Business model

business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value, [1] in economic, social, cultural or other contexts. The process of business model construction is 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 various interpretations and definitions of a business model. A systematic review and analysis of management responses to a survey of business models and the design of organizational structures. [2] Further extensions to this design logic emphasizes the use of narrative or coherence in business models descriptions and mechanisms by which entrepreneurs create extraordinarily successful growth firms . [3]

Business models are used to describe and classify businesses, especially in an entrepreneurial setting, but they are also used by business managers to explore opportunities for future development. Well-known business models can operate as “recipes” for creative managers. [4] Business models are also referred to in some instances within the context of accounting for public reporting purposes.


business model is an “abstract representation of a business, be it conceptual, textual, and / or graphical, of all core interrelated architectural, co-operational, and financial arrangements designed and developed by an organization presently and in the future, as well. “” All of these are the products and services of the organization, which will be based on these agreements. [5] [6] This definition by Al-Debei, El-Haddadeh and Avison (2008) indicates that value proposition, Architectural value (the organizational infrastructure and technological architecture That Allows the movement of products, services and information), value funds (modeling information related to total cost of ownership, pricing methods, and revenue structure) and value network articulate the primary constructs or dimensions of business models. [7] [8]


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 is a cost-effective measure, often at a loss (the “bait”), then charging compensatory recurring amounts for services or associated products (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 is Adobe, a software developer that gives away several charges 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 , The Home Depot , Intel , and Dell Computer ; the 1990s from Southwest Airlines , Netflix , eBay , , and Starbucks .

Today, the type of business models might be used. For example, entrepreneurs on the internet have also created entirely new models that depend entirely on existing or emerging technology. Using technology, businesses can reach a large number of customers with minimal costs. In addition, the development of outsourcing and globalization has also meant that it is important for strategic sourcing, complex supply chains and collaborative moves, relational contracting structures. [9]

Theoretical and empirical insights

Design logic and narrative coherence

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. [2] In that analysis these authors show that there is a logical design 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 way to move the business from one opportunity to another. [3]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.

Complementarities of between partnering firms

Berglund and Sandström (2013) argued That business models shoulds be Understood from an open systems perspective as Opposed to being white is 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. [10] 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. [11]For example, they found that it was important to identify the value of their business models, and that it is beneficial to find the firms that understand the key aspects of our firm’s business model. [12] .

The University of Tennessee is conducting research into highly collaborative business relationships. Researchers codified their research into a sourcing business model known as Vested Outsourcing . Vested is 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 other. [13]


From about 2012, some research and experimentation has theorized about so-called “liquid business model”. [14] [15]

Shift from Pipes to Platforms

Sangeet Paul Choudary (2013) in the article in Wired magazine . [16] Choudary contrasts pipes (linear business models) with platforms (networked business models). In the case of pipes, firms 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 through a relationship between two or more interdependent groups of consumers and producers of a given value. [17] As a result of digital transformation , it is the predominant business model of the 21st century.

In an op-ed on MarketWatch, [18] Choudary, Van Alstyne, and Parker, more explaining how business models are moving towards pipes, leading to disruption of entire industries.


There are three elements to a successful platform business model. [19] 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 entre producteurs and Consumers. Data is the heart of successful matchmaking, and distinguishes platforms from other business models.

Chen (2009) stated that the business model has the following features of Web 2.0 , such as collective intelligence , network effects, user-generated content , and the possibility of self-improvement systems. He suggests that the service , business, transportation, hotel, restaurant, information and communications technology and online gaming industries will be able to benefit from the use of Web 2.0. He also emphasized that Business Model 2.0 has the advantage of not only the technology of Web 2.0 but also the networking effect. He gave the example of the success story of on-demand trade services. [20] [ need quotation to verify ]


Malone et al. [21] found that some of the largest firms in the United States, in the period 1998 through 2002, did not prove the existence of a business model.

In the context of the Software-Cluster, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, has a business model wizard [22] for software companies has been developed. It supports the design and analysis of software business models. The tool’s underlying concept and data has been published in various citation needed ] scientific publications.

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 shoulds be Measured at amortized cost or at fair value in icts financial instruments standard accounting, IFRS 9 . [23] [24] [25] [26] In their 2013 proposal for accounting for financial instruments, the Financial Accounting Standards Board also proposed a similar use of business models for classifying financial instruments.[27] The concept of business model has already been introduced into the accounting ofdeferred taxes under International Financial Reporting Standards . [28] [29] [30]

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 joined project is accounting for leases. [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] In its 2016 lease accounting model, IFRS 16 , the IASB thing not to include a criterion of “stand alone utility” in its lease definition because “entities could reach different conclusions for contracts that contain the same rights of use, [36] The concept has been proposed for an approach for determining the measurement and classification when accounting forinsurance contracts . [37] [38] As a result of the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG), the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group , which advises the European Union on the endorsement of financial reporting standards, started a project on the “Role of the Business Model in Financial Reporting” in 2011. [39]


Business model design 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) [40]the business of a new business model with a new business model, and a new business model for a business enterprise leasing model. They suggest that the differences are so profound (for example, lack of resources in the case and inertia and conflicts with existing configurations and organizational structures in the latter) that it might be worthwhile to adopt different terms for the two. They propose a business model to design a business model and a business model that is not mutually exclusive.


Al-Debei and Avison (2010) define a business model as an abstract representation of an organization. This may be conceptual, textual, and / or graphical, of any core interrelated architectural, co-operative, and financial arrangements designed and developed by an organization presently and in the future, as well as or will offer, based on these arrangements that are needed to achieve its strategic goals and objectives. [5] This definition indicates That value proposition, value architecture, financial value, and value network articulate the primary constructs or dimensions of business models. [7]

Economic consideration

Al-Debei and Avison (2010) Consideration of the cost of pricing, pricing methods, and revenue structure. Stewart and Zhao (2000) defined the business model as a way to make money and sustain its profits stream over time. [41]

Component consideration

Osterwalder et al. (2005) consider the Business Model as the blueprint of how a company does business. [42] Slywotzky (1996) looks at the business model as the totality of how it selects its customers, defines and differentiates it, defines the tasks it will perform itself and it will outsource, configures its resources, goes to market, creates utility for customers and profits. [43]

Strategic outcome

Mayo and Brown (1999) considered the business model as the design of key interdependent systems that create and sustain a competitive business. [44] 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. industry of thinking of it in isolation. [45]

Definitions of design or development

Zott and Amit (2009) consider business model design from the perspectives of design themes and design content. Design themes referenced to the system’s dominant value creation processors 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. [46]

Design themes emphasis

Environment-Strategy-Structure-Operations (ESSO) Business Model Development

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 emotional. [47]

Design content emphasis

Business model design includes the modeling and description of a company’s:

  • value propositions
  • target customer segments
  • distribution channels
  • customer relationships
  • value configurations
  • core capabilities
  • commercial network
  • partner network
  • cost structure
  • revenue model

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, which is guided by various design methods. [48]


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, the most recent study on business models is the most visible aspects of a business model.

The following examples provide an overview for various business models that have been in discussion since the invention of term business model :

  • Bricks and clicks business model
Business model by a company qui integrals Both offline ( bricks ) and online ( clicks ) presences. One example of the bricks-and-clicks model, but let them pick up their order at a local store.
  • Collective business models
Business system, organization or association, typically composed of relatively large numbers of businesses , tradespersons or professionals in the same or related fields of endeavor, which pools resources , shares information or provides other benefits for their members. For example, a science park or high-tech campus provides shared resources (eg cleanrooms and other lab facilities) to the firms located on its premises, and in addition seeks to create an innovation community among these firms and their employees. [49]
  • Cutting out the middleman model
The removal of intermediaries in a supply chain : “cutting out the middleman”. Instead of going through the traditional distribution channels, which had a distributor , wholesaler , broker, or agent , companies can now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet.
  • Direct sales model
Direct selling is marketing and selling products to consumers directly, from a fixed retail location. Sales are typically made through party plans , one-to-one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements. A text book is defined as: “The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.” [50]
  • Distribution business models, various
  • Fee in, free out
Business model which works by charging the first customer for a fee for a service, while offering that charge to subsequent customers.
  • Franchise
Franchising is the driving force of another successful business model. For the franchisor, the franchise is an alternative to building ‘chain stores’ to distribute goods and avoid investment and liability over a chain. The franchisor’s success is the success of the franchisees. The franchisee is said to have a greater incentive than a direct employee because it has a direct stake in the business.
  • Sourcing business model
Sourcing Business Models are a systems-based approach to structuring supplier relationships. A sourcing business model is a type of business model that is applied to business relations where one party needs to work with another party to be successful. There are seven sourcing business models that range from transactional to investment-based. The seven models are: Basic Provider, Approved Provider, Preferred Provider, Performance-Based / Managed Services Model, Vested Outsourcing Business Model, Shared Services Model, and Equity Partnership Model. Sourcing business models are targeted for procurement professionals who seek a modern approach to achieve the best fit between buyers and suppliers. Sourcing business model theory is based on collaborative research effort by theUniversity of Tennessee (UT), the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) [1] , the Center for Outsourcing Research and Education (CORE) [2] , and the International Association for Contracts and Commercial Management (IACCM). This research forms the basis for the 2016 book, Strategic Sourcing in the New Economy: Harnessing the Potential of Sourcing Business Models in Modern Procurement . [51]
  • Freemium business model
Business model that works by offering basic Web services, or a basic downloadable digital product, for free, while charging a premium for advanced or special features. [52]
  • Pay what you can (PWYC)
A non-profit or for-profit business model that does not depend on one’s prices for its goods, but one asks customers to pay what they are worth to the product or service is worth to them. [53] [54] [55] It is often used as a tactical tactic, [56] but can also be the regular method of doing business. It is a variation on the gift economy and cross-subsidization, in which it depends on reciprocity and trust to succeed.
” Pay what you want ” (PWYW) is sometimes used synonymously, but “pay what you can” is often more oriented to charity or socially oriented uses, based on the ability to pay, while “pay what you want” is often more broadly oriented to perceived value in combination with willingness and ability to pay.
  • Value-added reseller model
Value Added Reseller is a model where a business makes something else that is resold by other businesses with changes that add value to the original product or service. These modifications are mostly industry specific in nature and are essential for distribution. Businesses going for a VAR model have to develop a VAR network. It is one of the latest collaborative business models that can be used in many countries.

Other examples of business models are:

  • Auction business model
  • All-in-one business model
  • Chemical leasing
  • Low-cost carrier business model
  • Loyalty business models
  • Monopolistic business model
  • Multi-level marketing business model
  • Network effects business model
  • Online auction business model
  • Online content business model
  • Online media cooperative
  • Premium business model
  • Professional open-source model
  • Pyramid scheme business model
  • Razor and blades model
  • Servitization of products business model
  • Subscription business model


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 these frameworks are actually important for business planning. Business model frameworks represent the core aspect of any company; they involve “the totality of how it selects its customers, defines the tasks it will perform itself and it will outsource, configures its resources, goes to market, creates utility for customers, and captures profits”. [57]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). [58]

A review on business model frameworks can be found in Krumeich et al. (2012). [59] In the following some frameworks are introduced.

  • Business reference model
Business reference model is a reference model, concentrating on the architectural aspects of the core business of an enterprise, service organization or government agency.
  • Component business model
Technology developed by IBM to model and analyze an enterprise. It is a logical representation or map of business components or “building blocks” and can be depicted on a single page. It can be used to analyze the alignment of enterprise strategy with the organization’s capabilities and investments , identify redundant or overlapping business capabilities, etc.
Although Webvan failed in its goal of disintermediating the North American supermarket industry, several supermarket chains (like Safeway Inc. ) have launched their own services to the Webvan catered.
  • Industrialization of services business model
Business model used in strategic management and services as an industrial process
  • Business Model Canvas
Developed by A. Osterwalder, Yves Pignier , Alan Smith, and 470 practitioners from 45 countries, the business model canvas [1] [60] is one of the most used frameworks for describing the elements of business models.
  • MS ENG
The OGSM is developed by Marc van Eck and Ellen van Zanten of Business Openers into the ‘Business Plan on 1 page’. Translated in several languages ​​all over the world. # 1 Management book in The Netherlands in 2015. The foundation of Business plan on 1 page is the OGSM. Objectives, Goals, Strageties and Measures (dashboard and actions).

Related concepts

The process of business model design is part of business strategy . Business model design and innovation (a network of firms) defines 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 (eg organigrams, workflows , human resources) and systems (eg information technology architecture , production lines) .

Consequently, an operationally viable and feasible business model requires lateral alignment with the underlining business operations. [61]

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 not the same as the beneficiaries. The term ‘funding model’ is generally used instead. [62]

The model is defined by the organization’s vision, mission, and values, and what supply and delivery channels it will deliver. While the business model includes high-level strategies and tactical direction for the organization will implement the model, it also includes the annual goals that set the specific steps for the organization and the future. Each of these is likely to be part of internal documentation that is available to the internal auditor.

See also

  • Business rule
  • Concept-driven strategy
  • Enterprise architecture
  • Growth platforms
  • Institutional logic
  • Market structure
  • Marketing plan
  • sensemaking
  • Strategy dynamics
  • Strategy Markup Language
  • The Design of Business
  • Value migration


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  55. Jump up^ Tyrangiel, Josh (October 1, 2007). “Radiohead Says: Pay What You Want” . Time Magazine . Retrieved 2009-03-10 .
  56. Jump up^ “Pay What You Can” . Alley Theater . Retrieved 2009-03-10 .
  57. Jump up^ Slywotzky, AJ (1996). Value Migration: How to Think Several Moves Ahead of the Competition . Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  58. Jump up^ Ferri Fernando, Andrea Alessia, Grifoni Patrizia (2012). IBF: An Integrated Business Framework for Virtual Communities in the Journal of Electronic Commerce in Organizations; IGI Global, Hershey (America’s Stati Uniti)
  59. Jump up^ J. Krumeich, T. Burkhart, D. Werth, and P. Loos. Towards a Component-based Description of Business Models: A State-of-the-Art Analysis. Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS 2012) Proceedings. Paper 19.
  60. Jump up^ The Business Model Ontology – A Proposal In A Design Science Approach
  61. Jump up^ “Solaimani, S. 2014. The alignment of Business Modeling and Business Operations within Networked Enterprise Environments.PhD Dissertation, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.”
  62. Jump up^ William Foster, Kim Peter, Barbara Christiansen. Ten Nonprofit Funding Models, Stanford Social Innovation Review. 2009-03-05.