Lean Canvas Basics

Ido Green
3 min readDec 29, 2016

The lean canvas is a tool that helps entrepreneur to form their idea into a macro plan and later (hopefully) a full function service or product. I have used it many times and it’s a special useful tool if you wish to test an idea efficiently.

You can use something like a good pitch deck to do the same. The core in these tools is to help you articulate what are you going to do and how you are going to win with it.

Let’s have a look at the page below. You can click on it to see it on a full page. If you wish to work with such a template — scroll down and print the clean one that we got in the bottom of this post.

lean canvas

The idea here is to think on our idea and to break it down to the different aspects.

We will fill in short bullet points each section. If you have a co-founder or advisor/mentor to consult with, please do so. It will improve the final result. Also, show the result to many people that you respect. Each might give you a point of view you didn’t think about.

The Problem (think on it as opportunity)

What is the problem and why it’s worth doing?
Describe the need. If you have customers it’s even better.

The Solution

What are you doing that address the problem at #1.
This should be a short and articulate description of what you do.

Key Performance Indicator

What are the KPIs that you will move you forward?
How are you going to measure them?

Unique Value Proposition

What is the value of the solution you are going to provide?
Why it’s unique and no one else could do it better than you?
How much money/time/effort it will save or generate?
If you can show that it’s a ‘must have’ and people will be happy to pay for it. Try to show how this value fits in the big picture.

Unfair Advantage

What are you doing that no one else does?
Is it faster, cheaper, better? In what way? Why?
It might be special talent, some intellectual property or new way to do things.

Channels / Go To Market Plan

How are you going to get customers?
What are the ways you plan to interact with them?
Are you going to use direct sales, channels, freemium or something else?
What will be the cost of acquisition?

Customer Segments

What are the segments in the market that you are going to help?
You might want to have few ‘user personas’ and address each one with prioritization.
Try to identify the early adopters (that hopefully are going to LOVE your solution).

Cost Structure

What will it cost to launch and run your business? Break it down to people (in most cases this is the heavy part), hosting, customer acquisition, distribution cost, sales etc’

Revenue Streams

How are you going to make money?
What is your pricing model? This is the most challenging aspect — to come with the right pricing. You want it to be extremely competitive and on the other hand, not to leave (too much) money on the table.
What is the lifetime value of your user?
What will be the gross margin?

(!) Learn more about your options with this course on App Monetization.


Bonus points

Try to identify your competitors (visible and hidden). Give a short overview of what the competitors are doing and how you plan to win. Build credibility by showing that you are aware of all the major visible competitors and even some hidden ones. A nice chart the shows your strengths and weaknesses vis a vis your competitors will help here.

That’s it!

Happy new year!

Originally published on Ido Green