Do you want to start a new business?
Or are you in the middle of renovating the existing one? In any case, business model canvas templates are your shortest way to understand your product better, develop it better, and, eventually, present it better.
A business plan, in the traditional sense, may be a document of many pages, and going through all of them might be a hard task. Keep in mind that much of the information will be hard enough, even for people who are passionate about the project. Moreover, going back to that document every time there’s a detail you need to clarify is time-consuming.
A business model canvas (BMC) is the very tool that saves teams from all of that inconvenience. BMC gathers all the key aspects of your business and puts them together on one page so that you see the whole picture. It has multiple purposes. Besides helping to determine the main aspects of your business, later, it will help you to display them for everyone who may need that kind of information – new team members, potential customers or investors, funds, etc.
Originally, the idea was presented to the public in Alexander Osterwalder’s thesis “The Business Model Ontology – A Proposition in a Design Science Approach” in 2004. Since then, it has become a part of every business school curriculum and a must-have for every company that is determined to grow and be successful. Almost 20 years have passed, and that’s a huge period for the marketing world, but there are still many questions.
Now that we know what a template for a business model canvas is, let’s check its structure and how to use it to create the BMC that perfectly displays your company's business model.
When do you need a Business Model Canvas?
Long story short, whenever you’re planning on starting a business or developing the current one. Templates for business model canvas are a good beginning for any project. It helps you find your specific niche, define the ways to attract customers, and create your step-by-step plan to win the world. It allows you to better understand your initial idea and how you can turn it into a successful business model.
If you’re not a beginner, a BMC template may help you quickly get the picture of what is going on in your company and where you at now. It will help you find your mistakes, if they exist, and fix them. Giving a clear idea of what the business is or what it should be in the shortest possible time, BMC may be a great onboarding tool.
Development is king for any project or business, and the ability to see progress is a huge motivation. Your BMC allows you to see where you move and how fast. Periodical reflection helps you understand your audience's needs and how they change, so you may even try to predict what will happen next.
How do you use a Business Model Canvas?
Many a time, people refer to a business model canvas as a 20-min business plan. You can’t create it without previous preparation and brainstorming. So, it probably will take a bit more than 20 min. However, once you have the necessary information, your BMC is half done. Maybe even more than a half if you choose the right template.
However, BMC templates are another pitfall that often makes people think that the whole idea of determining your business aspects on one page is pointless. There are many free templates, and the structure is similar, but their functionality may be limited and poor. For example, business model canvas templates for Word or business model canvas ppt templates offer you a short range of customization options. Additionally, you’re always risking spoiling the alignment, tables, lists, lines, and paragraph spacing in case you want to paste something.
xTiles created a template with a wide range of customization options without the danger of ruining everything with one movement of your mouse. Also, it will be easy to share your company BMC with everyone on the internet.
Using your BMC instead of an actual business plan may be a bad idea. These two are great working together, but they can’t replace one another. Your BMC is rather an illustration and summary of the most important aspects of your business model.
Another important thing to remember is that your BMC should be reviewed from time to time so that it can be iterated upon new needs and new challenges. When your business niche faces unexpected shock like it was during the Coronavirus pandemic, the review of your BMC may be urgent to keep your position.
Business Model Canvas template key elements
BMC is a one-page document that can be divided into two parts. The right one focuses on customers and the left one on the business. They both meet in the middle around the value proposition, which is basically an interaction between your business value and the value of your audience.
Each side has 4 blocks, and we will discuss each below, so once it’s time to create your BMC, you have everything you need. However, here’s a quick disclaimer – not all the blocks are equal. Some of them require more time than others to be done.
1. Customer Segments
Define your perfect customer/client/user. You will have to answer many questions to determine to whom you appeal. First, let’s clarify what problem you resolve for your customers. Also, check the alternatives they use to get the issues fixed for now.
Who are the people who will value what you do? Are they youngsters or adults? Are they men or women? Do you resolve problems for different demographic groups or businesses? Do you want to be useful for different audiences?
If, after answering all of these questions, you have a long list of potential customers, you need to prioritize them. Who’s the most important? Who’s next?
2. Value Propositions
Your key proposition is the most important part of your BMC template. In this block, you determine what exactly your company wants to give the customers. Try to be very specific. Versatility may not be the best option, especially for those who only start. This part may take some time, and it’s advisable you don’t try to save it while working on this block. Putting false or unsuitable statements may cause the finished BMC template to be misleading or even destructive for your business's further development.
List the different structures and approaches you normally use or going to use for delivering your service/product and value proposition to your client. It may be suppliers and distribution channels to deliver a product from point A to point B. It also may be marketing channels like bloggers, influencers, social media, etc.
When working on this block, consider what you use and whether the existing channels are enough. Do they satisfy you completely? Are they cost-effective?
4. Customer Relationships
Think about what kind of relationship you have with your customers. Does the type you have suit you, or do you want to change it? Does it differ from one group to another? Are you the type of business that supports a customer through the whole process/service? Or do you prefer to stay aside while a customer has complete freedom of action?
Remember that the relationship between you and your audience greatly affects your performance and image.
5. Revenue Streams
Make a list of your company’s sources of revenue. The more products your company offers, the more sources of cash flow it will have. However, if you’re a small company or only in the beginning stages, don’t worry that there’s only one way your value proposition can generate income.
While working on this block, consider your business pricing policy and strategy. Please, don’t fall into the trap of underestimating your business and ideas.
6. Key Activities
List the key activities that allow your business to operate and deliver your services on a regular basis. While working on this block, you need to define what activities are fundamental for your business performance. Which of them makes your company stand out among the others?
Also, you need to consider what effect your key activities have on your revenue streams, distribution channels, and customer relationships.
7. Key Resources
Prepare a list of resources your business uses to operate and provide services regularly. To get this block done, you need to clarify what specific resources/tools/assets are necessary to operate your business. Do you have all of them? Are those you use help you reach your goals? What other assets do you need for your channels and revenue streams?
8. Key Partners
Make a list of companies or people your business works with or relies on to reach success. Don’t forget the resources or value you get from your cooperation. Also, working on this block, you may reconsider your current partnerships. Do they give you the benefits you desire in the first place? Do they provide you with a specific kind of service no one else can do?
9. Cost Structure
Cost structure shows how your company spends money on operations and whether it’s cost-driven or value-driven. This aspect may be a stumbling block for small businesses and those who only start. However, you still need to determine your focus on cost, so you will know where to move.
When working on this block, consider your company’s business model key costs. What operations are the most pricey? Are they worth it? How much money are you ready to spend on your key activities and key resources?