Business Model Canvas: A well-known tool, vital for today's entrepreneurs

If you’ve ever had an idea to start your own business, you likely know that there are a lot of different elements and moving parts to think about. Even if your idea appears to be very reasonable and unique, you still need to find a centralised, essential view to take in all the details of your future business. This can be very tricky. How can you be prepared if you never did it before?

Fortunately, there is the Business Model Canvas Tool that can be used for organising your thoughts and estimations! 

The Business Model Canvas Tool was developed some time ago by Alexander Osterwalder, a Swiss entrepreneur and consultant, and it's still completely relevant today, as it allows a visual representation of all strategic factors in your business model.

It is a general, holistic, and complete overview of the business’s value propositions, customers, revenue streams, competitors and more.

The main purpose of a Business Model Canvas is to enable entrepreneurs to visualise and analyse their strategy. This includes updating the model as the company evolves, such as changes in the market, new revenue streams or expansions.

What is also vital is the connectivity and interactivity of the many sections. For example, the value proposition cannot be considered without understanding the target customer and also, the channels through which they are engaged. 

All these things need to be analysed together, not just in isolation. 

Alternatively, the Business Model Canvas can be used by organisations to plan, assess, or execute new models altogether. In this way, the Canvas highlights the key essentials and ensures that no vital factors are forgotten. If the Canvas is incomplete, then the respective strategy is also incomplete.

In summary, the key benefits of using the Business Model Canvas are: 

  • Creation of a “bigger picture” of your business still including the essential details:  It’s easily interpretable and offers a single source of truth for the wider strategy.
  • Introduction of quick adjustments and necessary iterations: By having everything connected, you can see how every part of the business is interconnected and linked with the wider structure. This can help make strategic improvements that otherwise might not have been identified before.
  • Shareability: It is a very structured and condensed format that allows presenting the full business strategy quickly and impactfully to stakeholders.
Dr Eleftheria Egel, VEP Speaker, PWN Global
Dr Eleftheria Egel, VEP Speaker, PWN Global

 In our Virtual Entrepreneurship Program 2021, we also have a Module dedicated to  fully understanding the Business Model Canvas. We have invited Dr. Eleftheria Egel, who is a business mentor for aspiring female entrepreneurs to lead this Module. As a regular webinar host, Eleftheria has been a dedicated volunteer with PWN for some time.

In our conversation, Eleftheria shares her ideas on why it can be very beneficial to use  the Business Model Canvas as an aspiring entrepreneur. 

Here's the transcript of the interview I conducted with Eleftheria.   

Ksenia Khalina, Executive Director VEP, PWN Global (KK): Hello, Eleftheria! Can you please say few words about yourself?

Eleftheria Egel (EE): Hi, Ksenia! Yes, sure! I am a solo mumpreneur, business mentor and scholar. I specialise in working with women who wish to succeed in business at three points of entry: 

  1. Women with a corporate career who believe that now is the right time to start their own business;
  2. Women who are considering a professional comeback after years of taking care of a family and
  3. Students or university graduates who wish to test a business idea and its potential for success. 

I help them to: clarify their purpose and their strengths; evaluate their entrepreneurial mindset; learn the skills they need to start their business; create their business strategy; and, develop their business plan. 

My work is informed by my scholarly research, my very own professional and life experiences, trials, and successes.

In parallel, I work as leadership consultant with the International Institute for Spiritual Leadership, based in Texas, USA, that focuses on maximising the triple bottom line by applying a model of spiritual leadership. Its main proposition is that we create impact-driven organisations only if we engage employees at a deeper, spiritual level where their need for finding meaning at work is satisfied. 

KK: Your story is great, Eleftheria! Maybe it is this personal experience of yours in entrepreneurship that inspires you to support PWN and the Virtual Entrepreneurship Program? 

EE: Exactly! Another reason is that in my work I focus on women who want to become entrepreneurs. 

Research shows that if there were more women entrepreneurs in the world, there would be fewer problems in our societies. Financial independence would allow women to be more assertive, happier, and fulfilled. 

The outcomes of having a growing number of women-entrepreneurs in our societies are evident too: better opportunities for education and jobs for young girls; gender equality and pay. And another, very important element - as women strongly concentrate on impact - we would see quicker and more effective actions in many of our collective challenges like climate change, environmental sustainability, and poverty reduction.

I first heard of PWN a couple of years ago. I was in Amsterdam delivering a leadership workshop with a colleague. She was member of PWN and invited me to attend a live event with PWN Amsterdam. I loved it! It was lively and vibrant, like a beehive. I met women with similar interests and concerns to my own. I could be myself and I felt part of the 'tribe'. 

Shortly after, I saw a LinkedIn announcement from Patricia Zeegers, the then VP Entrepreneurship for PWN Global. Patricia was asking for volunteers to join her in a mission to create an entrepreneurship academy. I contacted her immediatetly, and that is how I got acquainted with the current Virtual Entrepreneurship Program, and I am now privileged to host one of its Modules – Module 6 “Your Business Model (Canvas)”.

KK: So, how do you think the Module of Business Model Canvas will help the participants advance in their entrepreneurship projects?

EE: Well, a Business Model Canvas is a visual description of your business idea, or of the strategy of an existing business. It presents how a business creates, captures and delivers value. It is an effective way to bring all the elements of your strategy together, from customer understanding, value propositions, revenue streams to involved costs. Doing so allows for a broad, but deep, overview of all involved parts of the intended business model. Whether its purpose is to provide updates to an existing strategy or to develop an entirely new company or business, the Canvas is one of the best ways to get such an overview, assess directions as early as possible and maintain clarity on the overall strategy of a business.

KK: What's your advice for the Virtual Entrepreneurship Program participants aspiring to be entrepreneurs? 

EE: To try it out! 

“Try out” does not mean take a decision in haste!  “Try out” means: I have a business idea, which I am ready to test in the market, I evaluate my entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities, I learn, plan well and take calculated risks. 

It is very important to know who we are and what we can achieve. Many times, we see aspiring entrepreneurs who simply “bury their head in the sand”. They are obsessed with their ideas and do not test them in the market to see if there is place for them. Or they over-estimate their abilities and skills. 

They need to check all these elements before they start in order to develop the competencies they lack; be surrounded by professionals with skills complementary to theirs and find supportive networks. 

PWN is one of them.

KK: Thank you very much, Eleftheria, for this conversation and for your advice! I believe it is a great opportunity for aspiring and advanced entrepreneurs to join your Module and to learn or refresh their knowledge on how to use the Business Model Canvas in the most effective way. Looking forward to seeing you on 5th November during Module 6 of our Virtual Entrepreneurship Program!

If this article has inspired you, join us and REGISTER for the Module 6 : Your Business Model



Date: Oct 2021
Author: Ksenia Khalina, Executive Director, Virtual Entrepreneurship Program, PWN Global
Copy Editor: Rebecca Fountain, Marketing Consultant, PWN Global

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