To compile a Lean Canvas is the very first step for evaluating a business idea and for identifying the riskiest assumptions to be tested. A Lean Canvas is also the perfect companion along the journey from initial idea to Product-Market fit.
The whole concept behind a Lean Canvas is to briefly and concisely explain a business model to a person who does not know anything about what the company is doing and why.
It just takes a few minutes to create a first draft and it’s so powerful that the simple act of preparing it will help anyone with a business idea to get more clarity on their thoughts.
A Lean Canvas template is available from LeanStack.com, together with some guidance on how to proceed. I encourage you to use LeanStack, as it keeps track of the different versions you will prepare and you can easily share the canvas either with the rest of your team or with advisors/coaches. Moreover, it’s free.
THREE KEY RULES TO COMPILE THE PERFECT LEAN CANVAS
Although the Lean Canvas has been designed to be simple and straightforward, it might present some challenges to first timers. There are three key rules to keep in mind:
– write statements that are specific and concise. No “but”, “however” or even subordinate sentences. Keep them simple, straight to the point, short (maximum 10 words each) and meaningful.
– after you have prepared a draft, go through each step, telling this story to yourself: we will help these people (customer segments) to solve (problem) by providing them (solution). They will know about us through (channels) and they will be convinced to join us because (value proposition) and because we already (unfair advantage). We will charge them by (revenue) and we believe this will cover our (costs). We will measure our performance by tracking (key metrics). It should all flow and make sense, like it is a story where everything is linked. If it doesn’t, the Lean Canvas needs more work.
– prepare a Lean Canvas for each customer segment of your business idea. This is because each customer segment may have different problems, solutions, channels, revenue, costs, etc.
A LEAN CANVAS EXAMPLE: UBER LONDON
To get an idea of what we are talking about, let’s see an example of how a Lean Canvas would look like for a well known company: Uber in London.