Development of an Assessment Tool to Evaluate and Improve SME Business Models


  • Stephan Schüle Fraunhofer IAO, Nobelstr. 12, D-70569 Stuttgart
  • Michael Schubert Fraunhofer IAO, Nobelstr. 12, D-70569 Stuttgart
  • Christian Hoyer Fraunhofer IAO, Nobelstr. 12, D-70569 Stuttgart
  • Klaus-Michael Dressel ifA-Bau Consult GmbH, Industriestr. 2, D-70565 Stuttgart



Business models, SMEs, construction


Purpose: The approach presented in this paper addresses entrepreneurs and managers of SMEs in the construction sector that are willing to refine their current business model.

Design: The main scope for defining the assessment was the transformation of generic industry performance indicators into a framework that encompasses the needs of SMEs in the construction industry. The assessment comprises for example typical key success factors that are relevant in the construction sector. These are for instance aspects like project management capabilities, implementation of risk-management mechanisms or mastering the value network in the construction sector.

Findings: The set of indicators we identified is thematically aligned to the Osterwalder Business Model Canvas which means that nine aspects of a business model are distinguished and elaborated in the assessment. For each of the indicators questions and respective multiple-choice answers were formulated to identify the degree of performance achieved by companies conducting the assessment.

Originality / Value: The framework distinguishes from existing approaches concerning the complexity. The developed tool is the initial ignition for managers to start change projects in their companies. The idea is to help entrepreneurs in their strategic decision-making process and to enable them to control their complex and continuously progressing company environment. In the future, it is envisaged that the assessment, implemented as a self-assessment tool, will be part of a holistic approach.