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What is a Business Model Canvas: A Miro Insider Guide

Creating a BMC in Miro

Diving into the business strategy and innovation world introduces various tools and methodologies to navigate current markets. Among these, the Business Model Canvas (BMC) stands out as a strategic management tool that has revolutionized how entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders visualize, design, and reinvent their business models.

The BMC provides a concise, visual framework that encapsulates how organizations create, deliver, and capture value. This article aims to explore the BMC in-depth, offering insights and practical advice on leveraging this tool to its fullest potential.

Decoding the Business Model Canvas

What is the Business Model Canvas? At its core, the Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool designed to visualize, design, and reinvent business models. It's your canvas (pun intended!) to paint a comprehensive picture of how your organization creates, delivers, and captures value. Alexander Osterwalder pioneered this concept, making it a cornerstone for entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders worldwide.

Key components of the Business Model Canvas:

1. Value propositions

Your value proposition is the core of your Business Model Canvas. It essentially answers the question: What sets you apart from your competitors, and why would customers choose you over them? It's more than just your products or services; it's about your exclusive benefits and solutions. A compelling value proposition is concise, straightforward, and directly addresses the customer's problem or need. So, it's like your pitch to your target market that you can deliver in an elevator ride.

2. Customer segments

Who are you creating value for? This section requires you to segment your market into groups of customers with similar needs, behaviors, or characteristics. Understanding your customer segments allows you to tailor your value propositions, communication, distribution channels, and more to each specific segment. It's about being precise in whom you serve to maximize your impact and efficiency.

3. Channels

Channels are the touchpoints through which you communicate with your customer segments and deliver your value propositions. They cover the entire customer journey, from awareness and evaluation to buy and post-purchase. Channels can be direct, like your website, or indirect, like retail partners. The goal here is to find the most effective and efficient way to reach your customers where they are.

4. Customer relationships

How do you intend to establish and sustain relationships with your customers? This aspect involves identifying the kind of relationship you wish to maintain with each customer group, ranging from personalized assistance to self-service, automated services, communities, and co-creation. Your chosen relationship strategy should align with customer expectations and your business model's cost structure.

5. Revenue streams

Revenue Streams refer to how your business can generate income by converting value into financial returns. These streams may include selling assets, lending, leasing, subscription fees, licensing, and advertising. It is important to associate each revenue stream with a specific customer segment and to clearly understand what your customers are willing to pay for and how they prefer to pay.

6. Key resources

Key resources are the assets required to make your business model work. They can be physical (buildings, vehicles), intellectual (brands, patents, data), human (expertise, knowledge), or financial. Identifying and securing these resources is vital for delivering your value propositions, reaching markets, maintaining customer relationships, and earning revenue.

7. Key activities

What must you do to ensure your business model functions effectively? Key activities in the Business Model Canvas could involve production, problem-solving, or platform/network maintenance, depending on your business type. These are the most important tasks your company must undertake to fulfill its value propositions, reach markets, and sustain operations.

8. Key partnerships

Few businesses operate in isolation. Key partnerships and networks can help you optimize your business model, reduce risks, or acquire resources and activities. Partners can include suppliers, manufacturers, collaborators, and even competitors in some cases. The aim is to forge alliances that help your business focus on its core value proposition and outsource or collaborate on the rest.

9. Cost structure

Finally, the cost structure outlines the major costs of operating your business model. Understanding your cost structure is crucial for ensuring your business is financially viable. Costs can be fixed (unchanged regardless of output), variable (scale with production volume), or a mix of both. The goal is to create a cost structure that allows your business to deliver its value propositions sustainably and competitively.

Each of these components interconnects to paint a comprehensive picture of your business model. When thoughtfully completed, the Business Model Canvas not only guides your strategic planning but also serves as a dynamic blueprint that evolves with your business.

Do you need a Business Model Canvas?

Whether you're a startup or an established company, BMC is your Swiss Army knife for business model innovation. It's particularly useful when:

  • Launching a new product or service, providing a holistic view of its potential.

  • Entering a new market, helping you understand your unique value proposition.

  • Pivoting your business, enabling rapid conceptualization of new directions.

Benefits of using a Business Model Canvas:

Clarity and focus

The BMC provides a clear, concise framework that condenses complex business models into a single visual document. This clarity is invaluable, as it allows you to see the relationships between different business model components—how your value propositions align with your customer segments, how your channels and customer relationships support your value delivery, and how your revenue streams fit with your cost structure. This focused overview enables you to identify your business model's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for innovation.

Alignment and communication

One of the BMC's greatest strengths is its ability to facilitate alignment and communication within teams and across departments. By having a shared, easily understandable visualization of the business model, everyone from the CEO to the newest intern can have a common understanding of the company's strategic direction. This alignment ensures that all efforts are coordinated towards the same objectives, reducing conflicts and enhancing productivity. It also makes it easier to onboard new team members and communicate with external stakeholders.

Flexibility and adaptability

Adaptability is key to survival and growth in today's fast-paced business environment. The BMC is inherently designed for flexibility, making it easier to pivot and iterate on your business model as market conditions change, new technologies emerge, or customer preferences evolve. This adaptability allows for rapid experimentation and validation, enabling businesses to effectively innovate and respond to opportunities or threats.

Streamlined strategy development and execution

The BMC streamlines the process of strategy development and execution. Breaking down the business model into nine fundamental components simplifies complex strategic considerations, making it easier to identify which areas require attention, improvement, or innovation. This streamlined approach helps businesses more efficiently allocate resources, prioritize initiatives, and execute their strategies more precisely.

Enhanced customer understanding

The BMC encourages a deep dive into who your customers are, what they need, and how they want to interact with your business. This enhanced understanding is crucial for creating value propositions that truly resonate with your target audience and developing customer relationships that foster loyalty and advocacy. You can maintain a customer-centric approach that drives sustained business growth by continuously refining your customer segments and value propositions based on feedback and market research.

Risk management and cost efficiency

The BMC helps identify potential risks and areas where costs can be optimized by providing a holistic view of your business model. Understanding the key activities, resources, and partnerships essential to your business model allows you to make informed decisions that minimize waste and reduce vulnerabilities. This proactive approach to risk management and cost efficiency can significantly improve your business's operational effectiveness and financial health.

Innovation and competitive advantage

Lastly, the BMC is a powerful tool for fostering innovation. By visualizing your business model, you can easily spot opportunities for disruptive innovation, whether through new value propositions, untapped customer segments, novel revenue streams, or more efficient channels. This ongoing pursuit of innovation helps maintain a competitive edge, ensuring that your business remains relevant and capable of capturing new market opportunities.

Application of BMC in different roles

Product managers

  • Scenario: Launching a new app.

    • Validate customer needs and tailor the app's value proposition.

    • Identify key features as Key Activities.

    • Design a user acquisition strategy through Channels.

Business managers

  • Scenario: Expanding into a new market.

    • Assess the market's Customer Segments and adapt the value proposition accordingly.

    • Reevaluate Key Partnerships for local market access.

    • Adjust Cost Structure for market entry.


  • Scenario: Exploring new revenue streams.

    • Analyze current Revenue Streams and brainstorm alternatives.

    • Evaluate new Customer Segments for expansion.

    • Consider innovative Channels and Customer Relationships to enhance value delivery.

How to complete a Business Model Canvas: Step-by-Step

1. Start with the value propositions

Clearly define the unique benefits your product/service offers.

Tools/Frameworks: The Value Proposition Canvas is an excellent tool here. It allows you to get into your customers' shoes, understanding their needs, pains, and gains deeply. This detailed exploration helps craft compelling value propositions that resonate strongly with your target market.

2. Identify your customer segments

Understand who your customers are and what they need.

Tools/Frameworks: Market Segmentation Analysis is crucial. Use data analytics tools like Google Analytics for an online audience or customer surveys and interviews for direct feedback. Personas and empathy maps also offer valuable insights into customer motivations and behaviors, helping you to segment your market more effectively.

3. Map out channels

Determine how you'll reach your customers.

Tools/Frameworks: The Five Channels Framework by Clayton Christensen is a powerful way to think about how you reach your customers. Additionally, A/B testing platforms can help you experiment with different channels and measure their effectiveness in reaching your customer segments.

4. Design customer relationships

Plan how to interact with your customers.

Tools/Frameworks: Customer Journey Mapping tools enable you to visualize the entire customer experience and identify key touchpoints where you can strengthen relationships. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software can then help you manage these relationships at scale.

5. Define revenue streams

Explore how you'll make money.

Tools/Frameworks: For this component, Business Model Scenarios can be particularly useful. This involves creating various "what-if" scenarios to explore different revenue models and their implications. Financial modeling software or spreadsheets are essential tools for quantifying these scenarios and projecting their financial outcomes.

6. List key resources

Identify what you need to operate.

Tools/Frameworks: Resource Analysis is a systematic approach to identifying your essential resources. Tools like SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis can help you critically assess your internal capabilities and resources.

7. Outline key activities

Pinpoint what actions are necessary.

Tools/Frameworks: Process Mapping tools can help you visualize and optimize the key activities required for your business model to succeed. Lean methodology and Kanban boards effectively identify and focus on value-adding activities, minimizing waste in your processes.

8. Select key partnerships

Choose who will help you succeed.

Tools/Frameworks: Partnership Mapping is a strategy that can clarify how and with whom you should collaborate. Tools like the Partner Ecosystem Canvas can help you identify potential partners and define the nature of these partnerships in alignment with your business objectives.

9. Analyze cost structure

Break down your costs.

Tools/Frameworks: Cost Analysis Tools, such as cost-benefit analysis frameworks and financial modeling software, are invaluable. They allow you to break down your costs into fixed and variable components, understand your cost drivers, and explore ways to optimize your cost structure for efficiency and sustainability.

Avoid these pitfalls when building your BMC


  • Problem: Adding too much detail or too many elements can make the BMC confusing and less actionable. It's essential to keep the model clear and concise to maintain focus and ensure it's easily understood by all stakeholders.

  • Solution: Stick to the core elements of your business model. Use simple language and avoid industry jargon. If necessary, create additional documents for in-depth analyses, but keep the BMC as your strategic overview.

Ignoring customer feedback

  • Problem: Building a BMC based on assumptions without validating these assumptions with real customer feedback can lead to a misalignment between your business model and market needs.

  • Solution: Regularly engage with your customers through surveys, interviews, and prototype testing. Use these insights to continually refine your value propositions and customer segments in your BMC.


  • Problem: Treating the BMC as a static document rather than a living, evolving tool can stifle innovation and responsiveness to market changes.

  • Solution: Periodically review and update your BMC to reflect new insights, changes in the market, and strategic pivots. Encourage a culture of flexibility and continuous improvement.

Lack of alignment among team members

  • Problem: Without a shared understanding and consensus among team members regarding the BMC, there can be misalignment in execution, leading to inefficiencies and dilution of strategic efforts.

  • Solution: Regularly discuss and review the BMC with all team members and stakeholders. Ensure clear communication and alignment on the business model's key components and strategic direction.

Focusing only on the present

  • Problem: Focusing solely on current operations and ignoring future opportunities and threats can make your business vulnerable to disruption.

  • Solution: Use the BMC as a tool for both current state mapping and future scenario planning. Regularly brainstorm potential changes in customer needs, technological advancements, and market dynamics that could impact your business model.

Underestimating the importance of key partnerships

  • Problem: Neglecting to carefully consider and nurture key partnerships can lead to missed opportunities for leveraging external expertise, resources, and market access.

  • Solution: Identify and actively manage relationships with partners that can provide critical resources, channels, or customer access. View these partnerships as strategic assets.

Failing to prioritize and sequence activities

  • Problem: Attempting to tackle all components of the BMC simultaneously without clear priorities can lead to resource strain and loss of strategic focus.

  • Solution: Identify the most critical components of your BMC that will drive most of your value creation and revenue generation. Focus your efforts and resources on these areas before expanding to others.

Not leveraging technology and tools

  • Problem: Manually managing and updating your BMC without using digital tools can limit collaboration and reduce the efficiency of iterations.

  • Solution: Use platforms like Miro for collaborative BMC creation and iteration. These tools offer templates, easy updates, and the ability to share your canvas with stakeholders for feedback and collaboration.

By being mindful of these pitfalls and implementing the suggested solutions, you can ensure that your Business Model Canvas remains a dynamic, effective tool that drives your business strategy forward. Remember, the goal is to use the BMC not just as a planning tool but as a framework for ongoing innovation and strategic agility.

Building your BMC with confidence

Creating a Business Model Canvas is an ongoing journey, not a one-time task. Here are some final nuggets of wisdom:

  • Iterate Relentlessly: Your BMC should evolve as your business grows.

  • Seek Diverse Perspectives: Collaboration enriches your business model.

  • Use Visual Tools: Platforms like Miro offer an interactive way to build and share your BMC.

As we come to a close, it's important to emphasize that the Business Model Canvas is more than just a tool - it's a way of thinking that encourages creativity and innovation in your business strategy. Whether you're a product manager, business manager, or strategist, using the BMC framework can help you clearly articulate, develop, and pivot your business model with confidence. So embrace it, and discover how your business ideas can flourish in ways you never thought possible.

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