This thorough article points to the diverse audiences for business models and and argues that they are “devices” which enable the exploration of a market (through receiving feedback on a presented model) and that through such display, models contribute to constructing the networks of an innovation.
It is obviously encouraging to hear their arguments concerning how models are not pure abstractions but have some kind of existence in the world. The article is not freely available so I will quote liberally:
Like demonstrations, business models aim at providing evidence for the feasibility of an innovative project and at gaining the interest of third parties by mobilizing the repertoires of both proof and persuasion, and the logic and rhetoric elements that they include.
In this perspective, understanding what business models do requires considering not only the object that they represent (a new venture), but also the audience, for which this object is made visible and put into words, and which is “constructed contemporaneously with the demonstration”.
Business models are performances – encounters in which an entity is materialized in a particular form (often a Powerpoint presentation) and displayed, exhibited to an audience. They are also relational tools, for they enable such encounters and thus a mutual adjustment between the artefact that is being demonstrated and the public to which the demonstration is offered.
Liliana Doganova & Marie Eyquem-Renault,Research Policy (2009): What do business models do? Innovation devices in technology entrepeneurship