7 Simple Steps to Form Your Business Ideas Using Lean Canvas

Owning a business or start up a business sounds so fancy. Some youths have started their business from scratch during colleague or after colleague, some have done it as side projects besides their professional work, and some have left their professional works to start their business. Who’ve got succeeded? I don’t know. What I know only few successful ones get heard and echoed by the media, while around 99% have been faded silently.

Yet, it’s still good to start a business anyway. Why?

It is said running a business is one of the best ways you can built and grow your wealth. That’s true! However, you need to find the right business ideas and right ways to run your business successfully as well. Here are the simple steps you can use to form your business idea, and transform the idea into reality. I’m gonna use the Business Canvas here to help you form the ideas. Let’s assume you have no idea what business to start yet. Or you can pick one of these 12 Economics Values (write another article about it) from Josh Kaufman to form your startup.

7 Simple Steps to Transform Your Ideas into Business

In the Personal MBA book, Josh Kaufman defined a successful business definition as follow: (You can check his book here)

Every successful business (1)creates or provides something of value that (2) other people want or need (3) at a price they’re willing to pay, in a way that (4) satisfies the purchaser’s needs and expectations and (5) provides the business sufficient revenue to make it worthwhile for the owners to continue operation. The Personal MBA – Josh Kaufman

Lean Canvas is business model generation developed by Ash Maurya. It is a one page business plan template known to be used by million of people including Apple to attain their product success in the market. The canvas has been evolved and adjusted from time to time. It’s applicable for starting any size of business including SME, and Tech Startup as long as you know how to use it. To cut the story short, let’s get start to brainstorm your business.

People have different opinions on which box to start first. The numbers listed in the picture are just one example. We’re going to be flexible with that. So now let’s replicate this canvas on your computer or on paper or use this online canvas tool for your convenient.

Step 1: Identify 3 Problems

In Problem Box, define THREE PROBLEMs you or your business want to solve. Think of your everyday life. What are the big issues you are facing everyday, and you think they must be solved. Not just yours. Can also issue your parents, your friends, your colleagues and so on are facing. Then, those people will be your customers. Put them in the Customer Segments box. Be as specific as possible.

For example, people used to have problem storing their files on computer or hard drive. Then cannot access those documents when they are aways from their computer or hard drive. Dropbox came in to solve this problem. You can access your files anywhere if you store in dropbox. You just need a computer, internet, username and password. You can watch the video’s explanation for more understanding.

After you complete the problem and customers segments boxes, move to step 2.

Step 2: Figure Our Solutions

In Box number 3, layout 3 solutions or features of your products/services that you will use to solve all the three problems you have identified. No worry too much. You’ll need to come back and keep polishing these ideas on the go.

You may also learn from Dropbox story on how their business solves the users’ problem and address their need. You can also search more on how Uber, Grab, or other local startup are solving problems in your country as well.

Step 3: Define Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

Then move to Unique Value Proposition (UVP) box number 2. Ask yourself if you’re going to run a business to solve the problems you have raised, how your products or services will solve and address the need for those people (target customers)? What make it very different and better than others if some solutions have already been existed?

Write a “single, clear, compelling message that states why your goods/services are different and worth buying?”

Step 4: Set Your Channels of Communication

In the Channels box, trying to think of how you can reach your customers? Starting from how you reach them as a person. Then how your products reach them?

For example, you may promote your products on a website, social media channel, blog post, phone call or other events. You can also have the dealers to help sell your products as well.

Step 5: Cost Structures and Revenue Streams

Thinks of your cost structures for starting and running your business. And then in the Revenue Streams, how will you make the money? For the case of our Dropbox, they charge you a monthly plan and size of the storage you rend them. For you, you’ll need to think of the best way to charge your customers based on your goods and services (internal link).

Step 6: Use Key Metrics to Track Your Business

Time to set your Key Metrics. Key Metrics here refer to how you’re gonna keep track of your experiment, your business and your customers. I would recommend you to check out the key metrics below. Maybe you can use it to apply to your business or at least get an idea out of it.

Step 7: Seek Unfair Advantages for Your Business

last is Unfair Advantages, meaning what advantages you have for your business? For example, if you are a person with high profile or high authority, you’re likely to get a lot of support from investors or customers. Of if you have an expert’s endorsement for your startup, it’s gonna be an advantage for your competition in the sector.

Recommended books for further reading:


After you have filled in the canvas, this canvas will become the foundation of your business plan. However, it’s not a final one. You’ll need to keep working on it, adjusting it and polishing it from time to time where you see fit. That’s how the start up work anyway. In the next article, I’ll write more details of each section for your further reading.

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