Updating Your Business Model Canvas During a Crisis

With the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolding, it’s critical to understand how your business model currently operates and how it will need to change moving forward. Re-evaluating your model will better prepare your venture for success in both the short and long term.

The Business Model Canvas (BMC), by Strategyzer, is a quick and easy “do-it-yourself tool” that you can use to re-plan your business to cope with the current crisis. The canvas itself is comprised of 9 sections that make up the core activities of any business. These sections include value proposition, key partners, key activities, key resources, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure and revenue streams.

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This is the core of your business. It describes your products & services and how you create value for customers.

Key Questions:

  • Have your customers’ pain points changed? Are you still solving them in a meaningful way?
  • What different kinds of products & services can you sell?
  • Are these new offerings going to be temporary or long term?
  • How will changes affect your brand image? In what ways?
  • What still makes your business unique?

Describes how the business makes money, including its pricing mechanisms.

Key Questions:

  • What products and services are the easiest to sell and generate the greatest profit margin?
  • Will your prices be adjusted to reflect the current crisis?
  • Are there any creative ways to make money in a different way?
  • How can you generate reoccurring revenues?

Describes all costs and expenses incurred by a business in order to operate.

Key Questions:

  • Have you explored ways of reducing all non-essential expenses?
  • Will there be any new costs that you will be incurring?
  • Will any deferred expenses present a challenge to repay in the future?

Describes the most important activities a business needs to perform well.

Key Questions:

  • Which activities do you need to keep performing to maintain the business?
  • What does your business need to do, to deliver on its value proposition?

Describes the partners that can be leveraged to help business operations.

Key Questions:

  • Have you explored new opportunities for collaboration and partnerships?
  • How can you best support your partners and how can they support you?
  • Which partners can support you short-term and which ones long-term?

Describes the most important assets needed to make the business model work including physical, financial, human and intellectual.

Key Questions:

  • What assets are critical to your operations that you must retain? Which assets are you able to sacrifice if you need to?
  • Which resources do you need to maintain inventory or a large supply of, in the future?

Describes the types of people that you aim to reach and serve.

Key Questions:

  • Have you identified who your new target market is? How are they the same or different than who they were before?
  • Do you have multiple different target markets?

Describes the type of relationship established with customers, and how customers are acquired and retained.

Key Questions:

  • How are you communicating any business changes with your customers?
  • What are you doing to retain your current clientele? How are you engaging with them?
  • Are purchases more self-serve/automated or personal/relationship driven?
  • How will you attract new customers and continue growing?
  • How have your customers been affected?

Describes how your business communicates and reaches its customer segments.

Key Questions:

  • Through what new ways can you interact with your customers? (e.g. online instead of in-person)
  • Which sales channels might work best to engage with customers?
  • What will be your methods of receiving payment? Are they diverse? Can you obtain payment with contactless methods?
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