Improving your Business ModelFor all the times one encounters references to business models, it is surprising how little specificity there is concerning what a particular, or even a generic, business model looks like.
Alexander Osterwalder has published considerable helpful guidance on desribing and improving business models. To get a quick idea of the business model structure he uses, you can look at the the slideshow here. Slide 12 presents the diagram of the nine building blocks in Osterwalder's structure which is reproduced below.1
To illustrate the above structure in practice, Osterwalder provides examples drawn from Xerox and Cirque de Soleil on slides 14 and 32, respectively.
The pièce de resistance comes on the final two slides of his presentation, in which Osterwalder illustrates how a company whose current business model centers on selling waste water treatment systems for one-time sales revenue, can shift to a new business model in which it offers total waste water management for which it receives recurring service fees.
Osterwalder provides a fuller explanation of this business model structure in a brief, accessible manual available here (pdf).
1 Osterwalder developed his business model structure in collaboration with Prof. Yves Pigneur of the HEC Business School of the University of Lausanne.