The Nine-Step Business Plan

When it comes to the business plan for a new service offering, start with The Business Model Canvas.

Your board has been developing a new service offering for months and now you need a simple and straightforward business plan for it. Where do you start? Enter The Business Model Canvas, a one-page tool that was developed by Alexander Osterwalder in 2008.

The tool allows any organization to quickly define a business model by filling in nine boxes of information. And, in doing so, the organization can show how it will create value through the offering for itself—and for its customers or members. The tool also helps define what an organization plans to accomplish with the offering, and is great for boards that are considering new initiatives or revisiting existing ones. Filling in the boxes creates an opportunity to have conversations around management and strategy.


The Nine Elements

The following nine elements make up the boxes of The Business Model Canvas, and each element comes with instructions and questions to consider before filling in that box. They run from who the partners in the project are to what resources are available to what cost and revenue can be expected.

  1. Key Partners
  2. Key Activities
  3. Key Resources
  4. Value Propositions
  5. Customer Relationships
  6. Customer Segments
  7. Channels
  8. Cost Structure
  9. Revenue Streams

A Dynamic Strategy

Unlike some modeling strategies, The Business Model Canvas is visual, which makes it more dynamic. Filling it in is about actions as much as it is about thinking through results. It’s also not time-sensitive, so it can be used at multiple points during the development of an offering to ensure the initial plan for the project remains intact.

After your board learns the system, The Business Model Canvas can easily be re-created on flip charts or on dry-erase boards so organizations can start sketching and discussing elements with markers or even Post-it notes. There is also a PDF download available and an interactive online version.

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