Developing the New Horizons Foundation Decision-Making Framework for New Market Entry in the Sheet Metal Construction Industry: Research Report

Developing the Decision-Making Framework for New Market Entry


Mounir El Asmar, Ph.D.
Jera Sullivan, Ph.D.
Kenneth Sullivan, Ph.D.
Arizona State University



This 67-page publication provides detailed background on research completed for this project. It identifies the scope, sponsorship and funding by the New Horizons Foundation. The project was the product of discussions among contractors seeking to assist others who may be interested in a chance to grow. As a result of those discussions, a request for proposal was issued to a variety of research institutions. The Foundation accepted the proposal submitted by Arizona State University and a partnership was forged to proceed. The Executive Summary that follows offers more details on what is contained in the 10-Step Process and Contractor Experience publications.

Executive Summary

Entering a new construction market is a complex task. Although many contractors have experienced the benefits of expanding their market offerings, many more have had unsuccessful experiences causing hardship for the entire organization. Out of every five attempted market entry decisions, only one is successful.

Standardized decision-making processes increase the likelihood of success, but few contractors use a formalized decision structure. According to this research, only 6 to 7 percent of sheet metal contractors have a formal decision process. To address this lack of standard market entry practices, a 10-step decision framework has been developed based on a combination of existing knowledge, an industry survey of the state of practice, case studies of market entry decisions, industry workshops, and expert panels. The use of several research methods allows for triangulation and verification of each results, also ensuring the developed framework is valid and useful to the industry. Through these research methods, current industry decision-making practices are identified to ensure the framework aligns with industry practice while also being enhanced through industry and academic knowledge. The result is a step-by-step framework to entering new markets. The framework highlights the most important aspects of such decisions and increases the likelihood of success.

For more information on this project, visit