Tool tip: The Business Model Canvas

This post was originally posted on Coteries Lab, a digital agency based in Lausanne and  Corgémont.


So you have amazing business ideas and projects?

No matter where you work, being in a young startup, an association or in a big corporation, innovating is great! But how to start? You may have heard (or being taught) to start designing a Business Model Canvas, created by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in 2010. But the key is to start only with the heart of this model, the Value Proposition, and using the Value Proposition Canvas (from the same authors). Once, and only once, you’ve defined it, validated or unvalidated your assumptions, you should start filling the Business Model Canvas. This tool allows you to map and structure your whole project on one page.

You may have heard about the Lean methodology. The Business Model Canvas is a powerful tool to start with the lean concepts and create or list assumptions. Even if your product or service is existing for years, the canvas helps you mapping and analyzing the current state. Everyone working around and with you should talk about the same thing and understand your vision. The canvas helps you building the story and explaining simply your business. It helps you understand how to create, deliver and capture value in 9 building blocks, that we will cover later in this post. It covers the four mains areas of a business:

  1. Customers
  2. Offer
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Financial Viability

Now, let’s dive into the Business Model Canvas and how to build it!

The Business Model Canvas, explained, Coteries Lab

Customer Segments

First, ask yourself for who you are developing this idea and desiring to create value? It sounds deadly stupid and common sense, but without customers, a business cannot survive. However, that’s where many projects fail: not putting the customer in the center. Start by identifying which groups of people or organizations you want to reach and serve. Be conscious about who you want to serve, and who you want to ignore.

Value Proposition

Most probably, you will be building different customers segments. Why should they choose you over your competitors? What do you offer them to satisfy their needs better than the others? The Value Proposition is essential and in the heart of your business: which one of your customer’s problems are you trying to solve and what are the benefits you offer them? Your value proposition can be made of qualitative or quantitative elements. They may be benefits for all your customer segments and some specific ones.

Channels

How do you reach your customer segments? Your channels should cover each step of the consumer purchasing decision, which are:

  • Raising awareness
  • Evaluating your value proposition
  • Allowing customers to purchase your product or services
  • Delivering your value proposition
  • Providing post-purchase services.

    Channel phases explained, Coteries Lab

Customer relationships

Do you want to create a community among your customers or do you want to offer them personal 1-1 assistance?

It’s time to ask yourself what kind of customer relationships you want to build to acquire new ones, to retain them or to boost your sales.

Revenue Streams

Without customers, a business cannot survive. But even more, without revenues, it will be impossible to survive (and we hope we are not teaching you something new here ;-)!). Just to be clear, generating revenues does not mean to be “for profit”. Someone (sponsor, donation, customers, etc.) has to pay to have the product or service alive. This block describes how you are going to earn money. Is your revenue model based on unique simple transactions, on subscriptions model (recurring revenue) or any other model?

Now, let’s dig into the infrastructure part of your business:

Key Resources

What do you need to offer and deliver all the activities and elements you’ve filled in the previous sections? The key resources are the most important assets required to make your business model work. You can need several resources depending on your business model and it can be physical (machines?), intellectual (patents?), human or financial assets (need of capital to invest if you’re a trader, for instance).

Key Activities

What you are actually doing to make your business work? Activities may differ for every business, but can be classified as:

  • Production Activities
  • Problem Solving Activities or
  • a Platform/Network activity.

Example: Nespresso’s key activities are the production of coffee pods, marketing, and B2C distribution.

Key Partnerships

Are you relying on partners to support your business model? Identify:

  • with whom you collaborate on the production/delivery of your product/service
  • who may distribute/resell your product/service
  • who help you reducing business or product risks
  • who help you acquiring the required resources

Cost structure

And finally, because it would be too good to be true not to have any: what are your most important costs incurred to make your business work?

Identify the fix and variable costs. Which activities or resources are the most expensive and could you try to minimise them?

Depending on your strategy, you can either have a cost-driven structure (meaning that you will optimise to get the most out of a limited budget) or a value-driven structure.

The Business Model Canvas, explained, Coteries Lab

Once you’ve filled the Business Model Canvas, you should have a clear overview of your product/service and business and of your customers.

The journey is of course not over… you need to launch your project. And remember that a business model is not set in stone and that you may have to refine it, adapt or even completely rework it (instead of persevering in the wrong direction).

We, at Coteries, can help you all along the process, for instance, to coach you during the realisation of your Business Model Canvas. Or to design, develop and market your digital product/service (web or mobile application, chatbot, etc.). So do not hesitate to contact us!

 








Tool tip: The Value Proposition Canvas

This post was originally posted on Coteries Lab, a digital agency based in Lausanne and  Corgémont.


At Startup Weekend  Biel/Bienne, you’ll be working intensively on your  Value Proposition. Hereafter, you’ll find an introduction about this tool, which will help you define a structure for every kind of project you can be launching.


Before deciding on developing a business or not or investing a lot of money for something people have no interest in it, you should ask yourself two things:

  1. Who are my customers?
  2. what are the benefits of my idea/product/service for my future customers?

To answer these questions, how about using a tool like the Value Proposition Canvas to clarify and structure the idea?

The Value Proposition Canvas helps you clearly define your idea and put your potential customer in the center of your project. It’s way too easy to imagine what customers think and never actually go speaking to any to validate your assumptions. What is the value proposition you intend to deliver and do you really respond to their needs or problems with your products? The Value Proposition Canvas will give you the framework to list your assumptions, test your market and finally, validate (or invalidate) them.

To start working on your Value Proposition, here are some basic advices on what you need:

  • Get a big printed Value Proposition Canvas (or simply draw it on a whiteboard);
  • Buy sticky notes (one color per customer segment) and pens;
  • Gather your team;
  • Focus for 2 hours (switch off the phones!)
  • Stay on your feet (do not seat);
  • Get the coffee machine ready ;-)!

Hereafter, you can finally discover what is the Value Proposition Canvas:

Value Proposition Canvas, Coaching, Coteries Lab

The customer profile

Always start by the right the customer side!

Select one of the customer segments you want to target to create a detailed profile. Be precise in your segmentation to have a clear and usable understanding of your customers’ profile.

Start by analyzing the customer Jobs: what are they currently doing in their job or in their life to reach a certain goal? What are the process and the tasks they do?

Example: they need to open three different softwares before performing a reporting task.

Identify the customer pains: list all the risks or obstacles related to their jobs or activities you’ve described in the customer jobs section. Everything hurting people and resulting in sub-optimal outcomes.

Example: losing time, mixing information

Finally, identify customer gains, that are the more or less expected benefits they are seeking.

Example: doing the job 2x faster (and having more time to drink coffee ;-)?)

Once you have brainstormed it and listed all of this, prioritize all the customer jobs, pains, and gains, from the most to the less important.

Half of the Value Proposition description job is done now, but it is not over. Remember not to include any of your product idea to the profile! In addition, try to analyze your customer with the highest objectivity and hindsight.

Before going to the left side of the canvas, you should get out of the office, talking to your target customers. Why? Simply because the job you’ve performed now is basically listing assumptions (except if you’re doing this Customer Profile directly with some of your targeted customers). In order to be able to move forward, you have to validate (invalidate) these assumptions. Talking (and even better, listening!) to your customers will provide you with this kind of information. And probably also discover hidden insights, that you’ll be able to leverage afterward. It’s an iteration process: do not be afraid of refining your model!

The Value Map

You can now start to fill the other side of the canvas: the value map (also called product offering). Do not forget that the Value Proposition Canvas is made of two separate building blocks, that you should not mix.

It’s creativity time! Now you can let your idea shine, but respect the structure of the model: lists all the features of your product or service to build your value proposition.

Identify the pain relievers: what will help your customer to eliminate risks, bad outcomes or any obstacles in their job or life.

Do the same for the gain creators by explaining how you will create such desired outcomes.

Finally, rank them by importance (higher to lower).

When you compare both sides of the model, your gain creators and pain relievers should respond to pains and gains of your customers (described on the customer profile). There needs to be a fit, otherwise, you’ll be building something that nobody wants (which is the #1 reason why new products or startups fail)!

Don’t be too ambitious by trying to respond to everything in the first version of your product. Focus on the essential.

Having a clear overview of your Value Proposition, you are now able to move ahead and start building your product. It does not mean that your product will be perfect or that the customer insights you’ve collected will make you successful. Maybe the customers you’ve interviewed are not representative of the whole market. But at least you’ve made a huge progress in your journey to reach the “product-market fit”.

And last but not least, check the offical video of Strategyzer to explain the Value Proposition Canvas:









Why You Definitely Should Register

As you probably know, I’m a huge fan of Startup Weekend. Why? Because it’s simply the most efficient way to quickly start any project, test it and gather a team.

Many people:

  • complain they cannot find any co-founders. Go to Startup Weekend!
  • do not know where to start, as they’ve never done this before… Go to Startup Weekend!
  • want to polish their Business Plan (!) before going to potential investors or customers… No, rather go to Startup Weekend!
  • dream their project instead of projecting their dream. What is the value of thinking about a project for months/years but never acting? Is there no best allocation of your time / brain power? You’ve understood it by now: Go to Startup Weekend!

I’ve participated to many editions as a jury member (in Lausanne and Neuchâtel) years ago, before organising 3 of them on my own (one in 2012 in Saignelégier, in Biel/Bienne in 2015, 2016 and 2018). This year edition will taking place in exactly 3 weeks, on March 22nd.

Startup Weekend in Biel/Bienne is quite different from the other SW events across Switzerland: we limit participation to 5o people, we have participants from 20 to 60 years old, higher proportion of people coming from the industry (whatever the industry) and we do a 3 languages event (Biel/Bienne is the biggest bilingual – German and French – city in Switzerland, to which we add English).

For those who are new here, let me summarise what Startup Weekend is:

48 hours to launch a startup ! Startup Weekend is a hands-on event, where people learn by doing.

I’ve written a small explanation about how it works (below) and you can also watch a little video we did for last year edition (end of this post).

How does it work ?

Startup weekend starts on Friday evening with a pitching session: every participant has the opportunity to present a startup idea in 60 seconds (not more, no slides)!

All the participants receive virtual dollars to invest in 3 projects. After the pitching session, the entrepreneurs do their best to convince people to invest in their project (if you’ve never raised money for a project, you’ll learn that you have to fight and be creative, from the beginning!). The 8-10 most funded projects will then be selected, and the project managers / entrepreneurs now have to recruit and motivate a team to work on the project during the weekend.

All over the weekend, participants work on the project, get time to network, learn from entrepreneurs sharing their experience, and are constantly supported and challenged by experimented coaches and entrepreneurs. The goal is to accelerate the development of the startup and to mobilise each people’s energy toward a common goal.

The last hours of the weekend are mostly invested in preparing the presentation to the jury. In less than 50 hours, the ideas are transformed into projects.

Who can attend?

Startup Weekend is open to ANYONE interested by launching a project. It can be a startup, a new business or service, or even launching a new association. There is a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, but anyone can learn very solid skills in “how to start”. Participants of startup weekend vary from  students to top managers, from consultants to housewives or even retired professionals. There is often a focus on web and mobile projects, but it can be really any kind of project.

SW gathers energetic and passionate people, independently from their age, experience or skills.

Startup Weekend is a unique way to bring together people from various horizons with complementary skills and is emulating and boosting creativity, as well fostering synergies and long-term relationships. The weekend is an amazing manner to test its ideas without any risk and have a condensed overview of what the startup journey could look like!

And after Startup Weekend?

Participants are encouraged to participate to the startup & innovation events happening across Switzerland. Many previous participants started their project at Startup Weekend before applying to support initiatives, prizes or attending training workshops to complete their skills.

Around 30% of projects are still alive 6 months after the Startup Weekend and 90% of the participants keep in touch, therefore fostering and developing the startup culture.

REGISTER  NOW TO STARTUP WEEKEND BIEL/BIENNE 2019!

Startup Weekend 2018 - Promotion video







Startup Weekend, c’est quoi?

Un événement non-conventionnel, ouvert à toute personne disposant d’une idée d’affaire ou simplement désireuse d’amener ses compétences et son expérience à un projet, offrant le challenge de créer sa propre startup en 54h!

Tout commence le vendredi soir: chaque participant dispose de 60 secondes maximum pour présenter une idée (aucune obligation de présenter une idée toutefois). Tous les participants pourront ensuite investir dans les 3 projets qui leur plaisent le plus, au moyen de chèques virtuels reçus auparavant. Les projets les plus populaires (= les plus « financés »). Les porteurs de projets non retenus rejoindront une des autres équipes. De vendredi à dimanche, les équipes développeront leur modèle d’affaire, testeront le marché en allant à la rencontre de potentiels futurs clients et seront soutenus et « challengés » par une équipe des coaches. La présentation devant le jury du dimanche après-midi (ouverte au public) constitue le moment phare du weekend.

La diversité créé l’innovation

Quand on élabore une idée d’affaire tout seul enfermé dans sa chambre, souvent le succès reste limité. Un Startup Weekend représente une excellente opportunité de rencontre entre esprits créatifs dotés d’expériences et compétences diverses. Lorsque le programmeur rencontre l’étudiant, le graphiste rencontre le technicien, des visions se transforment en idées concrètes. Dans une ambiance détendue mais néanmoins très studieuse, Startup Weekend représente un savant mélange entre travail intense, plaisir et échanges.

Un événement global

Le Startup Weekend est un format d’événement célèbre dans le monde entier. Il n’est pas rare qu’une entreprise démarrée lors d’un Startup Weekend soit couronnée de succès par la suite, bien que l’apprentissage, l’échange et le divertissement soient au premier plan.

« Startup Weekend, c’est une formidable opportunité tester son idée et d’apprendre par où commencer. C’est un weekend qui représente un condensé de la vie des 6 premiers mois d’une startup – en moins risqué ! »

Sébastien Flury, Entrepreneur & Organisateur

Le réseau, un élément essentiel

Que reste-t-il aux participants après le Startup Weekend? Généralement, c’est au moins le réseau, créé par l’interaction avec les autres participants et les coaches et les membres du jury. Startup Weekend, c’est une opportunité unique de créer des relations d’amitié à long terme avec d’autres personnes dotées d’une volonté réaliser de nouveaux projets !

La manifestation est ouverte à toute personne intéressée par l’entrepreneuriat et se déroulera en anglais, français et allemand. Il n’y a pas besoin d’avoir une idée spécifique pour participer à Startup Weekend.








Why Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne?

As you probably know, I’m a huge fan of Startup Weekend. Why? Because it’s simply the most efficient way to quickly start any project, test it and gather a team.

Many people:

  • complain they cannot find any co-founders. Go to Startup Weekend!
  • do not know where to start, as they’ve done this before… Go to Startup Weekend!
  • want to polish their Business Plan (!) before going to potential investors or customers… Go to Startup Weekend!
  • dream their project instead of projecting their dream. What is the value of thinking about a project for months/years but never acting? Is there no best allocation of your time / brain power? You’ve understood it by now: Go to Startup Weekend!

I’ve participated to many editions as a jury member (in Lausanne and Neuchâtel) years ago, before organising 3 of them on my own (one in 2012 in Saignelégier, in Biel/Bienne in 2015 and 2016). After a year break in Biel/Bienne, I’m back again… And this new edition is taking place in less than 10 days, on March 16th.

Startup Weekend in Biel/Bienne is quite different from the other SW events across Switzerland: we limit participation to 5o people, we have participants from 20 to 60 years old, higher proportion of people coming from the industry (whatever the industry) and we do a 3 languages event (Biel/Bienne is the biggest bilingual – German and French – city in Switzerland, to which we add English).

For those who are new here, let me summarise what Startup Weekend is:

48 hours to launch a startup ! Startup Weekend is a hands-on event, where people learn by doing.

I’ve written a small explanation about how it works (below) and here is also a video:

Startup Weekend 2018 - Promotion video

How does it work ?

Startup weekend starts on Friday evening with a pitching session: every participant has the opportunity to present a startup idea in 60 seconds (not more, no slides)!

All the participants receive virtual dollars to invest in 3 projects. After the pitching session, the entrepreneurs do their best to convince people to invest in their project (if you’ve never raised money for a project, you’ll learn that you have to fight and be creative, from the beginning!). The 8-10 most funded projects will then be selected, and the project managers / entrepreneurs now have to recruit and motivate a team to work on the project during the weekend.

All over the weekend, participants work on the project, get time to network, learn from entrepreneurs sharing their experience, and are constantly supported and challenged by experimented coaches and entrepreneurs. The goal is to accelerate the development of the startup and to mobilise each people’s energy toward a common goal.

The last hours of the weekend are mostly invested in preparing the presentation to the jury. In less than 50 hours, the ideas are transformed into projects.

Who can attend?

Startup Weekend is open to ANYONE interested by launching a project. It can be a startup, a new business or service, or even launching a new association. There is a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, but anyone can learn very solid skills in “how to start”. Participants of startup weekend vary from  students to top managers, from consultants to housewives or even retired professionals. There is often a focus on web and mobile projects, but it can be really any kind of project.

SW gathers energetic and passionate people, independently from their age, experience or skills.

Startup Weekend is a unique way to bring together people from various horizons with complementary skills and is emulating and boosting creativity, as well fostering synergies and long-term relationships. The weekend is an amazing manner to test its ideas without any risk and have a condensed overview of what the startup journey could look like!

And after Startup Weekend?

Participants are encouraged to participate to the startup & innovation events happening across Switzerland. Many previous participants started their project at Startup Weekend before applying to support initiatives, prizes or attending training workshops to complete their skills.

Around 30% of projects are still alive 6 months after the Startup Weekend and 90% of the participants keep in touch, therefore fostering and developing the startup culture.

Customize and DownloadREGISTER to Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne

 








Startup Weekend, c’est quoi?

Un événement non-conventionnel, ouvert à toute personne disposant d’une idée d’affaire ou simplement désireuse d’amener ses compétences et son expérience à un projet, offrant le challenge de créer sa propre startup en 54h!

Tout commence le vendredi soir: chaque participant dispose de 60 secondes maximum pour présenter une idée (aucune obligation de présenter une idée toutefois). Tous les participants pourront ensuite investir dans les 3 projets qui leur plaisent le plus, au moyen de chèques virtuels reçus auparavant. Les projets les plus populaires (= les plus « financés »). Les porteurs de projets non retenus rejoindront une des autres équipes. De vendredi à dimanche, les équipes développeront leur modèle d’affaire, testeront le marché en allant à la rencontre de potentiels futurs clients et seront soutenus et « challengés » par une équipe des coaches. La présentation devant le jury du dimanche après-midi (ouverte au public) constitue le moment phare du weekend.

La diversité créé l’innovation

Quand on élabore une idée d’affaire tout seul enfermé dans sa chambre, souvent le succès reste limité. Un Startup Weekend représente une excellente opportunité de rencontre entre esprits créatifs dotés d’expériences et compétences diverses. Lorsque le programmeur rencontre l’étudiant, le graphiste rencontre le technicien, des visions se transforment en idées concrètes. Dans une ambiance détendue mais néanmoins très studieuse, Startup Weekend représente un savant mélange entre travail intense, plaisir et échanges.

Un événement global

Le Startup Weekend est un format d’événement célèbre dans le monde entier. Il n’est pas rare qu’une entreprise démarrée lors d’un Startup Weekend soit couronnée de succès par la suite, bien que l’apprentissage, l’échange et le divertissement soient au premier plan.

« Startup Weekend, c’est une formidable opportunité tester son idée et d’apprendre par où commencer. C’est un weekend qui représente un condensé de la vie des 6 premiers mois d’une startup – en moins risqué ! »

Sébastien Flury, Entrepreneur & Organisateur

Le réseau, un élément essentiel

Que reste-t-il aux participants après le Startup Weekend? Généralement, c’est au moins le réseau, créé par l’interaction avec les autres participants et les coaches et les membres du jury. Startup Weekend, c’est une opportunité unique de créer des relations d’amitié à long terme avec d’autres personnes dotées d’une volonté réaliser de nouveaux projets !

La manifestation est ouverte à toute personne intéressée par l’entrepreneuriat et se déroulera en anglais, français et allemand. Il n’y a pas besoin d’avoir une idée spécifique pour participer à Startup Weekend.








3D printing at Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne!

For the first time in Switzerland in a Startup Weekend, participants will have a FabLab (fabrication laboratory) at their disposal!

What is a FabLab? It is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication. Participants of Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne will be able to convert their startup idea and produce a single piece of their startup prototype: be it with a 3D printer (plastics), 3D scanner or even with a laser cutter.

Specialised staff supports you during the weekend with all its know-how.








Find a place to sleep during SW Biel/Bienne 2016

Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne will take place at Swiss Innovation Park Biel/Bienne (previously named INNOCAMPUS), located 5 min away by foot from train station.

We have the chance to have one hostel 100m away, Hotel Continental Biel/Bienne, which has very correct prices.

And we also have a youth hostel situated 300m away, which is a great and cheaper alternative: LagoLodge (which has, moreover, also a brewery alongside – probably a great place to continue “working” during the night!).