ENVISION Platform - http://businessmakeover.eu January 2016
By Antti Heikkila
In celebrating the New Year, it is only natural to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and plan for the following year. Overall 2015 was an extremely successful year for ENVISION and in 2016, we have big plans and goals for the organization’s future

Achievements from 2015
The year 2015 marks the establishment of ENVISION. We launched the website & portal, built a network, and overall transformed ENVISION from a concept to an organization. We are proud to say that in 2015, we hit the ground running by establishing more than 15 new partners who have access to between 13 and 14 million SMEs across Europe. This is all thanks to the participation and cooperation of UEAPME which is a vast organisation with 80 member sub organisations and 12 million SME members in the EU (read more about them and their contributions on page 4). Also, in November, ENVISION participated in the SME assembly in Luxembourg where our representatives generated over 90 new contacts and 5 new partnerships. We intend to participate in many more events to come (Please find out where we will be next on page 4).

Looking Head
After the November 2015 launch of ENVISION’s online portal, we started posting challenges for the SME community aimed at improving and innovating business models. Participants can win prizes and learn a lot from the community. January’s challenge is still open (click here to participate). These challenges are open for the public and everyone is welcome to participate. As 2016 takes wing, we are looking to create new challenges for the SME community.
Sign up here to be a part of our amazing community
In addition, we are currently seeking to help SME owners/operators who are struggling with keeping their business afloat. We can provide assistance by offering expertise from the community and great visibility on our channels. Typical challenges our audience encounters include:
  • Surviving – Withstanding competition through BM modification.
  • Marketing – Reaching target customers and increasing sales.
  • Market Expansion – Increasing market penetration and growing a larger customer base.
  • Maintaining Innovation – Keeping an innovative image and staying ahead of the competition by constantly reinventing products and services.
  • Customer Satisfaction – Keeping customers satisfied and amazed by being the front line of the newest technology and equipment.

We are looking for SMEs to
feature on our channels

At ENVISION, we are always looking for examples of BM innovation to showcase on our channels. If you’re an SME owner or operator with a story to tell about innovation and change, please contact us. We aim to publish many examples and stories on our blog to inspire and educate the SME community. And as an added bonus, by submitting your example, your online presence and visibility will increase.

Work With Us
Furthermore, we are constantly looking to partner with new organisations that are in touch with SMEs. Please contact us to collaborate and take part in innovating SMEs in Europe

An example of innovation and
in the wake of economic
recession. Learn how a familyowned,
Finnish hardware store
utilized BMI to gain profit

Page 2


Learn about Business Model Patterns and how they can help accelerate your business


ENVISION and UEAPME have entered a new stage of collaboration. Learn more about UEAPME on

Page 4

the story of
Euran Rakennustarvike Hardware Store
By Marikka Heikkila

Euran rakennustarvike is a family-owned hardware retail company owned by the Helin family. In 1993, the family purchased the hardware store at a time when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Located in the small city of Eura, Finland, its target customers are local contractors, decorators, DIYers, farmers, and homeowners. The company stocks and sells building materials, timber, decorating goods, painting supplies, tools, gardening products and much more.

After running the shop for 15 years, the Helin family expanded their business by acquiring two other hardware retail stores located in neighboring cities. Each store has its own managing director who is responsible for running the shop, managing the store’s inventory, and carrying-out deliveries to customers as needed. Three years after expanding their business, the company was confronted with economic difficulties, primarily due to low sales volumes and the overall economic recession taking place in Finland.

The owners asked for help from Jorma Sieviläinen, a Commercial Advisor and a Ph.D. Student from the Turku School of Economics. Accepting the task, Sieviläinen began investigating how the profitability of the company could be improved. His discussions with the store managers revealed that the key processes of sales varied from store to store and each had their own product and supplier databases.
There was clearly a need to integrate the IT-systems and to harmonize the customer data, product pricing and assortment strategies. These tasks took several months to complete.

Further financial analysis showed three other company weaknesses: customer discount levels compared to competitors were high; product purchase prices did not necessarily affect the sales prices; and staff costs were high, especially during the inactive season (October – March). These issues were tackled by introducing new customer discounts politics, product pricing methods, and negotiating with the staff to move their holidays to the inactive season thereby increasing the amount of holiday they take.

Another important change that took place was the innovation of their management model. Before the family delegated the operations to each stores’ directing managers. This caused disintegration in the company and was overall a weak management model. The company changed this by employing an approach more suitable for a retail chain. In doing this, CEO Tapani Helin (pictured above) took direct responsibility of the business and cooperation between stores. The key performance indicators were reported on a monthly basis and discussed between the CEO and the store managers, which led to increased business knowledge and more fact-based decision-making. After the above changes, in 2014 the yearly turnover remained at the same level, but the company was showing profit again.

In summary this is the story of a company that sought outside help and carefully analyzed its operations. Relying on that analysis, they discovered a need to harmonize its operations and processes, increase coordination and knowledge exchange between stores, and adopt key performance indicators to aid in decision-making. These changes turned the profit-plummeting fragmented store-based Business Model into a profitable Business Model for a chain of stores.

As a result Tapani Helin is taking the next step in business model innovation by attempting to cut the number of suppliers. Currently the company has 336 suppliers, mainly offering similar products. By concentrating on the number of suppliers, he is looking for a better negotiation position, increased savings, and more efficient supplier chain management.

By Angelika Riedl

Since the first version of the ENVISION Platform went online in October 2015 the community is growing steadily. At the beginning of 2016 we counted 101 users ranging from Spain, to Finland and even to North America. Although we are focusing on European SMEs we are very happy to have reached across the Atlantic Ocean.

Also the challenges are a success. The first public ENVISION challenge asked to advice a hair dresser with business model innovation ideas. There were 15 entries from different users with great ideas. This challenge came to a close at the end of 2015 and the three winners will be drawn at the end of January 2016 – each winner receiving an ENVISION T-shirt and Amazon vouchers.

For the first quarter of 2016 there are two new challenges looking for business model innovation ideas. One challenge is about a troubled hardware store looking to grow and sustain their business. The other challenge introduces an electronic component manufacturer facing cheap competition from Asia.

Both challenges are real cases from real life companies which take part in the ENVISION research project. As the projects grows there will be more and more cases added to the platform as challenges or best practice examples.

So don't hesitate - be part of the ENVISION community and log on to the platform www.businessmakeover.eu. We look forward to meeting you there.
By Timber Haaker and Melissa Roelfsema

Business Model Patterns Business Model Patterns are a great help to get new ideas when drawing up a business model. It allows you to re-use proven solutions instead of starting from scratch. Our card game with 28 business model patterns can be used in numerous ways to accelerate your business innovation.

How to use it?
Often innovation is all about recombining and reusing existing ideas and solutions in a smart way. Think of Gillette’s acclaimed razor-and-blade business model: the razor is sold cheaply and the money is made with selling the blades. This business model pattern has been applied over and over: hardware is cheap (razor, printer, coffee machine) and disposables are expensive (blades, ink, coffee cups).

To use the patterns in a playful manner just draw a card from the deck with 28 business model pattern cards and check how it fits your business. The patterns range from simple pay-per-use models to more advanced models like freemium, advertising, affiliation, revenue-sharing and barter models.

The cards can be used individually or in a group session. In a session, participants select 3 patterns each and explain why they think these provide for attractive options. The patterns with the most convincing arguments can be elaborated upon.

Use our Card Game to
accelerate your own business

By Maryrose Francica

UEAPME – European Association of Craft, Small and Mediumsized Enterprises

It is our great pleasure to announce that the latest organisation to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the ENVISION consortium is EUAPME.

UEAPME is the employers' organisation representing the interests of European crafts, trades and SMEs at the EU level. UEAPME is a recognised European Social Partner and a non-profit seeking and non-partisan organisation. As the European SME umbrella organisation, UEAPME incorporates around 80 member organisations from 34 countries consisting of national crosssectorial SME federations, European branch federations and other associate members, which support the SME family. UEAPME represents more than 12 million enterprises, which employ around 55 million people across Europe.

Mr. Peter Faross, the Secretary General of EUAPME, has agreed to disseminate the ENVISION project to its member organisations, invite ENVISION speakers to its events, and publish ENVISION details on its own website.


Europa, gestito dall'Ufficio
d'informazione in Italia del
Rome, Italy
February 11th, 2016

35th International Conference on
Organizational Science Development &
Sustainable Organization
Portorož, Slovenia
March 16th – 18th, 2016

ServTec 2016
Graz, Austria
May 12th, 2016

Digital Dialog
Graz, Austria
May 31st, 2016
Grant Agreement No. 645791

We are constantly looking for new people to partner with