New business model Canvas
Guest post by Alex Cowan, author of Starting A Tech Business. Alex is the presenter at SARTA’s January 22 workshop on The Business Model Canvas.
Have you ever asked a fit person how they stay in shape? Many of them will identify a silver bullet: “dumbbells”, “lay off the carbs”, “stop drinking” (sadly, this last one works wonders). But the reality is that if you limit your calories and exercise regularly, you’ll get fit in no time. It doesn’t matter that much exactly what you do.
While I’m in the business of teaching a specific curriculum on entrepreneurship, I’ll freely admit to you that the specifics are less important than the diligent application of structured best practices.
My success as an author and instructor is measured in how little time & effort my readers and students can expend and still get a good outcome. To this end, I leverage five frameworks that I think deserve the attention they’ve received:
1. Design Thinking (to understand your customer)
2. Lean Startup (to structure and conquer the uncertainty of a new venture)
3. Customer Development (to progress through the above)
4. Agile (to organize work, particularly engineering and marketing)
5. Business Model Canvas (to keep the business model organized and responsive to the above)
All these frameworks deliver results with a minimum of effort (which can still be a fair amount in the case of a new business- but if you’re reading this you probably know that already).
But enough about me, let’s talk about you. How do you currently analyze, discuss, and decide the focal points for your venture? May I suggest the Business Model Canvas?
The Business Model Canvas is an excellent tool for quickly for analyzing, discussing, and deciding the key focal points for any venture, new or existing. Its key virtue is that it’s easy to understand on first glance:
The Canvas is a tool, not a strategy. One of the top things I run into teaching the Canvas is the perception that it’s a kind of checklist: this is not inaccurate but it is misleading. The driving ‘independent variable’ of the Canvas is the relationship between Customer Segments and Value Propositions, known as ‘product/market fit’ in Lean Startup parlance. This pairing should be the focal point for any new line of business, driving the rest of the elements on the Canvas. True, the Canvas can help collaborators uncover and discuss novel ways of delivering on product/market fit, but for most ventures, discovery and validation of this pairing is the basis for business model viability.