How to Clarify Your Business Model as a Social Entrepreneur

What You get From Filling out Your Business Model Canvas

When to Map out Your Business Model

  • In times of intensive change in the market or in your business (think a global pandemic, when you see a new opportunity, or when you’re making a strategic pivot)
  • During strategic planning.
  • When you’re looking for funding and are talking to investors.
  • When your team seems disconnected from each other and find it difficult to see how they fit into the bigger picture.
  • When you have high momentum and want to build on it by creating a synergistic product/service.

How to Actually Fill It Out

The Impact Business Model Canvas

Value Propositions

  • sort the items into “Offering” and “Value” columns as I did, then connect offerings with the different value propositions in the offering.
  • color code the value propositions based on the customer segment they’re for.
  • Rank the value props/offerings for each based on importance to your customer.

Customer/Donor Segments

  • You can rank the customer/donor segments based on engagement or revenue
  • If you haven’t already, you can color code your customer segments to match them with the value propositions/offerings that speak to that segment.
Here’s what we have so far.

Customer Relationships

  • Rank each relationship based on how well you fulfill the relationship
  • For each relationship, brainstorm tactics you can use to make a better experience for the customer.
  • Brainstorm new types of relationships that you could build with existing segments to reach your goals.

Channels

  • Rank your channels by revenue or usage
  • Rank your channels by cost to maintain
  • Split your channels by “owned” and “partner owned” to see if you’re reliant on partners for channels that bring the most revenue.
  • Take 5 minutes to brainstorm channels that you aren’t using but could be, and prioritize channels to act on.

Revenue Streams

  • Rank the revenue streams by proportion of overall income. Write the percentage of overall revenue next to the revenue stream.
  • Match the ranked revenue streams with channels and value propositions to see which channels + value props are driving most revenue.
  • Ask “what if” questions about the different types of revenue streams, e.g.: “What if this was subscription-based?”, or “What if this was usage based”
    and discuss with your team how that would change the rest of the business model.

Eco-Social Benefits (Impact Streams)

  • Connect each benefit to a value proposition.
  • Connect each benefit to the customer segments that care about it the most.
  • Look for eco-social benefits that could be transformed into value propositions, what the offering would be, and to whom.

Beneficiary Segments

Key Resources

  • Connect each major asset to the revenue streams/eco-social benefits that it enables most.
  • With your team, do a “forced ranking” of the assets based on importance to the overall business model.

Key Activities

  • Match your key activities with your key resources and the corresponding value props/benefits.
  • Rank them based on the resources and value props they’re associated with.
  • For each key activity, brainstorm all of the activities that are within it. You can also think about what smaller activities you could do to better perform the key activity.

Key Partnerships

  • Ask your team “What partnerships could we explore To solve {insert your major business problem}?” For 5 minutes, individually brainstorm (or research) on the different partnerships that could solve the problem. Gather all the ideas and discuss as a team how they’d affect the rest of the business model. How would this partnership empower key activities and key resources? How would it change your cost structure? How might it create new channels or change existing ones?

Cost structure

  • Rank your cost categories from most expensive to least expensive. See how they match up with the resources/activities/channels they enable and finally, the revenue streams and eco-social benefits that come out on the other side. Do the highest costs lead to the highest revenues? What eco-social ROI are you getting?

Eco-Social Costs

  • For each major eco-social cost, ask your team “How might we mitigate or erase this moving forward?” take 5 minutes to think of tactics, then prioritize them.
  • To go even further, ask “How might we incorporate this cost into our business model? Could we create a new business model that addresses this eco-social cost?”. It might seem far-fetched to create a business out of a negative eco-social affect of your current business model, but think of this — a food producer could benefit from considering what revenue streams or value they could create from food waste! Get imaginative. That’s how innovation happens.

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Adam French

Adam French

Systems Social Impact + Web3 Economics + Personal Development & Spirituality. Any questions? Hit me up afrench@designunity.one