When friends and family and investors ask you, “what’s your business model?” really what they’re asking is, “are you going to make it?”
That’s a hard question to answer because you don’t have all the facts. How can you possibly know?
So many variables. Aim high or low. Local or national. Make it or buy it. Start small or with a big bang. How many customers do I need? Where do I find them?
There are a lot of models for business – especially online – and if you haven’t found somebody else who already does exactly what you intend to do, you can’t just copy what they do.
You could buy a book. Amazon has 30.000 – yes, thirty thousand – books with a title containing the words business model. You could try to read 1 per cent of those books, I suppose, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
There’s even a Harvard book about business plans, that basically says, all that matters are the people on your team, but sorry, it says, you have to write a business plan anyway.
Or you could use the Business Model Canvas.
Here’s how I recommend that you use it. Nobody gets it “right” first time. It takes a few attempts. It’s ok to change things as you go along.
- Download the canvas and write down the easy stuff that you know for sure. Give yourself half an hour. Put it away and come back a day later.
- Now you see that some of that stuff was wrong or incomplete. So now print a clean one and do it again but this time, realise that it’s just a way to get ideas down, you’re not trying to create a final version. Repeat until you think it’s about right.
- Now show it to somebody whom you trust to be honest and who isn’t involved or affected if it succeeds or fails.
- If they like it, show it to somebody else. Print it and put it on the wall. It’s your road map, it’s not meant to be filed away in a drawer.
- Don’t be afraid to change things as you learn more. Put the new versions on the wall on top of the old ones.
Do you find it hard to fill in the Business Model Canvas? Could you use some help, feedback or honest opinions from an independent coach and business consultant?