I can see an increase in discussions around business models and it seems that one reason is that business models are becoming more complex, regarded as a way to competitive advantage. When this discussion starts to involve other elements than costs and revenue, I think it gets really interesting. Just to take the simple example of a locker in the cloak room of a museum, the kind where you get your coin back. How do you explain the business model of that?
In a traditional perspective it is not very interesting, as you can doubt if there is any real transaction at all. But if you look at the whole picture you see that the use of a coin has nothing to do with the user value at all, it is only a trick to get the key back. People value the coin more than a stolen key. The user becomes it’s own customer.
But then you can also see a qualitative business model where the locker actually removes an obstacle and helps people to have a better museum experience as they can get rid of their jackets and loose stuff for a while, in a safe way. Which makes it possible for the museum to either charge for the entry ticket or get support from sponsors, based on the number of visitors.
So even something that is free can actually be a crucial component in a complex business model! Too bad you can’t find it on the balance sheet.