50 questions to help you build your startup business plan with the business model canvas

The business model canvas comes blank and simple, and that’s it’s beauty . In this way, you can fill it out as you see fit so that all your business plans will be presented on just one page.

The various videos in the full course on the business model canvas get very detailed about the questions that can help entrepreneurs fill out the canvas. These are fairly simple and logical questions and in the name of comfort I’ve taken them and written them down here in one post.

There’s no need to be overwhelmed by the number of questions; you don’t have to answer or address all of them. Only answer those that look relevant to you and your plan and that help you shine light on your next steps. And, of course, you can address any other questions that you think of.

The questions that will help you fill out every column in the business canvas model:

1. The customer

  • Who are our clients and why should they buy from us?
  • Who are we creating value for? (You may have a few different types of customers and that’s ok — see the video on Google’s canvas as an example.)
  • Who are our most important customers?

2. Value proposition (The product and value that you’re creating)

  • What are we building and for whom?
  • What are we providing to the customer?
  • What problems are we solving for a specific customer?
  • What needs are we fulfilling for the customer?
  • What product or service do we offer for every kind of customer?

3. Channels

  • Through which Channels do our Customer Segments want to be reached?
    (e.g website, application, social — Facebook/Twitter, marketplace — iTunes/Salesforce etc.)
  • How do we reach our customers today? How are our Channels integrated?
  • Which among our channels is the most efficient/cheapest?
  • Which ones are most cost-efficient?
  • How are we integrating them with customer routines?

4. Customer relations (Acquisition, retention and growth)

  • How will our company Get, Keep and Grow customers (by paid and/or free channels)?
  • What type of relationship do each type of our customers expect to build with us?
  • What type of relationship do we have already with the customers?
  • How does it combine with the rest of our business plan?
  • How much does maintaining this relationship cost us?

Acquisition — What is cost of obtaining a paying customer — CAC — Customer acquisition cost (example of a calculation for bringing in new users through Adword)?

Retention — How many customers are we losing in the process? What is the churn?

Growth — How can we grow our revenue from existing customers?

  • What is the lifetime value — LTV — of our customers? How much revenue does a customer create for us from the moment of his purchase until he quits working with us? How long is the LTV? And how much is the LTV worth? The goal of a startup is for the value of the LTV to be greater than the CAC.

5. Revenue channels

  • How will we make money?
  • What pricing model will work for us (monthly/annual subscription, according to the amount of use/users/time, a one-time payment, trial, freemium, advertising — examples etc.)? 
    If you’re thinking to make money from advertising it’s important that you watch this video.
  • Which value do you provide that the customer will be ready to pay for?
  • What are they already paying for today?
  • How are they paying today (annually/monthly/checks/Paypal/credit card etc.)?
  • How would they prefer to pay?
  • What are the components of each of our revenue channels from all of our revenue?
  • When will we reach $100K or $1M? And what needs to happen to reach it?
  • What is the size of the market we’re aiming for? And how many customers will we be able to sell to?

6. The necessary activities

What activities are necessary in order to carry out the business model? 
In other words, which activities will allow us to:

  • Provide the value proposition?
  • Maintain our distribution channels?
  • Build relationship preservation with the customers?
  • Build our revenue channels?

7. The necessary resources

What are the resources necessary to carry out the business model (physically, financially, human resources and intellectual property)? In other words, which resources will allow us to:

  • Provide our value proposition?
  • Maintain our distribution channels?
  • Build relationship preservation with the customers?
  • Build our revenue channels?

8. The required partnerships

  • Who are our necessary partners?
  • Who are our necessary suppliers?
  • What resources do we need to get from partners?
  • What activities necessary for us will be performed by partners?

9. Cost

  • What are the most important costs inherent from our business model?
  • What are our most expensive necessary resources?
  • What are the constant and changing costs?
  • When will our revenue surpass our costs?
  • What is our monthly rate of expenses or our burn rate? And how much time does the money we raised buy us?
  • What are the most important numbers for the survival of our company?

I created a Google slides Canvas template to help you work as a team on a digital canvas and add your digital “sticky notes” as a team as well as to help you easily save the history and various versions of the canvases you created.