robin Olivier is a certified business and executive coach with over 20 years of experience running his own businesses. He helps driven and energetic business owners and leaders increase their profits and their operating efficiencies. As your coach and mentor, he will help you achieve more using proven tools, methodologies, and systems, tested and perfected over tens of thousands of businesses worldwide over the past three decades. More about Robin.

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