What are some new business models

Why new business models are important despite full order books

Many craftsmen are of the opinion that there is nothing to digitize with them. The order books are full, business is up and running. So why digital tools, modern frills, smart gadgets? We explain why new business models will sooner or later become important in order to remain competitive.

Why do I need a new business model?

Anyone who wants to win new customers needs new ideas, innovations, in short: new business models. The biggest mistake craft businesses can make now is settling for the status quo. The argument is made that the order situation is very good. The question, however, is: how much longer? The world keeps turning. And it is also turning in the digital orbit in the craft sector.

The demands of customers are constantly increasing. At the same time, there is also the desire for individual solutions which, thanks to the high technological and digital standards, are easy and inexpensive to implement industrially. The conditions that large companies grant are also unbeatable. Exchanges, returns, overnight deliveries - not possible for a small to medium-sized craft business. At the same time, the supplier industry is also on a digital growth path so that it is not left behind by large companies, but continues to be seamlessly integrated into production processes. The home improvement industry is also booming. Tutorials and sources of inspiration from the Internet make local craftsmen superfluous here and there, and craft products are also available nationwide thanks to the media presence on the Internet and, above all, via social media.

So it is high time to think about new business models and adapt them to your customers.

What could a new business model look like in concrete terms?

The customer must be brought into the focus of interest. Today it is excellently networked, mobile, always online and benefits from enormous transparency and a wide range of comparison options. Relying on the fact that existing customers will be loyal to you forever and that new customers will come via recommendation as always is no longer a sustainable approach. On the contrary: Anyone who thinks this way is endangering the very existence of his company. The question must rather be: "What can I do to keep my customers and win new customers?"

At the same time, it is also about making internal work processes profitable and smart. Ideally, both go hand in hand. Whether it's a special technical service, a new product, new collaborations or about optimizing efficient digital processes, such as digital customer management systems, in-house, or whether companies use digital construction files, new production technologies or warehousing that is via VR or AR technology simplifies processes and makes them less error-prone - the customer benefits in any case.

At the end of the day, it is now a matter of collecting as much information as possible and utilizing it in such a way that efficiency benefits arise from it. This is data about customers, utilization, stock levels, invoice data, production figures, data from the construction site, working hours and so on. The collection and profitable use of this data are only possible through digitization.

Today, changes take place at ever shorter intervals. Craft businesses need to learn to adapt quickly. New business models are essential for this.

New revenue models

It is increasingly about the development of complete "solutions". It is no longer enough to just offer a product or service. Thinking outside the box is important. Today kitchen builders no longer only offer hardware for the kitchen. They also provide lighting concepts, floor and wall coverings, integrate digital assistance systems, etc. It is about "living spaces" instead of individual closets. Additional offers that increase the utility or design value come from one source or from one company. Many companies are breaking new ground with special materials or they are increasingly producing under sustainability aspects (recycling, upcycling).

Online configurators

In order to work even more service-oriented, craft businesses are increasingly using online configurators on their website. The customer calmly makes a preselection at home. Long consultation times, the writing of offers and follow-up are no longer necessary. The customer comes with a sophisticated idea, so that in many cases only fine tuning is required. Once the prospect has come to the point of configuring a product, the chance of becoming a customer increases.

Digital communication

Anyone who relocates communication with the customer to the network enjoys significantly more range and thus more attention. Social media, blogs, an interactive website - these are all important elements of new business models that are of fundamental importance for marketing, sales and, above all, for customer loyalty. Viral communication can also open up supra-regional markets and make important industry contacts.


Purchasing platforms, knowledge platforms, order platforms, etc. are particularly valuable support for small and medium-sized businesses. In this way, businesses can achieve lower wholesale prices by shopping in communities or generating jobs that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. They can share knowledge and know-how with others and support one another by subcontracting work to other companies or accepting them from others at peak times.

Online services

Online shops are a great way to open up new sources of revenue. Offering products and services on the Internet attracts supraregional customers. Online schedulers have also proven to be a great relief in terms of time and personnel. Useful online services are also chats or chatbots, with which customer inquiries can be answered in real time.

Digital customer service and smart working thanks to digital technologies

Business or construction site apps network all actors involved in a project in order to enable smooth and error-free processes. Whether it is the digital construction file that enables complete documentation on the construction site (plans, images, dimensions) and linked to other relevant systems, such as internal accounting or time recording, or whether data analysis in the automotive industry enables early detection vehicle damage - apps, programs, digital technologies ensure seamless communication on the construction site, in production, in the office and with customers.

Artificial intelligence

AR and VR technologies, often with the use of tablets and / or data glasses, are about to revolutionize customer service. With mobile data access, fitters can, for example, carry out remote maintenance or efficiently organize troubleshooting on site. You have all (measurement) data available online, there is no need to leaf through manuals or time-consuming queries.

Warehouse logistics are also increasingly being supported by digital assistance systems. They make it easier to find goods, are linked to reorders and provide an overview of delivery conditions in real time.


Despite the bulging order books, new business models are essential for survival. The customer feels an improved service, smart work processes create space for more creativity and productivity. Business model innovations represent an important building block for the successful future of a company. In the future, they will be part of the DNA of every craft business and must be constantly adapted to changing framework conditions.