Home-based Businesses: An Exploration of Business Model Heterogeneity

Isla Kapasi and Laura Galloway


Home-based business, micro firms, SMEs, enterprise, strategy


Purpose: Home-based business (HBB) literature identifies variation in the sector, such as differences in technology
use, knowledge capital. It also asserts HBB may have specific value for specific groups of business starters. Despite
this diversity, HBB is treated as one conceptualisation, as a single business model. Consequently, our knowledge is
based on disparate studies with different research agendas and results are inconsistent and sometimes contradictory.
This paper outlines a means by which the heterogeneity of HBB can be revealed via a framework within which
diversity might be viewed.

Method: Largely conceptual, this paper draws from a study of 30 HBB owners to test the framework using the business
model dimension of in or from home and the distinguishing feature example of knowledge. The empirical work
was qualitative, based on interviews.

Findings: We find variation in HBB types and distinct business models, exposing heterogeneity. The framework
provides a means by which the reality of HBB may be better revealed.

Value: Value lies in the provision of a means by which we might view the diversity of HBB. Using the framework, different
research agendas may be serviced and afford sight of issues that affect HBB as they vary by business model.
This is of value for research clarity, and also for informing policy and support of small businesses as the needs of
different types of HBB will vary.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.jbm.v6i3.2392