A Quick Overview of the Business Model Canvas

Today I am responding to a request from one of my followers, Andries Baloyi, to explain the business model canvas.

The business model canvas has gotten a lot of attention over the past few years because it is closely tied to the Lean Startup movement. Basically, the business model canvas is a visual way of conceptualizing and planning your business model. Many have arguments about whether it can replace a business plan or not, I say no and you can watch my video on business plans to hear why, but I do think it can be a useful tool depending on the way you best process information. I have found with my clients that it is extremely helpful for some and not at all so for others. So you can decide if it’s right for you, here are the basics:

Well, firstly, it’s a visual tool so here’s what it looks like: 

As you can see, the business model canvas is visual. It has you address different key areas of your business in different boxes on the canvas so that you can see how they all fit together. The key components are:

Key Partners…

…meaning everyone from suppliers to collaborators to partners who will help you.

Key Activities…

…meaning what do you do? What activities take place so that you can deliver your value proposition.

Key Resources…

…meaning what do you need in order to be able to accomplish those key activities?

Unique Value Proposition…

…meaning what do you that is so special and why is it valuable to your customers?

Customer Relationships…

…meaning how do you interact with your customers and what do they expect of you?

Distribution Channels…

…meaning how do you get what you offer into the hands of your customers?

Customer Segments…

…meaning who are your ideal customers?

Cost Structure…

…meaning what are the major expenses you’ll need to incur to launch and run your business?


Revenue Streams…

…meaning how do you bring money into the business?

To complete the business model canvas, you fill in all of these sections completely and you should have a basic idea of how your business will run.

Again, in my experience with clients, this is super helpful for some and not very helpful for others. I’ve found that it is especially helpful for those who are more visual so they can start with this visual tool to begin to get their ideas down and then use it as a starting point to build out a more complete plan for the business.

Andries, I hope that helped answer your question. If any of you watching have any others, please send them my way and I’d be happy to answer in a future video.


And don’t forget to support me as I rappel down the side of a 35-story building in downtown Chicago to raise money for minority and female entrepreneurs!


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