Thinking of starting a business or growing your startup but unsure of where to start? Develop a Business Model Canvas

Are you an entrepreneur thinking of starting a business or a business owner in the startup phase with plans to take your business to the next level? The Business Model Canvas is an entrepreneurial tool that enables you to visualize, design, and reinvent your business model. Developed by Swiss business theorist and author Alexander Osterwalder, the tool can help business owners develop a clear view of their value proposition, operations, customers, and finances. As a small business owner, you can use it to identify how the different components of your business relate to each other. That’s powerful when deciding where you need to focus your time and attention as you start and grow your business.

While business plans can be helpful when starting or growing a business or necessary to obtain financing or investment, the business model canvas can provide entrepreneurs with an easier starting point. Business model canvas is precise and structures business models more quickly than developing a business plan, which can take several months to write.

The canvas includes nine building blocks with main questions for each as follows:

  • Key partners —Who are the buyers and suppliers to relate with? What other alliances will help you accomplish core business activities and fulfil your value proposition?
  • Key activities—What are the most important actions you must engage in to fulfil your value propositions, strengthen customer relationships, optimize revenue streams, etc.?
  • Key resources—What resources do you need to optimize value for your customers and sustain your business?
  • Value propositions—What products and services will you offer to meet the needs of your customers? How will your business be different from your competition? What challenges will you solve for your customers?
  • Customer relationships—What types of relationships will you forge with your customer segments? What are the relationship expectations of each customer segment?
  • Customer segments—What sets of customers will you serve? Which are most important to your business?
  • Channels—Through what means will you reach your targeted customers and deliver your products and services to them? Which are most cost-effective?
  • Cost structure—What are the essential costs your business will face? Which resources and activities will cost the most?
  • Revenue streams—How much will you charge for your products and services? What are customers willing to pay for? How will customers pay?

Embracing the tool can help entrepreneurs easily identify gaps during planning, visualize what is important, and provide context for next steps.