In Business Plans

The Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas are good tools for capturing and stimulating discussion, and are becoming more and more popular.  Locally Scottish Enterprise is encouraging their use, helping to make them even more popular.  I thought I’d share a couple of tips I have picked up in the time I have been using them. Never write on the canvas is a golden rule whether you are working electronically or with good old-fashioned paper.  The main purpose of the canvases is to stimulate discussion, which means it’s really important to be able add, remove, change and move elements!  Writing on the canvas directly creates a sense of permanence that inhibits this.

Pick the right canvas.  You can get templates for either canvas from, and these are the versions described in the well-known books “Business Model Generation” and “Value Proposition Design” (  However, there is an alternative Value Proposition Canvas which I find results in better quality discussions and fewer arguments and misunderstandings about terminology.  You can find the template, and some of the research behind it, here:

Strategyzer provides an online tool for creating and sharing Business Model and Value Proposition canvases, with options for deeper analysis.  It’s reasonably priced, easy to use, and is a good way of capturing for teams.  You can also export canvases to PowerPoint and other formats.  Personally I find it can be hard to fit enough detail in, but other than that it’s a good tool.  Got to to find out more.  It also uses the version of the Value Proposition Canvas I like less.

You don’t need Strategyzer’s online tool to collaborate online however.  You can PowerPoint Online, OneNote, EverNote, or Google Docs with the canvas template (see above) as a background image and creating little text boxes to contain your content.  This gives you more control over scale and how much you fit on, and still allows you to work collaboratively.  It may lack the drill-down features of Strategyzer’s tool, but it works pretty well for me.

Understand the limitations of the tools.  All tools have limitations, and I often find, especially when commercialising technology and looking for markets, that the real challenge is comparing different potential value propositions and looking for attractive options to model more fully.  I don’t find the canvases help much with this, so I have devised my own Value Proposition Analysis canvas and template that you can use alongside or in advance of getting to the templates to compare different options.  You can find out about and download the FREE Value Proposition Analysis Canvas and Template here. I hope you find these thoughts of some use.

Leave a Comment