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How to Repair Canvas
If a tear or a rip happens to your canvas, whether a tote bag, a boat cover, awning or some other canvas item, you can fix it with just a few simple steps. Canvas repair is simple enough to tackle yourself.
Test the Canvas
Before you go to the trouble of canvas repair, check out the fabric to make sure it’s worth fixing. Sun and elements will take their toll on canvas fabric over time, and the material will fray, fade and become thin. Grasp the canvas tightly in both hands with your hands spaced about six inches apart and pull sharply. If the canvas tears easily, it’s best to replace it instead of repairing it.
If you decide to repair the canvas, get a piece of matching canvas for a patch and a matching piece of backing fabric that won’t fray. You’ll also need heavy polyester thread for stitching, a sturdy needle for hand sewing and a roll of double-sided sticky tape to hold the patches in place while you sew.
Patching the Tear
Cut the piece of replacement canvas and backing fabrics so they are four inches wider and longer than the tear. Cut strips of the double-sided sticky tape to fit around the perimeter of both pieces of fabric, and affix the sticky tape strips to the undersides of both pieces. Position the canvas patch over the tear on the top side and the backing fabric patch under the tear on the under side, and press both pieces firmly into place.
Thread the needle with the polyester thread, pulling it to make a double strand for extra strength. Tie a knot in the ends of the thread. Stitch around the edge of the patch, making sure the thread goes through the top patch, the canvas and the backing patch. Take small and even stitches, positing them about one-eighth inch from the edge of the patch. When you reach your starting point, make a knot and clip off the excess thread.
No-Sew Fabric Repair
If your tear is only an inch or two in length, consider using an adhesive-backed patch instead of sewing on a patch. These patches are quick to apply, and they generally work well.
Clean the fabric well and allow it to dry if necessary. Most adhesive patches require that you prep the canvas with alcohol pad. Remove the adhesive backing and position the pad directly over the tear, making sure the patch extends out from the tear on all sides.
You might also try a liquid adhesive to repair canvas tears. Make sure the canvas is clean, and then position the canvas on a work surface so the tear is accessible. Place a sheet of paper under the canvas to protect your work surface. Position both sides of the fabric together, and apply the liquid adhesive along the tear to seal the two sides together. Allow the adhesive to dry according to manufacturer instructions.
MORE FROM QUESTIONSANSWERED.NET
The Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model. This method from the bestselling management book Business Model Generation is applied in leading organizations and start-ups worldwide.
The Business Model Canvas enables you to:
- Visualize and communicate a simple story of your existing business model.
- Use the canvas to design new business models, whether you are a start-up or an existing businessManage a portfolio of business models
- You can use the canvas to easily juggle between "Explore" and "Exploit" business models.
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A self-paced online course with Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur.
Are you trying to improve your existing business model? Or trying to create a new one that can compete in today’s market?
- Create your own canvas
Create a new Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas was proposed by Alexander Osterwalder based on his earlier book: Business Model Ontology . It outlines nine segments which form the building blocks for the business model in a nice one-page canvas. You can find a detailed explanation in his bestselling book "Business Model Generation".
If you want to try it a Business Model Canvas without entering your email address, please use our Canvanizer 2.0 Business Model Canvas Demo for a first impression.
Your Name :
More about the Business Model Canvas
The Business Model Canvas reflects systematically on your business model, so you can focus on your business model segment by segment. This also means you can start with a brain dump, filling out the segments the spring to your mind first and then work on the empty segments to close the gaps. The following list with questions will help you brainstorm and compare several variations and ideas for your next business model innovation.
- Who are your key partners/suppliers?
- What are the motivations for the partnerships?
- What key activities does your value proposition require?
- What activities are important the most in distribution channels, customer relationships, revenue stream…?
- What core value do you deliver to the customer?
- Which customer needs are you satisfying?
- What relationship that the target customer expects you to establish?
- How can you integrate that into your business in terms of cost and format?
- Which classes are you creating values for?
- Who is your most important customer?
- What key resources does your value proposition require?
- What resources are important the most in distribution channels, customer relationships, revenue stream…?
- Through which channels that your customers want to be reached?
- Which channels work best? How much do they cost? How can they be integrated into your and your customers’ routines?
- What are the most cost in your business?
- Which key resources/ activities are most expensive?
- For what value are your customers willing to pay?
- What and how do they recently pay? How would they prefer to pay?
- How much does every revenue stream contribute to the overall revenues?
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Choose a canvas template:
Business Model Canvas Template
Determine and align your business priorities in a simple and visual way with the Business Model Canvas Template.
About the Business Model Canvas Template
The Business Model Canvas template, designed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, provides a strategic and powerful way to understand your business. The Business Model Canvas (BMC) displays a business model, and it contains nine blocks: fill in each one using stickies, links, sketches, pictures, and videos. Use this business model template collaboratively with your team to clearly explain and visualize your business.
How to use a Business Model Canvas template: 9 key elements
The canvas provides nine key business elements to illustrate, summarize, and track. The nine building blocks of a BMC template are:
1. Key partners
List the key partnerships your business leverages or relies upon for success. Include the resources or value your business gets from these partnerships.
2. Key activities
Summarize the key activities that allow your business to provide services and deliver on your value proposition.
3. Key resources
List the key resources your business relies upon or uses in order to operate and provide services.
4. Key propositions
Summarize the different value propositions that set your business apart from your competition.
5. Customer relationships
Define and describe the primary relationships you have with your customers, including how you interact with them, how these interactions differ among different types of customers, what different customer needs are, and the level of support the different customers receive.
Detail how your customers are reached, how your services are provided, your different distribution channels, and how your value proposition is delivered.
7. Customer segments
Define the ideal customer personas your value proposition is intended to benefit, then describe the key differences between these segments and potential steps in the customer journey.
8. Cost structure
Identify the primary costs associated with operating your business and providing your services, then detail the relationship between these costs and other business functions.
9. Revenue streams
Describe how your business generates revenue through the delivery of your value proposition.
When do you use the Business Model Canvas template?
Business Model Canvases are not intended to serve in place of a business plan . Instead, the BMC template is used to summarize and visually illustrate the most important information of a business model and to provide centralized ongoing clarity.
This canvas is appropriate for illustrating existing business models, regardless of whether the business is new. The BMC template is also appropriate for visualizing new business models for startups, as it helps organize and consolidate ideas around your key functions. Keep in mind that the Business Model Canvas should be reviewed periodically, as all the factors listed can change over time.
5 benefits of creating a Business Model Canvas online
Filling in the BMC template makes it easy to visually and collaboratively outline the core aspects of your business's unique value proposition. Here are a few benefits of using the template:
1. Provides a structure for ideation
The Business Model Canvas is extremely useful for structuring your business model visually. This helps at different stages of defining your business canvas and makes it easy to keep up-to-date as strategies shift.
2. Focuses you on your value proposition
It can be easy to get distracted by the varying factors involved in running a business. The value proposition is at the heart of the entire Business Model Canvas template, so you can continually focus on why your business exists. You should use your value proposition as a guiding star to give you direction as you fill out all other parts of the canvas.
3. Fast to complete
Whether or not your business model is clearly defined or you are testing out different business models, the BMC template can be completed quickly and helps you generate new business ideas. This allows for quicker feedback, quicker ideation, and faster iteration.
4. Provides a holistic view of your business
With the Business Model Canvas, you can see how all of the elements of your business are interrelated and inform or affect each other. This provides you with a better understanding of how your business operates as a system or ecosystem.
5. Gives you a central document to share externally
Once you’ve filled out your Business Model Canvas template, you can share it widely, get feedback, and make any needed updates. Because the visual presentation is easy to grasp and understand, teams, stakeholders, advisors, and partners should find the canvas relatively straightforward and easy to understand.
Can I customize the template to suit my business or add more details?
Yes, you can customize the BMC to match your specific business needs and add additional notes or details as necessary.
How often should I update or review the BMC for my business?
The Business Model Canvas (BMC) is a dynamic tool that should be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in your business model or market.
Can I use the BMC template for both startups and established businesses?
Yes, the BMC is suitable for both startups and established companies. It's a versatile tool that can be used for business model development, refinement, and innovation at any stage.
Is there a way to link external resources or documentation directly in the Business Model Canvas template?
Yes, in Miro, you can embed external links directly onto the canvas. This is particularly useful if you want to provide more detailed information or references for specific model sections or business cases.
Can I export my Business Model Canvas to share with stakeholders not using Miro?
Absolutely! Miro provides multiple export options for your canvas. You can save your Business Model Canvas as an image (PNG, JPEG), a PDF, or even a CSV file for the data.
Are there any integrations available to enhance my use of the Business Model Canvas template in Miro?
Yes, Miro offers a suite of integrations with popular tools and platforms to streamline your workflow. For example, you can integrate with tools like Slack for team communication, Google Drive for document storage, or Jira for project management. Using these integrations, you can seamlessly bring in external data, notify team members of updates, or even automate specific tasks directly within your Business Model Canvas board.
Get started with this template right now.
Project Planning Template
Works best for:.
Project Management, Project Planning
A project plan is a single source of truth that helps teams visualize and reach project milestones. Project plans are most useful when you outline the project’s “what” and “why” to anyone who needs to give you project buy-in. Use a project plan to proactively discuss team needs; expectations; and baselines for timeline, budget, and scope. The plan will also help you clarify available resources before you kick off a project, as well as expected deliverables at the end of the project.
Product Canvas Template
Desk Research, UX Design
Product canvases are a concise yet content-rich tool that conveys what your product is and how it is strategically positioned. Combining Agile and UX, a project canvas complements user stories with personas, storyboards, scenarios, design sketches, and other UX artefacts. Product canvases are useful because they help product managers define a prototype. Creating a product canvas is an important first step in deciding who potential users may be, the problem to be solved, basic product functionality, advanced functionalities worth exploring, competitive advantage, and customers’ potential gain from the product.
UX Research Plan Template
Market Research, Desk Research, User Experience
A research plan communicates the fundamental information that stakeholders need to understand about a user experience research project: who, what, why, and when. The plan ensures everyone is aligned and knows what they must do to make the UX research project a success. Use the research plan to communicate background information about your project; objectives; research methods; the scope of the project, and profiles of the participants. By using a UX research plan, you can achieve stakeholder buy-in, stay on track, and set yourself up for success.
Research Topic Brainstorm Template
Desk Research, Brainstorming, Ideation
Coming up with a topic for a research project can be a daunting task. Use the Research Topic Brainstorm template to take a general idea and transform it into something concrete. With the Research Topic Brainstorm template, you can compile a list of general ideas that interest you and then break them into component parts. You can then turn those parts into questions that might be the focus for a research project.
Strategy Diamond Template
Leadership, Operations, Strategic Planning
To achieve key objectives, every business assembles a series of strategies. But what elements should you consider when building a strategy? A strategy diamond is a collection of elements forming a coherent business strategy. These elements include: Arenas, Differentiators, Vehicles, Staging, and Economic Logic. Most strategic plans focus on just one or two of these elements, creating gaps that might cause problems for your business later on. A strategy diamond can help you stay focused and ensure you’re fulfilling all of your business’s needs rather than one or two.
Business model canvas.
The holy grail of design thinking tools..
The business model canvas is a great tool to help you understand a business model in a straightforward, structured way. Using this canvas will lead to insights about the customers you serve, what value propositions are offered through what channels, and how your company makes money. You can also use the business model canvas to understand your own business model or that of a competitor! The Business Model Canvas was created by Alexander Osterwalder, of Strategyzer.
11 building blocks.
1. Customer segments . List your most important (future) segments. Look for the segments that provide the most revenue.
2. Value proposition . W hat are your products and services? What is the job you get done for your customer?
3. Revenue streams . List your top three revenue streams. If you do things for free, add them here too.
4 . Societal and environmental benefits.
What are you giving back to your community and planet?
5 . Channels . How do you communicate with your customer? How do you deliver the value proposition?
6 . Customer relationships . How does this show up and how do you maintain the relationship?
7 . Key activities . What do you do every day to run your business model?
8 . Key resources . The people, knowledge, means, and money you need to run your business.
9 . Key partners . List the partners that you can’t do business without (not suppliers).
10 . Cost structure . List your top costs by looking at activities and resources.
11. Societal and environmental costs.
What’s the negative impact of your business model?
Your step-by-step guide.
Before you start..
You can learn a lot from your competition. Choose some competitors and map their business models. Armed with this information you’ll have deep insight into what customers want and what they are willing to pay for. You’ll have a clearer picture of just how customers’ needs are met across the entire industry, not just in your company. And, you’ll uncover vital information about how other businesses, maybe even very successful businesses, have created their own spaces in the market.
Get the right team of 3-5 people together.
Grab a large chunk of wall space.
Print or draw the canvas on a big sheet of paper.
Have plenty of sticky notes and markers ready.
Allow yourself 45-60 minutes of undisturbed time.
1. High level.
Start by mapping out the business on a high level: only the most important, vital aspects of the business model.
2. Connect the building blocks.
Link up the building blocks: every value proposition needs a customer segment and a revenue stream! When everything is on the board, take a step back. Have a short break. Did you miss anything? Forget something?
Pro tip: if you have multiple customer segments it is best to pick a colour for each segment in the post-it notes you use. That way you easily see if for each segment there is a value proposition and a revenue stream.
3. Current state.
Don’t mix ideas for a future state with what is going on right now, and don’t mix different departments!
Pro tip: if you work for a large organization you might find varying value propositions and business models. In that case ask the different departments to map out their own business models. You can compare them afterwards.
Take a step back check if every customer segment is linked to a value proposition and a revenue stream. Make sure everything on the left side of the canvas is needed to support the right side of the canvas. Everything else can go.
Rank your business model’s performance (0: bad, 10: excellent) for each of the following questions:
How much does switching costs prevent your customers from churning?
How scalable is your business model?
Does your business model produce recurring revenues?
Do you earn before you spend?
H ow much of the work can be done by others?
Does your business model provide built-in protection from competition?
On what cost structure is your business model based?
5. Next steps.
Pro tip: have an artist visualize your business model. It helps to create impact when sharing the model and it makes it easier for others to become connected. Checklist :
Take a snapshot picture of your business model canvas for easy to share future reference .
Ask team-members discuss the business model with others .
Trigger team-members to actively look for 1-2 blind spots .
Filter out the design criteria .
Test your assumptions .
Using Business Model Canvas to Launch a Technology Startup or Improve Established Operating Model
- 24 min read
- Last updated: 23 Dec, 2021
- 1 Comment Share
Not that long ago, organizations had to rely on a number of established tools to build their business models, strategize, and innovate. The business plan use as we know it today started to decline in the 1980s and 1990s due to its complexity and time-consuming research process. This decline has – not surprisingly – been in step with the high-tech boom and Silicon Valley’s startup culture. A business plan was integral to any organization that wanted to be associated with innovation. But what does it mean today? Despite – maybe due to? – their age and conventional status, business plans take time, effort, engagement of top consultancies, and financial resources to compile. Today startups, especially of the tech variety, cannot afford such luxury. To keep up with competitors, grow rapidly, and innovate, they require a truly agile technique, a mind map of sorts that’s easy to write, edit, and comprehend. Back in 2004, business theorist Alexander Osterwalder and his professor at the University of Lausanne Yves Pigneur suggested a business model design that could replace cumbersome business plans. An approach that was soon named the Business Model Canvas (BMC) has since acquired a respectable number of loyal practitioners. Not only have startups employed the approach, but also such giants as Microsoft, SAP, and General Electric. Let’s find out what the Business Model Canvas is and explore the ways a software company can leverage this method to drive success.
BMC explained in less than 12 minutes
What is a Business Model Canvas?
The Business Model Canvas is a visual template for identifying and organizing different elements of your business model. It's divided the canvas into nine sections, each responsible for the most vital business elements of every organization.
- Customer Segments
- Key Partnerships
- Key Activities
- Revenue Streams
- Value Propositions
- Key Resources
- Customer Relationships
- Cost Structure
Classic scheme of Business Model Canvas
With the abundance of methodologies for building a business model , there must be something really special about the Business Model Canvas that has earned it a place among the classic tools. To start with a BMC, you will need : a small group of people, a board or a large sheet of paper, markers and sticky notes, and up to an hour of time. When you’ve gathered everything, it’s time to map out. Let’s get down in the weeds.
1. Conduct Customer Segmentation
Venmo’s Customer Segments
2. Choose Key Partnerships
Venmo’s key partners
Joint-ventures are created when you need to fill the gap that only another business can fill, for instance, sell your product to a new niche. When you’re partnering with a company that has a missing element you require, it helps you grow your audience and increase sales. The affiliate plan we discussed earlier could be considered a joint-venture as well. Just like enhancing someone’s SaaS product with your API (or vice versa) or offering your customer upsells from a third-party. Coopetition is a partnership between competitors. It usually happens when both companies are struggling to launch a product and want to spread the risks to achieve common revenue. For example, when Apple launched an iPad, the tablet became the biggest competitor to Amazon’s Kindle. So, the rivals cooperated to sell Amazon books via the iOS Kindle app, which helped Amazon to extend its e-book market and established iPad as a viable reading device. Sometimes coopetition partnerships lead to mergers. PayPal, for instance, was born from the merger of two competing financial companies.
3. Sketch Out Key Activities
Key Activities are what a company should do to make its business model work. For a pizza delivery service, it would be getting the freshest ingredients for the best price, preparing meals, organizing a call-center or a website, hiring couriers, etc. But in case you’ve developed an app that just gathers and transfers pizza requests, you have another set of actions such as supporting an app, organizing fast and seamless connections with partners, automatically updating menus, etc. According to Business Model Generation , you can unite all your activities into three main categories:
Venmo’s Key Activities
4. Find Relevant Revenue Streams
Depending on the product or service you are trying to sell, you need to have a clear understanding of the ways you’re going to drive revenue from each Customer Segment. A strategy that goes into identifying and managing your Revenue Streams is called a Revenue Model. Here are some of the revenue models that may work for you. See the article at the link for more information about monetizing your software business . Or check out our video on revenue models:
A 14-minute guide to revenue models
Venmo’s Revenue Streams
5. Describe Your Value Propositions
The Value Proposition is the reason for a customer to buy your product. A good Value Proposition is a unique combination of features that will either solve a customer’s problem or bring them additional value. The Value Proposition should be short. Make sure both you and your users can read it in less than 5 seconds and clearly understand what your product is all about. Drop vague descriptions and jargon. Here are a few outstanding examples of Value Propositions that work:
- Trainer-led audio workouts for a fraction of the price of a live trainer. ( Aaptiv )
- Free, fast, detailed and entirely offline maps with turn-by-turn navigation – trusted by over 65 million travelers worldwide. ( Maps.me )
- Bookmate is the perfect way to enjoy books — whenever, wherever. ( Bookmate )
- The world’s best companies use InVision to design the products you love. ( InVision )
- We help big brands scale WordPress. ( Pagely )
This map allows to describe your Value Propositions and Customer Segments in more detail Source: Strategyzer
You start with Customer Jobs on the right side of the map and sketch all big and small tasks you’ll help your customers accomplish with the product. Then move onto the Pains and Gains sections and describe every good and bad experience a customer has before, during, and after completing the job. Next, go to the left side of the map and define your Products and Services . This is simple – just list all products and services your value proposition is built around. Finally, outline how exactly your product’s services are eliminating pains and generating gains in the Pain Relievers and Gain Creators sections. For this exercise, invite people who are in direct contact with customers or people you are targeting.
In this video, we more techniques to help you identify your customer and market
Venmo’s Value Propositions
6. Outline Distribution Channels
Five phases of distribution channels
Venmo’s Distribution Channels
Post-purchase support. This is the phase that customers care a lot about. What is the cancellation policy? How do they contact you with a problem or a question? What is the onboarding process? Nowadays, many software providers use chatbots or a simulation as one of their post-purchase channel. (You can read our article about designing chatbots to learn more.) Also, you can send out customer surveys, track reviews and questions on social media, or create personal recommendations based on user activity.
7. Identify Key Resources
Venmo’s Key Resources
When evaluating your Key Resources, ignore those that would be common for any business, but pay attention to the ones that are strategically important to you. For Amazon Prime, Key Resources would be licensed rights to stream films and TV shows. For Microsoft, Adobe, or Google, it would be numerous patents. And insurance and banking organizations can’t survive without financial resources.
8. Choose a Customer Relationships Strategy
Venmo’s Customer Relationships
Automated service. This is how Netflix and Spotify maintain relationships with their customers. By providing AI-powered recommendations of movies and playlists, the services imitate human interaction and keep customers engaged. Communities. To better understand customers’ struggles and facilitate connections between users, a company can create a community around a product or a brand where users can exchange knowledge. Have a look at Oracle . Their community with half a million active participants helps customers find advice among fellow users. Co-creation. User-generated content is a feature of the modern web. Anyone who’s uploaded a video to YouTube has contributed a service. The role of the company, in this case, is to precisely match content creators and content consumers. Another good example is HiNative that allows people around the world to contribute questions and answers about their languages on the same platform.
9. Classify Cost Structure
Delivering Value, maintaining Customer Relationships, and buying Resources all incur costs. For a typical product development software company, the major operational expenses usually include research and development (R&D) costs, sales and marketing activities, and support costs. Let’s break them down:
- According to MarketRealist , only 10 to 20 percent of costs in the software industry go for research and development, only 5 percent of that sum is actually spent on innovation, and the rest goes to testing.
- Due to the large competition in the market, marketing expenses of software companies usually surpass R&D costs, which is why about 25 percent of revenue is spent on marketing and sales. Depending on the product, this number can vary.
- Support costs are related to handling customer requests and retaining your audience. Since it’s difficult to retain customers of a software product, a big chunk of expenses goes to Customer Success Management and churn prevention.
Apart from operational costs, your Cost Structure should include:
- Capital costs – investments that go into acquiring or upgrading physical resources, such as buildings and computers.
- Overhead costs – the general operational costs that have no direct impact on delivering a product, such as electricity, or a processing time for installation and testing software.
- Staff costs – resources spent on hiring, training, and retaining employees.
Venmo’s Cost Structure
Okay, we’ve covered the theory, but how do you map this all out in practice? We’ll give a few tips for planning your BMC session and avoiding common mistakes.
How to Coordinate a Business Model Canvas Workshop
The BMC methodology was created to be flexible, so there are no strict rules on how canvas mapping should work. There are, however, guidelines that will help you get started and not get lost. Time you will need: Up to 2.5 hours. Limit yourself for more concentrated work. Team to assemble: All concerned people should be present.
The canvas was created in the pre-pandemic world, when in-person communication was preferable. But today, we know that distributed teams can be just as effective. So, we’ll describe what you’ll need in both cases. If you’re meeting in person , it’s recommended to have
- a large poster in B0 format or a white board of a comparable size,
- sticky notes of various colors,
- a camera to capture the resulting canvas.
For remote groups , make sure you have
- an online BMC template (we’ll list a few suggestions further). It doesn’t need to have collaborative features as one of the group members can be responsible for logging ideas.
- a plan B if technology fails. You can screen-record during the call or make screenshots at specific intervals so all data isn’t lost.
- pen and paper to capture ideas when people are waiting for their turn to speak.
How to fill the Business Model Canvas
Here are a few things that are important to make sure the Canvas works as intended. Don’t write directly on the Canvas. This concerns your BMC on paper or white board. Instead, place sticky notes. Ideas should be easy to add, move, remove, or simply change in order. One idea per note . Don’t create bullet lists on your sticky notes. If you don’t have enough space, be less expansive with your ideas or find a larger surface. Color code. If you have several very different target audiences, it will help to separate them by color and then use corresponding colors when describing their Value Propositions, Channels, Relationships, and so on. Use images . If you’re feeling creative, enrich your words with emojis, simple illustrations, or photos. We process things faster when there’s a visual attached, and it may give your teammates a better idea of what you mean. Stay minimalist . Remember, this is the place to create the strategic overview, not operational tasks. You may go into detail in one of the following workshops but start with the big picture.
Business Model Canvas in Real Life: Examples
Understanding how the approach works is one thing and following someone else’s example is entirely different. If you're still struggling to figure out what should go on your board, here are a few examples to get your wheels turning in the right direction.
A Lemonade Stand
Business Model Canvas for a Lemonade Stand
Business Model Canvas for Airbnb
Business Model Canvas for Uber
Business Model Canvas for LinkedIn
For more examples, visit business model examples on Strategyzer – a great collection of thorough models to inspire you or compare to well-known companies.
The benefits of using the Business Model Canvas
Visible connections. The design of the canvas directly illustrates the way elements are connected and provides a clear understanding of the impact the building blocks have on each other. That’s why it’s important to follow the specific order to fill in your business model. Changing and advancing. While many business strategy enthusiasts compare the BMC to a traditional business plan, these two methods have fundamentally different approaches. Business plans are heavy 100+-page documents that take time to write, read, and edit. The BMC is meant to be a living document that’s always changing and evolving. Thus, you and your team can make immediate decisions and add changes on the go. Enjoy the advantages of the BMC by trying out our convenient Business Model Canvas Tool . You can quickly fill in the boxes, create your business model canvas, and download it.
Value Propositions are always at the core. If you have another look at the canvas, you will notice that one element – Value Propositions – is placed at the very center of the canvas. It’s a backbone, a bearing wall that separates the front stage and backstage of your business theater. Speaking the same language. Eventually, the BMC makes your crew members understand each other better. By using the same definitions for reference, you provide a transparent communication between people and teams. You can take your BMC sheet to a meeting, brainstorm, use sticky notes to outline your new ideas, and later place the canvas directly on the wall, making it easier for ideas to be seen and adjusted.
What the BMC excludes and why it should not bother you
By looking at the model and even after starting to work with it, many entrepreneurs argue that it excludes a lot of key factors for creating a thriving business. Executives are bothered by the lack of external factors. What about competitors? And why not include the organization’s mission and priorities? The short answer is: Because that’s not what the BMC is for. But let’s provide a broader explanation.
- The main purpose of the BMC is to visually represent how you intend to build or develop a successful business. It’s a simple scheme aimed at defining the pathway in the constantly changing market and providing a concise overview of how your operational processes link up with one another.
- Just as you can’t include profit as a resource, an external impact is more of an outcome than a building block of your business. Thus, instead of trying to fit those elements into the canvas, you can adjust the internal processes when complications arise.
- Imagination is the key. You can’t make the model work for you unless you want to work on it as well. It’s not a silver bullet and it’s not meant to apply to each individual situation. So, don’t make the approach restrictive. Stay creative and inventive when working with the canvas. Combine it with other tools, such as a Value Proposition Canvas, or use adaptations of the methodology. One of the most popular is Lean Canvas.
Lean Canvas: A Startup Business Model
The Lean Canvas was created by Ash Maurya, CEO and Founder of LEANSTACK, as a version of BMC, specifically optimized for lean startups. The idea of a lean startup was introduced by Eric Ries in his titular bestselling book, where it was constructed on the following principles:
- handling uncertainty or venturing into marketing immediately,
- validated learning , meaning making discoveries as you go, and
- innovation accounting by defining and keeping in mind your success metrics.
Business Model Canvas evolving into Lean Canvas Source: Ash Maurya
Now, what do the updated canvas sections mean? The Problem part addresses the way startups often fail by not having the right product/market fit . So, to launch a successful business, you must start with correctly identifying and understanding what the market is lacking. After that, you can construct the Solution . Maurya wanted the small box of the canvas to “constrain entrepreneurs” and have them evaluate every idea that goes on the board, instead of sticking to the one they’re most passionate about. It’s also a great place to define your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) . To minimize the chaos of numbers, Maurya proposes focusing on a few Key Metrics , so that the startup can ignore everything else and doesn’t spend time and resources on wasteful activities.
We talk about all main metrics for a software product in this video
Finally, the Unfair Advantage box must remind the startup that its success largely depends on how they’re different from similar products on the market and help preemptively plan for when followers and copycats enter the competition.
How the Business Model Canvas can help established businesses
You may now be thinking, “Okay, all this sounds great, but isn’t it another startup tool? What if I want to take a fresh look at my established company and see how I can make it better?” The tool’s versatility allows you to apply it in many different ways. You can strategize a logic behind a new initiative (like Amazon’s decision to allow its Prime users stream movies for free). Or even analyze the leaders’ success stories and learn to apply them to your business (see LEGO’s reinventing experience presented on a canvas). Osterwalder says, “Everybody needs to understand how to use this and use this as a shared language.” Here are just some of the reasons to use the Business Model Canvas for your established business.
- Detect opportunity gaps and find new perspectives.
- Create your competitors’ business models and compare them to yours.
- Keep track of external changes in each building block.
- Pitch investors using a visual representation that others can understand.
- Test new business models.
- Map out potential changes.
- Align your team’s goals and actions.
- Look at the business from a customer’s perspective.
- Analyze new opportunities, partners, and channels.
Remember that you aren’t using the BMC to confirm what you already know about your organization, but rather to find flaws and pinpoint the ways to make your business processes more effective, and after evaluating the changes, act upon them.
What now? Life after the Business Model Canvas
The BMC is not a tool that you use once or twice and forget about it till the next evaluation of your company. It was designed and invented to become a part of every business’ day-to-day life, a map to guide your ship between rocks and shallows. So, what happens after you’ve laid out your business model? Dashboard. Use the BMC to track the changes in your building blocks and the level of satisfaction of these changes. Color-code the most complex elements to focus on them more and attract the team’s attention to the current problems. Meetings . Use the BMC as a brainstorming instrument at meetings to unify new ideas and manage them later in your work. Understanding customers. You don’t have to create the BMC for companies only. Try understanding your customer by creating their own business models. For instance, SAP, the German software giant, uses the BMC in their pre-sales process . The SAP sales teams sketch the customer’s business model to prepare for sales meetings. Onboarding. When hiring new talent, especially top management, you can use the BMC to give them an immediate understanding of where your company stands and help them join the team smoothly.
Software to create a Business Model Canvas
Even though a traditional approach is to grab a large piece of paper (or a whiteboard), a Sharpie and start filling in the canvas, there are several options to digitize this process. There are a few opportunities for Business Model Canvas software for you to use. It shouldn't be too difficult to use, but make sure to find collaboration features if you create a canvas in a team. AltexSoft’s Business Model Canvas template . When we set out to create our free BMC template, we wanted to build a minimalist experience for quick idea sketching and note-taking. The boxes have prompting questions and you can receive the finished result by email. Canvanizer. This is a free, easy-to-use business model canvas tool that allows you to share the same canvas with your teammates using links similar to Google Docs so you can brainstorm together. You can export the canvas into CSV or an image format. Besides traditional BMC, Canvanizer suggests templates for various similar and related tasks. For instance, you can do SWOT Analysis, use Lean Canvas for startup planning, feedback canvas, customer journey canvas, and more. Strategyzer . The tool is much more complex than Canvanizer. It allows for creating a Business Model Canvas and a Value Proposition Canvas with real-time collaboration support. Strategyzer comes with a built-in estimator module that can analyze revenue streams and assess whether the business idea is financially viable. Additionally, the product suggests a Testing Dashboard for Lean Startup development and has a number of other additional features that justify its price, ranging from built-in help to sticker color coding and advanced encryption. The base version costs $25 per month and supports unlimited canvases and an unlimited number of users. The enterprise package includes multi-team collaboration, portfolio management, and offers dedicated coaching. CNVS. We used CNVS to create visualizations for this article. The tool is great if you don’t need bells and whistles but you like clean and slick design with cute monsters. And it’s totally free if you don’t consider subscribing to their newsletter a payment. You can create traditional BMC, Feature Canvas, and Lean Canvas; share them with or with no editing access using a link; and that’s basically it.
“The same products, services or technologies can fail or succeed depending on the business model you choose. Exploring the possibilities is critical to finding a successful business model. Settling on first ideas risks the possibility of missing potential that can only be discovered by prototyping and testing different alternatives,” said Alex Osterwalder, creator of the Business Model Canvas. No business plan works out the way you intend it to. The only way to be prepared and effective in the ever-changing market is to stay dynamic and ready to act. Instead of spending months or even years developing a strategy that may not even materialize in the end, you can adjust your processes on the go in the existing environment and surpass competitors while you’re still growing. Moreover, you will stay connected to your team with the power of co-creation and be sure that you’re on the same page with every party involved.
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HDD & More from Me
The 20 Minute Business Plan: Business Model Canvas Made Easy
Table of Contents
What’s the Business Model Canvas?
How do you get started, why use the business model canvas, when should you use the business model canvas, how do you use the canvas to facilitate alignment and focus, step 1 (of 10): customer segments, step 2 (of 10): value propositions, step 3 (of 10): channels, step 4 (of 10): customer relationships, step 5 (of 10): revenue streams, step 6 (of 10): key activities, step 7 (of 10): key resources, step 8 (of 10): key partnerships, step 9 (of 10): cost structure, step 10 (of 10): applications, analysis & next steps, example a: enable quiz (startup), example b: hvac in a hurry (enterprise), using the google doc’s/powerpoint template.
If you’re already familiar, you can skip to the next section, ‘ How do I get started ?’.
The Business Model Canvas (BMC) gives you the structure of a business plan without the overhead and the improvisation of a ‘back of the napkin’ sketch without the fuzziness (and coffee rings).
Together these elements provide a pretty coherent view of a business’ key drivers–
- Customer Segments : Who are the customers? What do they think? See? Feel? Do?
- Value Propositions : What’s compelling about the proposition? Why do customers buy, use?
- Channels : How are these propositions promoted, sold and delivered? Why? Is it working?
- Customer Relationships : How do you interact with the customer through their ‘journey’?
- Revenue Streams : How does the business earn revenue from the value propositions?
- Key Activities : What uniquely strategic things does the business do to deliver its proposition?
- Key Resources : What unique strategic assets must the business have to compete?
- Key Partnerships : What can the company not do so it can focus on its Key Activities?
- Cost Structure : What are the business’ major cost drivers? How are they linked to revenue?
The Canvas is popular with entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs for business model innovation. Fundamentally, it delivers three things:
- Focus : Stripping away the 40+ pages of ‘stuff’ in a traditional business plan, I’ve seen users of the BMC improve their clarify and focus on what’s driving the business (and what’s non-core and getting in the way).
- Flexibility : It’s easier to facilitate alignment by tweaking the model and trying things (from a planning perspective) with something that’s sitting on a single page.
- Transparency: Your team will have a much easier time understanding your business model and be much more likely to buy in to your vision when it’s laid out on a single page.
The first time you engage with the canvas, I recommend printing it out or projecting it on a whiteboard and going to town (see below for a PDF). However, if you’re ready to put together something a little more formal (for distribution, presentation, etc.) here’s a Google App’s template you can copy or download as MSFT PowerPoint:
*Omnigraffle a popular diagramming program for the Mac. It has a fairly easy to use layering environment which you may find handy as you want to tinker with and produce different views of the canvas. You can try Omnigraffle for free (the basic paid version is $99).
The short answer is this: because it’s simple yet focused and that means more of your audience is likely to pay attention to it. Also, it’s highly amenable to change on the margins.
This matters a lot- more than most people think. A company that wants to innovate has to be ready to be wrong . A good VC in early stage investments succeeds with a prevalence of something like a 1/10. If you think you’re doing a lot better than that with substantial new innovation investments (a startup or a new line of business inside an enterprise) you’re probably throwing good money after bad.
Transparency, simplicity, and focus are great facilitators of the ‘creative destruction’ a good innovation program needs, and the Canvas does a nice job of delivering that across lines of business. For a large corporation with multiple lines of business at various levels of maturity, I actually prefer the Corporate Innovation Canvas as a starting point. However, from there, the Business Model Canvas does an excellent job of bringing clarity to the questions of how, for example, a given line of business creates focus and then implements it in an innovation-friendly way with, for example, ‘objectives and key results’ OKR’s . It’s a central element in the ‘innovation stack’ where an enterprise is able to go from priority innovation areas (with the Corporate Innovation Canvas) to testable business model designs (with the Business Model Canvas) to product charters (with an agile team charter ) to individual learning pathways to cultivate the talent they need to execute.
Even more important than the top down cascading of objectives with testable results and KPI’s is the improvement in the feedback in outcomes that helps the overall innovation program learn and adapt quickly. With layer appropriate innovation metrics, it’s much easier for the achievements of individuals to cohere (or not) to the job of teams and in turn from there to lines of business back up to corporate objectives. This helps both help the company’s talent understand where they might benefit from more practice and learning as well as what constitutes success in their individual roles and collaborations.
Anytime you want to have a focused discussion about what matters to a given line of business, the Business Model Canvas is a good place to start. The Canvas has received a lot of attention as a tool for startup entrepreneurship. While this may be one of the ‘sexier’ and more ostensibly simple applications of the Canvas, I actually think it’s one of the least compelling. For a startup, the only thing that matters is product/market fit, which the Canvas represents as a set of relationships between Customer Segments and Value Propositions. The Canvas doesn’t do a bad job of describing this, but it’s kind of overkill- the whole left side of the Canvas which describes the delivery infrastructure is mostly irrelevant for startups that are still finding product market fit, since all that’s provisional about where (and whether) they arrive at product/market fit.
Where the Canvas really shines is describing an existing line of business to answer questions like: a) What does product/market fit mean for this business? b) Where have we focused our company building and is it still relevant to ‘a’? c) What are our key revenue, cost, and profit drivers, and how do we improve those?
Now we’re taking! Whether you’re an ‘intrapreneur’ exploring a new extension to the business or a ‘digital transformation’/IT consultant trying to facilitate a discussion about what ‘strategic IT’ means and how you’ll know if you achieve it, the Canvas is a quick and productive place to anchor such a discussion.
First and foremost, I’d try it out for yourself. Fill out the elements the business you’re working on and then ask yourself ‘Does this make sense?’ ‘What are the most important linkages and components of the model?’
From there, you may just want to use the Canvas you sketch to facilitate alignment on some other topic. However, if you’re working with a team on a new venture or with a client on a new project, you may then want to take it from the top and facilitate a workshop where you facilitate a fresh take on the Canvas, levering your experience thinking through it once. The link below will take you to a related curriculum item that has workshop slides, prep. items, and agenda.
LINK TO WORKSHOP PAGE
Otherwise, the next sections (10 steps) offer a tutorial on how to think through a business model design with the Canvas. The closing sections offer notes on how to use the Google Doc’s/PowerPoint and Omnigraffle templates.
Output : a list of Personas, organized by Customer Segment if you have more than one segment. I recommend trying to prioritize them- Who would you pitch first if you could only pitch one? Who next? And so forth…
Notes : If you’re spending a lot of time on this first item, that’s OK (and it’s probably good). The Canvas is a tool, not a strategy and not all the nine blocks are equal. The pairing of Customer Segments and Value Propositions is really the ‘independent variable’ that should be driving everything else in your business model. When I use the Canvas in my Venture Design classes, we usually spend all of the first session (plus time for field research) on Customer Segments and Value Propositions.
For example, at Leonid, an enterprise software company I founded, we thought our largest customers worked with us because of the cost savings we offered and our knowledge about best practices. It turned out that was mostly wrong- reducing their time and risk to get new services to market was the most important. It’s not that the other things weren’t important, but they weren’t the top Value Proposition. That made a difference on how we sold the product and how we focused on operationalizing it for customers.
This mapping says ‘We have 3 personas. Persona 1 cares about VP 1 & 2. Persona 2 cares about VP 2; Persona 3 cares about VP3. (One segment only so segments not noted)’.
Output : a prioritized list of Value Propositions and linkages from each Personas to the VP’s relevant to them.
Notes: Again, this pairing is the key driver for most business models and if you want more on how to describe and discovery what to put in this part of the canvas, I recommend this: Tutorial- Personas .
Maybe you feel like you’re in good shape on understanding the customer’s world but you don’t have any validation on whether the Value Propositions are clicking because this is a new venture? If you’re not sure, that’s OK and good for you for acknowledging the uncertainty! It’s the responsible thing to do. The key is to write down those assumptions, prioritize them, and figure out the quickest and cheapest way to prove or disprove them. That’s what Lean/Startup is about and there are resources here to help you with that, if you’d like- Tutorial: Lean Startup .
Channels includes entities you use to communicate your proposition to your segments, as well as entities through which you sell product and later service customers (see AIDAOR journey below). For example, if you sell bulbs for light houses and there’s a website all light house attendants purchase equipment, that site is a sales Channel. If you use Google AdWords, that’s a Channel, too (for getting attention). If you use a third party company to service the bulbs when they break, that’s also a Channel.
Output : a list of important Channels, linked to Personas or Segments if they differ substantially. Make notes on what steps are relevant for each- promotion, sales, service, etc. See Note this section for more structure on this.
Notes: Channels and the next item, Customer Relationships, define your interface with the Customer. It’s important to think all the way through the customer ‘journey’ in specific terms. For most businesses, the way they get a customer’s attention is different than the way they onboard them or support them over the long term. For this, I recommend the AIDA.OR framework (attention-interest-desire-action-onboarding-retention) and storyboarding your way through it. Here’s a post explaining all that- Storyboarding AIDA(OR) . If you don’t want to do the storyboards, I recommend at least making notes about your customer journey through the AIDA(OR) steps.
Another consideration is whether your channels will give you enough visibility into the user, including, for example, a way to follow up with users. Not sure? Document your assumptions Lean Startup style and figure out how you’ll quickly prove or disprove them.
Output : a description of Customer Relationships, with notes if they differ across Customers (between Segments or among Personas within a Segment) or across the customer journey.
Notes: If you’re a startup, be sure to document and review critical assumptions here. Also, the focal items are in a kind of specific order- you should validate your Segments and their relationship to the Propositions above all else. If this means you provide personal support in the early days (a ‘concierge test’ in Lean Startup terms) to do discovery and validation of Segments and Propositions, that’s OK. You can subsequently test the Customer Relationship models. (Here’s a post on using consulting as a concierge vehicle in B2B if you want more detail: Consulting as B2B Concierge Vehicle ).
Notes : If you have a startup or are re-engineering the business, this is a time to look at where you’re driving revenue and whether it aligns with the rest of your focal points. Are you charging on value? Perceived value? They say everyone loves their banker; hates their lawyer. Why is that? Is there an actionable analog in your business?
For a product-driven business, this probably includes ongoing learning about users and new techniques to build better product. If you’re focused on doing a bunch of things for a particular set of customers (ex: comprehensive IT for law offices), this probably includes maintaining superior expertise on the segment(s) and creating or acquiring products and services that are a good fit, whatever that entails. For an infrastructure business (ex: electric utility), it probably includes keeping the infrastructure working reliably and making it more efficient.
Outputs : a list of Key Activities linked to your business’ Value Propositions.
Notes : One question this analysis should raise for you is whether or not certain Activities and Resources are actually core, actually focal to your business, something you’ll want to think through .
Outputs : a list of Key Resources linked to your business’ Key Activities.
Notes : Product-driven businesses have a differentiated product of some sort. Rovio, the company that makes the popular app Angry Birds, is such a company. Key Resources in product-driven businesses are typically key talent in critical areas of expertise and accumulated intellectual property related to their offering.
Scope-driven businesses create some synergy around a particular Customer Segment. For example, if you started a business that would take care of all the IT needs for law firms, that would be a scope-driven business. These businesses typically have key knowledge about their segment, a repeatable set of processes, and sometimes infrastructure, like service centers.
Infrastructure-driven businesses achieve economies of scale in a specific, highly repeatable area. Telecommunications is traditionally an infrastructure business. Retailers focused on retail, like Walgreens or Costco, are primarily infrastructure-driven businesses. The Key Resources for this type of business are, you guessed it, various types of physical or virtual infrastructure.
Let’s take a single product category: diapers. The Honest Company or another innovating around compostable or otherwise more environmentally friendly diapers would be a product-driven take on the category. Procter & Gamble which has a cradle-to-grave strategy for providing consumer products is a scope-based take; so are various baby-focused retailers. Kimberly-Clark (wood pulp) or DuPont (chemicals and polymers) are both infrastructure-based takes: diapers is just another way to sell something they produce at scale with relatively little differentiation.
If there are major cost components that don’t map to a Key Activity, I’d take a closer look at those costs.
Output : a list of Cost Structure elements with notes on their relationship to Key Activities.
Congratulations- you have a working canvas! The section below offers a few analytical ideas and suggestions for next steps.
Core Applications The most core and obvious applications of the Canvas are to ask: – Does it make sense? – Could it be better? – Does the rest of my team understand and agree? Have additional ideas? – (rinse and repeat at least quarterly)
Competitiveness The canvas does a good job of helping you figure out your business, which is a good place to start. You also want to look at the competitive environment and think about if and how you have/maintain a long term competitive advantage.
For this, I like Michael Porter’s Five Forces framework ( Wikipedia Page ; see also Chapter 2 of ‘ Starting a Tech Business ‘). Try walking through the Five Forces for your company and then bounce back to your canvas. How does it all hang together?
Next Steps Every business is a work in progress (sorry, I try to avoid saying things like that but it seemed to fit here). As you go through the canvas, you may encounter areas that give you trouble. The table below summarizes a few of the most common that I see in my work as a mentor and coach:
Want to make innovation an everyday thing?
What is Enable Quiz?
Enable Quiz is a (fictional) startup that’s building a lightweight quizzing application for companies that hire a lot of technical talent (engineers). Their take is:
For hiring managers who need to evaluate technical talent, Enable Quiz is a talent assessment system that allows for quick and easy assessment of topical understanding in key engineering topics. Unlike formal certifications or ad hoc questions, our product allows for lightweight but consistent assessments of technical talent.
Why and how would Enable Quiz use the Business Model Canvas?
They have a small team, but arriving at a clear, shared understanding of what they’re after is still important. That said, it’s important that the way they talk about this is both highly visible and amenable to change. Given that, the Canvas is a good fit.
The Business Model Canvas at Enable Quiz
This page shows Enable Quiz’s current working view of product/market fit:
What is HVAC in a Hurry?
HVAC in a Hurry is a mid-sized enterprise that services commercial HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. Their take on the business is:
For facilities managers & business owners who need their heating & cooling systems managed and repaired, HVAC in a Hurry is a full service provider that allows for easy and responsible management of a business’ HVAC systems. Unlike smaller firms, our commitment to best practices and training allows customers to worry less and realize superior total cost of ownership for their HVAC systems.
Why and how would HVAC in a Hurry use the Business Model Canvas?
HVAC in a Hurry has a working version of product/market fit. However, their industry is competitive and successful firms increasingly use technology to improve customer experience (CX) and reduce cost (overhead) in their operations. HVAC in a Hurry has a small ‘digital transformation’ team that’s working on digital applications to improve the company’s performance. This team decided to use the Canvas to ‘manage upwards’ in order to facilitate better discussions about where they should focus, how that aligns with the business as a whole, and what success definition makes sense for them.
The Business Model Canvas at HVAC in a Hurry
Here’s their current view of product/market fit:
If you’re not familiar with it, Google Doc’s is a web-based office suite, similar to MS Office. If you have a gmail account, you can access it (no guarantees- that was the case last time I checked).
First, you’ll want to link to the template file: BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS TEMPLATE IN GOOGLE DOC’S .
Once you’re accessed the file, you can make make it your own by going to the File menu and either ‘Make a copy…’, creating a copy in your own Google App’s domain or you can use the ‘Download as…’ option to download it as PowerPoint (and a few other formats).
What’s your experience with the Canvas? How have you used it? What worked? What didn’t? Please consider posting a comment!
Copyright © 2022 Alex Cowan · All rights reserved.
The 9-Step Business Model Canvas Explained (2023 Update)
Written by Raquel Alberdi
Business | entrepreneurship, 11 comments(s).
Blog » The 9-Step Business Model Canvas Explained (2023 Update)
“A major mistake made by many start-ups around the world is focusing on the technology, the software, the product, and the design, but neglecting to ever figure out the business . And by “business” we simply mean how the company makes money by acquiring and serving its customers”.
After meeting with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners over the years I believe the LinkedIn co-founder and Blitzscaling author Reid Hoffman’s got it spot on.
People tend to focus on specific parts of their business, such as which software packages are being used, which is the cheapest supplier, how to optimize internal processes…?
They get so bogged down in the details of the day-to-day running that they lose the overall vision of their business.
Without this vision they are unable to scale, they make marginal profits, miss opportunities, struggle to innovate, and end up running “just another” business.
Another handy metaphor in understanding this common mistake is the soldier in the trenches .
Every meter of ground gained comes at a heavy cost, mistakes are made, and progress is hard-fought and slow…a day-to-day experience for 99% of entrepreneurs and businessmen.
But when you do have that 360 vision you see the entire battlefield. Decisions are much clearer, fewer mistakes are made, and progress is fast and methodical.
Fortunately, a business model framework exists that gives you both vision and clarity .
The Business Model Canvas provides entrepreneurs, business owners, and strategists with a tool to analyze, structure, and evolve a business while always keeping the bigger picture front of mind.
So let’s take a closer look at how it works.
Table of Content
What is the Business Model Canvas?
Created by Swiss entrepreneur and Strategyzer co-founder, Alexander Osterwalder, the Business Model Canvas is a visual representation of the 9 key building blocks that form the foundations of every successful business. It’s a blueprint to help entrepreneurs invent, design, and build models with a more systematic approach.
Why is it so popular within the business community?
Its simplicity. The business model canvas allows us to carry out a high-level analysis without drilling down and getting lost in the details. You just draw out the 9 building blocks on a blank canvas, fill them in as each concept relates to your business, and hang it somewhere everybody can see.
It’s a visual overview of your entire business on a single canvas.
While the Business Model Canvas is an extremely fluid concept and hyper-specific to individual companies, each canvas is still broken down into these 9 key building blocks:
Value propositions, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partners.
When laid out on the canvas the model will look something like this:
While you’ve probably come across each of the 9 building blocks before, the attractiveness of the Business Model Canvas is that it confines them to a single page , not a traditional 42-page document.
This makes it a lot easier to digest, as well as assess existing business models or map out new ideas.
How do I fill out the Business Model Canvas?
To start your Business Model Canvas you will need to breakdown and analyze each of the 9 building blocks.
A good way to approach this is to gather the heads from marketing, sales, operations, finance, and manufacturing (if product-based) and pencil-in a morning where you can all meet together.
Then, after drawing a mock canvas onto a whiteboard, proceed to dissect and discuss each of the 9 building blocks as they relate to your business. You can use sticky notes to better organize your thoughts around the canvas.
If you are an entrepreneur or new business owner working alone and don’t have a team to bounce your ideas off, not to worry. You can still carry out your analysis before sharing it with a like-minded entrepreneurial community or forum, like those found on ThePowerMBA , to get useful, insightful feedback.
Whichever way you decide to approach it, I recommend you complete each block in the following order:
- Cost structure
For continuity, I’m going to use the fashion retail giant Zara when analyzing each of the 9 key building blocks.
If you’d like to skip to another case study similar to your own business, navigate to the table of contents at the top of the page and select one of the other business model canvas examples.
The first block of the Business Canvas Model is about understanding who is the most important customer(s) you’re delivering value to. Or, in other words, who are they? What do they do? And why would they buy your product or service?
Not a single company exists without its clients, making customer segments the best block to start with while drawing out your business model canvas.
A great exercise to define your customer segments is to brainstorm and create your company’s buyer persona (s) .
Buyer personas are fictional depictions of an ideal or hypothetical client. Typically when brainstorming a buyer persona you’d want to define certain characteristics (age, demographic, gender, income, industry, pain points, goals, etc.)
However, remember at this stage we want a snapshot of our customer segment. There’s no need to jump into great detail just yet.
In the case of Zara, there are three distinct customer segments to whom they offer different products.
The products created for each of these customer segments (clothing, shoes, and accessories) are not trans-consumable. That is to say, a woman’s dress is highly unlikely to be worn by a 7-year-old child.
Once we know exactly who it is we are targeting, it’s time to look at what we as a company have to offer.
The second phase is about figuring out your company’s value propositions , and importantly, your UVP (unique value proposition). The “what” that makes customers turn to you, over your competitors? Which of their problems are you best at solving?
Each value proposition consists of a bundle of products or services that fulfill the needs of a buyer persona from your customer segment. It’s the intersection between what your company offers, and the reason or impulse customers have for purchasing.
Some popular questions to ask while determining your UVP are:
- Which specific customer pain point are you trying to solve?
- What job are you helping customers get done?
- How does your UVP eliminate customer pain points?
- What products or services do you provide that answer this specific pain point?
So let’s try and apply this to Zara. Why do people choose to purchase from them, over their competitors?
Zara’s principal value propositions are fairly clear. They offer various ranges of stylish men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories at an affordable price.
But there’s more to it than that.
If we dive a little deeper we see Zara’s value propositions are more complex, which are behind the success of the brand:
Zara adds new clothes and designs to its collections every 2-3 weeks, both in its stores and online. It keeps the brand updated, fresh, and modern while maintaining its all-important medium price point
Great eCommerce experience
Once you enter Zara’s online store you’re presented with a clean, easy-to-navigate, and high-end feel. The customer segments are visible on the left navigation bar with a search tab to further aid customers with their online experience.
You can find a store in nearly all major retail locations (shopping malls, retail outlets, airports, etc.) meaning accessibility is not an issue for the majority of consumers.
Zara demonstrates its aesthetic evolution to customers through its flagship stores. The recent opening of their Hudson Yards , New York City flagship is a great example of this. Customers shop around its vivid, minimalist layout offering them an experience aligned with the brand’s deeper, eco-friendly values.
Zara Hudson Yards, New York
The next step is to ask yourself how you are reaching your customers, and through which channels ?
This includes both the channels that customers want to communicate with you as well as how they’ll receive your products or services.
Is it going to be a physical channel? (store, field sales representatives, etc.) Or is it a digital channel? (mobile, web, cloud, etc.).
Zara has 3 primary channels in which they communicate and deliver products to its customers:
- Direct sales through their stores
- Online (both app and website)
- Social media
Customers can go to a traditional “bricks and mortar” store to browse, model, and purchase different items of clothing at one of their retail stores.
Alternatively, they can shop online or through their mobile application and have the product delivered straight to their door or nearest store. The choice is completely up to them!
So that covers Zara’s commercial channels, but what about how they communicate with customers?
While they do communicate through their mobile app, their predominant channel is social media.
What’s more, they’re really, really good at it.
For example, did you know that Zara invests less than 0.3% of its sales revenue into advertising?
This is only possible due to an A-rated social media presence . Customer queries are not only dealt with quickly, but recommended re-works are sent back to HQ, forwarded onto in-house designers who then apply the feedback to future collections.
This customer-first approach through fluid communication channels has saved them thousands of dollars in marketing, strengthened their brand, and created a loyal customer base.
You should only step away from this building block once you’ve decided how each of your customer segments want to be reached.
Once you have acquired customers, you will need to think about how you can build , nurture, and grow those relationships.
Now, this can be automated and transactional like large eCommerce brands Amazon or Alibaba. Or, it could be at the complete opposite end of the scale and require a more personal relationship you’d typically have with a bank or your local bike shop.
Zara’s relationship with its customers is threefold, and lies somewhere in the middle of transactional and personal:
- Salesperson at store
- Brand through social media
- Sentimental attachment to a product
Yes, you have the initial transactional touchpoint at the store or online, something relatively impersonal and for many the only interaction they’ll have with the brand.
However, customers (especially in the fashion industry) are encouraged to continue to interact with a brand through social media platforms.
As we mentioned before when discussing channels, Zara has a very effective communication system in place. Not only can people instantly get in touch with the brand, but also engage with new posts, images, and collections uploaded to social media.
This personal approach to customer relationship building can, in some cases, lead to the natural growth of brand ambassadors and communities .
An attachment can also develop between customers and particular garments or accessories from one of their collections. The sentimental attachment to these products also creates another potential form of brand loyalty.
Now that you’ve described how you are going to create real value for your customers, it’s time to look at how you plan to capture that value.
What are your revenue streams? Is it going to be a transactional, direct sales strategy ? Are you going to consider a freemium mode l, where you give a portion of your product or service away for free with the idea of converting later on down the line?
If you’re a SaaS company such as SalesForce or Strava , then it’s likely that a licensing or subscription revenue model will be more appropriate.
At Zara, it’s extremely simple. They make their money by selling clothes and accessories either at a store or online.
As you can see, we’ve filled in the entire right-hand side of our business model canvas. We touched upon:
- Value propositions
- Revenue streams
- Distribution channels
Now it’s time to move over to the left side of the business canvas model and look at what we need, internally , to deliver our value propositions.
To start with, let’s take a look at key resources.
The key resources are all things you need to have, or the assets required to create that value for customers.
This could be anything from intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.) to physical holdings (factories, offices, delivery vans, etc.) right down to finances (the initial cash flow perhaps needed to start your brand).
Another key resource every company needs to consider is its human capital . Are you going to need highly specialized software engineers? Or field-based sales teams?
They are relatively capital-heavy resources that need to be factored into your business model.
In the case of Zara, they are going to need a number of key resources if they hope to deliver their propositions:
- Stock management
- A large, interconnected network of physical stores
- A strong brand
- Logistics and supply chain infrastructure
Stock is vital for both online and offline customers.
If they are unable to supply their range of products and meet customer demands, satisfaction levels fall and they have a serious problem on their hands.
A large distribution network of brick and mortar stores combined with a strong brand name help mitigate these factors, as well as reinforce any ongoing marketing activities and communication efforts.
Finally, an efficient logistics process within Zara is critical, especially when you consider the complexities involved with such a large-scale operation.
They will require the necessary technology to analyze data on inventory, storage, materials, production, and packaging, with the staff to execute each of these stages and manage the delivery of the final products.
The next step is to define the key activities – the areas you need to be good at to create value for your customers.
To mix it up a little let’s take a look at a slightly different business in Uber .
Their key activities can be broken down into:
- Web and mobile app development
- Driver recruitment
- Marketing: customer acquisition
- Customer service activities : drivers’ ratings, incidents, etc.
They need a fast, clean UX for their customers using the app, drivers to carry out their service, and the ability to both market the product and deal with any customer queries.
Zara’s key activities will differ to those of Uber. Some of the things they need to consider would be:
- Retail process (point of sale and 3rd party management)
- Distribution channel / logistics
Design is a key activity as Zara’s value proposition is to provide stylish garments at an affordable price. Their collections need to be constantly updated to follow the latest fashion trends at the time.
To produce their collections Zara will also require manufacturing capabilities. Now Zara doesn’t own their own factories (we will get to that in the Key Partners section) but they still need to be involved in the garment manufacturing process.
Everything from fabric selection to pattern making, to detailing and dyeing affects the outcome of the final product which of course they have to then go on and sell.
The effective management of the retail and distribution channels (online, offline, shipping, and communication with providers) is also key. A breakdown in either of these activities, such as a poor relationship with an important provider will have serious consequences for the business.
Most modern business models now require brands to build out and work with various key partners to fully leverage their business model.
This includes partnerships such as joint ventures and non-equity strategic alliances as well as typical relationships with buyers, suppliers, and producers.
A great example of a strategic partnership would be between ThePowerMBA and Forbes . In exchange for exposure of our brand to the magazine’s global audience, we provide expertise and content on high-level business education programs.
As we touched upon when discussing key activities , Zara requires strategic partnerships with many different providers if they are to design and produce their collections.
Another key partner is their major holding company, Inditex .
Inditex has several subsidiaries including Massimo Dutti , Pull & Bear , and Oysho . Being a subsidiary of Inditex means they share a consolidated balance sheet, stakeholders, management and control, and various legal responsibilities.
While as a subsidiary Zara is afforded certain freedoms when it comes to design, delivery, and the general running of the company, the overall strategy will need to be aligned with Inditex and its other subsidiaries.
The final step of the Business Model Canvas is to ask yourself, how much is it going to cost to run this model?
This includes some of the more obvious needs such as manufacturing costs, physical space, rent, payroll, but also areas such as marketing activities.
If you are unsure of exactly what to include in your cost structure take a look at a Profit and Loss statement ( P&L ) from a competitor or company in a similar industry to yours. You’ll find many items overlap such as research and development ( R&D ), cost of goods sold, admin expenses, operating costs, etc.
Once that’s done you should prioritize your key activities and resources and find out if they are fixed or variable costs .
As Zara is such a large, corporate business they are going to have both fixed costs (rent, payroll, point of sales personnel) and variables, such as costs associated with the fluctuating sale of goods, purchase of materials and, manufacturing costs.
Once you’ve completed these 9 steps, your Business Canvas Model should look something like this:
Business Model Canvas Examples
Hopefully, you were able to get a good feel for the effectiveness of the business model canvas with our run-through of Zara.
However, if you found it difficult to follow due to the stark difference between your industries, I’m going to quickly go through 3 more companies to demonstrate the tool’s flexibility:
- Netflix (Media service/production)
- Vintae (Vineyard)
Even if these business model canvas examples don’t align exactly with your industry, I honestly believe that studying different models gives you a competitive advantage in your professional career regardless.
If you’re currently employed by a company, you’ll better understand how your specific role helps the company achieve some of its “long-term” goals.
Alternatively, if you are a business owner yourself (or perhaps thinking of starting your own business) you’ll have a better understanding of your business and where potential opportunities lay.
I’m sure you’re familiar with our next business model canvas example candidate, Netflix .
The global media company offers an online streaming service of various movies, documentaries, and TV programs produced in-house or licensed 3rd-party content. Their success sparked a revolution in the online media world with the likes of Amazon, Apple, Disney, HBO, and Hulu all rushing to launch their own online video streaming platforms.
Netflix started life as an online DVD rental company, basically a web version of the more popular (at least at that time) “bricks and mortar” Blockbuster.
Co-founder Reed Hastings predicted as far back as 1999 that the future of media was in online streaming, saying “postage rates were going to keep going up and the internet was going to get twice as fast at half the price every 18 months.”
It wouldn’t be until 2007 that Hasting’s prediction would become true when Netflix, as we now know it, was born.
So let’s take a current look at their business model canvas:
As you probably know, there are very few people out there who haven’t subscribed, watched, or at least heard of Netflix. There is content for everybody: wildlife documentaries, sci-fi movies, rom coms, action-thrillers, you name it – it’s there.
That’s why their customer segment can be classified as a “ mass market ” as the base is just so diverse.
All people require is a computer, TV, internet, and/or smartphone and they’re good to go. For most developed markets, that covers just about everybody.
Whether on the train to work, sitting in the car (if you’re not driving!), or relaxing at home in front of the TV, you can consume their online, on-demand video streaming service.
They also have a huge library of content for consumers to choose from, ensuring that people keep coming back, as well as increasing their mass-market appeal.
They also produce high-quality, original content to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Most people access Netflix either through their website or mobile/TV App . Another popular channel that you may have picked up on is their affiliate partners .
You’ve perhaps signed up for a mobile, TV, and internet package where the provider offers Netflix as an extra to sweeten the deal, so to speak.
That would be an example of an affiliate partnership between Netflix and mobile service providers.
I doubt many consumers have had direct contact with Netflix unless it’s to resolve a subscription issue or general query. It’s very much a self-automated service – you download the app, select the program you wish to watch, and hit play.
Very simple, very effective.
Again, this doesn’t need much embellishment. Netflix generates money from the different tiers and packages put together in their subscription services.
This varies depending on the region to account for local markets, but on the whole, it’s sold at a low price point.
Originally, Netflix’s Key Resources would have been their unrivaled DVD collection combined with a cost-effective mail-order system.
Nowadays it’s undoubtedly the rights to stream online video content. Netflix has brokered deals with some of the biggest production studios worldwide.
Combined with their huge library of in-house productions , it’s more than enough to encourage customers to renew their subscriptions.
To help sustain interest in their product, Netflix understands they need to serve-up relevant content for each sub-sector of their mass audience. Therefore their machine learning algorithm selects content for consumers based on streaming habits (what they watched, at what time, etc,.) to personalize the customer experience.
This explains why over 80% of all content streamed on Netflix was cherry-picked by this algorithm, making it a Key Resource for their business model.
Also, Netflix accounts for a whopping 12.6% of global bandwidth usage . The literal capacity to stream their services must be met meaning bandwidth must also be included here.
Content procurement is arguably their biggest Key Activity. They need to find people to produce and deliver their original content, including actors, studios, writers, etc. as well as secure the licensing and streaming rights from 3rd party producers such as Sony, Warner Bros, and Disney.
Finally, they need a fast, easy-to-use application to host their online streaming service. This needs to be available for both TV and mobile devices if they are to deliver their “on-demand” value proposition.
K ey Partners
Seeing as Netflix’s entire business model is largely based around streaming 3rd party content, key partnerships need to be built with production studios . No content, no Netflix!
Also, as we touched upon earlier Netflix is one of the largest consumers of bandwidth worldwide. If the speed and delivery of their streaming service are to be continued then deals will also need to be made with internet service providers (ISPs).
Netflix’s biggest expenditures come from both their in-house content procurement and 3rd party licensing agreements . The high-quality standard of video streamed on Netflix is only possible due to the speed and performance of its online platform and application , which has additional costs of staff, software, etc.
To show you just how flexible the business model canvas can be, I wanted to throw in a slightly leftfield example. Vintae is a Spanish wine producer who, after a detailed analysis of the business model canvas, was able to innovate and disrupt one of the world’s most competitive industries.
As some of you may know, the wine industry is extremely competitive. It’s also steeped in history and tradition , making it very challenging for newcomers to grab market share, let alone think about year-on-year growth and revenue.
However, CEO “Richi” Arambarri looked at the traditional “ bodega ” business model and saw a chink in its armor.
A “small” innovation in the business canvas model helped them to become one of the region’s most important winery groups, with over 10 installations and a presence across all regional denominations (Rioja, Priorat, Rias Baixas, etc.) with year on year growth of 30% – practically unheard of in such a competitive industry.
So how did Vintae analyze the business model canvas to find a niche in their market?
To answer that question, we must first look at the traditional winery business model .
As you can see, the wine industry has historically been patrimonial. Vineyards and estates are passed down through generations with the winery responsible for all phases of production, clarification, and distribution.
The traditional winery business canvas model suggests you must be the owner of the winery/vineyard where the wine is “manufactured”, meaning physical assets are a key resource of the business model.
So, if you wanted to start producing a Rioja, for example, you’d have to set up your vineyard in the region.
This is monumentally expensive as you need to:
- Purchase the land
- Plant a vineyard
- Absorb set-up and installation costs
- Deal with maintenance costs
It’s here where Vintae saw their opportunity.
What if we move vineyard ownership across the business model canvas from key resources to key partners ?
By leasing the equipment and space of large wineries (of which there was plenty), they could still produce their wine but reduce the cost and exposure associated with land purchase, crushing equipment, huge storage tanks, vineyard maintenance, and their bottling line.
This enabled them to focus on their sales, marketing, and distribution channels to create a better brand experience for their customers.
Also, it afforded them more flexibility when creating new wines as they were no longer confined to the limitations of grapes grown on their vineyard.
The lightness of this new business model eliminates maintenance overheads, channels energy into personalizing the customer experience, and allows for unprecedented levels of growth in one of the world’s most competitive industries.
Business Model Canvas Software
Although I did mention starting with a large whiteboard, sticky notes, and a pack of colorful sharpies there are several options in which you can digitize the business canvas model production process.
While I still believe the aforementioned process is extremely valuable (it gets your entire team’s input in a single hour-long session) you may decide it more viable for each member of management to pool their ideas digitally before sharing with the rest of the group.
If that’s the case, then take a look at some of the following software tools for creating your business model canvas.
Created by the founders of the business model canvas Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur , Strategyzer offers a range of business model canvas templates for you to get started with.
If you opt for the paid model (there is a 30-day free trial period) they offer a series of various classes that teach you how to build and test different value propositions and business models.
A real-time built-in cost estimator analyzes the financial viability of some of your business ideas, identifying alternative areas you may wish to explore with your model.
All-in-all, it’s a great resource to play around with and test some of your business ideas, with the option to dive into further detail if you see fit.
Canvanizer is a free, easy-to-use web tool that allows you to share links between team members who are brainstorming ideas for a business model canvas, but working remotely.
Like Strategyzer, there are several business model canvas templates provided to help you get started with your analysis. The strength of this platform is its accessibility. Much like a Google Doc., several people can brainstorm on the same canvas simultaneously with changes being synchronized automatically.
Business Model Canvas Tool
A ThePowerMBA alumni, impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of the tool, went ahead and created the free application Business Model Canvas Tool .
It’s an incredibly intuitive, and easy-to-use tool that allows you to create templates simply by clicking the + button in each building block.
Each business model canvas created can be downloaded and shared as a pdf. with the rest of the team.
Would You Like to Learn More about Business Models?
If, after going through our 9-step guide on how to use the Business Model Canvas you’d like to learn more about different business model analysis tools , take a look at our alternative MBA business program .
As you’ll see, the course gives students a 360-degree view of business and management practices – such as engines of growth, segmentation and targeting, and value propositions.
I highly recommend you go check it out.
Regardless, I’d love to hear what you thought about this guide. Was it helpful? Would you like to see additional business cases analyzed from your industry?
Let us know in the comments below.
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I am a DBA student. I have used your site a lot. Thank you for the information
Well defined steps, Thanks for good contents.
Dear Sir many thanks for you guideline. it was very effective for me. Thanks a Million
Well explained with practical business case
Wow, this article was incredibly helpful! I’ve heard about the Business Model Canvas before, but I wasn’t sure exactly how it worked or how to use it for my own business.
I need a sample of business model canvas for a beauty palour
you’ve done a great job. keep it up
This is a very insightful content with a step-by-step practical approach of how to write a BMC and what exactly it should contain.
My team and I literally used your guide to write a BMC for a project we were working on, and in just about an hour we were done.
Thank you so much for this content, it was really helpful.
Thank you very much Collins and we are glad you are using this tool.
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