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Business Model CanvasEstimated Reading Time: just 4 min

The Business Model Canvas (BMC) is the structure of a business plan in one single page.

Business Model Canvas
Business Model Canvas Template (from Strategyzer)

The concept of Business Model Canvas was introduced by Alexander Osterwalder in 2004.

He then developed it together with Yves Pigneur and Alan Smith and a community of 470 experts in 45 countries around the world leading to the publication of the book Business Model Generation, a world best-seller translated into 30 languages.

Today, the Business Model Canvas is an international standard and it is taught in the best schools in the world, including Stanford and Berkeley University.

The Canvas is popular with entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs for business model innovation.

It delivers three things:

  • Focus: since it is more concise than a traditional business plan
  • Flexibility: sitting on a single page it is a lot easier to read than a business plan
  • Transparency: it is much easier to understand than a business model

Going deeper in detail, this business model design template is based on:

  • Customer Segments: this block is about which customers a company tries to target, from whom it is creating value and who are the most important ones. Customer Segments are represented by Buyer Personas
  • Value Propositions: this block is about how the products and services meet the needs and pains of Buyer Personas. A company’s value proposition is what distinguishes it from its direct and indirect competitors
  • Channels: this block is about how the Value Proposition is delivered to the customers and how Buyer Personas want to be reached
  • Customer Relationships: this block is about the type of relationship the company wants to create with their Buyer Personas in terms of atmosphere, interactions and customer service
  • Key Activities: this block is about the most important activities in executing a company’s Value Proposition for instance in terms of Design, Manufacturing, Maintenance, Logistics
  • Key Resources: this block is about the resources that are necessary to create value for the customer and that are needed to sustain and support the business. These resources could be human, financial, physical and intellectual
  • Key Partners: this block is about buyer-supplier relationships, joint ventures and strategic alliances that a company put in place to optimize operations and reduce risks
  • Revenue Streams: this block is about how a company makes income from each Buyer Personas, for what do customers pay and how they are paying
  • Cost Structure: this block is about the most important costs inherent to the business model, Key Resources, and Key Activities
  • Social & Environmental Benefits/Costs: these additional two blocks are about the sustainable growth of the company. This means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

Business Model Canvas Framework

There is not a unique way of applying the Business Model Canvas.

Therefore, finding the best way to fill each of the previous blocks is up to the organization/company that is working on the business plan.

My suggestion though is to start from the Customer Segments and then to move upstream to expose any lack of fit between the needs/pains the company is targeting and what the organization is doing.

This can be done by following a 10 steps process.

Learn more about the process to fill the Business Model Canvas by following this link.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does business model canvas mean?

The Business Model Canvas (BMC) is the structure of a business plan in one single page.
The concept of Business Model Canvas was introduced by Alexander Osterwalder in 2004.
He then developed it together with Yves Pigneur and Alan Smith and a community of 470 experts in 45 countries around the world leading to the publication of the book Business Model Generation, a world best-seller translated into 30 languages.
Today, the Business Model Canvas is an international standard and it is taught in the best schools in the world, including Stanford and Berkeley University.
The Canvas is popular with entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs for business model innovation.

How do I create a canvas model for my business?

My suggestion is to start from the Customer Segments and then to move upstream to expose any lack of fit between the needs/pains the company is targeting and what the organization is doing.
This can be done by following a 10 steps process as below:
Step 1 Define Customer Segments using Buyer Personas Model and Buyer Personas Canvas
Step 2 Define Value Propositions using Value Proposition Canvas
Step 3 Define Channels
Step 4 Define Customer Relationships using an AAARRR Funnel
Step 5 Define Key Activities using Supply Chain Canvas
Step 6 Define Key Resources using Supply Chain Canvas
Step 7 Define Key Partners using Supply Chain Canvas
Step 8 Define Revenue Streams using Cash Flow Canvas
Step 9 Define Cost Structure using Cash Flow Canvas
Step 10 Define Social and Environmental Benefits/Costs
Step 11 Innovate the Business Model

Why do we use the business model canvas?

The Canvas is popular with entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs for business model innovation.
It delivers three things:
1. Focus: since it is more concise than a traditional business plan
2. Flexibility: sitting on a single page it is a lot easier to read than a business plan
3. Transparency: it is much easier to understand than a business model

What are the 9 parts of a business model?

Business Model Canvas is based on 9+1 blocks:
1. Customer Segments
2. Value Propositions
3. Channels
4. Customer Relationships
5. Key Activities
6. Key Resources
7. Key Partners
8. Revenue Streams
9. Cost Structure
(I always like to add “10. Social and Environmental Benefits/Costs”)

How does the business model canvas work?

There is not a unique way of applying the Business Model Canvas.
My suggestion is to start from the Customer Segments and then to move upstream to expose any lack of fit between the needs/pains the company is targeting and what the organization is doing.
This can be done by following a 10 steps process.
Step 1 Define Customer Segments using Buyer Personas Model and Buyer Personas Canvas
Step 2 Define Value Propositions using Value Proposition Canvas
Step 3 Define Channels
Step 4 Define Customer Relationships using an AAARRR Funnel
Step 5 Define Key Activities using Supply Chain Canvas
Step 6 Define Key Resources using Supply Chain Canvas
Step 7 Define Key Partners using Supply Chain Canvas
Step 8 Define Revenue Streams using Cash Flow Canvas
Step 9 Define Cost Structure using Cash Flow Canvas
Step 10 Define Social and Environmental Benefits/Costs

I want to get my hands dirty, what is the process for filling the Business Model Canvas?

Learn more about the process to fill the Business Model Canvas by following this link.

Nicola Zaffonato Administrator

Business Strategy | Product Marketing | Executive Master eCommerce Management | Business Innovation Master | MSc

I am driven by my personal growth and of people/contexts that surround me.

I followed a professional path in Valentino Fashion Group and Luxottica during which, thanks to the ability to understand different businesses and interests, I was able to succeed in Operations, Merchandising and Retail.

These organizations have exploited my ability to mediate and translate needs/constraints into practice, assigning me to Project Management roles.

Luxottica relied on my ability to analyze, to anticipate things and to imagine/implement solutions by appointing me in Supply Chain Management department and assigning me to the Product Management of IoT solutions for Anti-counterfeiting and Retail digitalization.

During this professional path, I also developed my leadership by managing teams to build Processes, Organizations, Systems and Governance Tools.

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