Publication by Miro about the future of distributed teamwork

How to use a Lean Canvas to build your startup according to Lean principles

Recently we’ve added a new tool to our libraryLean Canvas. Now it’s a great time to explore it in more detail. We’ll focus on the difference between Lean Canvas and Business Model Canvas, structure of Lean Canvas and some tips that help you to use this amazing tool at Miro to build a true lean startup.

What is Lean Canvas?

Lean Canvas was created by Ash Maurya as an adaptation of the Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder, and is a tool designed for lean startups which involves questioning and testing the underlying assumptions of a business model. Lean Canvas and Business Model Canvas look similar at first glance – both of them are visual and allow you to see the big picture of your business plan but there are significant differences.

Lean canvas vs business model canvas


Lean Canvas

Business Model Canvas



Both startup and existing businesses


Problem-solution approach, includes the channels to achieving the solution, costs and revenue streams

Defines the infrastructure, costs and revenue streams

Competitive advantages

Focuses on unfair advantage that can help to win the market

Focuses on value proposition, its quantitative and qualitative terms

Main focus


All the stakeholders: customers, advisors, investors, entrepreneurs

Attention to customers

The model doesn’t pay much attention to customer segments as startups often have no products to test the demand

Pays much attention to customer segments, channels and relationships

Lean Canvas structure

Lean canvas

Lean Canvas consists of 9 blocks:

  1. Problem: A brief description of the top 3 problems you’re addressing
  2. Customer Segments: Who are the customers/users? Can they be further segmented? If you have more than one target customers in mind, for example, journalists and doctors, it’s better to create canvas for each one.
  3. Unique Value Proposition. Why you are different and what will make people buy?
  4. Solution: What is the minimum feature set (MVP) that demonstrates the UVP up above?
  5. Key Activity: Describe the key action users take that maps to revenue or retention? For example, if you are a blogging platform, posting a blog entry would be a key activity.
  6. Channels: FREE and PAID channels you can use to reach your customer.
  7. Cost Structure: List here all your fixed and variable costs.
  8. Revenue Streams: what’s your model – subscription, freemium, etc. Try to outline here such things as LTV, revenue, break-even point and others.
  9. Unfair Advantage. Something that cannot be copied or bought. Ash Maurya says: “You may initially have to leave this box blank but the reason it’s here it to have you really think about how you can both make yourself different and make your difference matter”.

4 useful tips to help you use Lean Canvas at Miro

Lean Canvas Online


  1. Create a new board (or open one of already created for your startup), then go to Library -Business canvases and drag “Lean Canvas” to the board. You can put as many canvases on one board as you need.
  2. Define the product you work on and write down the title. Fill the blocks with different type of content: text, pictures, videos. It will make your work more “visual” and productive.
  3. Invite your team and advisors to the board via e-mail or Facebook. Collaborate in real time, brainstorm and discuss to find a better solution.
  4. Come back to the board regularly to make necessary changes, add new facts and key metrics and discuss the progress with your team.

Take a look at the example above on the public board and create yours.

Happy whiteboarding!

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