Challenging the Enterprises' Business Model: helping entrepreneurs to understand and interpret opportunities and threats
Enterprises are presented with ever increasing challenges regarding marketplace uncertainty and ambiguity. They face competitive pressures from local and international sources, their competitors are constantly tweaking products and services to jostle ahead of them, and their customers expect responsiveness and innovativeness to their expressed and latent needs. The enterprises’ very success, and survival, depends on their ability to change their business, market and product strategies to fit these challenges. Underlying these business, market and product strategies is the enterprises’ business model. Simply, business models are an organisation’s understanding and interpretation of how they currently, and in the future, achieve their revenue and profit streams. These business models, used by the senior management and employees, are often based on outdated perspectives of both how the marketplace works and the changing business and customer values expected by their demanding stakeholders. In SMEs the creation, development and creative deconstruction of business models is most often driven by the founding entrepreneur, or subsequent corporate entrepreneurs brought in to provide professional management of these rapidly growing businesses. Interestingly, more recent research has strongly linked entrepreneurs’ mindset, or mental models (Zahra, Korri et al. 2005), associated with the challenges to the enterprise, with their drivers for innovation and changes in their enterprises’ business models. Certainly research has identified the potential value changes, business and customer, that can often facilitate the construction and deconstruction of business value-based innovations (Munive-Hernandez, Dewhurst et al. 2004), and then reflecting these in their overall business processes. This paper discusses the research study, undertaken by the authors, to explore the link between entrepreneurs’ understanding and interpretation of business opportunities and threats, and the potential influence in challenging their mindset business model. The paper begins by discussing the two broad approaches to modelling enterprise strategies and the resulting integrated business models: innovation and process orientations.