Nifty Free Visionary Thinking Tool for Business, Nonprofits and Individuals

Posted by on Mar 22, 2013 in Creativity, Leadership, Leadership Priorities, Presentations, Strategic Planning | 1 comment

You’ve got to take a look at this elegantly simple Business Model Canvas.  It could help you gain clarity whether you’re creating a whole new business, a new product or service, getting your non-profit to think more like a business, or even looking for a new job.  Use it to strategize and communicate to others.

Here’s what it looks like but don’t underestimate it!

Business Model Canvas


















You can download it for free at, along with enough of the supporting book to get you started.  I saw it in action when I was serving as a coach at a recent Start-Up Weekend, sponsored by the Cape Cod Chamber, where people are encouraged to create new businesses in just 54 hours.  Copies of the Business Model Canvas were provided to each group, many of whom had just met each other that weekend, and it was amazing what they accomplished.

The Canvas itself is just a one page graphic tool to explore and test assumptions, covering the four main areas of a business:  customers, offer, infrastructure and financial viability.  There are actually nine blocks to complete:  Key activities, Key Partners, Key Resources, and Cost structure are on the left and make up the efficiency side of the model.  The right side blocks make up value and are Customer relationships, Customer segments, Value propositions, Channels, and Revenue streams.

Watch the two minute video below for a clearer idea.  You’re encouraged to play with sticky notes so that nothing becomes set in stone too early.  It is meant to be an iterative process that allows you to work as an individual or team and explore different options in a simple but complete format.

The companion book, Business Model Generation, was created by 470 practitioners from around the world.  There is a downloadable excerpt on the website that has plenty to help you understand each block or category and some interesting examples of how the tool can be widely used beyond the creation of a new business:

The public sector is often challenged to implement private sector principles. I have used the Canvas to help a department view itself as a service- oriented business, establishing externalized as-is and to-be business models. It has created a whole new conversa- tion around describing and innovating the business. Mike Lachapelle, Canada

I wish I had known the Canvas years ago! With a particular tough and complicated print-to-digital project within the publishing industry it would have been so helpful to show all project members in this visual way both the big picture, their (important) own roles in it and the inter-dependencies. Hours of explaining, arguing, and mis- understanding could have been saved. Jille Sol, Netherlands

A close friend was looking for a new job. I used the Business Model Canvas in order to assess her personal business model. Her core competences and Value Proposition were outstanding but she failed to leverage her strategic partners and develop appropriate Customer Relationships. This adjusted focus opened new opportunities. Daniel Pandza, Mexico

I help business owners plan their transition and exit from their companies. Success depends on sustaining long- term company viability and growth. Key to this is a business model innovation program. The Canvas helps us identify and innovate their business models. Nicholas K. Niemann, U.S.

 So go download it.  Watch this video.  Good luck with your big picture thinking!




One Comment

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  1. Marty

    Thank you, Nancy, for doing such an outstanding job at pulling together useful tools/ videos into your blog and adding your own expertise to make every blog helpful for the individual as well as the company. Yours is the only business blog I read without fail.

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