The Lean Canvas


What is the Lean Canvas?

The Lean Canvas is a version of the Business Model Canvas which is particularly aimed at startups still in the idea stage.

It was developed by Ash Maurya as an alternative to the business plan and to help entrepreneurs and startups to quickly outline and iterate their business idea, and to develop and test hypotheses for validation.

The Lean Canvas is based on the principles of the Lean Startup methodology, which emphasizes building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to quickly validate assumptions and gather feedback from customers.

Image of Lean CanvasWhat does the Lean Canvas look like?

The Lean Canvas itself is a one-page visual representation that captures 12 key elements of a business idea. These elements include:

  1. Problem: A clear description of the problem or pain point your product or service aims to address.

  2. Solution: An outline of your proposed solution to the identified problem.

  3. Existing Alternatives: How prospective customers currently deal with this problem.
  4. Key Metrics: The measurable indicators that will help you track the success and growth of your business.

  5. Unique Value Proposition (UVP): A concise statement that communicates the unique benefits your product or service offers to customers.

  6. High-Level Concept: Usually expressed by comparison to other solutions, such as Airbnb is "the Uber of travel accommodation".
  7. Unfair Advantage: Factors that give your business a competitive edge or barriers to entry that make it difficult for others to replicate your success.

  8. Channels: The different ways you plan to reach and acquire customers.

  9. Customer Segments: Clear identification of your target audience and the specific customer groups you intend to serve.

  10. Early Adopters: What characteristics are early adopters likely to exhibit?
  11. Revenue Streams: How you plan to generate revenue from your product or service.

  12. Cost Structure: The key expenses associated with operating your business.

Relationship to the Business Model Canvas

There are several key elements on the Lean Canvas which are common to the Business Model Canvas:

  1. Customer Segments
  2. Channels
  3. Value Proposition
  4. Cost Structure and Revenue Structure

Data captured in these common elements in Lean Canvas will be automatically carried over to the Business Model Canvas and vice versa.

Integrating with Strategy

A Lean Canvas developing into a Business Model Canvas may be a good starting point for a strategy. But they are not a strategy in themselves.

Fortunately, because the Lean Canvas is integrated into the broader framework, you can easily use a Lean Canvas as the starting point for developing a more complete strategy.

For example, you can:

  • Link Actions to any one or more elements on the Lean Canvas to validate them.
  • Link Strategic Initiatives to any one or more elements on the Lean Canvas to build, acquire, launch and/or improve them.
  • Link Strategic Insights to any one or more elements on the Lean Canvas to create a deeper understanding of the business strategy required.
  • Include Key Metrics defined on the Lean Canvas on your Strategic Scorecard.

Each of these will then automatically be carried forward into the many other tools and frameworks in which will help you further develop and execute your business strategy.

Where to find the Lean Canvas

To find your Lean Canvas:

  1. Log in to
  2. Select the project you want to work with.
  3. Click on "Analysis" on the main menu.
  4. Click on "Business Model" on the drop-down menu that opens up.
  5. Select "Lean Canvas" on the model selector on the page that follows.

If any part of this text is not clear to you, please contact our support team for assistance.

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