Business Model Made Easy: Benefits of the Business Model Canvas

A businesses model is the Holy Grail of every business – a blueprint for your product and how you’re gonna deliver it. It can determine whether your business is gonna make it – or break it. 

Traditionally, every company had their business model written in a business plan. Yet, things have changed. 100 – page long plans got too clunky to keep up with a fast-moving nature of lean businesses and startups. Last decade a new approach has been developing, that fits perfectly with the new agile environment. It’s called the Business Model Canvas.

Elements of the Business Model Canvas

Before digging in the benefits, we’ll shortly go through the elements of the Canvas.

Business Model Canvas - Elements
Elements of the Business Model Canvas

1. Key Partnerships:  What can the company outsource to partners so it can focus on its key activities?

2. Key Activities:  What key activities company does to deliver the value proposition?

3. Key Resources:  What unique assets company has in order to compete?

4. Value Proposition:  Why would customers want to buy and use the product? Why is it different than other similar products?

5. Customer Relationships:  How do you interact with your customers through their “journey” with the product?

6. Channels:  How do you promote, sell and deliver your products to customers?

7. Customer Segments:  Who are your customers? What do they feel, see, think?

8. Cost Structure:  What are the business’ major cost drivers? How are they linked to revenue?

9. Revenue Streams:  How does the business earn revenue from the value propositions?

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Benefits of the Business Model Canvas

It’s Short and Intuitive

Unlike lengthy business plans, the Business Model Canvas fits on a single sheet of paper. We can divide the model scheme into three groups of elements:

1. On the left side of the model are product related elements outlined in blue. They represent all activities and resources necessary for a product delivery. Product-related elements create costs.

2. Colored green, on the right side of the scheme, are customer related elements. They represent all aspects of a product that customers are in touch with. Customer-related elements create revenue.

3. Previous two elements interfere with each other and create a central element – the Value Proposition.

Dynamics of Business Model Canvas
The interaction between Business Model Canvas elements. Courtesy of apf.org

It makes sense – right? This logical structure makes the model catchy and easy to understand. Plus, the visual representation and spatial layout of elements make the model even more intuitive.

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It’s Easy to Modify

This is the world of continuing changes. Especially in the business world. New technologies, market niches, customer needs…all of those affect your business model.  So, finding an easy way to adapt your model to the changes is crucial.

Imagine rewriting a 100-page long business plan. It isn’t a pleasant thought – right?  Well, the Business Model Canvas is certainly a faster way for updating your business model. It will probably take you under 10 minutes to completely rewrite your old model.  However, if you stick with a business plan, it will take you longer than that just to read the first two pages.

It Focuses on a Customer Value

As I mentioned in a previous paragraph, the central part of the Business Model Canvas is the value proposition. It represents the coherence between what you’re selling and what customers need. Most importantly, it should highlight the uniqueness of how you bring that coherence.

Characteristics of Value Proposition
Characteristics of a Value Proposition. Courtesy of Convert.com

If you can’t define a clear, concise customer value proposition it may be a sign of a bad business model. The value proposition is the most important part of the Business Model Canvas and you have to explicitly define it. So, if it turns out you’re not really sure what your proposition is – you can promptly react. You will get a timely signal to redefine your business model and avoid possible disastrous outcomes.

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It Works

The Business Model Canvas is proven to work – and not just in the startup environment. Mega companies like LEGO, Microsoft or General Electric are also using this approach.  They have all realized the power of this simple tool.

LEGO has revamped the entire business model using the Canvas.  Not only did they avoid the bankruptcy, but they quadrupled the revenue and brought back the love of the kids around the world.

LEGO Business Model Canvas
LEGO Business Model Canvas. Courtesy of G. Motter

Make Your Own Business Model Canvas

It’s time for you to make your own Canvas. Click the interactive canvas below and use the post it tool to add new or edit existing post-its. Zoom in for the details, or zoom out to see a big picture.

Guest Blog Post: Creating Instructional Math Videos With AWW & Screencastify

Fourth-grade students in Ms. Doroodchi’s math class at Beck Elementary were recently given the challenge of creating instructional videos for their peers and future fourth graders. With their recent studies on division and understanding remainders, the problem-solving block transformed into a time of creating and explaining their thinking. To say they were excited about the task would be an understatement.

Visualizing Math Problems With AWW

Initially, students worked in groups and were tasked with writing and solving original word problems that would require the use of their division skills. The group captain was responsible for composing the word problem, while other group members solved the problem and analyzed the remainder.

In preparation for making the instructional video, students were introduced to Aww App. The digital whiteboard allowed students the opportunity to practice solving problems on their Chromebook. The first day students spent time simply exploring Aww App and the available tools.

The initial problems solved were generated by the teacher and students used applicable tools to solve the problem and justify their thinking. Aww App provides students with the ability to add text, images, and their own annotations with drawing and shape tools. Students utilized different tools throughout their exploration depending on need.

Visualizing Math Problems with AWWAPP
Visualizing Math Problems with AWW. Courtesy of Kelli Sanders

Making Instructional Math Videos with Screencastify

Screencastify was used to create the final recording of their instructional video. Used in conjunction with Aww App, students were able to share their word problem and show the steps necessary for solving the problem all while explaining and justifying themselves verbally along the way. Sophia was especially excited about the project saying:

I love how easy it is to record and share. Instead of sharing your work in front of the class with your math journal, you have your work ready to be shown on the big screen”.

Making Instructional Videos with Screencastify. Courtesy of Kelli Sanders

This project provided students with the opportunity to demonstrate several ISTE Standards for Students. The empowered learner “leverages technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals”. Additionally, the creative and global communicator strands were addressed as students published content for an intended audience and collaborated within groups in their classroom.

 

Beginner’s Guide to Paperless Classroom

Starting with Paperless Classroom

If I ask every teacher what would make their work better, their answer would probably be – more efficient and organized classroom. More time for students and less time doing paperwork. Paperless classroom is an concept which, if implemented thoughtfully and carefully, can make your teaching wishes come true.

However, when starting to think about going paperless, you’ll have to consider some facts. As in every concept, you have to take into account both benefits and challenges. At the beginning, set your expectations low, and see how the paperless concept works for you. Test it. Adapt it to your needs. When you’re ready, set the goals and keep track of them.

Paperless Classroom
Courtesy of: Paul Gigliotti

Benefits of Paperless Classroom

The two most obvious benefits of paperless classroom are smaller cost and less time spent for printing out. Printing out endless number of assignments, homework, syllabi and exams, can be cumbersome and exhausting work. Not to mention, the costs of paper, ink and maintenance can add up to enormous sums. Average American school pays $25,000 annually just for the costs of paper! This alone is a reason enough to start considering implementation of a digital classroom concept.

Beyond these obvious benefits, there are other perks of implementing paperless classroom system into your school. Paperless implementation can result in a more sustainable and efficient workflow. No more “dog ate my homework” or misplaced exams. Another big value of having a cloud based system is access to data. Teacher can access student data and see whether he’s turned in his homework right from his couch. Deeper analysis of student data can show how student progress over time.

Benefits of Paperless Classroom
Courtesy of: chalkup.co

Not doing things old way, can create a lot of extra time for student collaboration end engagement. Doing things digitally can save time and make more engagement friendly environment. Concepts like flipped classroom and blended learning are some of the examples of fostering collaboration with the use of paperless technology.

When kids got all the learning materials available in a cloud base or LMS system they can access it whenever they want. Discussions started in classroom can continue at students’ homes. Moreover, Students can share their homework or a group assignments with friends and collaboratively solve problems. As a teacher you can access their assignments in real time end even help them with their struggles from your home.

Students can engage with the lessons in the way they find more comfortable. Gamification is the perfect example. Students can feel more like they’re having fun, than actually learning, and thus likely to involve more. Furthermore, digital audio-visual formats like videos and screencasts are by a definition more engaging way of consuming information then one-dimensional textual forms.

Challenges of Paperless Classroom

No system is perfect. There are several challenges to think about when transitioning to paperless. The obvious one is access to internet and devices. Both of them cost money. In addition, there are tools that you’ll use to transform your class to digital. Whether it is a comprehensive system or a simple app you’ll have to think about money that you’ll need to invest in it. Lastly, think about the hidden costs. Many of products have freemium pricing models. If you don’t pay attention to small print, you may unknowingly end up being charged for an increase of a service.

Paperless ClassroomAnother challenge is a question of training. As much as systems are becoming more easy to use, there is a certain time period that’ll need to pass before accommodating with it. We recommend you to take a trial period or demo version before actually buying a product. That way, you can avoid buying a product that you don’t feel comfortable with. Bad customer support can also be a deal breaker. Call out or send a ticket to test customer support promptness and how they’re dealing with problems.

Lastly, there’s a mind shifting challenge. Abandoning habits created for years is hard. Many older generation teachers, that didn’t grow up in the internet age, can have an aversion towards digital tools. Moreover, they can think there’s nothing wrong with printed exams and handwrite red-pen homework corrections. As a result, they can feel confused and reluctant. However, younger colleagues can help them out discover pain points when using technology and explain them that tools are not here to replace them, but to help them use their time more efficiently.

Practical Steps to Go Paperless

♦ Build up your digital learning materials repository. LMS systems or cloud platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox are probably the best solution to collect and store all your materials. Recently, AWW has introduced embed option for Canvas, Edmodo and Moodle.

 

Paperless Classroom with Cloud Storage♦Create digital lessons/assignments. There are so many tools on the market that enable you screencast your lessons, make video tutorials and record your audio explanations or student’s thoughts. With AWW you can create and save unlimited number of lessons. Use text, drawings, images and files to create intuitive and fun learning materials.

♦ Distribute lessons digitally. It is important that you can easily distribute your lessons and assignments. AWW app has made a great tool that will help you share your saved lessons with a click of a button to entire class.  

♦ Collect completed assignments the same way you distributed it. Students can easily turn in their AWW assignments by sharing them to Google Classroom.

♦ Monitor progress of your students. When we’re talking about monitoring progress over time, yet again, LMS systems come in handy .

♦ Connect with parents. Share grades, lessons and assignments with parents and keep them in the loop.