The Business Model Canvas Essay

The Business Model Canvas (BMC) can be defined as a tool that is used in the generation of a business model. “The BMC is made up of nine building blocks forming a chart that describes a firms value proposition, infrastructure, customers, finances, resources, channels, revenue streams and cost structure”(Shaw 2011).

I am going to describe the business of Spotify.com using the BMC. Spotify is a company that helps its customers get the best music collection for their phones and personal computers. It is a company with a large dataset of music tracks. It also enables its customers to browse music from their friend’s collection lists and from music celebrities (Pigneru, 2012).

Key Partners

This refers to the partners that we do business with. They include ,Marantz, Phillips, Onkyo, Sonos, Samsung, Denon, WD, Boxee, Morpher and logitech.

Key Activities

This involves the main mission as to the existence of the company. Theses are the activities that give a company the meaning for its existence. The key activities for spotify are divided into three;

  • Production – This involves producing the music and distributing it to the customers and loading it up to their website.
  • Problem solving – Solving problems faced by customers by making use of qualified IT team. Making sure there is enough music in the system.
  • Platform management.

Value Propositions

This involves value delivered to customers.

Customer Relationship

This is the association between the company and its clients.

Customer Segments

This covers areas where customers are found in the market.

Key Resources

This refers to the resources that make up our value proposition and which will generate revenue and at the same time reduce costs. The resources aim at improving customer relationships and in the distribution of products.

This are the channels of distribution used to get to our customers. It involves using the channels that enable us reach our customers best and in the shortest time. The channel aims at;

  • Awareness – Creating awareness to customers about our products.
  • Evaluation – By allowing our customers to evaluate us by having questionnaires that give feedback on our products and services. And having a balance score card for our employees.
  • Purchase – These refers to the ease with which our customers can pay for our products which can be done through bankers cheque, credit cards, internet money transfer, money orders or in cash.
  • After sales service – Refers the support given to the customers after the purchase. This includes free delivery to their locations, installation, offering warranties and guaranties and doing regular check-ups (Spinellli, 2012).

Cost structure

This touches on the cost structure of our business and creating value for money.

Revenue streams

This refers to the income generated from the business. It involves ethical business practices by charging customers fairly. The customers can pay for this revenue streams through negotiated bargaining or buying in the real market prices.

Business model pattern

The business model of Spotify has a long tail business model patterns.

Long tail business

This is a business model that focuses on selling a few products to a large number of clients. This is because the business is targeting a market that is not very profitable in terms of sales and targeting a specific market can be too costly (Pignerur, 2012). This business mode is working for Spotify because;

  • There is democratisation in the production of music in the industry. There is advanced technology that favours the company, and the technology was more costly years back. There are also cheap applications that enables customers download music and videos.
  • There is democratisation in the distribution process. This has been made possible through the internet where the distribution costs are low, the inventory is always available in the internet, there is little communication and transaction overheads and the internet has opened up the niche market
  • There is less costs of searching for the products in the market. This because Internet Service Providers (ISP) have lowered their costs. Therefore, it is easy for the niche market to get their products cheaply.
  • The cost of running the business is low and the company can have unlimited number of clients from the mass market. The company can as well subsidize its costs for its loyal customers (svathy, 2012).

Business Model Canvas Designed for: Spotify.com Designed by:

List of References

Pignerur, A 2012, Business model Generation. A Handbook for visinories, Game changers, and challegers. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Pigneru, A 2012, anaging creativity and innovation. New york: John Wiley & Sons.

Shaw, J 2011, Business Model Canvas. Web.

Spinellli, J, 2012, New venture creation -Entrepreneurship for the 21th century. Mc Graw Hill, New York.

Svathy, S 2012, Business Model Canvas. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2023, December 20). The Business Model Canvas. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-business-model-canvas-essay/

"The Business Model Canvas." IvyPanda , 20 Dec. 2023, ivypanda.com/essays/the-business-model-canvas-essay/.

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1. IvyPanda . "The Business Model Canvas." December 20, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-business-model-canvas-essay/.

Bibliography

IvyPanda . "The Business Model Canvas." December 20, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-business-model-canvas-essay/.

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Business Model Canvas: Explained with Examples

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Got a new business idea, but don’t know how to put it to work? Want to improve your existing business model? Overwhelmed by writing your business plan? There is a one-page technique that can provide you the solution you are looking for, and that’s the business model canvas.

In this guide, you’ll have the Business Model Canvas explained, along with steps on how to create one. All business model canvas examples in the post can be edited online.

What is a Business Model Canvas

A business model is simply a plan describing how a business intends to make money. It explains who your customer base is and how you deliver value to them and the related details of financing. And the business model canvas lets you define these different components on a single page.   

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that lets you visualize and assess your business idea or concept. It’s a one-page document containing nine boxes that represent different fundamental elements of a business.  

The business model canvas beats the traditional business plan that spans across several pages, by offering a much easier way to understand the different core elements of a business.

The right side of the canvas focuses on the customer or the market (external factors that are not under your control) while the left side of the canvas focuses on the business (internal factors that are mostly under your control). In the middle, you get the value propositions that represent the exchange of value between your business and your customers.

The business model canvas was originally developed by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur and introduced in their book ‘ Business Model Generation ’ as a visual framework for planning, developing and testing the business model(s) of an organization.

Business Model Canvas Explained

What Are the Benefits of Using a Business Model Canvas

Why do you need a business model canvas? The answer is simple. The business model canvas offers several benefits for businesses and entrepreneurs. It is a valuable tool and provides a visual and structured approach to designing, analyzing, optimizing, and communicating your business model.

  • The business model canvas provides a comprehensive overview of a business model’s essential aspects. The BMC provides a quick outline of the business model and is devoid of unnecessary details compared to the traditional business plan.
  • The comprehensive overview also ensures that the team considers all required components of their business model and can identify gaps or areas for improvement.
  • The BMC allows the team to have a holistic and shared understanding of the business model while enabling them to align and collaborate effectively.
  • The visual nature of the business model canvas makes it easier to refer to and understand by anyone. The business model canvas combines all vital business model elements in a single, easy-to-understand canvas.
  • The BMC can be considered a strategic analysis tool as it enables you to examine a business model’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges.
  • It’s easier to edit and can be easily shared with employees and stakeholders.
  • The BMC is a flexible and adaptable tool that can be updated and revised as the business evolves. Keep your business agile and responsive to market changes and customer needs.
  • The business model canvas can be used by large corporations and startups with just a few employees.
  • The business model canvas effectively facilitates discussions among team members, investors, partners, customers, and other stakeholders. It clarifies how different aspects of the business are related and ensures a shared understanding of the business model.
  • You can use a BMC template to facilitate discussions and guide brainstorming brainstorming sessions to generate insights and ideas to refine the business model and make strategic decisions.
  • The BMC is action-oriented, encouraging businesses to identify activities and initiatives to improve their business model to drive business growth.
  • A business model canvas provides a structured approach for businesses to explore possibilities and experiment with new ideas. This encourages creativity and innovation, which in turn encourages team members to think outside the box.

How to Make a Business Model Canvas

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a business canvas model.

Step 1: Gather your team and the required material Bring a team or a group of people from your company together to collaborate. It is better to bring in a diverse group to cover all aspects.

While you can create a business model canvas with whiteboards, sticky notes, and markers, using an online platform like Creately will ensure that your work can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. Create a workspace in Creately and provide editing/reviewing permission to start.

Step 2: Set the context Clearly define the purpose and the scope of what you want to map out and visualize in the business model canvas. Narrow down the business or idea you want to analyze with the team and its context.

Step 3: Draw the canvas Divide the workspace into nine equal sections to represent the nine building blocks of the business model canvas.

Step 4: Identify the key building blocks Label each section as customer segment, value proposition, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, and cost structure.

Step 5: Fill in the canvas Work with your team to fill in each section of the canvas with relevant information. You can use data, keywords, diagrams, and more to represent ideas and concepts.

Step 6: Analyze and iterate Once your team has filled in the business model canvas, analyze the relationships to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. Discuss improvements and make adjustments as necessary.

Step 7: Finalize Finalize and use the model as a visual reference to communicate and align your business model with stakeholders. You can also use the model to make informed and strategic decisions and guide your business.

What are the Key Building Blocks of the Business Model Canvas?

There are nine building blocks in the business model canvas and they are:

Customer Segments

Customer relationships, revenue streams, key activities, key resources, key partners, cost structure.

  • Value Proposition

When filling out a Business Model Canvas, you will brainstorm and conduct research on each of these elements. The data you collect can be placed in each relevant section of the canvas. So have a business model canvas ready when you start the exercise.  

Business Model Canvas Template

Let’s look into what the 9 components of the BMC are in more detail.

These are the groups of people or companies that you are trying to target and sell your product or service to.

Segmenting your customers based on similarities such as geographical area, gender, age, behaviors, interests, etc. gives you the opportunity to better serve their needs, specifically by customizing the solution you are providing them.

After a thorough analysis of your customer segments, you can determine who you should serve and ignore. Then create customer personas for each of the selected customer segments.

Customer Persona Template for Business Model Canvas Explained

There are different customer segments a business model can target and they are;

  • Mass market: A business model that focuses on mass markets doesn’t group its customers into segments. Instead, it focuses on the general population or a large group of people with similar needs. For example, a product like a phone.  
  • Niche market: Here the focus is centered on a specific group of people with unique needs and traits. Here the value propositions, distribution channels, and customer relationships should be customized to meet their specific requirements. An example would be buyers of sports shoes.
  • Segmented: Based on slightly different needs, there could be different groups within the main customer segment. Accordingly, you can create different value propositions, distribution channels, etc. to meet the different needs of these segments.
  • Diversified: A diversified market segment includes customers with very different needs.
  • Multi-sided markets: this includes interdependent customer segments. For example, a credit card company caters to both their credit card holders as well as merchants who accept those cards.

Use STP Model templates for segmenting your market and developing ideal marketing campaigns

Visualize, assess, and update your business model. Collaborate on brainstorming with your team on your next business model innovation.

In this section, you need to establish the type of relationship you will have with each of your customer segments or how you will interact with them throughout their journey with your company.

There are several types of customer relationships

  • Personal assistance: you interact with the customer in person or by email, through phone call or other means.
  • Dedicated personal assistance: you assign a dedicated customer representative to an individual customer.  
  • Self-service: here you maintain no relationship with the customer, but provides what the customer needs to help themselves.
  • Automated services: this includes automated processes or machinery that helps customers perform services themselves.
  • Communities: these include online communities where customers can help each other solve their own problems with regard to the product or service.
  • Co-creation: here the company allows the customer to get involved in the designing or development of the product. For example, YouTube has given its users the opportunity to create content for its audience.

You can understand the kind of relationship your customer has with your company through a customer journey map . It will help you identify the different stages your customers go through when interacting with your company. And it will help you make sense of how to acquire, retain and grow your customers.

Customer Journey Map

This block is to describe how your company will communicate with and reach out to your customers. Channels are the touchpoints that let your customers connect with your company.

Channels play a role in raising awareness of your product or service among customers and delivering your value propositions to them. Channels can also be used to allow customers the avenue to buy products or services and offer post-purchase support.

There are two types of channels

  • Owned channels: company website, social media sites, in-house sales, etc.
  • Partner channels: partner-owned websites, wholesale distribution, retail, etc.

Revenues streams are the sources from which a company generates money by selling their product or service to the customers. And in this block, you should describe how you will earn revenue from your value propositions.  

A revenue stream can belong to one of the following revenue models,

  • Transaction-based revenue: made from customers who make a one-time payment
  • Recurring revenue: made from ongoing payments for continuing services or post-sale services

There are several ways you can generate revenue from

  • Asset sales: by selling the rights of ownership for a product to a buyer
  • Usage fee: by charging the customer for the use of its product or service
  • Subscription fee: by charging the customer for using its product regularly and consistently
  • Lending/ leasing/ renting: the customer pays to get exclusive rights to use an asset for a fixed period of time
  • Licensing: customer pays to get permission to use the company’s intellectual property
  • Brokerage fees: revenue generated by acting as an intermediary between two or more parties
  • Advertising: by charging the customer to advertise a product, service or brand using company platforms

What are the activities/ tasks that need to be completed to fulfill your business purpose? In this section, you should list down all the key activities you need to do to make your business model work.

These key activities should focus on fulfilling its value proposition, reaching customer segments and maintaining customer relationships, and generating revenue.

There are 3 categories of key activities;

  • Production: designing, manufacturing and delivering a product in significant quantities and/ or of superior quality.
  • Problem-solving: finding new solutions to individual problems faced by customers.
  • Platform/ network: Creating and maintaining platforms. For example, Microsoft provides a reliable operating system to support third-party software products.

This is where you list down which key resources or the main inputs you need to carry out your key activities in order to create your value proposition.

There are several types of key resources and they are

  • Human (employees)
  • Financial (cash, lines of credit, etc.)
  • Intellectual (brand, patents, IP, copyright)
  • Physical (equipment, inventory, buildings)

Key partners are the external companies or suppliers that will help you carry out your key activities. These partnerships are forged in oder to reduce risks and acquire resources.

Types of partnerships are

  • Strategic alliance: partnership between non-competitors
  • Coopetition: strategic partnership between partners
  • Joint ventures: partners developing a new business
  • Buyer-supplier relationships: ensure reliable supplies

In this block, you identify all the costs associated with operating your business model.

You’ll need to focus on evaluating the cost of creating and delivering your value propositions, creating revenue streams, and maintaining customer relationships. And this will be easier to do so once you have defined your key resources, activities, and partners.  

Businesses can either be cost-driven (focuses on minimizing costs whenever possible) and value-driven (focuses on providing maximum value to the customer).

Value Propositions

This is the building block that is at the heart of the business model canvas. And it represents your unique solution (product or service) for a problem faced by a customer segment, or that creates value for the customer segment.

A value proposition should be unique or should be different from that of your competitors. If you are offering a new product, it should be innovative and disruptive. And if you are offering a product that already exists in the market, it should stand out with new features and attributes.

Value propositions can be either quantitative (price and speed of service) or qualitative (customer experience or design).

Value Proposition Canvas

What to Avoid When Creating a Business Model Canvas

One thing to remember when creating a business model canvas is that it is a concise and focused document. It is designed to capture key elements of a business model and, as such, should not include detailed information. Some of the items to avoid include,

  • Detailed financial projections such as revenue forecasts, cost breakdowns, and financial ratios. Revenue streams and cost structure should be represented at a high level, providing an overview rather than detailed projections.
  • Detailed operational processes such as standard operating procedures of a business. The BMC focuses on the strategic and conceptual aspects.
  • Comprehensive marketing or sales strategies. The business model canvas does not provide space for comprehensive marketing or sales strategies. These should be included in marketing or sales plans, which allow you to expand into more details.
  • Legal or regulatory details such as intellectual property, licensing agreements, or compliance requirements. As these require more detailed and specialized attention, they are better suited to be addressed in separate legal or regulatory documents.
  • Long-term strategic goals or vision statements. While the canvas helps to align the business model with the overall strategy, it should focus on the immediate and tangible aspects.
  • Irrelevant or unnecessary information that does not directly relate to the business model. Including extra or unnecessary information can clutter the BMC and make it less effective in communicating the core elements.

What Are Your Thoughts on the Business Model Canvas?

Once you have completed your business model canvas, you can share it with your organization and stakeholders and get their feedback as well. The business model canvas is a living document, therefore after completing it you need to revisit and ensure that it is relevant, updated and accurate.

What best practices do you follow when creating a business model canvas? Do share your tips with us in the comments section below.

Join over thousands of organizations that use Creately to brainstorm, plan, analyze, and execute their projects successfully.

FAQs About the Business Model Canvas

  • Use clear and concise language
  • Use visual-aids
  • Customize for your audience
  • Highlight key insights
  • Be open to feedback and discussion

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Amanda Athuraliya is the communication specialist/content writer at Creately, online diagramming and collaboration tool. She is an avid reader, a budding writer and a passionate researcher who loves to write about all kinds of topics.

Home Blog Business What is a Business Model Canvas? Quick Guide + Examples

What is a Business Model Canvas? Quick Guide + Examples

What is a Business Model Canvas

Based on the work of Alexander Osterwalder, a Business Model Canvas , or BMC for short, is a diagram used to visualize a business model; it allows structured organization and a quick method of evaluation and reflection on the effectiveness of a Business Model. The use and study of Business Model Canvas Examples allows us to understand it in a complete way and apply it to different types of organizations.

The Role of the Business Model Canvas

What are the benefits of using a business model canvas, 1. customer segments, 2. value propositions, 3. customer relationships, 4. channels, 5. revenue streams, 6. key activities, 7. key resources, 8. key partnerships, 9. cost structure, the power of a bmc in entrepreneurship: visualize the business model, mcdonald’s.

  • How to Utilize a Business Model Canvas for your Success

Business Model Canvas PowerPoint Templates

Whether it be in small business entrepreneurship or large corporate product launches, the business model sits at the center. The one thing that stands at the very heart of the daily operations of an organization, is a model that dictates where the opportunity lies and how the company effectively acts on it at each step in the process.

The very best professionals will have all of this knowledge and action driving their decisions. However, the original business model one may follow may not always be applicable to the obstacles that an organization faces, thus it’s incredibly useful to fully display organizational structure and operations.

The Business Model Canvas is a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes and industries. Here are some key benefits of using this visual framework:

Simplifies Complexity: Business models can be intricate, with various elements and interactions. The BMC simplifies this complexity by breaking down the model into nine essential building blocks. This visual representation makes it easier for entrepreneurs, team members, and stakeholders to grasp the core components of the business without getting lost in a lengthy business plan. It’s a powerful tool for distilling complex ideas into a clear, concise format.

Enhances Focus: When creating a BMC, you’re prompted to think critically about each building block, such as customer segments, value propositions, and revenue streams. This process encourages a deep understanding of how these components interact and depend on each other. By explicitly defining these elements, you gain a sharper focus on your business strategy and objectives. It helps you identify gaps, redundancies, or areas where your model can be refined.

Promotes Collaboration: The BMC is designed to be a collaborative tool. It’s not something a single person creates in isolation; instead, it encourages cross-functional teams to work together. Each team member can contribute their expertise to fill in the relevant sections. This collaborative approach ensures that everyone involved in the project shares a common understanding of the business model, which is essential for successful execution.

Iterative and Adaptable: Business environments are dynamic, and your business model should be too. The BMC supports an iterative approach, allowing you to make changes and updates as needed. For instance, if market conditions change, you can easily adjust your value propositions or customer segments. It’s a flexible tool that accommodates experimentation and learning. You can use it to test different assumptions and hypotheses about your business and refine your model accordingly.

Cost-Effective: Creating a traditional business plan can be a time-consuming and expensive process. In contrast, developing a BMC is a cost-effective alternative. It doesn’t require extensive resources or financial investments. This makes it particularly valuable for startups and small businesses with limited budgets. It’s a pragmatic way to initiate strategic planning, especially in the early stages of a venture when resources are scarce.

The Basics of the Business Model Canvas

Whether one is creating an all-new business model, comparing a pre-existing model, or adjusting a model to improve value, the BMC excels in keeping anyone invested in the business on track without wasting time and focus. By displaying only, the most critical pieces in business operations or a product, this tool is both a time saver and a method to sharpen your awareness of expectations vs. reality.

Here is the Business Model Canvas explained: There are nine sections in a BMC, each containing a specified topic of information that composes the core of any business model.

PPT Template Business Model Canvas

This section contains the information related to the core target audience that you are selling to. Simple and traditional segmentation analysis must be done to identify the top segments of the model. Start simple with questions like Which are the demographics of the major customer groups being targeted? Why are they going to be interested in the product or service? In essence, how well does the model comprehend who is being sold to? It is crucial that you identify clearly the segments as when facing reality, you will need to focus only in a few (1 or 2) to really test your model without a full operation in place.

Create a list of the unique business value propositions you will offer. Why is the idea or company valuable? What makes it stand above competitors? If there aren’t any direct competitors, what gaps are being filled in given markets?

This section could be extremely lengthy, depending on the business model, but should only contain the most central concepts at the heart of the model that attract customers or generate revenues. This section will contain the aspects of the business that relieve a customer’s pains. If you’re struggling to identify what is most important, consider using a Value Proposition Canvas, another easy-to-visual tool that helps establish your target audience with your strengths. Focus on solving a real pain for the segments identified.

The information of this section should refer to how to connect segments and the value proposition. During the analysis, you should be asking questions like How are customers convinced that your product or organization has the advertised special qualities? What methods are used to interact with them? How does an audience engage with each strategy in the product lifecycle? Additionally, how is customer engagement tracked?

Once the customer is convinced of the goods or services, how would you deliver them? This should include every step of the process it takes to make the financial transaction and value delivery possible. Is there a separate supplier? Who distributes the product? How is it displayed? Think about what the model requires from start to finish in order to make a sale.

If the customer connects with the product or service, and they want to proceed with doing business, then how does the actual exchange of money happen? How is the cash flow tracked? Are there any middlemen between the sale and the income to the business?

Business Model Canvas Diagram for PowerPoint

Source: Editable Business Model Canvas PowerPoint Template

This section should include specific activities that the organization will do to create value. Unlike the Value Propositions, it’s not just about a new product or business practice, but rather the day-to-day operations that each team will take.

Similar to Key Activities but focusing on assets that are used. Is there a special supplier? Is there access to any materials or a local storefront that puts you in an advantageous position? Do you have a special intellectual property or patent that introduces new knowledge into the niche?

For areas that may be lacking, or areas that are too costly for the business to manage by itself, what can be outsourced to partners to focus on? Which areas would it be more cost-efficient to hire from supporting businesses? Specifically, identify model strengths, maximize time and money on them, and move identified weaknesses to connected partners that can address them better or solve them altogether.

Finally, what are the major expenses in the model? Are they a flat fee, or are they a variable cost? This may factor into previous sections, like key activities, resources, and partnerships.

Additionally, how does this relate to the Revenue Streams? How will the predicted costs vs. the actual be monitored? Most importantly, what will be done if costs outweigh the incoming funds?

Creating a Business Model Canvas involves analyzing each of these sections individually and as a whole, and connecting the dots between them.

Introducing a new business or product to the world is no small undertaking, especially when you consider how much competition and other new ideas are thrown into the world on a regular basis.

This also means keeping the model current and responsive. A business model, after all, is only a well-educated guess on how to generate success from a demand. If reality does not match up to the prediction, then even the very best business models are useless. A BMC is your abstract representation of how a business delivers value to customers to help them solve problems.

Steven Blank’s book to entrepreneurs and business leaders, ‘Four Steps to the Epiphany’ , demonstrates the difference between those who watch and listen to their model in action, and those who convince themselves that their business model is flawless, and the world will adjust to follow it instead. The fact is, you may have the most amazing ideas in the world, but it won’t matter if you aren’t paying attention to unforeseen challenges that arise between conception and actualization of a successful model.

The BMC is an excellent tool to get away from the guesswork, and out into the metaphorical streets. It allows an individual or team to compare expectations with reality, to double-check targets and see if those targets are still manageable, and it gives an opportunity to make adjustments to a business model before it’s too late.

This practice is called, ‘Get out of the building’, an important part of the Lean Startup Methodology . It means to develop a BMC and test it against reality. For this to work, you need to create an MVP ( Minimum Viable Product ) that materializes your Value proposition and tests it against real-life customers. Testing means that they should really purchase the MVP and that they complete the different sections of the BMC for true validation. This process is really iterative, and it helps entrepreneurs and business executives make the adjustments necessary to really market a value proposition, reducing the risk of mounting a full-scale operation.

Get Out Of The Building PowerPoint Template

Business Model Canvas Examples

By using examples of Business Model Canvas, we can evaluate business models and identify just what changes need to be made to the model in order to ensure growth and success. In addition, analyzing Business Model Canvas examples and being able to study success stories is beneficial to be able to apply it in different industries, helping you better understand Business Model Canvas explained with examples.

Let’s take a look at the BMC Example of the MoviePass company, which launched with the idea to sell a monthly service to the general public for daily movie tickets at major theater chains for a flat monthly membership fee. The company reasoned that they could benefit two groups, the average moviegoer would be able to see more movies, and movie theaters themselves would see better attendance. This innovative approach required the development of robust membership software to handle the logistics and subscriptions efficiently, making it one of the notable examples of a business model.

In theory, it sounds like a reasonable concept, but in reality, MoviePass had not developed a functional business model which resulted in a poor performance against new technologies. There was no constant evaluation to keep track of their cash flow, and by failing to keep the company growing fast enough, it couldn’t support the necessary costs. Perhaps if leadership had followed a BMC these issues may have been recognized earlier.

Business Model Canvas Example - MoviePass

By using the BMC, MoviePass could have visualized earlier that the business model was in need of a pivot, a change to a section of the model in order to address an issue. In MoviePass’s case, areas like cash flow and customer acquisition had some gaps that required a solution. Had the company been more aware of its business model, it might have seen a need for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) where they could test the results of their ideas with a few early adopters.

An MVP is the bare bones of a product or service that can provide invaluable information about how a small group of customers reacts. By having a testing period of limited engagement, a business can limit costs while drastically improving knowledge on how to proceed. Had MoviePass used this, they might’ve been able to observe early on that some customers used their service to the max, purchasing a movie ticket per day, far outweighing the profit of their service from the cost of providing it.

The pivot would adjust to their business model, and a new MVP could be created to test the new approach. This new iteration of the business may have changed the original direction of the company. Through each pivot and each new iteration of the model, MoviePass BMC would adjust accordingly, allowing an easy method in which to keep track of the major changes without getting overwhelmed in all the details that lay underneath each educated decision.

There are, however, examples of well-crafted business models that can be observed on a BMC. Let’s take a company that has spread its business model all over the world and has undoubtedly enacted countless pivots and iterations of the business model in order to evolve, adapt, and thrive over the years: McDonald’s, as one of the prime business model examples.

When thinking about the massive scope of McDonald’s, it’s both interesting and telling of how the BMC can still capture the essence of their business model. McDonald’s is a global corporate cash cow requiring a rock-solid model, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same one since the conception of the company.

With the many decades in operation, you can be sure that a McDonald’s BMC would not look the same at the beginning as it does today. What originally started as a single burger joint on a street corner, now faces the challenges of global food service. Each time a new challenge or opportunity presented itself, the McDonald’s business model was forced to pivot by observing the environment, developing an appropriate plan of action, and monitoring the progress accordingly.

Over the years the world has grown to experience many iterations of the McDonald’s brand, whether it be an icon of American cuisine or an example of adaptation to dietary health. Flexible and ambitious, McDonald’s always made sure the business model matched the desired outcomes.

Business Model Canvas Example McDonalds

Uber is a ride-hailing service that has caused massive disruption for conventional taxi services. By using digital technology and a specific standard for cars and drivers offered to customers, many taxi services and individual taxi drivers have found it hard to compete with Uber. In contrast to developed countries, taxi drivers in developing countries have been unable to meet the minimum vehicle standards to qualify as Uber drivers, competing with them virtually out of the market. On the contrary, it has also attracted a new segment of people looking to use Uber as a part-time job to earn extra money.

By looking at Uber using the BMC Example we can see that its key partners include customers, drivers, payment processors, mapping data providers, and local authorities in the country it operates. Its key activities include developing its digital platform and algorithms, driver onboarding, marketing to balance demand and supply, and supporting customers using the service. The key resources of Uber are its digital platform, pricing, and routing algorithms. Uber relies on a peer-to-peer (P2P) circular economy. Where customers and drivers continue to contribute to the Uber revenue in almost a loop. And since Uber is easier to use compared to conventional taxi services, both customers and drivers tend to often use it as a routine. For example, many drivers have completely switched to Uber from conventional taxi services and new drivers entering the market cannot imagine providing services without the model Uber provides. Similarly, customers can get used to the service in a way that the Uber service itself becomes a part of their daily routine.

The value proposition of Uber is the provision of an on-demand taxi service for customers, whenever and wherever they need it. Uber fills the gap for the availability of an instant taxi service, without the need to necessarily ensure pre-booking or find a taxi manually. This offers user convenience, with various value benefits for both the customer and drivers, including the option to avail a cash-free taxi service by customers, earning opportunities for drivers and the supply of passengers and drivers through its ever-increasing base of users.

Uber reaches its customers and even attracts new drivers through its marketing and makes it easier for people to use its services through its app. Making it easy for the customers and drivers to communicate. Uber provides the utility of not just an on-demand service but also uses its algorithms to match supply and demand, find the shortest routes for customers, and to allocate the closest driver. However, since Uber is primarily connecting customers and drivers, it also shifts much of its costs to the former, since it does not require owning and maintaining a large fleet of cars. It can also adjust its revenue based on the market it’s operating in, and adjust prices to match not only demand and supply but the purchasing power and market rates of the country or area it operates in.

Business Model Canvas Example - Uber

When Amazon started in 1994, terms like e-commerce or online shopping were virtually unheard of. In fact, Amazon can be easily credited with being one of the first e-commerce platforms in the world. However, its customer-led approach, with the convenience Amazon offered soon turned it into a famous retailer, which now has various other services attached to its name including an online video streaming platform called Amazon Prime, a cloud storage service (Amazon Drive), Kindle tablets, Fire TV, etc. However, to keep things simple, let’s look at Amazon’s BMC Example in the context of its retail store.

Amazon provides users with a range of services from its network of sellers. These sellers are rated by customers according to their experience and sellers that fail to adhere to Amazon’s standards are removed from the platform. For example, during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people began hoarding hand sanitizers and selling them at inflated prices online. Amazon was quick to act to remove such vendors.

The approach that Amazon has is based on not just connecting buyers and sellers but ‘continually raising the bar of the customer experience’. To ensure this, amazon often takes innovative steps that not only include improving its digital platform but also ensuring a steady supplier base. In 2019, Amazon announced $10,000 and three months worth of their gross salary to employees who quit their jobs and started a delivery service. Anticipating the need to expand its supplier base. Amazon has also been famous for offering competitive employee benefits and creating a corporate culture that encourages innovation and employee loyalty.

Through its colossal warehouses, customer-centric approach, and corporate culture that creates an atmosphere of employees to remain closely connected with the company, Amazon’s revenue stream simply does not rely on its customer experience, workforce, or supplier base but on how it’s able to create an environment where stakeholders, including customers and employees feel a sense of loyalty towards the company.

Business Model Canvas Example Amazon

Over the years, AirBnb has been among companies that have leveraged their platform to transform conventional modes of doing business. Using its rating-based digital platform, AirBnb enables people looking to rent accommodation and hosts to be able to connect and become a part of its revenue stream with a few simple taps or clicks.

The platform has not only helped people who have conventionally been renting out their property but also enabled individuals with extra space to consider becoming hosts to earn extra money by renting out space for a short period of time. Similarly, the customers benefit from avoiding hefty rates of hotels and expensive accommodation options.

Like Uber, AirBnb has also been a disruptive force in the market it has operated. It uses its digital infrastructure to connect travelers and hosts. While offering the value proposition of making money by utilizing underutilized space to hosts and offering low-cost accommodation for people looking to save money. This model has enabled the company to surpass large hotel chains and make a major impact in the industry for rent and accommodation. In 2020 AirBnb was valued at $75 billion, surpassing giants like Hyatt Hotels valued at $2.07 billion and Marriott Hotels International valued at $10.57 billion.

Business Model Canvas Example - AirBnb

From its launch in 1997 to 2006 in the United States, Netflix had a per-rental model per DVD. However, in 2007 it launched a subscription-based model that turned out to be more successful. Today, Netflix is available for streaming in over 190 countries, each with its own catalog of Movies and TV shows.

According to Netflix’s Business Model Canvas Example, its value proposition is the provision of on-demand entertainment regardless of where you are. Its subscription models provide access to one or more screens, with the utility to watch Netflix via mobile, tablet, laptop, gaming consoles, etc. Its packages include an economical package with an SD (480P) resolution limited to a single device to more exclusive packages offering Full HD (1080p) Ultra HD (4K) and HDR (2160p) resolutions.

Needless to say, the market segment of Netflix is quite close to universal. Outmaneuvering cable operators and conventional TV channels with exclusive on-demand content. While Netflix’s partners have included broadcasters and production companies, it has recently been focusing on original content. Through Netflix’s subscription-based model, there is very little need (if any) for customer interaction, unless a user is reporting a bug. The Netflix model focuses on self-service with an ‘all you can eat’ style subscription model, with algorithms constantly suggesting content to users to keep them engaged based on their viewing preferences.

Neflix Business Model Canvas Example

Ikea’s value proposition is to provide affordable furniture that is sturdy, aesthetic, and functional enough to cater to customer needs. In doing so Ikea claims to create a better everyday life for people who use its products. The Business Model Canvas Example of Ikea includes its vendors, suppliers, franchisees, and logistics partners making it possible to reach out to customers globally.

Unlike companies like Amazon, e-commerce is only part of Ikea’s operations, as it has a robust physical presence in more than 50 countries. Over the years Ikea has undergone continuous product development with new furniture designs and a range of products being released on a consistent basis. This has helped the company to cater to the needs of different customer segments including families, businesses, and people who need something that is easy to use, assemble, and disassemble.

Ikea Business Model Canvas Example

How to Utilize a Business Model Canvas for Your Success

Whether it be a brand-new business endeavor or a product launch at a long-standing company, it’s critical that the business model is kept at the core of every decision. A Free Business Model Canvas Template is a tool to easily keep the model insight and offers an easy method to open the dialogue when that model may need to pivot.

The whole purpose of the BMC is to allow for a simple presentation of information, reducing complications in understanding just what is required in each new iteration of a business model. At a glance, anyone invested in the outcome of the model should be able to understand the who, what, when, where, and why of the model, or bring it to everyone’s attention if they don’t.

Most importantly, the BMC is a tool to help drive success. If there are issues in your business model that need to be addressed, a BMC makes it easier to visualize where the gaps are, and how they may be filled. Keep in mind that pivoting is crucial to the success and survival of a business model and that change, growth, and adaptation are not an abandonment of what matters, but a natural progression to find the best outcomes to the ultimate goal. As Eric Ries, author of Startup Lessons Learned, puts it: ‘pivoting may lead [successful startups] far afield from their original vision, but if you look carefully, you’ll be able to detect common threads that link each iteration.’

Frequently Asked Questions

Business Model Canvas is like a blueprint for your business. It’s a visual tool that helps you plan, understand, and describe how your business works. It breaks down your business into key parts, like who your customers are, what you offer them, and how you make money.

A real-life example would be Airbnb. They use the Business Model Canvas to show how they connect hosts with travelers, offer unique accommodations, and earn money through commissions on bookings.

To determine your value proposition , you need to identify what makes your product or service special. Ask yourself: What problem does it solve for customers? What benefits do they get? Your value proposition should clearly communicate these advantages.

Building and maintaining customer relationships involves providing excellent customer service, staying engaged with customers through various channels (email, social media), seeking feedback, and addressing their needs promptly.

When establishing partnerships, consider what resources or expertise your business lacks and seek partners who can provide them. Think about how these partnerships will benefit both parties and align with your overall business goals.

The Business Model Canvas allows you to see all aspects of your business in one place, making it easier to identify weaknesses and opportunities. By analyzing each component, you can make informed decisions to optimize your model for better results.

Yes, the Business Model Canvas is versatile and can be used for various businesses, from startups to established companies, in different industries. It helps structure and clarify the business model for any venture.

The frequency of updates depends on your business and market dynamics. In rapidly changing industries, you might need more frequent updates, while others may do so annually or when major changes occur.

Use your Business Model Canvas as a visual aid during presentations. Walk stakeholders through each section, explaining how your business operates and creates value. Encourage questions and discussions to ensure clarity and alignment.

If you want to create professional-looking Business Model Presentations, take a look at the following Business Model Canvas templates , ready to edit and easy to use.

1. Free Business Model Canvas Template for PowerPoint

business model canvas essay

Build a top-notch company presentation using Free Business Model Canvas Template for PowerPoint. The cool scheme is relaxing to the eyes. The clear layout can provide the audience with quick understanding of the entire report in just one slide.

Use This Template

2. Animated 3D Business Model Canvas Template for PowerPoint

business model canvas essay

Created with a 3D Model, this professional PowerPoint Template is ideal for creating videos or animated versions of your Business Model Canvas. Very popular among educators and speakers of the entrepreneurship niche.

3. Business Model Canvas PowerPoint Templates

business model canvas essay

This Business Model Canvas PowerPoint Template is created 100% with editable PowerPoint Shapes, allowing the user to customize the content and visual appearance of the presentation. Suitable for educational presentations where you need to navigate each section of the BMC, or for investors presentations where you need to deep dive on each section of your Business Model.

4. Business Model Canvas Template for PowerPoint

business model canvas essay

Our most popular Business Model Canvas Template. Ideal for working in groups and iterating with different BMC’s. Its suitable for cooperation editing, and allows very simple compositions. Well suited for developing your MVP and crossing the assumptions that were negated by reality.

5. 3D Perspective Business Model Canvas PowerPoint Template

business model canvas essay

This Business Model Canvas Design is inspired in the idea of empty boxes, that entrepreneurs need to fill with their ideas. The design is simple to edit and decorated with a colorful theme. Designed to impress every audience.

6. Lean Canvas PowerPoint Template

business model canvas essay

This Lean Canvas template for PowerPoint and Google Slides is perfect for anyone who needs to pitch a business idea to investors, present their idea to stakeholders or company leadership. This template is 100% editable, allowing the user to customize the content and visual appearance.

7. Product Management Canvas PowerPoint Template

business model canvas essay

The Product Management Canvas PowerPoint Template is a strategic planning and modeling presentation. This is a single-slide template showing various aspects of product planning and successful management. The purpose of this canvas is to consider all aspects of the product.

8. Editable Business Model Canvas PowerPoint Template

business model canvas essay

Editable Business Model Canvas PowerPoint Template is a professional presentation representing the Business Model Canvas in “board” format. All the presentation design is completely editable and the user can move, or add, post-its like text boxes to work with the canvas.

9. Simple Business Model Canvas Template for PowerPoint

business model canvas essay

If you are looking to create an aesthetic Business Model Canvas Template, the Simple Business Model Canvas Template for PowerPoint will allow you to give your presentation the style you need. You will be able to add sticky notes with information for each of the sections of your Business Model.

10. Business Model Canvas Template with Widget Design

business model canvas essay

100% editable Business Model Canvas template for Google Slides and PowerPoint presentations, with a widget design and look and feel.

business model canvas essay

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Acquisition, Business Model Canvas, Channels, Cost Structure, Customer Development, Customer Relationship, Customer Segments, Key Activities, Key Partners, Key Resources, Lean Startup, Management, Minimum Viable Product, MVP, Prototyping, Revenue Streams, Startup, Steve Blank, Strategy, Value Proposition Filed under Business

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2 Responses to “What is a Business Model Canvas? Quick Guide + Examples”

If your business is a non-for-profit , how can you adapt your MVP? You are not selling anything as such, so how do you test if your product (MVP) will be purchased?

Hi Elena If there is a “business model”, there is always a business. So, you are selling something. Even non-for-profit sell. They just sell at “cost” or “subsidized”, but there are customers which pay at the end. Otherwise, rather non-for-profit, it is philanthropy and there is no “business” around. Hope this helps. Regards GV.

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business model canvas essay

Home — Essay Samples — Business — Business Analysis — Business Model Canvas

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Business Model Canvas

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Words: 679 |

Published: Sep 19, 2019

Words: 679 | Page: 1 | 4 min read

Works Cited

  • Lancelott Gutierrezcampbell. (2017). The business model canvas: Let your business thrive with this simple model. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
  • MFS. (n.d.). Business plan. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/ErshadulIslam/business-plan-237082609
  • Porter, M. E. (1985). Competitive advantage: Creating and sustaining superior performance. Free Press.
  • Prahalad, C. K., & Hamel, G. (1990). The core competence of the corporation. Harvard business review, 68(3), 79-91.
  • Ries, E. (2011). The lean startup: How today’s entrepreneurs use continuous innovation to create radically successful businesses. Crown Business.
  • Schmidt, M. (2012). Business model innovation: Developing sustainable business models. BoD–Books on Demand.
  • Teece, D. J. (2010). Business models, business strategy and innovation. Long range planning, 43(2-3), 172-194.
  • Wirtz, B. W., & Schilke, O. (2018). Business model innovation: Towards an integrated future research agenda. Journal of Business Research, 86, 225-238.
  • Zott, C., & Amit, R. (2010). Business model design: An activity system perspective. Long range planning, 43(2-3), 216-226.
  • Zott, C., Amit, R., & Massa, L. (2011). The business model: Recent developments and future research. Journal of management, 37(4), 1019-1042.

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business model canvas essay

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How to Build a Product Roadmap Based on a Business Model Canvas

Could you list all of the key building blocks you need to develop, manage, maintain, market, and sell a product on a single sheet of paper? With the business model canvas, you can! Using the business model canvas approach is a great way to force yourself to focus on the most strategically important elements of your product. As the name suggests, the typical use case for this tool is to outline the fundamental building blocks of a business, but it also can work really well for a product.

Today we’ll show you how the business model canvas works and how you can use it to come up with a high-level product strategy.

What is a Business Model Canvas?

As you can see from the sample example below (thanks, Strategyzer.com), a business model canvas is a one-page summary describing the high-level strategic details needed to get a business (or product) successfully to market.

The categories or buckets contained in a canvas can be customized. But most will look similar to the one here—covering such key areas as:

  • The product’s value propositions (what it does and promises)
  • Customer segments (who it’s for)
  • Key activities (the steps the team must complete to make it successful)
  • Key resources (what personnel, tools, and budget the team will have access to)
  • Channels (how the organization will market and sell it)
  • Customer relationships (how the team will support and work with its customer base)
  • Key partners (how third parties will fit into the plan)
  • Cost structure (what it costs to build the product as well as how to sell and support it)
  • Revenue streams (how the product will make money)

Business Model Canvas by Strategyzer

If you think about it, that’s a fairly comprehensive set of building blocks you’ll need to think through for your product before you begin developing it. There will certainly be additional factors that’ll affect your strategy, but if you can fill in these high-level details—which, as you can see, should fit comfortably on a single page—you’ll have a useful strategic guide for developing your product roadmap.

Why Should I Use a Business Model Canvas to Develop a Product Roadmap?

Okay, but why? What’s the benefit of building a business model canvas (or the, even more, stripped-down variation, the lean canvas) to guide my product roadmap ?

There are plenty of reasons. But simply put, you can think of a business model canvas as a mission statement for your product roadmap. It’s a handy reference you can refer to, to make sure your roadmap always reflects all the strategic elements needed for your product’s success.

Tweet This: “Think of a business model canvas as a mission statement for your product roadmap.”

Our co-founder Jim Semick has a couple of great short videos explaining the business model canvas concept, which you can check out in the player below.

As Jim explains, here are a few of the benefits of using a business model canvas to think through product strategies:

1. You can use a business model canvas to roadmap quickly.

You can use this canvas approach in just a few hours (and as Jim says, you can even do it with sticky-notes).

This way, rather than trying to write out every detail about your product plan beforehand, you can just document the highlights—and then you can get rolling translating the canvas into your product roadmap.

Read the Product Roadmaps Guide ➜

2. A business model canvas will be more agile.

One problem with the old structure of documenting a business model—the traditional business plan—was that it was almost always inaccurate as soon as the author finished drafting it.

These meaty plans included detailed cost estimates, revenue projections going years into the future, and long-term plans for growing the staff. How could any of that remain accurate for long?

In product terms, you can think of the business plan as resembling an MRD (Market Requirements Document). It’s long, detailed, and probably mostly untrue by the time it’s done.

But because you can put a canvas together so quickly, it will much more accurately reflect your strategic thinking and your company’s current reality. And if things change, it’ll be easier than a long and detailed plan to adjust. This brings us to Jim’s third benefit…

3. Business model canvas roadmaps allow you to pivot as needed.

If you build a business model canvas to guide your business roadmap , and something happens that forces you to re-prioritize or pivot your product , it will be a lot easier to update this short, high-level document than it would be if you had some monster MRD or business plan to tear apart and edit.

With a one-page business model canvas acting as the strategic undergirding for your roadmap, you’ll always be able to quickly spot any items or plans that need updating whenever priorities change or new realities demand that you adjust your approach.

How Can I Use A Business Model Canvas to Guide My Product Roadmap?

The alexa example.

Let’s talk through a hypothetical example, using Amazon’s Echo device (“Alexa”) as our guide.

Imagine that as they were talking through what belonged in the “Revenue Streams” bucket of the business model canvas, Amazon’s Echo team came up with three sources of revenue to start with:

1) Selling Echo devices.

2) Using the device to sell other stuff as customers ask it to connect to the Amazon marketplace. (“Alexa, please add laundry detergent pods to my shopping cart.”)

3) Licensing Echo’s proprietary speech-recognition technology to other businesses.

Now, if the Echo product team put these on their business model canvas, they’d know that they need to make room for budget, time, and resources on their product roadmap for all of these revenue streams.

Another Hypothetical Example of the Business Model Canvas: Channels

Or think about the Channels bucket in the business model canvas. If your team was building out a canvas, maybe you’d have several ideas for reaching customers:

1) The in-house sales team. 2) Affiliate partners. 3) Word-of-mouth advertising from users.

It’s easy to write. But how are you going to translate that “word-of-mouth” strategy into an actual plan?

Maybe you’ll need to budget time and resources for developing things right into your product that make it easier for users to share their experiences with friends, such as a handy tool to help them tweet about it. Maybe you’ll even want to include an “Invite a friend” feature that lets users easier send a trial license to friends, or a couponing feature that offers some reward to a user who brings in two more users.

The point is, your business model canvas can serve as a great strategic reminder of the things you’ve determined are important enough to make it onto your product roadmap .

So you can always look back and see immediately—it’s just one page, after all—if you’re still working on all of the essential elements of your product, or if you’ve inadvertently strayed from them and gotten lost in the wrong details.

That’s why we’re big proponents of the business model canvas approach to guiding your product roadmap .

Do you have an opinion about using the business model canvas approach for developing and documenting your product’s strategy? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

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business model canvas essay

Business Model Canvas [+ Template]: How-to & Examples

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business model canvas essay

Gust de Backer

November 6, 2023.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The Business Model Canvas is your complete business on 1 a4’s sheet…

How do you make sure you keep an overview in the chaos and also innovate in time?

In this article, I’ll show you:

  • What the Business Model Canvas is
  • How to fill in the Business Model Canvas
  • And I’ll show you how to innovate the Business Model Canvas

Let’s get started…

Table of Contents

Business Model Canvas

The business model describes in concrete terms how an organization creates value, delivers it and how it makes money from this.

There are 9 blocks that the Business Model Canvas consists of:

Business Model Canvas

Here, the left part of the canvas focuses on efficiency and the right part on value:

We are now going to cover the 9 different components…

1. Customer segments

An organization serves one or more customer segments.

Customer segments describe the different people or organizations that your company wants to reach and serve.

No business can survive without customers, to better connect with customers it is useful to divide the group of customers into different target groups.

A customer segment can consist of demographic characteristics:

Geographical characteristics:

But also from other types of characteristics:

  • Digital intelligence
  • Mileage awareness

Beyond the customer segment, it is also useful to consider what type of market you want to enter:

  • New market ( blue ocean )
  • Existing market ( red ocean )
  • New segment in an existing market (niche)

2. Value proposition

A company must solve a problem with a clear value proposition.

The value proposition block describes how a product creates value for a specific customer segment, or in other words shows the benefits your company delivers to the customer.

The value proposition is the reason why customers choose one company over another.

There are basically 11 types of value propositions you can offer:

  • Newness : something that is not possible at the moment. You create a market and push the boundaries of what is currently possible.
  • Performance : you are going to do something better or faster than the existing competition.
  • Customization : personalizing an experience.
  • Getting the job done : you focus on a sub-activity of the customer and you take this completely out of their hands.
  • Design : if you respond to the form or functionality of your product, we talk about the design.
  • Price : if you play on price then you focus on the segment in a market that is not willing to pay extra to your competitors. It is important that the market is large enough.
  • Brand/status : if people want to show that they are wearing your brand, you play on brand and status.
  • Cost reduction : you save the customer costs.
  • Risk reduction : You reduce the risk of something for the customer.
  • Accessibility : you provide access to something a customer previously had little to no access to.
  • Convenience/usability : the convenience for a user or customer.

3. Channels

Value propositions are delivered using communication, distribution and sales channels.

The channels describe the way a company communicates with the customers and how it actually delivers the value proposition. Thus, there are 3 types of channels involved:

  • Communication channels
  • Distribution channels
  • Sales channels

So each channel offers one or more touchpoints, you could map these in the way below:

IKEA Customer Journey Touchpoints

Here, of course, you can also differentiate between direct (owned) and indirect (partner) channels.

Tip : use the Pirate Funnel Canvas to map out the customer journey figures.

4. Customer Relationships

An organization must establish and maintain relationships with each customer segment.

This section describes the type of relationship you have with the customer, these can range from personal to automated.

The motivation for having a relationship with a (potential) customer can be as follows:

  • Customer acquisition
  • Customer retention
  • Selling more (up-selling)

There are several types of relationships you can have with the customer:

  • Personal assistant : the customer can have contact with a person, this can be through call centers, email or perhaps on location.
  • Own personal assistant : one or more people in your company are assigned to a specific customer. This is the most in-depth customer relationship you can have and usually involves a longer period of time.
  • Self-service : ensuring that customers can help themselves.
  • Automated service : automated processes that ensure the customer is helped.
  • Community : an online community that shares knowledge and helps others along the way can also be a form of service.
  • Co-creation : helping users to strengthen the relationship by thinking or collaborating on a product or service.

5. Revenue stream

A revenue stream occurs when the value proposition is successfully delivered to the customer.

The revenue stream represents the money a company makes from a customer segment. In this, it is important to ensure that the revenue stream closely matches the value the customer receives.

There are quite a few revenue models and pricing strategies you can choose, but these are the most common:

  • Hourly rate : you get paid by the hour.
  • Transaction model : you get paid per sale.
  • Subscription model : you get paid on a periodic basis each time.
  • Advertising model : you make money selling advertising space.
  • Rental model : you make money from renting out something.
  • Consumption model : you make money from the amount a user consumes.
  • Mediation model : you make money from referring users or matching supply and demand.
  • Production model : you produce something on behalf of a party.
  • Donation model : you make money from donations.
  • Freemium model : you offer a free version first and then make money from the paid version.

6. Core Resources

The key resources needed to keep the business running.

The resources you need to create and deliver your value proposition, reach a market, maintain customer relationships and make money are your core resources. These resources can be:

  • Intellectual
  • Or be rented/purchased from external partners

7. Core Activities

The main activities that the company engages in.

The most important tasks a company does to make the business model work are core activities. Core activities can consist of 3 different categories:

  • Manufacturing : designing making and delivering a product in specific quantities, is often used by manufacturing companies.
  • Problem solving : solutions to specific customer problems, is often used by service related companies.
  • Platform/network : networks, matchmakers, software and even brands can serve as a platform. For example, VISA is a platform for businesses, customers and banks.

8. Key Partners

Partners who provide key activities or resources.

The network of suppliers and partners that help realize your business model are your key partners.

It is important to have partners because they allow your company to optimize its business model, reduce risk, and help you get additional resources.

There are 4 types of partnerships:

  • Strategic partnership between non-competitors.
  • Coopetition , strategic partnership with a competitor.
  • Joint venture to attract new business.
  • Buyer-supplier to maintain reliable inventory.

There are three types of motivations you may have for entering into a partnership:

  • Optimization and economy of scale : a partnership to reduce costs, because a company simply cannot produce all the resources itself.
  • Reduction of risk and uncertainty : to reduce risk in a highly competitive market.
  • Acquisition of specific resources and activities : attract more opportunities to you by partnering with different companies, this may be in terms of knowledge, licenses or access to customers.

9. Cost Structure

Different components in the Business Model Canvas will create costs.

All costs in a business model that are necessary to keep the business running fall into the cost structure.

There are two types of cost structures:

  • Cost-driven : business models that focus on reducing costs whenever possible. Often the cost-driven cost structure comes in combination with a value proposition where a company claims to be the cheapest, this may include a lot of automation and/or a lot of outsourcing.
  • Value-driven : these companies are less concerned with cost and focus on creating value. This cost structure is often used with premium value propositions and/or when a lot of personalization is involved.

A cost structure has 4 different characteristics:

  • Fixed costs : costs that are always the same regardless of the volume of products or services.
  • Variable costs : costs that are related to the volume in which products or services are delivered.
  • Economies of scale : cost advantages that a firm gets when it produces or purchases more volume.
  • Economies of scope : cost advantages a company gains from having a large scope of activities. For example, think of offering multiple products because you already have the marketing or distribution channels in place.

Business Model Canvas examples

Business Model Canvas Tesla

How to manage the Business Model Canvas

First, download the Business Model Canvas:

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Template

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Make sure the company understands the value of the Business Model Canvas and establish a team to work with it.

Immerse yourself and your team in the market and the organisation so you have enough knowledge to fill in the Business Model Canvas.

Complete several Business Model Canvases and test your assumptions where possible.

Implement the Business Model Canvas you have chosen.

Continuously evaluate if your Business Model Canvas is up-to-date, adjust where possible and try to innovate in time.

Business Model Canvas innovation

Innovate in your Business Model Canvas in the following ways:

  • Unmet demand in a market : find a market in which you can fulfill an unmet demand.
  • Bring something new to the market : bring a new technology, product or service to the market or leverage existing intellectual property.
  • Improve the market : improve or disrupt an existing market.
  • Create a market : create a new market.

There are several challenges involved here:

  • Finding the right model.
  • Testing the model before launching on a large scale.
  • Getting the market to adopt the new model.
  • Continuously adjusting the model in response to feedback from the market.
  • Dealing with uncertainty.

In this you can distinguish between:

The exploit’s part it’s biggest risk is not innovating in time and in the explore part uncertainty is the biggest risk. In addition, it is important to pursue the right culture, think for example of ‘The Culture Map’ .

And now you…

Now I’m curious, how far along are you with your business?

Are you at the point of innovating the Business Model Canvas (BMC) or have you yet to draft your first BMC?

Let me know in a comment.

P.S. if you would like additional help let me know at [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

The Business Model Canvas describes in concrete terms how an organisation creates value, delivers it and how it makes money from it.

You use the Business Model Canvas to map out your entire business, it is also easier to talk to stakeholders about your business if you can present it on 1 a4’s.

Core activities are the activities that keep your business running.

You can describe a Business Model in a Business Model Canvas, using 9 blocks to map out your complete business.

The BMC helps companies to understand their business, using 9 blocks you have concrete insight in the most important parts in your business. The BMC helps stakeholders to understand your business in an easy way.

You start with the customer segments, then you move to the value proposition, then you move to the channels, customer relationships, revenue stream, core resources, core activities, key partners, and conclude at the cost structure.

business model canvas essay

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Business Model Canvas | Business Strategy | Market Research | Marketing and Sales | Pricing Strategy | Product-market Fit | Revenue Models | TAM SAM SOM Model | Treacy and Wiersema | Value Proposition Canvas

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The 9-Step Business Model Canvas Explained (2023 Update)

business model canvas essay

Written by Raquel Alberdi

Business | entrepreneurship, 16 comments(s).

Business Model Canvas

Blog » The 9-Step Business Model Canvas Explained (2023 Update)

business model canvas essay

“A major mistake made by many start-ups around the world is focusing on the technology, the software, the product, and the design, but neglecting to ever figure out the business . And by “business” we simply mean how the company makes money by acquiring and serving its customers”.

-Reid Hoffman

After meeting with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners over the years I believe the LinkedIn co-founder and Blitzscaling author Reid Hoffman’s got it spot on.

People tend to focus on specific parts of their business, such as which software packages are being used, which is the cheapest supplier, how to optimize internal processes…?

They get so bogged down in the details of the day-to-day running that they lose the overall vision of their business.

Without this vision they are unable to scale, they make marginal profits, miss opportunities, struggle to innovate, and end up running “just another” business.

Another handy metaphor in understanding this common mistake is the soldier in the trenches .

Every meter of ground gained comes at a heavy cost, mistakes are made, and progress is hard-fought and slow…a day-to-day experience for 99% of entrepreneurs and businessmen.

But when you do have that 360 vision you see the entire battlefield. Decisions are much clearer, fewer mistakes are made, and progress is fast and methodical.

Fortunately, a business model framework exists that gives you both vision and clarity .

The Business Model Canvas provides entrepreneurs, business owners, and strategists with a tool to analyze, structure, and evolve a business while always keeping the bigger picture front of mind.

So let’s take a closer look at how it works.

Table of Content

What is the Business Model Canvas?

Created by Swiss entrepreneur and Strategyzer co-founder, Alexander Osterwalder, the Business Model Canvas is a visual representation of the 9 key building blocks that form the foundations of every successful business. It’s a blueprint to help entrepreneurs invent, design, and build models with a more systematic approach.

Why is it so popular within the business community?

Its simplicity. The business model canvas allows us to carry out a high-level analysis without drilling down and getting lost in the details. You just draw out the 9 building blocks on a blank canvas, fill them in as each concept relates to your business, and hang it somewhere everybody can see.

It’s a visual overview of your entire business on a single canvas.

While the Business Model Canvas is an extremely fluid concept and hyper-specific to individual companies, each canvas is still broken down into these 9 key building blocks:

Customer Segments

Value propositions, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partners.

When laid out on the canvas the model will look something like this:

 Scheme of business model in which 9 important fields are developed for its execution.

While you’ve probably come across each of the 9 building blocks before, the attractiveness of the Business Model Canvas is that it confines them to a single page , not a traditional 42-page document.

This makes it a lot easier to digest, as well as assess existing business models or map out new ideas.

How do I fill out the Business Model Canvas?

To start your Business Model Canvas you will need to breakdown and analyze each of the 9 building blocks.

A good way to approach this is to gather the heads from marketing, sales, operations, finance, and manufacturing (if product-based) and pencil-in a morning where you can all meet together.

Then, after drawing a mock canvas onto a whiteboard, proceed to dissect and discuss each of the 9 building blocks as they relate to your business. You can use sticky notes to better organize your thoughts around the canvas.

If you are an entrepreneur or new business owner working alone and don’t have a team to bounce your ideas off, not to worry. You can still carry out your analysis before sharing it with a like-minded entrepreneurial community or forum, like those found on ThePowerMBA , to get useful, insightful feedback.

Whichever way you decide to approach it, I recommend you complete each block in the following order:

  • Cost structure

For continuity, I’m going to use the fashion retail giant Zara when analyzing each of the 9 key building blocks.

If you’d like to skip to another case study similar to your own business, navigate to the table of contents at the top of the page and select one of the other business model canvas examples.

Customer segment business model canvas for Zara company

The first block of the Business Canvas Model is about understanding who is the most important customer(s) you’re delivering value to. Or, in other words, who are they? What do they do? And why would they buy your product or service?

Not a single company exists without its clients, making customer segments the best block to start with while drawing out your business model canvas.

A great exercise to define your customer segments is to brainstorm and create your company’s buyer persona (s) .

Buyer personas are fictional depictions of an ideal or hypothetical client. Typically when brainstorming a buyer persona you’d want to define certain characteristics (age, demographic, gender, income, industry, pain points, goals, etc.)

However, remember at this stage we want a snapshot of our customer segment. There’s no need to jump into great detail just yet.

In the case of Zara, there are three distinct customer segments to whom they offer different products.

The products created for each of these customer segments (clothing, shoes, and accessories) are not trans-consumable. That is to say, a woman’s dress is highly unlikely to be worn by a 7-year-old child.

Once we know exactly who it is we are targeting, it’s time to look at what we as a company have to offer.

Zara Customer Segments business model canvas template showing the development of the 9 fields

The second phase is about figuring out your company’s value propositions , and importantly, your UVP (unique value proposition). The “what” that makes customers turn to you, over your competitors? Which of their problems are you best at solving?

Each value proposition consists of a bundle of products or services that fulfill the needs of a buyer persona from your customer segment. It’s the intersection between what your company offers, and the reason or impulse customers have for purchasing.

Some popular questions to ask while determining your UVP are:

  • Which specific customer pain point are you trying to solve?
  • What job are you helping customers get done?
  • How does your UVP eliminate customer pain points?
  • What products or services do you provide that answer this specific pain point?

So let’s try and apply this to Zara. Why do people choose to purchase from them, over their competitors?

Zara’s principal value propositions are fairly clear. They offer various ranges of stylish men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories at an affordable price.

But there’s more to it than that.

If we dive a little deeper we see Zara’s value propositions are more complex, which are behind the success of the brand:

Fast fashion

Zara adds new clothes and designs to its collections every 2-3 weeks, both in its stores and online. It keeps the brand updated, fresh, and modern while maintaining its all-important medium price point

Great eCommerce experience

Once you enter Zara’s online store you’re presented with a clean, easy-to-navigate, and high-end feel. The customer segments are visible on the left navigation bar with a search tab to further aid customers with their online experience.

Zara's Canvas business model where you can see the innovative presentation of its image

Localized stores

You can find a store in nearly all major retail locations (shopping malls, retail outlets, airports, etc.) meaning accessibility is not an issue for the majority of consumers.

Flagship stores

Zara demonstrates its aesthetic evolution to customers through its flagship stores. The recent opening of their Hudson Yards , New York City flagship is a great example of this. Customers shop around its vivid, minimalist layout offering them an experience aligned with the brand’s deeper, eco-friendly values.

Zara's Canvas business model where you can see the innovative presentation of the image of its stores

Zara Hudson Yards, New York

Business Model Canvas Template Zara - Value Propositions

The next step is to ask yourself how you are reaching your customers, and through which channels ?

This includes both the channels that customers want to communicate with you as well as how they’ll receive your products or services.

Is it going to be a physical channel? (store, field sales representatives, etc.) Or is it a digital channel? (mobile, web, cloud, etc.).

Zara has 3 primary channels in which they communicate and deliver products to its customers:

  • Direct sales through their stores
  • Online (both app and website)
  • Social media

Customers can go to a traditional “bricks and mortar” store to browse, model, and purchase different items of clothing at one of their retail stores.

Alternatively, they can shop online or through their mobile application and have the product delivered straight to their door or nearest store. The choice is completely up to them!

So that covers Zara’s commercial channels, but what about how they communicate with customers?

While they do communicate through their mobile app, their predominant channel is social media.

What’s more, they’re really, really good at it.

For example, did you know that Zara invests less than 0.3% of its sales revenue into advertising?

This is only possible due to an A-rated social media presence . Customer queries are not only dealt with quickly, but recommended re-works are sent back to HQ, forwarded onto in-house designers who then apply the feedback to future collections.

This customer-first approach through fluid communication channels has saved them thousands of dollars in marketing, strengthened their brand, and created a loyal customer base.

You should only step away from this building block once you’ve decided how each of your customer segments want to be reached.

Zara Channels business model canvas template where its components are developed

Once you have acquired customers, you will need to think about how you can build , nurture, and grow those relationships.

Now, this can be automated and transactional like large eCommerce brands Amazon or Alibaba. Or, it could be at the complete opposite end of the scale and require a more personal relationship you’d typically have with a bank or your local bike shop.

Zara’s relationship with its customers is threefold, and lies somewhere in the middle of transactional and personal:

  • Salesperson at store
  • Brand through social media
  • Sentimental attachment to a product

Yes, you have the initial transactional touchpoint at the store or online, something relatively impersonal and for many the only interaction they’ll have with the brand.

However, customers (especially in the fashion industry) are encouraged to continue to interact with a brand through social media platforms.

As we mentioned before when discussing channels, Zara has a very effective communication system in place. Not only can people instantly get in touch with the brand, but also engage with new posts, images, and collections uploaded to social media.

This personal approach to customer relationship building can, in some cases, lead to the natural growth of brand ambassadors and communities .

An attachment can also develop between customers and particular garments or accessories from one of their collections. The sentimental attachment to these products also creates another potential form of brand loyalty.

The relations with Zara's clients to give a Business Model Canvas where the 9 points to be developed are seen

Now that you’ve described how you are going to create real value for your customers, it’s time to look at how you plan to capture that value.

What are your revenue streams? Is it going to be a transactional, direct sales strategy ? Are you going to consider a freemium mode l, where you give a portion of your product or service away for free with the idea of converting later on down the line?

If you’re a SaaS company such as SalesForce or Strava , then it’s likely that a licensing or subscription revenue model will be more appropriate.

At Zara, it’s extremely simple. They make their money by selling clothes and accessories either at a store or online.

Zara business model canvas template for the development of Revenue streams within the 9 points to work

As you can see, we’ve filled in the entire right-hand side of our business model canvas. We touched upon:

Customer segments

  • Value propositions
  • Revenue streams
  • Distribution channels

Now it’s time to move over to the left side of the business canvas model and look at what we need, internally , to deliver our value propositions.

Key resources of the Zara Business Model Canvas

To start with, let’s take a look at key resources.

The key resources are all things you need to have, or the assets required to create that value for customers.

This could be anything from intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, etc.) to physical holdings (factories, offices, delivery vans, etc.) right down to finances (the initial cash flow perhaps needed to start your brand).

Another key resource every company needs to consider is its human capital . Are you going to need highly specialized software engineers? Or field-based sales teams?

They are relatively capital-heavy resources that need to be factored into your business model.

In the case of Zara, they are going to need a number of key resources if they hope to deliver their propositions:

  • Stock management
  • A large, interconnected network of physical stores
  • A strong brand
  • Logistics and supply chain infrastructure

Stock is vital for both online and offline customers.

If they are unable to supply their range of products and meet customer demands, satisfaction levels fall and they have a serious problem on their hands.

A large distribution network of brick and mortar stores combined with a strong brand name help mitigate these factors, as well as reinforce any ongoing marketing activities and communication efforts.

Finally, an efficient logistics process within Zara is critical, especially when you consider the complexities involved with such a large-scale operation.

They will require the necessary technology to analyze data on inventory, storage, materials, production, and packaging, with the staff to execute each of these stages and manage the delivery of the final products.

Zara business model canvas template where the Key Resources are developed

The next step is to define the key activities – the areas you need to be good at to create value for your customers.

To mix it up a little let’s take a look at a slightly different business in Uber .

Their key activities can be broken down into:

  • Web and mobile app development
  • Driver recruitment
  • Marketing: customer acquisition
  • Customer service activities : drivers’ ratings, incidents, etc.

They need a fast, clean UX for their customers using the app, drivers to carry out their service, and the ability to both market the product and deal with any customer queries.

Zara’s key activities will differ to those of Uber. Some of the things they need to consider would be:

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail process (point of sale and 3rd party management)
  • Distribution channel / logistics

Design is a key activity as Zara’s value proposition is to provide stylish garments at an affordable price. Their collections need to be constantly updated to follow the latest fashion trends at the time.

To produce their collections Zara will also require manufacturing capabilities. Now Zara doesn’t own their own factories (we will get to that in the Key Partners section) but they still need to be involved in the garment manufacturing process.

Everything from fabric selection to pattern making, to detailing and dyeing affects the outcome of the final product which of course they have to then go on and sell.

The effective management of the retail and distribution channels (online, offline, shipping, and communication with providers) is also key. A breakdown in either of these activities, such as a poor relationship with an important provider will have serious consequences for the business.

Zara business model canvas template showing the key activities for its development

Most modern business models now require brands to build out and work with various key partners to fully leverage their business model.

This includes partnerships such as joint ventures and non-equity strategic alliances as well as typical relationships with buyers, suppliers, and producers.

A great example of a strategic partnership would be between ThePowerMBA and Forbes . In exchange for exposure of our brand to the magazine’s global audience, we provide expertise and content on high-level business education programs.

As we touched upon when discussing key activities , Zara requires strategic partnerships with many different providers if they are to design and produce their collections.

Another key partner is their major holding company, Inditex .

Inditex has several subsidiaries including Massimo Dutti , Pull & Bear , and Oysho . Being a subsidiary of Inditex means they share a consolidated balance sheet, stakeholders, management and control, and various legal responsibilities.

While as a subsidiary Zara is afforded certain freedoms when it comes to design, delivery, and the general running of the company, the overall strategy will need to be aligned with Inditex and its other subsidiaries.

Zara Key Partners business model canvas template where the eighth point is developed

The final step of the Business Model Canvas is to ask yourself, how much is it going to cost to run this model?

This includes some of the more obvious needs such as manufacturing costs, physical space, rent, payroll, but also areas such as marketing activities.

If you are unsure of exactly what to include in your cost structure take a look at a Profit and Loss statement ( P&L ) from a competitor or company in a similar industry to yours. You’ll find many items overlap such as research and development ( R&D ), cost of goods sold, admin expenses, operating costs, etc.

Once that’s done you should prioritize your key activities and resources and find out if they are fixed or variable costs .

As Zara is such a large, corporate business they are going to have both fixed costs (rent, payroll, point of sales personnel) and variables, such as costs associated with the fluctuating sale of goods, purchase of materials and, manufacturing costs.

Once you’ve completed these 9 steps, your Business Canvas Model should look something like this:

Business Model Canvas Examples

Hopefully, you were able to get a good feel for the effectiveness of the business model canvas with our run-through of Zara.

However, if you found it difficult to follow due to the stark difference between your industries, I’m going to quickly go through 3 more companies to demonstrate the tool’s flexibility:

  • Netflix (Media service/production)
  • Vintae (Vineyard)

Even if these business model canvas examples don’t align exactly with your industry, I honestly believe that studying different models gives you a competitive advantage in your professional career regardless.

If you’re currently employed by a company, you’ll better understand how your specific role helps the company achieve some of its “long-term” goals.

Alternatively, if you are a business owner yourself (or perhaps thinking of starting your own business) you’ll have a better understanding of your business and where potential opportunities lay.

I’m sure you’re familiar with our next business model canvas example candidate, Netflix .

The global media company offers an online streaming service of various movies, documentaries, and TV programs produced in-house or licensed 3rd-party content. Their success sparked a revolution in the online media world with the likes of Amazon, Apple, Disney, HBO, and Hulu all rushing to launch their own online video streaming platforms.

Netflix started life as an online DVD rental company, basically a web version of the more popular (at least at that time) “bricks and mortar” Blockbuster.

Co-founder Reed Hastings predicted as far back as 1999 that the future of media was in online streaming, saying “postage rates were going to keep going up and the internet was going to get twice as fast at half the price every 18 months.”

It wouldn’t be until 2007 that Hasting’s prediction would become true when Netflix, as we now know it, was born.

So let’s take a current look at their business model canvas:

Netflix business model in which the 9 topics are taken into consideration

As you probably know, there are very few people out there who haven’t subscribed, watched, or at least heard of Netflix. There is content for everybody: wildlife documentaries, sci-fi movies, rom coms, action-thrillers, you name it – it’s there.

That’s why their customer segment can be classified as a “ mass market ” as the base is just so diverse.

All people require is a computer, TV, internet, and/or smartphone and they’re good to go. For most developed markets, that covers just about everybody.

Value Proposition

Whether on the train to work, sitting in the car (if you’re not driving!), or relaxing at home in front of the TV, you can consume their online, on-demand video streaming service.

They also have a huge library of content for consumers to choose from, ensuring that people keep coming back, as well as increasing their mass-market appeal.

They also produce high-quality, original content to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Most people access Netflix either through their website or mobile/TV App . Another popular channel that you may have picked up on is their affiliate partners .

You’ve perhaps signed up for a mobile, TV, and internet package where the provider offers Netflix as an extra to sweeten the deal, so to speak.

That would be an example of an affiliate partnership between Netflix and mobile service providers.

I doubt many consumers have had direct contact with Netflix unless it’s to resolve a subscription issue or general query. It’s very much a self-automated service – you download the app, select the program you wish to watch, and hit play.

Very simple, very effective.

Again, this doesn’t need much embellishment. Netflix generates money from the different tiers and packages put together in their subscription services.

This varies depending on the region to account for local markets, but on the whole, it’s sold at a low price point.

Originally, Netflix’s Key Resources would have been their unrivaled DVD collection combined with a cost-effective mail-order system.

Nowadays it’s undoubtedly the rights to stream online video content. Netflix has brokered deals with some of the biggest production studios worldwide.

Combined with their huge library of in-house productions , it’s more than enough to encourage customers to renew their subscriptions.

To help sustain interest in their product, Netflix understands they need to serve-up relevant content for each sub-sector of their mass audience. Therefore their machine learning algorithm selects content for consumers based on streaming habits (what they watched, at what time, etc,.) to personalize the customer experience.

This explains why over 80% of all content streamed on Netflix was cherry-picked by this algorithm, making it a Key Resource for their business model.

Also, Netflix accounts for a whopping 12.6% of global bandwidth usage . The literal capacity to stream their services must be met meaning bandwidth must also be included here.

Content procurement is arguably their biggest Key Activity. They need to find people to produce and deliver their original content, including actors, studios, writers, etc. as well as secure the licensing and streaming rights from 3rd party producers such as Sony, Warner Bros, and Disney.

Finally, they need a fast, easy-to-use application to host their online streaming service. This needs to be available for both TV and mobile devices if they are to deliver their “on-demand” value proposition.

K ey Partners

Seeing as Netflix’s entire business model is largely based around streaming 3rd party content, key partnerships need to be built with production studios . No content, no Netflix!

Also, as we touched upon earlier Netflix is one of the largest consumers of bandwidth worldwide. If the speed and delivery of their streaming service are to be continued then deals will also need to be made with internet service providers (ISPs).

Netflix’s biggest expenditures come from both their in-house content procurement and 3rd party licensing agreements . The high-quality standard of video streamed on Netflix is only possible due to the speed and performance of its online platform and application , which has additional costs of staff, software, etc.

To show you just how flexible the business model canvas can be, I wanted to throw in a slightly leftfield example. Vintae is a Spanish wine producer who, after a detailed analysis of the business model canvas, was able to innovate and disrupt one of the world’s most competitive industries.

As some of you may know, the wine industry is extremely competitive. It’s also steeped in history and tradition , making it very challenging for newcomers to grab market share, let alone think about year-on-year growth and revenue.

However, CEO “Richi” Arambarri looked at the traditional “ bodega ” business model and saw a chink in its armor.

A “small” innovation in the business canvas model helped them to become one of the region’s most important winery groups, with over 10 installations and a presence across all regional denominations (Rioja, Priorat, Rias Baixas, etc.) with year on year growth of 30% – practically unheard of in such a competitive industry.

So how did Vintae analyze the business model canvas to find a niche in their market?

To answer that question, we must first look at the traditional winery business model .

Traditional Winery Business Model with its 9 developed points

As you can see, the wine industry has historically been patrimonial. Vineyards and estates are passed down through generations with the winery responsible for all phases of production, clarification, and distribution.

The traditional winery business canvas model suggests you must be the owner of the winery/vineyard where the wine is “manufactured”, meaning physical assets are a key resource of the business model.

So, if you wanted to start producing a Rioja, for example, you’d have to set up your vineyard in the region.

This is monumentally expensive as you need to:

  • Purchase the land
  • Plant a vineyard
  • Absorb set-up and installation costs
  • Deal with maintenance costs

It’s here where Vintae saw their opportunity.

What if we move vineyard ownership across the business model canvas from key resources to key partners ?

By leasing the equipment and space of large wineries (of which there was plenty), they could still produce their wine but reduce the cost and exposure associated with land purchase, crushing equipment, huge storage tanks, vineyard maintenance, and their bottling line.

This enabled them to focus on their sales, marketing, and distribution channels to create a better brand experience for their customers.

Also, it afforded them more flexibility when creating new wines as they were no longer confined to the limitations of grapes grown on their vineyard.

The lightness of this new business model eliminates maintenance overheads, channels energy into personalizing the customer experience, and allows for unprecedented levels of growth in one of the world’s most competitive industries.

Vinate business model

Business Model Canvas Software

Although I did mention starting with a large whiteboard, sticky notes, and a pack of colorful sharpies there are several options in which you can digitize the business canvas model production process.

While I still believe the aforementioned process is extremely valuable (it gets your entire team’s input in a single hour-long session) you may decide it more viable for each member of management to pool their ideas digitally before sharing with the rest of the group.

If that’s the case, then take a look at some of the following software tools for creating your business model canvas.

Strategyzer

Created by the founders of the business model canvas Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur , Strategyzer offers a range of business model canvas templates for you to get started with.

If you opt for the paid model (there is a 30-day free trial period) they offer a series of various classes that teach you how to build and test different value propositions and business models.

A real-time built-in cost estimator analyzes the financial viability of some of your business ideas, identifying alternative areas you may wish to explore with your model.

All-in-all, it’s a great resource to play around with and test some of your business ideas, with the option to dive into further detail if you see fit.

Canvanizer is a free, easy-to-use web tool that allows you to share links between team members who are brainstorming ideas for a business model canvas, but working remotely.

Like Strategyzer, there are several business model canvas templates provided to help you get started with your analysis. The strength of this platform is its accessibility. Much like a Google Doc., several people can brainstorm on the same canvas simultaneously with changes being synchronized automatically.

Business Model Canvas Tool

A ThePowerMBA alumni, impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of the tool, went ahead and created the free application Business Model Canvas Tool .

It’s an incredibly intuitive, and easy-to-use tool that allows you to create templates simply by clicking the + button in each building block.

Each business model canvas created can be downloaded and shared as a pdf. with the rest of the team.

Would You Like to Learn More about Business Models?

If, after going through our 9-step guide on how to use the Business Model Canvas you’d like to learn more about different business model analysis tools , take a look at our alternative MBA business program .

As you’ll see, the course gives students a 360-degree view of business and management practices – such as engines of growth, segmentation and targeting, and value propositions.

I highly recommend you go check it out.

Regardless, I’d love to hear what you thought about this guide. Was it helpful? Would you like to see additional business cases analyzed from your industry?

Let us know in the comments below.

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business model canvas essay

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16 Comments

Ayeah Goodlove

Perfect thought

kourosh abdollahzadeh

I am a DBA student. I have used your site a lot. Thank you for the information

KJ Hwang

Well defined steps, Thanks for good contents.

Reza Ebadi

Dear Sir many thanks for you guideline. it was very effective for me. Thanks a Million

Debashis Rout

Well explained with practical business case

Allen

Wow, this article was incredibly helpful! I’ve heard about the Business Model Canvas before, but I wasn’t sure exactly how it worked or how to use it for my own business.

NIMAKO JAMES

I need a sample of business model canvas for a beauty palour

Opoku Samuel

you’ve done a great job. keep it up

Claudia Roca

This is a very insightful content with a step-by-step practical approach of how to write a BMC and what exactly it should contain.

My team and I literally used your guide to write a BMC for a project we were working on, and in just about an hour we were done.

Thank you so much for this content, it was really helpful.

Franco

Thank you very much Collins and we are glad you are using this tool.

Jude

Insightful! Gave me the clarity I needed for my upcoming business. Thank you so much.

Praveen

Thank you very much for the business model example of ZARA. It was very very informative

Efi

This is a great explanation, the best i’ve seen. Thanks

Thank you very much for reading and sharing your comments

Tatyasaheb Phadtare

Really great tool for business and whom want to enter,. Thanks

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  • 10 Best Business Model Canvas Examples

10 Best Business Model Canvas Examples For Your Inspiration

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Have you ever listed out all important aspects to consider while launching a product or strategy? You must find that this process quite challenging since one paper is not enough to show all this information as well as the connection between them.

Luckily, there is still an effective way for you to focus on your product’s most strategically important elements, which is Business Model Canvas . Many famous brands around the world have made use of it successfully.

In this post, we will bring about all things you need to know about Business Model Canvas as well as 10 Best Business Model Canvas Examples For Your Inspiration .

Let’s dive in with us!

What is a business model canvas?

Before digging into the best examples of Business Model Canvas around the world, let’s find out how the Business Model Canvas was designed.

Generally speaking, the Business Model Canvas is a summary that tells how the key drivers of a business fit together. It means showing the strategic details necessary to help a business get success within the market.

One important thing is that this summary’s length is within one sheet of paper. Imagine when you include all this down in a document, and it turns into many pages to capture all information. This will make you hard to remember as well as waste time opening pages over pages.

When it comes to the Business Model Canvas, you have a smart and clear way to read and describe any company with any scale ranging from the largest business to just a small one with some staff members.

business model canvas essay

While the categories or buckets included in a canvas can be adjusted according to your wishes, there are nine elements or building blocks that make up the canvas.

Each building block represents each key drivers and segments of a business. To fill in these blocks, you need to answer the following questions:

  • Customer segments : Who do you target as customers?
  • Value proposition : What are your strengths to make customers buy from your business?
  • Channels : Which channels do you use to deliver your products or services to the market?
  • Customer relationships : What are your strategies to get, keep, and build up the relationships with your customers?
  • Revenue streams : How will you make money?
  • Key resources : What are the special strategic resources that you own as well as a need?
  • Key activities : What will your business do to deliver your value proposition?
  • Key Partnerships : What are the non-key activities that you do to help your company focus more on your key activities?
  • Cost structures : What are the biggest costs that your business earns?

There is one thing to note before finding out what these elements detailedly are. That is the connection between the left side and right side of the Business Model Canvas. If you notice, all elements on the left-hand side of the canvas show the business’s costs, while those on the right-hand side represent revenue generated for the business.Along with a business model canvas, it is advisable to have a well-crafted presentation in the form of a pitch deck . These can be created effortlessly using an AI presentation maker .

Now, it’s time to discover the definitions as well as meanings of 9 elements:

Customer segments

The first building block you should look at is Customer Segments . Here is where you will add in all the different customer groups that you will target. Besides naming these customer groups, you can also build one or more personas for each segment your company serves.

If you are confused about the information you should include when it comes to a persona, it is just a detailed description of each customer group you list. They can include what motivates your customers to buy products, what problems they are suffering that you can help, and perhaps the essence of who they are.

Many businesses make a mistake when assuming that customers exist for themselves to serve. In fact, businesses exist to serve their customers instead.

Depending on your business’ goals, you can have one customer segment or more. Many companies target only one customer group, but many serve two or even multiple. For example, the giant SEO company serves two customer segments, which are those performing searches and those working as advertisers.

In case you want to break down the advertiser customer group into many personas, there will be various kinds of advertisers that you can examine.

Value proposition

The second building block refers to Value Proposition . It means the values that your company or your service can bring to each customer segment. Before filling in this building block, question yourself what problems you can solve for each customer segment are as well as what needs you can satisfy. In other words, the value proposition means the reasons why customer segments buy from you but not from others.

business model canvas essay

If you still find it difficult to define, here are some of the most common value propositions:

  • The performance quality
  • The ability to customize depending on customers’ wishes
  • The designing
  • The pricing plans
  • The cost reduction
  • The risk reduction
  • Convenience

Next, let’s come to the way your products or services are given to your customers. It is Channels . It is about how you sell your products and how your customers want to be approached. Consider the way your company is reaching them at the moment before adding in the Channels building block.

There are two types of channels that you might concern which are having your own channels and having partner channels with someone else.

When it comes to the first type, having your own channels means a combination of all shops you belong to, all sales staff you are employing, or all your websites .

In terms of having partner channels with someone else, you have a wide range of choices, from using Google Adsense to sell your services to using a wholesaler or even partnering with affiliates to advertise your products. You can promote your product with a blog post, social media mentions, a viral video campaign, or a live stream (here is an example of simple streaming software , you could start with).

Customer relationships

business model canvas essay

The following building block is about Customer relationships . Here you will enter the way you get, keep, and grow your customer base.

  • How you get your customers refers to the ways audiences find out about you and decide to buy things from you. It may be via advertising on Google or posts on social media.
  • How you keep your customers looks at the customer service that you offer or discount programs appreciate and help your customers who buy from you.
  • How you grow your customers means the way you start to make your customers continue buying and spending money on your company. A very common way is sending a newsletter every month to customers so that they can be informed about the latest campaign and consider buying more.

In order to enter details in this building block, you should understand your customer journey clearly. Question yourself on how your customers find out about you, how they decide to buy your products, how they purchase them, and how they manage after purchasing.

Revenue streams

Revenue streams building block refers to the sources where the money comes from. Here you will need to enter where your revenue is generated. Perhaps, this building block is the most confusing on the right side.

It is because you will need to find out the strategy as well as the campaign you will start to generate the most value from your customer base.

It looks at multiple aspects. You might consider a monthly subscription fee or a one-time fee for your customers. You might also think about giving away products for free so that your customers will decide to upgrade to the paid premium product.

Take Advertising on Google as an example. In order to be displayed in front of users and customers, advertisers need to pay Google money and send it their buying intent together with ads information. As an audience, only when you search for something with purchasing intent will you see ads. On the other hand, you probably will not see anything related to advertising if you search for something without purchasing intent.

If you are starting a subscription-based business , you will have the benefit of recurring revenue streams pouring in regularly. However, it can be more of an uphill struggle to convert customers than if you are charging them a one-time fee, because more of a commitment is required on their part. It’s a case of determining which approach fits best with your goals and product category.

As you can see, we have gone through all building blocks on the right side which are related to customers. Now, it’s time to work on the building areas to the left of the Value proposition which shows the costs to the business.

Key resources

The first building block to concern when it comes to the left hand is Key Resources . That means the main strategic assets that are needed to enable your business model to work.

business model canvas essay

There are four categories of resources, they include:

  • Physical resources : They can be cars, machines, buildings, or distribution networks.
  • Human resources : They are your staff members who make your business work in real life. Human resources take an indispensable part in every business. When it comes to creative and knowledge-intensive industries, they seem to be the most important resource of a company.
  • Intellectual resources : They are specialist knowledge, documentation, patents and copyrights, partnerships, customer information, or brands.
  • Financial resources : They are lines of credit, cash balances, and so on.

Key activities

The next building block is Key activities which refer to the most important strategic things you Must do to make your business model work. Remember that the Key activities block should be completely relevant to the value proposition block.

Check to see whether your Key activities are relatable to your value proposition or not. If they aren’t, then something must be changed. There will be one or more activities you regard as the most important but generate no values or revenue.

There are three main types when it comes to key activities. They are:

  • Production : The first one looks at the delivery process of your products. Businesses tend to do this with a high number and high quality at the same time.
  • Problem solving : Do you work with consultancies and other service organizations to bring about the best solutions to solve the problems of each customer segment.
  • Platform or Network : They can be networks or software platforms as long as they can work as a platform.

Many businesses go in the wrong direction while listing all the activities that are done by their businesses. Prevent yourself from that by only entering activities that are main to delivering your value proposition.

Key Partnerships

Key partners building block is quite similar to the previous one. You also list the activities which you view as important. However, they are not done on your own but by working with suppliers and partners to make the business model work.

Take Spotify as an example. The company let updating its platform be the key activity. Nonetheless, Spotify cannot produce the music it provides. Therefore, the company needs to list its deals with record labels and publishing houses in the Key partners building block.

business model canvas essay

If you are wondering why your business should create a partnership, it is because of economies of scale. What’s more, that can help prevent yourself from risk and uncertainty which leads to crisis. Finally, it brings about the acquisition of resources or activities.

Cost structures

The last building block is Cost Structure in which you map key activities to costs.

One thing to keep in mind is making sure all the costs you list are related to your value proposition.

Additionally, Cost structure should be the last building block you fill in. Therefore, after defining your Key Resources, Key Activities, and Key Partnerships, it is necessary to find out the most important costs as well as the most expensive ones.

Why might you want to create a business model canvas?

You might wonder why creating a business model canvas is crucial and how you will benefit from this canvas when starting your own business. There are various answers to your questions but here are the three most noteworthy:

Roadmapping rapidly

A canvas can be handled in a short time, even with the sticky-notes. You do not need to make every effort to put down everything about your product plan, you can simply list out the features, the necessary content.

However, it will be useless if you just stop at these highlights. The next step is to convert the canvas into your roadmap with your product’s details.

Time saving

Before the business model canvas appeared, people who wanted to get their product to market were familiar with the old structure of citing a business model. On the other hand, the issue with this traditional method was that it was hardly accurate by the time the writer completed the draft.

It is also accessible to explain this situation as this model consisted of important elements such as detailed cost estimates, revenue projections going years into the future, and permanent plans for growing the staff, which are all changeable in just a short period of time.

When it comes to products, these plans are considered MRD (Market Requirements Document). This particular paper is lengthy, intricate, and can barely be true as soon as it’s finished.

Luckily, a canvas is here to help you overcome these obstacles. You can quickly combine a canvas that is capable of showing your strategy and your brand’s current status. And in case there are changes, you will need less effort and time to edit.

Easy to swivel

It is so evident that the market is at no time stable. There are always new things adopted and some old ones have to be eliminated, which require you to be ready for any changes , to swivel due to reality.

Therefore, a canvas should be your priority. It is so sharp and top-level that you can easily adjust if needed rather than MRD or traditional business plans . With the length of just one page, a business model canvas plays a vital role in your brand guiding strategy.

Moreover, you can instantaneously and rapidly update your approach or any features due to your market observation.

10 examples of business model canvas in different industries

Example #1: a lemonade stand.

business model canvas essay

A lemonade stand can be a great example of your initial approach to a business model canvas. It is likely the most understandable model for one’s first experience with starting a business.

In this model canvas, you can clarify your customer segments, possibly your neighbors, walkers, family, and friends. However, they are not limited to your customers; they can be your partners, suppliers, resources as well.

Therefore, you need to write down the proper ways of reaching customers in the Channels building block. And Facebook groups, booths, or stands are considered the most suitable choice for a lemonade stand. Turning to revenue streams, it is quite simple with a lemonade stand because they mostly come from a finite price for a drink.

Example #2: Skype

business model canvas essay

As can be seen, Skype provides users with 2 value propositions: free Internet & Video calling and cheap calls to phones. These propositions correspondingly help Skype attract 2 customer segments: free users and users who want to call phones.

In Skype’s model business, there is a majority of users who make free calls via the Internet, and just 10% of users choosing the prepaid service. We can explain this business model by looking at key partnerships, key activities, and key resource building blocks.

Key partnerships, key activities, and key resources are the three elements that allow Skype to offer low-priced and free calls. Unlike other traditional telecoms providers, Skype does not have to build and manage a huge and complicated infrastructure to work effectively, Skype just relies on backend software and the servers hosting user accounts, which is called the freemium business model.

Example #3: Gillette

business model canvas essay

In Gillette’s case, their business model follows the business model pattern called “Bait & Hook”, the pattern that is followed by many SaaS (Software as a Service) companies.

Gillette gives their customers a cheap or even free of charge original offer, a razor handle. This offer is the bait that enables customers to experience and get acquainted with Gillette’s products and makes them more likely to buy related products, the blades.

In the above diagram, the size of the arrow is in direct proportion with the revenues generated. All Gillette’s revenues are from just one customer segment, which mainly depends on Frequent Blade Replacements.

Pay attention to the left corner of Gellettes Business Model Canvas, it will demonstrate the consistent relation between all major costs and the value proposition. For instance, Gillette strengthens its brand by spending money on marketing and assures the brand’s uniqueness in the blade and handles technology with R&D costs.

Example #4: Google

business model canvas essay

When it comes to business model canvas, we will not want to miss the outstanding example of Google.

Google’s business model is many-sided, which means their customer segments are not exclusive. Google has separate groups of customers, but these groups are related to each other.

In Google’s model, it is a platform whose customers are search users and advertisers. If there are no search users, there will not be advertisers and vice versa, search users will not be able to freely take advantage of this platform without advertisers.

As we can see, Google displays ads in search results or on web pages which costs advertisers an amount of money. With this money, content creators are paid and search users can browse free of charge.

Google’s kind of business model creates a network, which means the ads it displays to web users are directly proportional to advertisers and so as the content owners.

In terms of key resources, Google.com, Adsense (for content owners), and Adwords (for advertisers) build up Google’s search platform. Hence, managing the existing platform and its framework must be Google’s key strategic activities.

It is clear that one of their key partners is content owners, without whom there would not be search users or advertisers. Another partner of Google is OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers).

OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) provide Google with mobile handsets that allow this huge platform to operate its system at no charge. And to give back, when users of these handsets surf the Internet for information or entertainment or whatever, they choose Google’s platform by default. This process will consequently lead more web users to the ecosystem, meaning that more revenue will be raised.

Example #5: Airbnb

business model canvas essay

Another example is Airbnb, a widely-known online marketplace that lets people rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests and then Airbnb takes 3% commission of every booking from hosts, and between 6% and 12% from guests. And now, it is time to figure out its business model canvas.

It is clear that Airbnb has 2 separate customer segments: guests and hosts, but they can be divided into other small categories with particular characteristics. Airbnb’s value propositions also follow the same pattern: they give their customers more affordable choices than traditional hotels and provide customers with deluxe or fancy services.

About Airbnb’s revenue, as mentioned above, their main revenue is from the fees that they charge both guests and hosts.

Example #6: Uber

business model canvas essay

Our next business model canvas is Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, which owns no vehicles. Uber is an excellent illustration of a business model canvas as it is an outstanding business with such representative innovation in technology.

As can be seen, Uber’s customer segments include 2 big categories: drivers and riders. In drivers, Uber targets 2 particular groups: unemployed drivers and drivers looking for part-time jobs, which consequently lead to their corresponding methods of approaching customers. It means, for example, to attract unemployed drivers who are likely to live in areas with high unemployment rates, Uber has to use Word of mouth as a channel.

Example #7: LinkedIn

business model canvas essay

LinkedIn is the online platform that enables you to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and also learn the skills you need to succeed in your career. It means LinkedIn provides users with diverse services as shown in the Value propositions building block.

Therefore, in their business model canvas, LinkedIn pointed out 3 big customer segments: recruiters, professionals seeking to network, and marketers.

Turning to LinkedIn’s revenue streams, LinkedIn’s revenues mostly come down to these 3 sources: freemium business model, hiring solutions, and marketing solutions. And as a result, they have to consider developing the platform as the most important activity.

Example #8: Amazon

business model canvas essay

Amazon’s business model canvas is an example that we should not miss in the e-commerce field. Amazon’s model’s most remarkable element is its key activities, which help Amazon stand out among many competitors.

As we know, time and money are important to every buyer and so is Amazon.

Hence, Amazon’s key activities are quick fulfillment processes, in-time delivery, and shipping systems allowing for Amazon Prime to deliver orders within 1-2 days, and Offshore R&D Center to streamline and improve the efficiency of fulfillment centers and other projects (e.g. Amazon Grab & Go stores) to lower costs.

About Amazon’s customers, there are two main groups that use Amazon’s products and services: business clients and retail clients, which means they have to develop strong and complicated ways of serving their customers.

Example #9: Netflix

business model canvas essay

Many companies compete against Netflix, such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO, Hulu, Vevo, and Youtube. However, Netflix is still doing well and developing its business worldwide with such a unique and effective business model canvas.

Netflix uses 6 key resources: brand, apps, platform, employees, filmmakers, and prizes, to attract its customers. Recently, Netflix’s content production activity shows its strengths as Netflix series are welcomed by large audiences and are gradually dominating the film market.

Example #10: Tesla

business model canvas essay

Tesla is a business model that chooses technology as a benefit. As shown in the business model canvas, one of Tesla’s customer segments is the green buyer which directly leads to the corresponding key activities. They have to concentrate on research and development, design, electric power technologies, car manufacturing, and also charge point infrastructure to provide customers with synchronous solutions and services.

If you are about to start a business, make sure that you will not forget about the business model canvas. The business model canvas, which consists of 9 elements will help you determine what is crucial for your business regardless of whether your business is big or small.

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