Lean canvas template
Your ideas should live elsewhere except your head, and a lean canvas is the best tool to extract and formulate them as a possible business model. It saves the time you usually need to present your idea to your stakeholders, boss, teammates, etc.
A lean canvas model's predefined structure perfectly covers the most important elements of a business model in a well-defined and concise way to articulate your message.
If you ever felt like putting your idea or intent into words, pictures, video, or any other type of expression tools is not enough, a lean canvas template will help you.
The xTiles Lean Canvas Template is a powerful tool with the visual and content potential to showcase your idea in the best possible light and the ability to tailor the structure according to your idea's specifications. Additionally, it saves time and resources by clearly identifying where they are needed and what is irrelevant or not important.
We offer you a ready-to-use Lean Canvas Template, a detailed step-by-step guide on how to create your own, and a lean canvas example to help you.
What is a Lean Canvas?
The lean canvas provides a framework to articulate the key elements of a business model in a concise and structured way. It's a one-page document where you brainstorm key aspects of your potential business, startup, project, etc. You get the ability to showcase your ideas without spending too much time on creating a traditional business model.
A Lean Canvas was developed by Ash Maurya as an adaptation of the traditional Business Model Canvas created by Alexander Osterwalder. Both of these documents use the same nine blocks, except the lean canvas' structure is slightly changed to be more time-effective and easier to use.
If there was some kind of competition, Lean Canvas VS Business Model Canvas, the lean canvas would probably finish a bit faster because it's more user-friendly for people with no or little experience managing businesses or startups.
As a rule, a lean canvas is usually used in the early stages of a startup to validate a business idea. However, it's perfectly suitable for being applied later to refine an existing business model.
A lean canvas document consists of nine building blocks:
- Problem – the pain point a business/startup/project wants/tries to resolve.
- Solution – the product or the service offered to resolve the problem.
- Key Metrics – the measurable indicators to track the progress.
- Unique Value Proposition – the statement to communicate the unique benefit of the business/startup/project to the potential customer.
- Unfair Advantage – the competitive advantage the business/startup/project has over its competitors.
- Customer Segments – the description of the target audience of the business/startup/project.
- Channels – the way/ways in which the business/startup/project reaches its customers.
- Cost Structure – the list of the required expenses for operating the business/startup/project.
- Revenue Streams – the list of the revenue streams for the business/startup/project.
What is the purpose of a Lean Canvas?
A lean canvas helps entrepreneurs with many aspects of representing and articulating their ideas:
- It helps to identify the target audience and understand their needs, expectations, pain points, and behaviors.
- Develop a unique value proposition that will match the target audience's pain points and help the business stand out.
- Test and validate the assumptions about the business model and future strategy by gathering feedback from stakeholders and everyone involved.
- Find the most efficient channels to reach and acquire customers.
- Identify potential revenue streams and prioritize them based on their profitability and feasibility.
When does an entrepreneur need a Lean Canvas?
The list of cases when one may benefit from using a lean canvas model isn't long, yet its narrow specification fully identifies and represents the main points of a new idea or business that is being developed. Entrepreneurs and startups use a lean canvas to outline a clear and concise plan for bringing their idea to market successfully.
Here are some of the most popular examples of when using lean canvas is beneficial:
- When starting a new business.
The first steps may be the hardest as you need to understand where to move, what your business or product will be about, who may become your audience, etc. A lean canvas helps to clear all of these aspects and gives you a push to start active work.
- When pivoting an existing business.
When your business or product is not performing as expected yet, there's no obvious reason why it is so. In this case, a lean canvas will help you to identify what needs to be changed. Usually, it happens if a lean canvas is skipped during the first stages of a project.
- When launching a new product/service/tool.
Launching a new product requires almost the same actions as starting a new business. A lean canvas will help you outline your product value proposition, find out who is your target market, etc.
- When you brainstorm potential business ideas
You may have many ideas, but analyzing each of them in detail using a traditional business model canvas to learn whether it's going to work or not will take time. A lean canvas is a much more time-effective tool for the same purpose.
How to create an effective lean canvas for your business or startup using the xTiles Lean Canvas template
Lean canvas 9-block structure is the step-by-step guide on what you need to find out. Once you complete the last of them, you will have a clear and highly-representative lean canvas of your business or startup model.
- Identify the problem.
What problem do you want to solve by starting your business? Your starting point is someone's problem, so be very specific and don't try to resolve all the troubles people may face. The answer will help you determine the focus and direction of your lean canvas.
If there's a problem, there must be a solution. At least in the business world. Your solution is what will bring you success. You may not come up with a solution straight away. Sometimes it takes many brainstorming sessions and interviews with existing or potential customers.
- Outline your key metrics.
Even if your business is very small and there's no one except you and your friend in your parent's basement or garage, it still will have some key metrics to monitor performance. Key metrics in the lean canvas will help you soberly assess your progress.
- Determine your unique value proposition.
What is so special about your business or startup? What will be the unique value that it is offering to your customers? For example, that may be an entirely new product or service, a better customer experience, or a more affordable price schedule.
- Identify your unfair advantage.
That is something no one of your competitors possesses and barely can get. It will help you to find partners, investors, involve more professionals, etc. Sometimes, these advantages are imperceptible for teams, and they leave this block empty.
New technology, dream team, information no one in the field possesses, current customers, etc., may become your unfair advantage.
- Define the customer segments.
Now that you know from what problem you're going to save the world and its solution, you need to specify your target customer. You can't think about your potential audience separately from the problem. Their connection is highly important for a clear and true understanding of your further moves.
- Determine your channels.
At first, not all potential channels may be available to you. That's why it's also important to concentrate on what will help you reach them in the future. Another important aspect is that you need only those channels where your target audience is. Don't waste your time and resources on channels that have nothing in common with your potential customers and your business or startup.
- Outline your cost structure.
That is the most technical part with lots of bureaucracy, yet very important for a successful launch and establishing an effective workflow. Identify the costs associated with running your business, such as team salaries, equipment, marketing and advertising expenses, etc.
Many startups die at early stages because the operation costs weren't taken seriously. If you want your dream to exist, develop, and bring your dividends, you need to take care of its prosaic aspects.
- Define your revenue streams.
What will be the ways your business or startup will generate revenue? Sales? Subscriptions? Advertising?
The exact way will depend on your business model. Some startups choose to offer their product or service for free to gain audience attention.