Business Model Canvas Explained

Writing a business plan can be a daunting task for entrepreneurs.  But it doesn’t have to be.

In fact, writing a solid plan can be a fun collaborative process that helps entrepreneurs save time, improve team collaboration, and look deeply at the integral pieces of any new product or business venture.

The business model canvas, a graphical business model worksheet, was developed by Alexander Osterwalder of Strategyzer, with a goal in mind of helping entrepreneurs be more innovative and focus on the value they provide to the customer when validating and moving a business idea forward.

The easy-to-use business model canvas template is available online and can be used in digital or print format.  It works well for individuals and groups and serves as a conversation generator.  Too, it helps idea focused entrepreneurs organize thoughts and concepts before beginning a formal business planning process.

The main categories included in the model are:  customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key activities, key resources, key partnership and cost structures.   Addressing these categories helps bring focus to an entrepreneurs thinking, bring out opportunities easier and address customer opportunities as a primary motivator for building the business. 

The categories in the model and the design thinking process are helpful in developing the content requirements of most traditional business plan templates, assisting entrepreneurs to build a solid and concise plan in an effective way.

The business model canvas works very well for small startups with limited budgets and business complexity, and can also be useful to existing businesses looking to innovate their product line or address new market opportunities.

The model can be used individually or can be facilitated externally.  Either way, this tool is a simple, liberating and enjoyable way to build a business model, clarify ideas and validate a move forward strategy for any new venture. 

The process of building a business model and plan doesn’t have to be boring and uninspiring.  Give the business model canvas tool a try, and see for yourself. 

The MHC Entrepreneur Development Centre helps student and alumni bring their entrepreneurship dreams to life.  We offer 1-1 coaching, training, mentorship and access to a diverse network of startup funding.  To connect into our network email edc@mhc.ab.ca or call 403.502.8433.