Mastering The Business Model: A Guide to Completing the Lean Canvas Model

A Guide to Completing the Lean Canvas Model

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

In the ever-changing world of innovation, a well-defined roadmap is essential to steer a startup towards financial sustainability. The Lean Canvas model does just that – it is a valuable one-page template for brainstorming early-stage business models.

It’s designed to be an ever-evolving blueprint that assists entrepreneurs in validating their ideas, mitigating risks, and iterating their business models. Its approach calls for concise content, making it a practical framework to outline your business concept. And most importantly, it enables you to align strategies with market demands.

Below we take a look at how to complete the Lean Canvas tool.

How To Use the Lean Canvas Template for Business Model Development

Lean Canvas Template

As mentioned above, the Lean Canvas is a strategic management tool that helps startups and entrepreneurs develop a concise and actionable business plan. It is divided into several blocks, each focusing on crucial aspects of a business model.

Let’s take a look at each block:


Identifies the top 3 problems and pain points that your target audience experience. The end goal is to understand their problems better and identify how your solution solves their problems / and alleviates the pain.


Clearly outline your business solution and/or product offering that solves the problems your customers are experiencing. Describes how your solution effectively meets the market’s demands.

Learn More: Lean Canvas Model: Crafting Solutions and Prioritizing Features

Key Metrics

Determines the key performance indicators to help you measure your business’s performance and progress. These metrics inform your business development.

Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

Define what sets your business apart from competitors and why potential customers will choose your product or service.

Read More: What Is Unfair Advantage in Lean Canvas?


Highlights the channels you intend to reach and engage your customers. This may include online platforms, partnerships, or direct sales channels.

Customer Segments

Specifies the different market segments you plan to target. This block helps you understand your primary audience, which is critical for tailoring your offering. Learn how ‘customer segments’ can impact your business success and optimize your strategy accordingly.

Cost Structure

This breaks down the expenses involved in operating your business. This includes production costs, marketing expenses, and other relevant financials.

Read More: The Cost Structure Lean Canvas

Revenue Streams

Outline the sources of revenue for your business. This may include sales, subscriptions, licensing fees, or any other means through which your business generates income.

What are the benefits of using the Lean Canvas?

Ash Maurya pioneered the Lean Canvas model as an invaluable tool for startups using the Lean Startup methodology. By filling out the one-page lean canvas, you can clearly define your business model and identify any weaknesses or gaps in your strategy.

Read More: Startup Project Management: The Key to Success

The main benefit of the lean canvas is that it forces you to synthesize your business idea down to its core components. This includes identifying your target customers, the problem you are solving for them, your unique value proposition, the channels you will use to reach customers, and your revenue streams. Going through this exercise early on ensures your entire team has alignment on the fundamentals of your business.

Another advantage is that the lean canvas lends itself well to experimentation and iteration. As you test parts of your business model and gain new customer insights, you can quickly update your canvas to reflect pivot decisions. This builds momentum by keeping your team focused on the right metrics and priorities.

Tools to create a Lean Startup model

The advice has been, traditionally, to print out a lean canvas and post it somewhere to fill with sticky notes. This can often be challenging as teams are frequently remote and may need access to the information outside the office because the lean canvas should be tracked alongside progress.

Tools to create a Lean canvas online include project management tools like Leantime and tools like Leanstack.

Tools to Create a Lean Startup Model

Leantime Features Include

  • Task Management
  • Idea Management
  • Goals Tracking
  • SWOT Analysis, Empathy Maps, Project Briefs
  • Time tracking
  • AI Task Prioritization
  • Strategy Management
  • Program Plan management
  • And much more

Being able to map out your initial business model and then immediately connect it to a growing business is a unique value proposition of using a tool like Leantime. It’s an ideal companion to both growing and developing your business ideas simultaneously. Quickly see the progress and keep the growth on track with our features.

In Summary – Optimize Business Development with the Lean Canvas

Overall, the lean canvas model perfectly complements the Lean Startup approach. Enabling fast learning and adaptation increases your chances of finding product-market fit and launching a sustainable, scalable business.

Completing the Lean Canvas template helps create a comprehensive understanding of your business model and guides strategic decision-making. Regularly revisiting and revising (also known as iterating), the canvas keeps your business strategies aligned with market dynamics and ensures that you’re on the path to scale and grow.

Using the Lean Canvas framework is a proactive way to advance your business model, sets the stage for informed decision-making, and helps define an adaptable business model that stands the test of time.

Explore More About Lean Startup Philosophy — we’re passionate about helping you navigate the world of entrepreneurship and innovation through the lens of the Lean Startup methodology.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key sections of the lean canvas?

The 9 sections are Customer Segments, Problem, Unique Value Proposition, Solution, Channels, Revenue Streams, Cost Structure, Key Metrics, and Unfair Advantage.

When should I fill out the lean canvas?

It’s best to complete your initial lean canvas during customer discovery and before building your minimum viable product (MVP). Revisit and iterate on it throughout product development.

How detailed should the lean canvas be?

The goal is to summarize your business model at a high level on one page. Capture the essential elements without going into too much depth.

Can I use the lean canvas as a replacement for a business plan?

The lean canvas is meant to complement a business plan, not serve as a comprehensive plan itself. Use it to align your team and identify gaps before creating your full plan.

Should the lean canvas be updated over time?

Yes, the canvas should evolve as you learn from experiments and make pivots. Review and update it frequently to stay on track.

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Jenny Jackson, a seasoned Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR), brings a wealth of expertise in innovation process, design thinking, and research & development. Since 2019, she has demonstrated her commitment to fostering business growth as a dedicated Business Mentor for Charlotte Launch (formerly Ventureprise Launch) and as a leader guiding two research teams in the prestigious National Science Foundation’s (NSF) iCorps program.Jenny's journey in entrepreneurship and innovation has been marked by a series of impactful roles. Prior to joining the dynamic team at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UNC Charlotte, she provided invaluable support to startups, labs, and incubators, showcasing her dedication to fostering emerging ventures.Jenny holds a Master's in Organization Development from Queens University of Charlotte and a Bachelor’s in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Graphic Communications from North Carolina A&T State University.Beyond her professional achievements, Jenny is an advocate for children's rights and autism acceptance, reflecting her dedication to making a positive impact in the world. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. she continues to champion causes that align with her values.#InnovationExpert #DesignThinking #StartupMentor #BusinessGrowth #ResearchandDevelopment

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