How to create a business model for your startup

Photo fo the business model canvasOn Monday night, Toronto-based startup consulting company Venture Deli kicked-off their first in a 6-week “Minimum Viable Everything” workshop series aimed at helping socially and environmentally focused startups to launch their businesses and prepare for capitalization and commercialization.

The first class, which was held at the Yorkville Media Centre, focused on how to build a business model and was hosted by Venture Deli founders Norm Tasevski and Assaf Weisz.

As part of the business modeling workshop, Tasevski took attendees through the nine key elements of creating a business model canvas.

Those elements include:

  1. Developing customer segments and knowing the difference between customers and clients
  2. Creating an empathy map to understand the customer’s emotional connection with your brand
  3. Formulating your offer – which is what you are exchanging for monetary value
  4. Understanding all of your channels – which are the ways your customer receives value
  5. Mapping out personal and interpersonal relationship opportunities with your customer
  6. Identifying all of your potential revenue streams
  7. Defining your key activities, or the actions that you undergo to deliver your offer or solutions
  8. How to identify key partners and define what makes a great partnership
  9. Developing your cost structure and focusing on all of your “cost assumptions”

Tasevski told attendees to create a business model canvas and play around with many scenarios until you find the right model that works for your business. If this is done before you create a business plan, it will save you a lot of time and enable you to determine whether your business will make money at an early stage. Venture Deli used Starbucks as an example of how to create a simple canvas.

According to Tasevski, the final business model should be no more than a page long with some additional supporting documents.

The Venture Deli group also advised workshop attendees to gather lots of data while building the business model in order to understand “what you know” versus “what you don’t know.” Once you have that information, you can then figure out how to bridge the gap and fill-in all of the missing pieces.

Finally, attendees were told to listen to half of everything that “lovers,” “haters,” and “don’t give a crappers” say to you when you start speaking to people about your business idea. This will enable you to learn what adjustments you might need to make to your business model.

You can access a similar version of the presentation on Slideshare. Next week’s class will focus on “developing a go to market strategy.” If you are in Toronto, you can still sign-up for the next five classes.