Lean Canvas is a one-page business plan method created by Ash Maurya, which is adapted from the Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder.
The plan features a number of blocks to help you map out some key points that will help you turn a business idea into something more concrete.
The Lean Canvas is created especially for entrepreneurs to make it easier for them to get a clear and simple idea of what they're doing.
Understanding the key problems of your customers is essential. You use this section to list the top problems that your different customer segments experience that you're aiming to solve.
Understanding who your customers are is a vital step. You can't know what their main problems are if you don't know who they are. In the customer segments section, you need to write down who your target audience is, which might include several customer segments. Your customers and their problems are tied together, so you will probably need to think about both at the same time.
Unique Value Proposition
This section sits in the middle of the canvas because it's what you are proposing to offer to your customers. It sets out the unique value that your business will provide. You need to think about what makes your brand, product or service different from others who are trying to solve the same problems as you.
What's the answer to your customers' problems that you're going to offer them? You won't always have the perfect solution right away, but the purpose of creating a business plan is to help you get started. If you want to find the solution to your problem, don't assume it will just come to you. Talk to your customer segments to find out what they want and need.
What channels are you going to use to reach your customers? These are the marketing and advertising methods that you're going to use, from digital marketing such as SEO to more traditional channels, like radio, print and TV.
Where is your money going to come from? How are you going to price your products or services? Your pricing model is an important part of what you're offering, and it's something you're going to need to research and test. How much are people willing to pay, and what's the minimum you can charge to meet your goals?
These are the costs that your business will have in order to run and market your product. It could include market research, technology, staff costs, and more. With an idea of your one-off and recurring costs, you can try to work out a rough estimate of how many customers you will need to break even.
Your key metrics are what you will use to monitor how your business is performing. You can identify some key activities that you want to watch closely to see how people are interacting with and using your business and its products/services.
Your unfair advantage is what you have that no other business has. It can't be copied or bought, so it will help you to stand out from the rest. This is the last step in the process and is often the most difficult. Your unfair advantage could be many things, from an unbeatable staff to endorsements from experts.
It's worth taking time to think about it and identify something that you can do that others can't buy.
The Lean Canvas isn't something that you should be spending hours on. In fact, you should be able to get some ideas down in around 20 minutes. Of course, you won't have all of the information you need right away. But the canvas will help you to decide whether your business idea has legs and what your next moves should be.