The idea behind the Lean Canvas is to quickly sketch the business idea instead of using several weeks to develop a business plan. I am delighted to announce that my latest online training programme, ‘Complete a Lean Canvas for your Startup Business Idea’ is now live. This blog post will explain what is contained in the FREE online programme and explain how to avail of the optional 1:2:1 support offered to participants who complete the programme.
Lean Canvas Online Training: 2 Minute Explanatory Video
Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas from Running Lean
There are 9 building blocks or components to Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas. He details each component of this adapted Canvas in his superb book Running Lean why I highly recommend for startups in Ireland. The tool is used by probably all the New Frontiers programmes in Ireland.
The first module addresses Block 1 & 2 which are The Problem and Customer Segments. These are now collectively known as the Lean(er) Canvas. Before you get started the main question is: Do you have a problem worth solving? Think in terms of ‘the job’ that customers need done. At the same time you need to brainstorm who could be your customer or user: define 2-3 specific and small customer groups. Customers are those who pay for your products while users or end users consume your product or solution.
There are two sub blocks being Existing Alternatives and Early Adopters. Your lean canvas should address the top 3 problems of your potential early adopters, those who are first going to purchase your solution.
Module 3 addresses how to complete the next 3 blocks of the Lean Canvas.
3. Map out a Solution
Create a brief for a solution that ties back to the definition of the problem. List the three most important features for a solution. Also think about how the product looks and feels in terms of size and shape. As in there is no need to repeat the big benefit as that is covered in the UVP.
4. UVP – Unique Value Proposition
The Unique Value Proposition or UVP is a clear message that describes the advantages of your offer, what makes you different and distinguishes you from the competition. The formula outlined in this module uses two elements. A headline which outlines the big benefit to an identified customers, and a subheadline which explains the essence of how the benefit is delivered. The job of a UVP is not to make a sale but to grab your potential’s customers attention so that they say ‘Tell Me More’.
5. Consider your initial Channels
Over the next few weeks and months how are you going to do two things:
– Make potential customers aware of your new offering
– Distribute the solution to them
So how are you going to get your first customers? Ash Maurya talks about a 10X model of getting 1, then 10, and then 100 customers and go on. So focus on your initial customer acquisition – how are you going to get to talk to them directly? Your network and being creative are really important!!
Module 4 of my online training programme addresses Revenues and Costs.
6. Revenue Streams (and Pricing)
Define the revenue streams and the prices for your offer. The pricing is part of your offer and needs to be designed and tested. The advice is to charge early customers for your product because not charging delays validation of a key risk for the busines … will customers buy?
List the most important immediate costs. Generally, these will relate to customer acquisition (research and engagement), product specification and MVP build, and adding to the Team. It is very important to find Problem-Solution fit before running out of resources.
The final two blocks are Key Metrics and Unfair Advantage.
8. Key Metrics
There are two aspects to key metrics. The first is to set out success metrics for your startup in years 1 to 3. What criteria will you use to judge success – Sales (unit and value), Products on Market, Markets Served, Reference Customers, and Margins secured. These are typical KPIs in many sectors.
The second aspect of key metrics is to identify leading indicators of success. Making happy customers gets you paid. Doing this repeatedly is the goal of every business.
Key metrics are really important in determining if your business is making progress towards Product Market Fit.
9. Unfair advantage
As the last step, define your Unfair Advantage over the competition: what makes your business model unique that is not easily replicated? For Irish startups the Unfair Advantage generally lies in People, Problem Solving, Technology (IP) and Strategy.
You may initially have to leave this box blank but it’s here to prompt you to think about how you can make yourself different and make your difference matter.
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Optional 1:2:1 Feedback Service
There is an option to request some of my time and expertise to review and discuss your lean canvas and startup journey. The service, which costs €200 including VAT, can be booked an paid for via my online appointment calendar.
Steps to book 1:2:1 Feedback:
1. Download the Lean Canvas Editable Pdf and send the completed version to me by email.
2. Book a timeslot with Donncha via my online calendar. You will have to pay for your session in advance using Paypal or Stripe. It costs €200.
3. I will send you feedback on your lean canvas by email.
4. You will automatically receive a calendar invite for your selected time with details of the Zoom link for the call. You will also get a reminder about your slot the day before.
Bonus Module – 4 Zoom Interviews with Irish Startups
I was delighted to talk to 4 startups about their businesses and the Lean Canvas. Each of the zoom interviews are published into the Bonus module to the FREE online training programme ‘Complete a Lean Canvas for your Startup Business Idea. An 1 minute extract of each video is published here.
Karl Bonner launched FishDish in 2020. The product – 100% fish based dog treats – addresses a gap in a highly competitive market. I wanted to talk to Karl because the problem that FishDish is solving is so interesting. So watch this video as you complete the Problem and Customer Segment of your Lean Canvas after watching Module 2.
I was delighted to talk over Zoom to the founder of Showergem, Sean Mc Garry. Our conversation focused on his understanding of the Customer and how that has evolved over time, and the channels used to reach his customer.
The third interiew was with Glenda Hahn of Hygiene Audits about her team, the product, the sales cycle for B2B and the value proposition.
And the fourth interview is with the Secret Stylist from County Kerry, Shauna who tells me all about her fashion tech startup Style Search which is transforming the online shopping experience for fashion. And yes the video is off to be consistent with her brand.
The full videos are available in the bonus module of the online training programme.
My Sixth Online Training Programme for Startup Founders and SME Owner-Managers
I am delighted to now have six online training programmes addressing: CSF, New Frontiers, Business Plan, Financial Projections, PItching and now the Lean Canvas.
Hope you found this blogpost of interest. Comments and social shares welcome and appreciated.
donncha (@donnchadhh on Twitter)