A New Framework for Business Models

“Quick: Describe your company’s business model.

Having trouble? That wouldn’t surprise me. In reality, there isn’t really any consensus about what the term “business model” even means. Suggestions range from the all-encompassing, everything-in-your-value-chain approach to the reductionist “A business model is nothing else than a representation of how an organization makes (or intends to make) money.”

That latter definition is from Peter Drucker. And while I applaud his attempt to reach for the essence of the idea, I think he went too far. A business model has to specify more than just how a company intends to make money. It also needs to include some information about why a customer would ever want to give the company any money.