Create Your Own Business Model


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?

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

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 

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!


The Pension Insurance Number

The pension insurance number

The pension insurance number is used to identify German citizens who are registered in the statutory pension insurance. It is noted, among other things, on the social security card. The number is assigned automatically by the sponsors of the German pension insurance, as soon as such an account is opened. The pension insurance number must not be identical to the health insurance number and the identifier of other companies in order to avoid “the glassy citizen”. Since the coding of the health insurance number since 2005 is based on an encrypted pension insurance number, every German newborn already receives a pension insurance number. However, the social security card will not be issued until the first job has been taken.

Structure of the pension insurance number


The total of 12-digit pension insurance number consists of a fixed number and letter combination. The first two digits indicate the area in which the pension insurer is registered for the first time. The coding does not follow the postal codes. The following two six positions represent the birthday in ddmmyy format. The ninth digit is the initial letter of the surname of the person reported. Umlauts are broken down and foreign language characters are Germanized. This is followed by a gender-specific serial number. 00-49 means male and 50-99 female. The pension insurance number ends with a single-digit check digit.

Change of pension insurance number

Change of pension insurance number

The pension insurance number accompanies a citizen from birth to death. Under certain circumstances, however, a change can be made. If an incorrect date or letter is used in the award, the carrier has the right to make an adjustment. If two persons are accidentally assigned the same number, both identifications become invalid and two new pension insurance numbers are issued. If a person has several insurance numbers, all but one are shut down. Finally, transsexuals have the right to change their civil status number (masculine / feminine).


Choose the Right Business Account: Traditional Banks vs. Digital Banks


Self-employed people have many responsibilities. One of them is the bookkeeping. Only a few companies can afford a commercial management that deals exclusively with this topic. If ever, a half-time worker is entrusted with preparing the documents for the tax consultancy office. There, in turn, the main focus is on preparing and recording the vouchers as required. There is not much time left for the consultation. And that’s the first mistake: not taking the time to do one of the most important tasks in a company.

Granted, just as a freshman you are busy enough. With the acquisition , the daily business – and in the evenings and on weekends, the billing is done. For an appointment with the bank, even for a call then the time is missing. Only when the suffering is too great, you take this.

And once you’ve finally made it to a bank appointment, it has to be painstakingly prepared and bureaucracy becomes a stressor. So you drag yourself with a folder full of files and paper to his bank.

To be honest, is that still up-to-date today? Many start-ups and the self-employed see a good alternative in digital banks. There they can easily scan and upload the documents and clarify their concerns – at any time of the day, from anywhere. Good reasons to take a closer look at this possibility before you commit yourself to a bank.

Which business account is right for me?

Which business account is right for me?

Many founders open their business account directly in the next branch of their own house bank. Not infrequently, this is the bank where they had their first passbook as a child – it is familiar, the use routine. Which terms and features are offered is secondary.

At first glance, many banks actually offer business accounts that do not differ in their basic functions: you can receive and send money. The differences only become apparent on closer inspection.

The first step on the way to the right business account is the choice of the right bank. This point is often neglected. Before you decide on a bank, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I value on-site service?
  • Do I value a fast service?
  • Do I value clear online banking?
  • Do I value useful additional functions and the integrations of third-party services?

What are the differences between traditional banks and digital banks?

What are the differences between traditional banks and digital banks?

The main differences are the presence or absence of out-of-home stores and the focus of digital banks on online banking, features and integrations of third party services.

If you want to be personally advised on site, the choice is easy, as only traditional banks operate branches. If you have answered the first question with “No”, the selection will be a bit more difficult.

Traditional bank or online bank – what suits me better?

Traditional bank or online bank - what suits me better?

Traditional banks are available on site with their professionals. They usually look back on a long history and convey stability and security. However, they tend to be a bit cumbersome: who wants to open an account with them, must bring time. And although online banking is now offered by every bank, it is often limited to the basic functions.

A counterbalance to this are purely digital banks that completely do without a branch network such as Fidor and Penta. Here the online banking, functionality and integrations are in the foreground. If you need a direct connection of the bank account to a balance sheet software or manage several users, you will often find a suitable solution here.

As a rule, direct account banks open their account promptly and without an appointment. A real plus, because hardly anything annoying more than long waiting times, especially if you want to start with the business. Without a business account, however, things often do not progress.

In addition, some banks do not even offer companies in formation the opportunity to open a business account. First, the company must be officially founded. Annoying, especially if it is the wish bank.

Not all forms of business can open a business account at any bank. Legal entities, ie corporations, are hampered by some traditional banks.


Outside hui, inside often too lazy to keep up with the technical innovations: traditional commercial bank.

For these problems, the online and direct banks apply. Registration and activation of the account without appointment and within a few days is not uncommon. If you are interested in Twitter transfers, social trading or trading in virtual currencies, you will not find yourself shaking our heads, but rather using user-friendly digital solutions.

In addition, many digital banks have recently started to specialize in special target groups. For example, there are banks that offer freelance self-employment conditions that they can not find in any traditional bank: a business account, for example, which automatically calculates taxes and social security contributions or creates tax reserves.

Other digital banks offer targeted solutions for start-ups and are set up for all legal forms, from the UG to the KG.

Digital banks are thus characterized by flexible and individual offers. Rather than relying on “one size fits all”, they offer customized packages for every need. They attach importance to meet the different needs by constantly new developments, and purposefully use the feedback of their customers.

In addition to fast account opening and low fees, a major benefit of many digital banks is that they provide their customers with a variety of digital tools beyond just online banking. For example, it is possible for Penta to link their own business account via API interfaces directly with an accounting software.

Open API interfaces make it possible for account owners to try out and change new FinTech solutions for companies in the market (eg Lexoffice, Currency Cloud, etc.)

What options are available for freelancers?

What options are available for freelancers?

Many banks do not offer freelancers the opportunity to open business accounts. Therefore, the choice for this professional group is also quite sparse. Currently, for example, Hufsy, Kontist and Holvi currently offer accounts for freelancers. Especially Kontist has a strong feature with the automatic calculation of taxes and social security contributions.



As soon as you say goodbye to the idea that a bank must have a local branch, a whole new world opens up for you. Functionality, speed and cost savings are the trump cards of many digital banks. No queues, no appointment, but new useful features that make business life easier.

Even though the bank around the corner nowadays offers you online services, these often have the goal of arranging an appointment at the store instead of requesting the documents with an upload field.

In terms of price, digital offers with many included services, such as a credit card, team banking or a fixed number of bookings, are often cheaper than traditional banks. A price comparison, preferably at quarterly level, is worthwhile in any case. Of course there are (still) areas where digital offerings reach their limits, but the industry is developing rapidly.

Any company, large or small, should not rely on the “one” bank, but choose the right mix of different concepts: For day-to-day business, an online bank may be ideal for making daily transfers easy with your smartphone to do. On the other hand, it may make sense to choose a traditional bank for the long-term financing of your company.