Platform Planner – A One-Page Visual Business Plan

31 January

This is part of the Platform Planner series.  Check out the other posts!

Platform Planner One Page Visual Business Plan

 
A business plan is known to be a helpful tool for starting your own business.  It can outline your operations, fuel your ambitions, and help secure financing.  But who wants to write a 30-page business plan?  The work involved in writing a lengthy business plan can be overwhelming to most.  So in many cases, it just doesn’t get written.

This is a problem.  And it doesn’t just apply to entrepreneurs who want to write business plans.  It can be teachers who need to write course curriculum, project managers writing project plans, or non-profit execs composing annual reports.  A blogger wanting to prepare a platform plan!

What if there was a simple one-page drawing that describes your idea, rather than a lengthy report?

Enter: the Business Model Canvas – a visual approach to understanding complex processes.  It’s a powerful design tool that describes an entire business model in a one-page drawing.  The canvas has 9 building blocks:

  • Customer Segments – who you serve
  • Value Propositions – the value you provide
  • Channels – how the value is delivered to your customers
  • Customer Relationships – the communication environment with your customers
  • Revenue Streams – your revenue sources
  • Key Resources – the items you need to create your value proposition
  • Key Activities – the things you do with those resources
  • Key Partnerships – third parties who also perform key activities in order to provide the value proposition
  • Cost Structure – your costs

The canvas was designed by Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur, appearing in their book Business Model Generation (my favorite business book EVAR).

This step of the Platform Planner series will help you draw your own one-page visual business plan in the form of the Business Model Canvas.

Business Model Generation Platform Planner

Business Model Generation Platform Planner

Business Model Generation Platform Planner Closeup

Business Model Generation Platform Planner Closeup

 

  1. Review my example canvas above, and watch this short video by the Business Model Generation folks themselves:
  2. Using a pencil, draw the nine canvas sections on pages 16 and 17 of your comp book.  When you’re satisfied with the line placement, draw over it with a pen or thin black marker.
  3. Label each of the 9 canvas sections and write “businessmodelgeneration.com” at the bottom.  The canvas is licensed as Creative Commons so you get to enjoy it for free!  Just be sure to reference to businessmodelgeneration.com after each use.  Thanks, Alex and Yves 🙂
  4. Gather some post-it notes (the 2-inch size) and cut them in half twice, producing 4 smaller squares.  Discard the 2 squares that don’t have a sticky back.  Use the other 2 to jot down the elements of each of parts of your business model.  You might find it helpful to use different colors of sticky notes.
  5. Attach your little handwritten sticky note squares in place on the canvas, reflecting your business model.  A good starting point is the Value Proposition.  If you have completed the How Can I Help People? and 140-Character Mission Statement worksheets, you should have a good idea of the value you offer.
  6. If you’d like to learn more about how to use the Business Model Canvas, read the book Business Model Generation.  It really is my favorite biz book.  For more info, read my Review of Business Model Generation.

As you make your canvas and start arranging sticky notes in place, remember to have fun with it.  Don’t worry about it being perfect.  The sticky notes keep  your ideas movable.  You can continuously add and update it as you wish.  You may even find yourself wanting to make a new canvas periodically, to watch your ideas evolve.

This is part of the Platform Planner series.  Check out the other posts!

 

2 Responses to “Platform Planner – A One-Page Visual Business Plan”

  1. Cassy 09/12/2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Hi Angela

    I really like this, I was thinking of doing something similar but on a big chalkboard in my studio. The only time I had to write a business plan was for university and to be honest, that experience completely turned me off the idea of EVER doing it that way again. It was laborious and painful and way too structured. Creative people tend to think differently and I think just by the nature of what we do, we like to be flexible and often need to be able to keep up with trends and what people out there will like, so the flexibility this offers is great!

    • Angela 09/17/2014 at 11:36 am #

      Thanks Cassy! I love how it has just the right amount of structure that makes it approachable and allows our creative ideas to naturally flow.

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