The business model canvas is a great tool for understanding how your business works. If you aren’t sure how your company generates revenue or how it serves customers, this article will help you get started.

Key Partners

Key Partners

The partners you work with are critical to your business, as they support your efforts in many ways. They may provide capital, raw materials, services or other resources that are necessary for your business to function. You must have a thorough understanding of how each partner contributes value to the organization and what they expect in return. Without this knowledge, you will be unable to assess the long-term viability of any partnership.

Business Value

You should get into the habit of asking yourself “Why?” when it comes to every partnership: Why do I need my partner’s help? How will this help me build my business? If I had no partnerships at all would I still have success? The answers will give you insights into how valuable each partnership is and whether or not it should remain part of your model going forward.


The Activities section is where you’ll identify and describe the activities that make up your business model.

The key activities are those things that will drive your business forward, while supporting activities are ones that need to occur in conjunction with them but aren’t necessarily essential to its success.

For example, if you’re an online retailer selling goods produced by other companies on a wholesale basis, then selling products would be the key activity; it’s what makes up the majority of your revenue stream. However, getting these products from their suppliers and storing them in warehouses would be supporting activities—necessary steps to take before they can be sold online.

Your customers’ buying process is another example of how different parts of a business can have different roles: when someone comes across an item they want on Amazon (the website), they’re actually interacting with both a product-marketing team and fulfillment center staff members who work behind-the-scenes so that customers get exactly what they ordered as quickly as possible.”

Key Resources

  • Resources. The key resources of a business are the resources needed to run it. These can be physical, human or intellectual, tangible or intangible and internal or external to the company.
  • Examples include: – An office building that you rent from someone else and pay for monthly; – Your employees; – Your customers (and their data).

Value Propositions

  • The most important part of the canvas is your value proposition. A value proposition is a promise you make to your customers, but it’s also what your whole business is based around. It’s what makes you different and better than other businesses in the same industry or field.
  • Your value proposition should address the needs and desires of your target customer (or prospective customers). In other words, if you already know who the people are that want something from you, then think about how those people feel about themselves, their problems and how they can achieve their goals through working with you.
  • Put yourself in their shoes for a moment: What do they want? How will working with them help them get it? Why should they choose YOU over someone else?

Customer Relationships

Customer relationships are one of the most important components of your business model. The customer relationship can be direct or indirect; for example, in a tech company you may have direct contact with some customers but not others.

In this section, we’ll cover both direct and indirect customer relationships:

  • Direct Customer Relationships: These are relationships where you interact directly with your customers to deliver value to them. Examples include retail stores that sell products directly to consumers, or personal service providers such as barbershops and salons who provide their customers with haircuts or other services.
  • Indirect Customer Relationships: These are relationships where you interact indirectly with your customer through an intermediary like an app store (which acts as the intermediary). You don’t interact face-to-face—you just provide information about how they should use your product through some sort of interface like a website or app store description; then they download it on their own device so they can use it later!

Customer Segments

Customer segments are groups of customers who have a similar behavior or need. Customer segments help you focus on your target market and can be used to define different types of customers for each product or service you offer.

Customer segments can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Geographic — Customers living in different regions are likely to have different needs.
  • Demographic — Customers with similar age, gender, education level etc. may have similar needs and preferences (for example: baby boomers vs Gen X or Gen Y).
  • Psychographic — Customers with similar attitudes towards a particular situation (eg love bird’s vs bachelors) may also have similar needs and preferences.


A channel is the way you get your product to your customers. It’s the path you take to market, and it can be a lot of things: there are direct channels like Amazon and Indiegogo, indirect channels like Ikea and Alibaba, as well as physical retail stores (like Best Buy or Target).

To choose a channel for your business, think about where your customers spend most of their time online. This will help determine which platforms are best for marketing and sales. For example, if most of the people who use Instagram also buy products on Pinterest—and not many consumers go both places—that could be an indication that Pinterest may work better than Instagram when it comes to driving traffic back to your website or store front.

Cost Structure

The Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is the cost you incur to produce and deliver your product or service. The COGS includes all direct costs associated with producing your product or providing your service, including:

  • The cost of raw materials
  • Fixed manufacturing overhead costs, such as rent and utilities
  • Direct labor costs, like wages paid directly to factory workers who make the product

Revenue Streams

The revenue stream section of your canvas is where you will begin to identify how exactly you plan on generating revenue. This is also where you will be able to start mapping out how much money you expect to make and how your business will turn a profit.

The following questions are useful when considering this step:

  • How am I going to get paid? What do I need from my clients in order for them to pay me? For example, if you’re selling advertising space on your website, what specific services do they need from their ad campaign in order for them to pay up front (like design services or copywriting) or at the end of each month (like SEO keywords).
  • What is the value of my services? It’s important that whatever price point you choose reflects the value that customers place on what they get from doing business with you—this means researching competitors’ prices as well as looking back at historical data from similar companies (for instance, if there were two companies offering similar products before, but one went bankrupt…) In addition, consider whether there are any other factors (such as location) that might affect pricing decisions by potential customers; perhaps proximity does matter when considering comparative values between two options!

A business model is a great way to think about how your business works.

A business model is a great way to think about how your business works. Having one can help you to:

  • Identify the key activities that make up your business, and when they occur
  • Understand the resources needed at each stage of the process
  • See where there might be opportunities for improvement.


We hope this blog post gave you a deeper understanding of business models and how they can help you plan your startup. If you want to take your business model even further, there are plenty of resources out there with more information about how to develop one for yourself or your company.