Mark L. Goldberg
Of all the market launch tools, Business Model Canvas (www.strategyzer.com) is one of the most well-known and relied upon to help entrepreneurs transform an idea into an organized strategy and actionable business plan. The canvas of the business model gives entrepreneurs a broad idea of all aspects of their business – everything from value proposition and customer segments to operations and finance.
However, the tool itself is no more complex than a series of nine boxes representing business segments drawn on a single sheet of paper. Much of its effectiveness lies in its simplicity. The exercise forces the owners to stay focused and concise while outlining their business according to each of the boxes in order to refine their business strategy and plan.
The Business Model Canvas allows you to write down your entire business on paper and assess your strategy, planning gaps and risk taking. According to Mark Lowenstein, SCORE mentor and business development expert, Business Model Canvas can help entrepreneurs deal with specific risks and gain more information about competitors, costs, customer segments or a niche market.
“This tool sets out a comprehensive framework for developing a business strategy, a detailed business plan and / or a priority action plan,” he said.
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When planning your launch, go through your own Canvas Business Model exercise and integrate your finished canvas into your business plan. If your business is already running, going through the exercise is just as valuable. You will be able to evaluate your business plan using real data and refine your strategy to get closer to your goals. The nine boxes include:
Value proposition: What is the main problem your business solves? What are the benefits of your business? And what products or services will you offer to meet the needs of your customers?
Customer segments: Who will your business serve? Will you serve one type of client or several client segments? Which customers are most critical to the success of your business?
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Sales channels: How will you reach your target customers and provide them with your products and services? Which will be the most profitable? How are your sales channels integrated?
Customer relations: What types of relationships will you build with your customers? What are the expectations for the relationships from each customer segment ?.
Key activities: What are the most important activities you need to take to fulfill your value proposition, provide distribution channels, create and strengthen customer relationships, optimize revenue streams and more?
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Key partners: Who are the buyers and suppliers you need to build a relationship? What other alliances will help you carry out your core business activities and fulfill your value proposition to customers?
Key resources: What resources do you need to create value for your customers and maintain your business?
Cost structure: What are all the costs you will incur while running your business? There are two main types of cost structures: value-oriented and cost-oriented. Part of this block is determining which structure makes the most sense for your business and incorporating that into your cost strategy.
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Revenue flow: How will you charge for our product or service? What are customers willing to spend? And how much will each revenue stream contribute to your total annual income?
Whether you are a new business owner who is developing a business plan for the first time, or an owner who wants to overcome planning gaps in an ongoing business, going through the Canvas business model process is a valuable exercise. It is even more valuable if you have access to SCORE Mentor as a reporting partner to guide you through the process and help you fill in the planning gaps.
If you want a template to apply the business model canvas to your business, contact [email protected]
Contributed by Mark L. Goldberg, Certified Mentor. OCORE Cape Cod and Islands. www.capecod.score.org, [email protected] or 508-740-4820.