Business Model Canvas (BMC)

What is the Business Model Canvas?

The Business Model Canvas (BMC) is a strategic management tool designed to help individuals and organizations conceptualize, design, and innovate their business models. Developed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, the BMC provides a visual chart with elements describing a firm's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. It allows businesses to understand, define, and align their activities for identifying potential trade-offs in a clear and structured manner.

Key Components of the Business Model Canvas

  • Value Propositions: Defines the products or services the business offers and how they solve customers' problems or fulfill their needs.
  • Customer Segments: Identifies the different groups of people or organizations the business aims to reach and serve.
  • Channels: Outlines how a company communicates with and reaches its Customer Segments to deliver its Value Proposition.
  • Customer Relationships: Describes the types of relationships a company establishes with specific Customer Segments.
  • Revenue Streams: Represents the cash a company generates from each Customer Segment (costs must be subtracted from revenues to create earnings).
  • Key Resources: Describes the most important assets required to make a business model work.
  • Key Activities: Specifies the most important things a company must do to make its business model work.
  • Key Partnerships: Identifies the network of suppliers and partners that make the business model work.
  • Cost Structure: Describes all costs incurred to operate a business model.

Benefits of the Business Model Canvas

  • Clarity: Provides a clear overview of what a business does and how it does it, all on a single page.
  • Flexibility: Allows for quick adjustments and iterations, facilitating rapid innovation and adaptation.
  • Comprehensiveness: Covers the most crucial aspects of a business, ensuring a holistic approach to business planning and strategy.
  • Collaboration: Serves as a great communication tool that enhances understanding and cooperation among team members or stakeholders.

Using the Business Model Canvas

  • Workshop Setting: It's often used in group settings to encourage participation and input from different stakeholders, fostering creative thinking and consensus building.
  • Iterative Process: Start by filling out each of the nine blocks. It doesn't have to be perfect on the first attempt; the canvas is designed to be updated and revised over time.
  • Customer-Centric: Always consider the customer's perspective when defining value propositions, channels, and customer relationships.
  • Alignment: Ensure that all elements of the canvas work together and support each other, creating a coherent and feasible business model.
  • Analysis: Use the canvas for analyzing and comparing different business models, including competitors or potential partners.

Challenges in Applying the Business Model Canvas

  • Over-Simplification: While the BMC provides a simplified view of the business, it may overlook some complexities or nuances of operations.
  • Dynamic Environments: Rapid changes in the market or industry may require frequent updates to the canvas, making it challenging to keep the model current.
  • Depth of Detail: The canvas may not capture all the details necessary for operational or tactical planning, requiring supplemental tools or documents.


The Business Model Canvas is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, startups, and existing businesses to visualize, design, and innovate their business models. By breaking down the components of a business into manageable segments, the BMC facilitates a deeper understanding of the core aspects of a business and encourages strategic thinking and innovation. Whether used for brainstorming new business ideas or refining existing models, the BMC provides a structured yet flexible framework for strategic management and planning.

See Also