A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value,in economic, social, cultural or other contexts. The process of business model construction and modification is also called business model innovation and forms a part of business strategy.
In theory and practice, the term business model is used for a broad range of informal and formal descriptions to represent core aspects of a business, including purpose, business process, target customers, offerings, strategies, infrastructure, organizational structures, sourcing, trading practices, and operational processes and policies including culture.
The literature has provided very diverse interpretations and definitions of a business model. A systematic review and analysis of manager responses to a survey defines business models as the design of organizational structures to enact a commercial opportunity.Further extensions to this design logic emphasize the use of narrative or coherence in business model descriptions as mechanisms by which entrepreneurs create extraordinarily successful growth firms.
Business models are used to describe and classify businesses, especially in an entrepreneurial setting, but they are also used by managers inside companies to explore possibilities for future development. Well-known business models can operate as "recipes" for creative managers.Business models are also referred to in some instances within the context of accounting for purposes of public reporting.
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Over the years, business models have become much more sophisticated. The bait and hook business model (also referred to as the "razor and blades business model" or the "tied products business model") was introduced in the early 20th century. This involves offering a basic product at a very low cost, often at a loss (the "bait"), then charging compensatory recurring amounts for refills or associated products or services (the "hook"). Examples include: razor (bait) and blades (hook); cell phones (bait) and air time (hook); computer printers (bait) and ink cartridge refills (hook); and cameras (bait) and prints (hook). A variant of this model was employed by Adobe, a software developer that gave away its document reader free of charge but charged several hundred dollars for its document writer.
In the 1950s, new business models came from McDonald's Restaurants and Toyota. In the 1960s, the innovators were Wal-Mart and Hypermarkets. The 1970s saw new business models from FedEx and Toys R Us; the 1980s from Blockbuster, Home Depot, Intel, and Dell Computer; the 1990s from Southwest Airlines, Netflix, eBay, Amazon.com, and Starbucks.
Today, the type of business models might depend on how technology is used. For example, entrepreneurs on the internet have also created entirely new models that depend entirely on existing or emergent technology. Using technology, businesses can reach a large number of customers with minimal costs. In addition, the rise of outsourcing and globalization has meant that business models must also account for strategic sourcing, complex supply chains and moves to collaborative, relational contracting structures.
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Design logic views the business model as an outcome of creating new organizational structures or changing existing structures to pursue a new opportunity. Gerry George and Adam Bock (2011) conducted a comprehensive literature review and surveyed managers to understand how they perceived the components of a business model.In that analysis these authors show that there is a design logic behind how entrepreneurs and managers perceive and explain their business model. In further extensions to the design logic, George and Bock (2012) use case studies and the IBM survey data on business models in large companies, to describe how CEOs and entrepreneurs create narratives or stories in a coherent manner to move the business from one opportunity to another. They also show that when the narrative is incoherent or the components of the story are misaligned, that these businesses tend to fail. They recommend ways in which the entrepreneur or CEO can create strong narratives for change.
Berglund and Sandström (2013) argued that business models should be understood from an open systems perspective as opposed to being a firm-internal concern. Since innovating firms do not have executive control over their surrounding network, business model innovation tends to require soft power tactics with the goal of aligning heterogeneous interests.As a result, open business models are created as firms increasingly rely on partners and suppliers to provide new activities that are outside their competence base. In a study of collaborative research and external sourcing of technology, Hummel et al. (2010) similarly found that in deciding on business partners, it is important to make sure that both parties' business models are complementary. For example, they found that it was important to identify the value drivers of potential partners by analyzing their business models, and that it is beneficial to find partner firms that understand key aspects of one's own firm's business model.
The University of Tennessee conducted research into highly collaborative business relationships. Researchers codified their research into a sourcing business model known as Vested Outsourcing), a hybrid sourcing business model in which buyers and suppliers in an outsourcing or business relationship focus on shared values and goals to create an arrangement that is highly collaborative and mutually beneficial to each.
From about 2012, some research and experimentation has theorized about a so-called "liquid business model".
Sangeet Paul Choudary distinguishes between two broad families of business models in an article in Wired magazine.Choudary contrasts pipes (linear business models) with platforms (networked business models). In the case of pipes, firms create goods and services, push them out and sell them to customers. Value is produced upstream and consumed downstream. There is a linear flow, much like water flowing through a pipe. Unlike pipes, platforms do not just create and push stuff out. They allow users to create and consume value.
Alex Moazed, founder and CEO of Applico, defines a platform as a business model that creates value by facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups usually consumers and producers of a given value.As a result of digital transformation, it is the predominant business model of the 21st century.
In an op-ed on MarketWatch,Choudary, Van Alstyne and Parker further explain how business models are moving from pipes to platforms, leading to disruption of entire industries.
There are three elements to a successful platform business model.The toolbox creates connection by making it easy for others to plug into the platform. This infrastructure enables interactions between participants. The magnet creates pull that attracts participants to the platform. For transaction platforms, both producers and consumers must be present to achieve critical mass. The matchmaker fosters the flow of value by making connections between producers and consumers. Data is at the heart of successful matchmaking, and distinguishes platforms from other business models.
Chen (2009) stated that the business model has to take into account the capabilities of Web 2.0, such as collective intelligence, network effects, user-generated content, and the possibility of self-improving systems. He suggested that the service industry such as the airline, traffic, transportation, hotel, restaurant, information and communications technology and online gaming industries will be able to benefit in adopting business models that take into account the characteristics of Web 2.0. He also emphasized that Business Model 2.0 has to take into account not just the technology effect of Web 2.0 but also the networking effect. He gave the example of the success story of Amazon in making huge revenues each year by developing an open platform that supports a community of companies that re-use Amazon's on-demand commerce services. [ need quotation to verify ]
Jose van Dijck (2013) identifies three main ways that media platforms choose to monetize, which mark a change from traditional business models.One is the subscription model, in which platforms charge users a small monthly fee in exchange for services. She notes that the model was ill-suited for those "accustomed to free content and services", leading to a variant, the freemium model. A second method is via advertising. Arguing that traditional advertising is no longer appealing to people used to "user-generated content and social networking", she states that companies now turn to strategies of customization and personalization in targeted advertising. Eric K. Clemons (2009) asserts that consumers no longer trust most commercial messages; Van Dijck argues platforms are able to circumvent the issue through personal recommendations from friends or influencers on social media platforms, which can serve as a more subtle form of advertisement. Finally, a third common business model is monetization of data and metadata generated from the use of platforms.
Malone et al.found that some business models, as defined by them, indeed performed better than others in a dataset consisting of the largest U.S. firms, in the period 1998 through 2002, while they did not prove whether the existence of a business model mattered.
In the healthcare space, and in particular in companies that leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence, the design of business models is particularly challenging as there are a multitude of value creation mechanisms and a multitude of possible stakeholders. An emerging categorization has identified seven archetypes.
The concept of a business model has been incorporated into certain accounting standards. For example, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) utilizes an "entity's business model for managing the financial assets" as a criterion for determining whether such assets should be measured at amortized cost or at fair value in its financial instruments accounting standard, IFRS 9.In their 2013 proposal for accounting for financial instruments, the Financial Accounting Standards Board also proposed a similar use of business model for classifying financial instruments. The concept of business model has also been introduced into the accounting of deferred taxes under International Financial Reporting Standards with 2010 amendments to IAS 12 addressing deferred taxes related to investment property.
Both IASB and FASB have proposed using the concept of business model in the context of reporting a lessor's lease income and lease expense within their joint project on accounting for leases.In its 2016 lease accounting model, IFRS 16, the IASB chose not to include a criterion of "stand alone utility" in its lease definition because "entities might reach different conclusions for contracts that contain the same rights of use, depending on differences between customers' resources or suppliers' business models." The concept has also been proposed as an approach for determining the measurement and classification when accounting for insurance contracts. As a result of the increasing prominence the concept of business model has received in the context of financial reporting, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), which advises the European Union on endorsement of financial reporting standards, commenced a project on the "Role of the Business Model in Financial Reporting" in 2011.
Business model design generally refers to the activity of designing a company's business model. It is part of the business development and business strategy process and involves design methods. Massa and Tucci (2014)highlighted the difference between crafting a new business model when none is in place, as it is often the case with academic spinoffs and high technology entrepreneurship, and changing an existing business model, such as when the tooling company Hilti shifted from selling its tools to a leasing model. They suggested that the differences are so profound (for example, lack of resource in the former case and inertia and conflicts with existing configurations and organisational structures in the latter) that it could be worthwhile to adopt different terms for the two. They suggest business model design to refer to the process of crafting a business model when none is in place and business model reconfiguration for process of changing an existing business model, also highlighting that the two process are not mutually exclusive, meaning reconfiguration may involve steps which parallel those of designing a business model.
Al-Debei and Avison (2010) consider value finance as one of the main dimensions of BM which depicts information related to costing, pricing methods, and revenue structure. Stewart and Zhao (2000) defined the business model as "a statement of how a firm will make money and sustain its profit stream over time."
Osterwalder et al. (2005) consider the Business Model as the blueprint of how a company does business.Slywotzky (1996) regards the business model as "the totality of how a company selects its customers, defines and differentiates it offerings, defines the tasks it will perform itself and those it will outsource, configures its resources, goes to market, creates utility for customers and captures profits."
Mayo and Brown (1999) considered the business model as "the design of key interdependent systems that create and sustain a competitive business."Casadesus-Masanell and Ricart (2011) explain a business model as a set of "choices (policy, assets and governance)" and "consequences (flexible and rigid)" and underline the importance of considering "how it interacts with models of other players in the industry" instead of thinking of it in isolation.
Zott and Amit (2009) consider business model design from the perspectives of design themes and design content. Design themes refer to the system's dominant value creation drivers and design content examines in greater detail the activities to be performed, the linking and sequencing of the activities and who will perform the activities.
Developing a framework for business model development with an emphasis on design themes, Lim (2010) proposed the environment-strategy-structure-operations (ESSO) business model development which takes into consideration the alignment of the organization's strategy with the organization's structure, operations, and the environmental factors in achieving competitive advantage in varying combination of cost, quality, time, flexibility, innovation and affective.
Business model design includes the modeling and description of a company's:
A business model design template can facilitate the process of designing and describing a company's business model.
Daas et al. (2012) developed a decision support system (DSS) for business model design. In their study a decision support system (DSS) is developed to help SaaS in this process, based on a design approach consisting of a design process that is guided by various design methods.
In the early history of business models it was very typical to define business model types such as bricks-and-mortar or e-broker. However, these types usually describe only one aspect of the business (most often the revenue model). Therefore, more recent literature on business models concentrate on describing a business model as a whole, instead of only the most visible aspects.
The following examples provide an overview for various business model types that have been in discussion since the invention of term business model:
Other examples of business models are:
Technology centric communities have defined "frameworks" for business modeling. These frameworks attempt to define a rigorous approach to defining business value streams. It is not clear, however, to what extent such frameworks are actually important for business planning. Business model frameworks represent the core aspect of any company; they involve "the totality of how a company selects its customers defines and differentiates its offerings, defines the tasks it will perform itself and those it will outsource, configures its resource, goes to market, creates utility for customers, and captures profits".A business framework involves internal factors (market analysis; products/services promotion; development of trust; social influence and knowledge sharing) and external factors (competitors and technological aspects).
A review on business model frameworks can be found in Krumeich et al. (2012).In the following some frameworks are introduced.
The process of business model design is part of business strategy. Business model design and innovation refer to the way a firm (or a network of firms) defines its business logic at the strategic level.
In contrast, firms implement their business model at the operational level, through their business operations. This refers to their process-level activities, capabilities, functions and infrastructure (for example, their business processes and business process modeling), their organizational structures (e.g. organigrams, workflows, human resources) and systems (e.g. information technology architecture, production lines).
The brand is a consequence of the business model and has a symbiotic relationship with it, because the business model determines the brand promise, and the brand equity becomes a feature of the model. Managing this is a task of integrated marketing.
The standard terminology and examples of business models do not apply to most nonprofit organizations, since their sources of income are generally not the same as the beneficiaries. The term 'funding model' is generally used instead.
The model is defined by the organization's vision, mission, and values, as well as sets of boundaries for the organization—what products or services it will deliver, what customers or markets it will target, and what supply and delivery channels it will use. While the business model includes high-level strategies and tactical direction for how the organization will implement the model, it also includes the annual goals that set the specific steps the organization intends to undertake in the next year and the measures for their expected accomplishment. Each of these is likely to be part of internal documentation that is available to the internal auditor.
When an organisation creates a new business model, the process is called business model innovation.There is a range of reviews on the topic, the latter of which defines business model innovation as "the conceptualisation and implementation of new business models". This can comprise the development of entirely new business models, the diversification into additional business models, the acquisition of new business models, or the transformation from one business model to another (see figure on the right). The transformation can affect the entire business model or individual or a combination of its value proposition, value creation and deliver, and value capture elements, the alignment between the elements. The concept facilitates the analysis and planning of transformations from one business model to another. Frequent and successful business model innovation can increase an organisation's resilience to changes in its environment and if an organisation has the capability to do this, it can become a competitive advantage.
In commerce, supply chain management (SCM), the management of the flow of goods and services, between businesses and locations, and includes the movement and storage of raw materials, of work-in-process inventory, and of finished goods as well as end to end order fulfillment from point of origin to point of consumption. Interconnected, interrelated or interlinked networks, channels and node businesses combine in the provision of products and services required by end customers in a supply chain.
Marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product, service, or good.
In business and engineering, new product development (NPD) covers the complete process of bringing a new product to market, renewing an existing product or introducing a product in a new market. A central aspect of NPD is product design, along with various business considerations. New product development is described broadly as the transformation of a market opportunity into a product available for sale. The products developed by an organisation provide the means for it to generate income. For many technology-intensive firms their approach is based on exploiting technological innovation in a rapidly changing market.
In the field of management, strategic management involves the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by an organization's managers on behalf of stakeholders, based on consideration of resources and an assessment of the internal and external environments in which the organization operates. Strategic management provides overall direction to an enterprise and involves specifying the organization's objectives, developing policies and plans to achieve those objectives, and then allocating resources to implement the plans. Academics and practicing managers have developed numerous models and frameworks to assist in strategic decision-making in the context of complex environments and competitive dynamics. Strategic management is not static in nature; the models often include a feedback loop to monitor execution and to inform the next round of planning.
In business, a competitive advantage is the attribute that allows an organization to outperform its competitors.
Activity-based costing (ABC) is a costing method that identifies activities in an organization and assigns the cost of each activity to all products and services according to the actual consumption by each. Therefore this model assigns more indirect costs (overhead) into direct costs compared to conventional costing.
A value network is a graphical illustration of social and technical resources within/between organizations and how they are utilized. The nodes in a value network represent people or, more abstractly, roles. The nodes are connected by interactions that represent deliverables. These deliverables can be objects, knowledge or money. Value networks record interdependence. They account for the worth of products and services. Companies have both internal and external value networks.
Open innovation is a term used to promote an information age mindset toward innovation that runs counter to the secrecy and silo mentality of traditional corporate research labs. The benefits and driving forces behind increased openness have been noted and discussed as far back as the 1960s, especially as it pertains to interfirm cooperation in R&D. Use of the term 'open innovation' in reference to the increasing embrace of external cooperation in a complex world has been promoted in particular by Henry Chesbrough, adjunct professor and faculty director of the Center for Open Innovation of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, and Maire Tecnimont Chair of Open Innovation at Luiss.
Design management is a field of inquiry that uses project management, design, strategy, and supply chain techniques to control a creative process, support a culture of creativity, and build a structure and organization for design. The objective of design management is to develop and maintain an efficient business environment in which an organization can achieve its strategic and mission goals through design. Design management is a comprehensive activity at all levels of business, from the discovery phase to the execution phase. "Simply put, design management is the business side of design. Design management encompasses the ongoing processes, business decisions, and strategies that enable innovation and create effectively-designed products, services, communications, environments, and brands that enhance our quality of life and provide organizational success." The discipline of design management overlaps with marketing management, operations management, and strategic management.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to management:
Co-creation, in the context of a business, refers to a product or service design process in which input from consumers plays a central role from beginning to end. Less specifically, the term is also used for any way in which a business allows consumers to submit ideas, designs or content. This way, the firm will not run out of ideas regarding the design to be created and at the same time, it will further strengthen the business relationship between the firm and its customers. Another meaning is the creation of value by ordinary people, whether for a company or not.
A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, communicated, and acknowledged. It is also a belief from the customer about how value (benefit) will be delivered, experienced and acquired.
Lean startup is a methodology for developing businesses and products that aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning. Lean startup emphasizes customer feedback over intuition and flexibility over planning. This methodology enables recovery from failures more often than traditional ways of product development.
Capability management is the approach to the management of an organization, typically a business organization or firm, based on the "theory of the firm" as a collection of capabilities that may be exercised to earn revenues in the marketplace and compete with other firms in the industry. "Capability Management" seeks to manage the stock of capabilities within the firm to ensure its position in the industry and its ongoing profitability and survival.
'A management system is the framework of processes and procedures used to ensure that an organization can fulfill all tasks required to achieve its objectives.
Alexander Osterwalder is a Swiss business theorist, author, speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur, known for his work on business modeling and the development of the Business Model Canvas.
Yves Pigneur is a Belgian computer scientist, and Professor of Management Information Systems at the University of Lausanne since 1984, known for his work on the business model canvas with Alexander Osterwalder. He is considered a "mastermind" among business strategics, his canvas have been used by numerous companies such as P&G, Amazon, Lockheed Martin and Tesla.
The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management template used for developing new business models and documenting existing ones. It offers a visual chart with elements describing a firm's or product's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances, assisting businesses to align their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.
Customer development is a formal methodology for building startups and new corporate ventures. It is one of the three parts that make up a lean startup.
The Platform Canvas is a conceptual framework dedicated to explain the mechanisms of multi-sided platform organizations, and how value is created, captured and delivered in the platform economy. Multi-sided platforms, also called two-sided markets, like Amazon, Uber and Airbnb, create value primarily by enabling direct interactions between distinct groups of affiliated customers. The framework serves as a strategic management tool to assist academics, entrepreneurs and managers identify the essential elements in platform businesses, understand the interrelations of these element and recognize the dynamics of associated network effects. The 12 components of the canvas highlight the internal and external factors of the business model, and the orchestration of the affiliated ecosystems.
The "liquid" model now being pursued is not limited to IBM. [...] It is no accident that IBM is looking to Germany as the country to pilot this model. Since the Hartz welfare and labour "reforms" of the former Social Democratic Party-Green government (1998-2005), Germany is at the forefront in developing forms of precarious employment. [...] The IBM model globalises the so-called employment contract, increasingly replacing agency working as the preferred form of low-wage labour. Companies assign key tasks to subcontractors, paying only for each project.