Do you have an idea for a new business? Would you like to compose it in your head, and present it to a friend, potential contractor, or investor for verification? Use a simple tool such as Lean Canvas.
Lean Canvas is a one-page spreadsheet divided into 9 parts, in which we describe the business idea in a simplified way. This worksheet is very similar to the Business Model Canvas created by Alex Osterwalder, however, it was modified by Ash Maury and adapted mainly to describe startups.
Problem. The starting point is not only for completing the Lean Canvas sheet but also for the success of your business. Ask yourself what problems do you see in your surroundings? Which of these problems are you going to solve as part of your business? List three key problems that you intend to focus on.
Two quotes that I came across recently complement this part very well:
“Don’t tell people what you’re doing, tell them what problems you’re solving”
“Don’t create startups – solve problems”
Solutions (functionalities). The favorite part of every young (and not only) entrepreneur. Usually, he can provide dozens of ideas for solutions/functionalities for his business, but it is much more difficult for him to identify the problems that a given functionality will solve. That’s why in Lean Canvas we start by defining the problems. Then we match the 3 best solutions to a maximum of 3 listed problems.
It was very accurately described by Jason Fried, and David Heinemeier in the book “Rework” (I quote from memory): ” If you set up a hot dog stand, the most important thing in this business are … hot dogs. Everything else matters less at first. ”
A hot dog for a person running a hot dog booth is also called MVP (minimum viable product). What will be the equivalent of a hot dog in your business?
Key indicators. In the initial period of business development, it is easy to lose the picture of the situation when we have too much data that flows to us. That is why it is worth defining the main indicators that we will monitor at the very beginning. Ash Maurya even advises focusing on only one of them. If you set up a booth with hot dogs, the matter is obvious – the number of hot dogs sold will be such an indicator;)
Value Proposition. What distinguishes you from existing solutions on the market? What value will you offer your customers?
An unfair advantage. Do you already have an ace up your sleeve at the beginning that gives you an advantage over potential followers or competitors? Usually, this field is left blank. The principle is simple – you can enter here those things that cannot be copied or bought. It can be a unique knowledge that you have or a known name that makes potential customers find you themselves.
Customer Segments. Who are you addressing your offer to? How can you divide customers into groups/segments?
Channels of reaching. How will you reach your customers with the information that you exist and how will your product/service be distributed?
Structure of costs / Structure of revenues. What costs do you need to include in your business? What will your sources of income be?
If you are creating a business in which more people are involved than just you, then I recommend supplementing the sheet on a larger sheet of paper with the use of colored cards. The process of discussing and creating the final version of this document will allow you to better understand together what your business should and should not be.
Several online tools allow you to supplement Lean Canvas electronically. Here you will find one of them.
Later, you only have to implement the idea effectively 🙂