A great tool for entrepreneurs and small business owners alike for planning out their businesses in a more free flowing approach is the Business Model Canvas (please feel free to download this template and use it for your own). Writing a business plan is great, but the problem is most people don’t think in such an organized and structured manner. The business model canvas better accommodates how we think, with an idea here and an idea there. If you lay the canvas out on table or up on a whiteboard, you can then post notes to it in the categories that apply to your thoughts and ideas, although it is a good idea to start initially by working through the model in a logical flow.
Start with value propositions which is strategically placed in the top center of the canvas and then work your way to the right covering customer relationships and channels. Drop down to revenue stream then up and over to the left to cover key activities, key resources and key partners. Finally after identifying these you will have a good idea of what your cost structure will be.
After you have made the initial run and posted notes in the various parts, start brainstorming and include other business partners, mentors and advisers if you can. You can jump around and put notes in the places that they belong as the ideas come to you. Take off notes and put them in a parking lot if you are unsure about their fit. Like I said before the beauty of the business model canvas is that it is meant to be free flowing and not structured like a business plan document. It can be a living document that you keep up and revisit after you get feedback from the marketplace.
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The Shared Finance Center provides outsourced accounting, bookkeeping and fractional CFO support to small business owners and in doing so we heavily focus on maximizing cash flow. We are headquartered in Roswell, Georgia and work with clients across the United States. If you think that this post would be helpful to anyone you know, please pass it along. Also please follow our blog for regular tips to grow your business.