Micro Business Quick Tips #4: Visualizing your Business Model with Canvas

This is the first article out of a series how to bootstrap your company to sell a first product.
  1. First article introduces “Visualizing your Business Model with Canvas
  2. Second article will cover “Using Product Canvas to create and define new Products
  3. Third article introduces “The Business Model Canvas Playground for Free

For young startup founders having a bright idea it’s important that they understand and define the underlying Business Model which drives their Product or Service offering. A Business- or Operating model may be abstract or difficult to grasp in the beginning, especially for unexperienced entrepreneurs which are bootstrapping their first company.

Luckily the Swiss guy Alex Osterwalder invented the Business Model Canvas approach which is easy to use strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It condenses your business model visually onto one page and allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent and pivot your business model.

Assembling the startup team (get all the various disciplines together) around a visual business model diagram on a flip-board and interactively discuss and shape out the 9 basic building blocks of your business model is an excellent and agile way to get clarity about your initial company setup.

The following video gives a short two minute intro to the 9 building blocks of the Business Model Canvas approach.

Well potentially still a little bit abstract, luckily there are some good examples which will map the canvas approach to some real life examples.

Strategyzer - the company co-founded by Alex Osterwalder - released a set of mini video tutorials (six in total), which describes the approach in an animated series „ From Idea to Business“. It’s worth to spend around 15 minutes to get a better understanding of the approach.

Episode 2 of series „Visualizing Your Business Model“ is introducing the concept via the company „Cheap Flights“ and explains the 9 ingredients of the approach:
  • Value Proposition
  • Customer Segments
  • Customer Relationships
  • Channels
  • Revenue Streams
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Key Partnerships
  • Cost Structures

There is always the danger to fall in love with your first „cool“ idea and not spend time in prototype multiple business model options. Episode 3 is introducing you to this concept.

Needless to say that the approach is backed by a very nice „visual“ book, which is a source of inspirations for young entrepreneurs.

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