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We had a wonderful turnout to the #SWAKL warm up tonight – approximately 70 people showed up to meet their fellow participants, get to know mentors and the facilitator and find out what to expect from Startup Weekend.

One of the key topics covered was the Lean Canvas – the business model tool used in Startup Weekend. The following is a quick snippet of the Lean canvas and how to use it…

There are three steps to creating the business model:
1. Document your business idea – quick brain dump into all 9 boxes
2. Identify the riskiest parts of your model
3. Systematically test your model

The Lean Canvas is just step one – it allows you to rapidly move on to steps two and three.


How to fill out?
The lean canvas is numbered to give you an insight into the logical method of filling it out. But this is just a suggestion. Why not try doing things in groups such as 1 (Problem) and 2 (Customer segments) – i.e “This is the problem which affects these people“.

Step 2 – Identify the riskiest parts

Don’t mix uncertainty and risk:
Uncertainty: that more than one possibility exists
Risk: A state of uncertainty where some of the possibilities involve a loss, catastrophe, or other undesirable outcome
– Douglas Hubbard

There are three risk areas:
• Product risk – are we building the right thing?
• Customer risk – how accessible is our path to customers?
• Market risk – are we building a viable business?

Remember Step 3 – this isn’t an exercise you do once and set aside – you should be systematically testing your model and iterating on it throughout the weekend.

For more information on the Lean Canvas from Ash Maurya, creator of the Lean Canvas and author of Running Lean, check out this post: Why Lean Canvas vs Business Model Canvas?

Laura Kerrison