Business Model Canvas – behind this bulky term is a method that can be used to clearly present and develop business models.
In this blog post we explain
- What a Business Model Canvas is
- what you need them for,
- what is special about our digital SmartCanvas and
- how you work with the SmartCanvas.
What is a Business Model Canvas?
Literally translated, the term means “business model canvas”. It’s a way to turn a business idea into a complete business model. Like on a screen, all the building blocks are put together into a coherent picture.
With a Business Model Canvas, you can develop a business model. It shows all the components at a glance.
Why do you need a Business Model Canvas?
Every successful startup is based on a good idea – but not every good idea automatically leads to a successful startup. The secret lies in developing a business model in which all individual parts are optimally coordinated.
Whether online shop or pizza service, bus company or technology start-up: all companies need answers to the same questions:
- Which offer do we provide?
- What is the benefit for our customers?
- Who are our important partners ?
- What are our (core) tasks ?
- Which resources do we have?
- What do we do for customer loyalty ?
- How do we organize sales ?
- What are our target groups and in which market are we moving?
- What are our costs ?
- What is our turnover ?
Successful entrepreneurs reflect on each item: how has it been done so far? How do the others do it? And how could I do better?
A well-known example of how to build an innovative company with a well thought-out concept around a traditional product is the tea campaign. Its founder, Günter Faltin, has turned the practice of tea trade on its head by optimizing all elements of the business model, making it the market leader. He started to deliver tea directly from the grower to the buyers without intermediaries. Unlike in the tea trade, the customer does not have a large selection – there is only one type of tea, and only in large packs. For this he gets for relatively little money a first-class product, which was produced under high environmental and social standards.
The example shows how to implement innovation at all levels of a business model, thereby creating a successful business.
This task is easier with a canvas . Its clear shape helps you to look at each element of your future business individually, without losing sight of the big picture . So you quickly recognize the economic context of your founding and can also better communicate to others what you intend to do.
Some experts are so enthusiastic about this instrument that they would most like to replace the classic business plan completely. But that would be wrong. No such successful “canvas” makes a mature, fact-based plan superfluous. But: it facilitates the preparatory work. Especially in the development of complex and innovative business models, their advantages come into play.
Why smart founders work
Of course you can work on your business model with sticky notes and colored pencils on a large piece of paper. It’s easier with our digital tool, the SmartCanvas .
The SmartCanvas offers you:
- Short explanations explain you what it is about and what is important.
- Real examples show how other founders have solved the tasks;
- You can share the SmartCanvas with others – perfect for teams that are not always in the same place;
- The biggest advantage is that we have linked them to our business plan tool!
Both tools, SmartCanvas and Catherine Morland, work with the same terms and outline points. Thus, all keywords from the Canvas can be integrated directly into the respective chapter of your business plan at the touch of a button . There you can formulate it later, add it to it and give it figures so that you have a complete and coherent business plan in front of you.
This combination is unique and distinguishes our SmartCanvas from all other templates that circulate on the Internet and are also usually very complicated and difficult for laymen to use. The following explains how you work with it.
This is how you develop a complete business model
First, you create a business plan – even though you may not know exactly what to put in there. Think about a working title and a period of time that you expect to translate (do not worry, these entries are temporary and can be changed again and again).
The empty business plan will now appear in the overview of your plans , along with all the functions available to you.
First you create a business plan, which, however, initially remains empty.
If you now click on the Open Canvas button, you will reach an empty canvas:
Here’s your business model – with plenty of room for notes.
Now it can start! Select any field you want to start with. Most people find it easy to describe their offer in the beginning. In a few words, state what you want to sell and what’s great about it.
Let’s go over a real example: Let’s assume your business idea is a kind of “Airbnb for traders”. You want to create a platform through which traders can rent special rooms, such as kitchens, workshops or studios, for a short time.
In your SmartCanvas first click on the small blue pencil in the field offer . The dialog box Edit Note opens. Here you can enter your keywords (and change or delete them anytime). Limit yourself to the most important questions. When you’re done, your notes will be displayed as follows:
The offer field: What do you offer and what is special about it?
You can add any number of note fields. If you would like to offer several products or services, you will add your own note field. But always remember that this is the core of your foundation .
When describing your offer, you probably already thought about other building blocks of your company. For example, about customer value, your target audience, your resources or about your most important partners. Make your assumptions as brief and concise as possible for each item. Keywords are enough!
Step by step the picture of your business model becomes clearer.
Now you work your way from field to field until everything is filled. If you get stuck, you can click on the small question marks behind the terms in the SmartCanvas. It then pops up a brief explanation of what this point is about and what you should pay attention to.
Make sure you have enough time to work on your business model, because it is the basis for your future success! It’s not about having a finished result as soon as possible. You do not build a good business model from one day to the next and not just from your desk. Check your assumptions over and over again, talk to experts about it, and above all, ask your potential customers what they think of your offer, what they could do to improve it, and how much money they would pay. Assess every aspect of your business model from the perspective of your customers – they decide whether your company has a future or not!
Presumably you will always change your entries, add or delete them again. That’s not bad. On the contrary, it shows that you are on the right track.
For example, if you have edited all fields, the final result might look like this:
It’s done: all fields of the SmartCanvas are filled.
By the way, the picture shows one of five real canvas examples available to users of Catherine Morland. It may not be perfect on all counts, but it does show how to do it.
Now it’s up to you to create your own SmartCanvas. Start right now!