Business & IP Centre workshop partner, Neil Lewis, explores how the Breakthrough Business Model Canvas give start-ups the stamina and vision to succeed.
Question: Whatâs the secret to building a successful start-up?
Answer: A powerful sense of purpose that provides the ability and stamina to keep going through both the good times and the tough times whilst always providing an attractive draw to supporters, resources and potential customers.
Hence, youâd expect a start-up business model to prioritise âpurposeâ in the earliest stage of planning, but this key feature is lacking in the standard business model canvas.
The original Business Model Canvas remains rooted in a logical left-brained deductive process that fails to build unique and exciting business models. Nor does it capture the purpose, the energy or the passion of the founders that stand behind their start-ups.
That is why we completely rebuilt the canvas as the Breakthrough Business Model Canvas and place âpurposeâ as the heart of this new innovative model.
Why does Purpose matter?
Two key reasons: Vision and stamina
Firstly, as a start-up or scale-up you are making promises about what you *will* deliver and what you *can* deliver in the future. You need a variety of people; customers, partners, investors, supportersâŠ to come alongside you and âbuy intoâ your vision.
Even if you already have a functioning product, your supporters still have to âbuy your future visionâ. And to be convincing, you have to show why your team is built for this future solution, why it is in your DNA, why it is your purpose.
Secondly, by creating your start-up or scale-up out of your sense of purpose, you are telling your supporters that you have the stamina to follow throughâââthat you are determined to make it work and that you have the energy and passion to overcome the barriers and challenges that we all know you will face.
And this outward expression of your inner drive that so effectively engages with start-up and scale-up supporters, does not come from better business model engineering but by discovering your purpose and passion and learning to express that purpose with greater clarity and increased impact.
As the original business model canvas fails to capture this raw emotional connection, we lose sight of a crucial part of what makes your business attractive, what makes it unique and why it should be supported and championed.
You might say the purpose of The Breakthrough Canvas is to ensure your startup or scaleup remains âuniqueâ!
âThere are already lots of copycat businesses out thereâââso be different, be unique, be you and be uncopiable, unmatchable!â
And, because The Breakthrough Canvas is emotionally powerful for your team, they too will also have a powerful motive to take action and to inspire others to become supportersâââcustomers, team members, investors and so on and so forth.
Pivot inââânot Pivot out!
How the Breakthrough Business Model Canvas can help you and your team will depend on the questions you are asking and the challenges that you face.
However, a typical conundrum that start-ups face is whether to pivot or not. In this example, The Breakthrough Canvas has helped entrepreneurs switch from âpivoting outâ to âpivoting inâ. For instance, a media team found that their sectorâââgig reviews and student mediaâââwas awash with people willing to write for free.
Their question began asââââhow do we change our business to find a sustainable economic model? Do we switch to writing generic marketing copy or website blogs because they pay more money?â
Following a session using The Breakthrough Business Model Canvas and refocusing on what this team really loved to do, we discovered a new business modelâââworking alongside the student media editorial teams at their high-pressure publication dates to provide last minute reviews, editorials and editing.
This switch of focus happened when we changed the question from âwho will pay us for our wordsâ to âwhat are we exceptionally good at (because itâs our purposeâââour âwhyâ) and who works in that space that we can add value toâ.
By asking the âpurposeâ question first and following through with questions about customer needs and motivations, this start-up pivoted inwards and deeper, rather than pivoting outwards and into the headwinds of a lot of competition where they would have been âgoodâ but not standout exceptional.
There are regular workshops at the Business & IP Centre London on The Breakthrough Business Model Canvas which can help you uncover your purpose and super-charge your start-upâs growth, visit our Events and Workshops page to find out when the next one is. Alternatively, you can search online for a coach who can take you through the canvas to help you uncover deeper and more powerful answers.
Neil Lewis, founder of Media Modo
Neil delivers coaching, tools and workshops to help you discover your start-up purpose, gain lift-off and magnify growth. He is a regular workshop leader at the Business & IP Centres in London and Manchester.