Canvas instead of a business plan and building a successful business model

Day 19. January 2015 posted Stanislava Vabšek

The success of a start-up company is strongly dependent on designing an efficient business model. Mentor of lean entrepreneurship, Urban Lapajne has taken the participants of the 7th educational module of the accelerator Start:up Geek House through this process as described by the modern methodology Business Model Generation. He told them about the essential building blocks and the cases of the most successful global companies as well as read through the canvases of accelerator participants.


The bootcamp participants listened to Urban Lapajne tell them about all nine BMG building blocks and give them advice on what they should be careful about. The first key building block is value proposition, which is the group of products or services with which the company creates value to a certain customer segment. It is also the final goal of the product-market fit development phase. A company can offer value to the customer in various ways, but Lapajne also emphasised that the offered value should never be built on unchecked hypotheses but rather checked with every customer segment – does it really fulfil all expectations and solve the right problems?

In order to build an efficient business model, the company also has to decide on the customer segments it will address with its products as well as on the market (B2B, B2C, niche, general consumption). It is also recommendable to create the so-called personas, which represent a segment of customers. Lapajne gave a special reminder to start-ups that enter markets where there are more people who can influence the buying decision. He explained that each person should be approached personally and addressed in the right manner, while the product should be presented in a way that soothes the fear that using a start-up’s solution only brings additional work.

The company can communicate and deliver their offered value to the user segments through various channels that are either their own (a physical or online store) or their partner’s (sales through distributors or partner stores) or a combination of both. Lapajne told the participants to identify the channels of the entire sales process and advised that the best way to an optimal combination of channels is with metrics. “However, you should avoid vanity metrics, such as for example the number of visitors on the website, as they can make you feel better, but don’t actually tell you anything substantial. Focus on action metrics and testing, such as Click-Through Rate or A/B testing, which help you clearly find out what works and what doesn’t,” he additionally explained.

As far as customer relations were concerned, bootcamp participants learned about the “get, keep, grow” mantra, composed of three key words: get (new customers), keep (the already existing customers) and grow (the number of customers). Lapajne also presented the key questions for customer relations and the 6 basic relationships that a company can establish, as defined by BMG.

He further on pointed out that the characteristics of an individual customer segment are important when defining revenue streams as is the decision about the way of generating income (from leases, licences, advertising etc.) and whether the prices will be fixed or dynamic.

Lapajne went on to tell the participants about the key resources, which can be material, human, financial and intellectual, and are needed for the company to create and deliver value to its customers, as well as about the key activities, which need to be optimized depending on the development stage of the start-up company. He also talked about the partnerships that a company can establish with the purpose of optimizing its business or getting certain resources and activities, saying that this helps the company focus on its main activity and decreases business risks and uncertainties.

As the last point in the workshop, Lapajne told the participants that companies need to know exactly what their fixed and variable costs are, as well as which key resources and activities are the most expensive ones. “And don’t forget: the main goal of each company is generating income, which is also the most obvious proof that you have successfully achieved your product-market fit,” was Urban Lapajne’s conclusion to the workshop.

Useful links


Start:up Geek House Bootcamp SGH Bootcamp Start:up Geek House
Communications and PR Start:up Slovenija
Izvedba: Mojdenar IT d.o.o.