Business Model Tools for Small Businesses and Startups

In this article, we’ll see a few one-page tools to give entrepreneurs clarity of mind on their overall business to take action to build a sustainable venture that unlocks value for many players in the long-term.

Business model canvas

The nine-building blocks of the business model canvas comprise vital partners, key activities, value propositions, customer relationships, customer segments, critical resources, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams.

The business model canvas comprises nine building blocks:


The Business Model Canvas by

Lean startup canvas

The lean startup canvas is an adaptation of the business model canvas by Alexander Osterwalder, which adds a layer to the traditional business model canvas that focuses on problems, solutions, key metrics and unfair advantage based on a unique value proposition.

You can learn more about the lean startup canvas:

What is the lean startup methodology?


The Lean Startup Canvas is an adaptation of the Business Model Canvas by

Value proposition canvas

A value proposition is about how you create value for customers. Value Proposition Canvas is a methodology which integrated with the business model canvas can help you design a value proposition for your business model.

For a deep dive into the value proposition canvas:

Blitzscaling business model innovation canvas

In some scenarios, building up a business feels a lot like throwing yourself off the cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down,” as Reid Hoffman, former PayPal, and co-founder of LinkedIn pointed out. 

This is true especially when you’re trying to build a business in an innovative sector, where the speed of adoption becomes critical for its long-term success. In that scenario, the Blitzscaling canvas is better suited:

The Blitzscaling business model canvas is a model based on the concept of Blitzscaling, which is a particular process of massive growth under uncertainty, and that prioritizes speed over efficiency and focuses on market domination to create a first-scaler advantage in a scenario of uncertainty.

Blitzscaling starts from the assumption that a company’s business model  is built on four growth factors and two growth limiters:


To gain a better understanding of this tool, you can see below the six levers to blitzscale:

The business model navigator methodology

Assessing, designing and innovating a business model isn’t a simple feat. Thus, it is critical to have several tools that can help you look at your business from different perspectives.

The Business Model Navigator Methodology uses a simple framework to dissect a business model which looks at who, what, how and why of a business. Those four dimensions allow you to map any company’s business model by having a complete picture of its engine.


The BMI Lab created this framework. And FourWeekMBA in partnership with BMI Lab also put together a list of the business model patterns identified by its research.

The FourWeekMBA business model framework

An effective business model has to focus on two dimensions: the people dimension and the financial dimension. The people dimension will allow you to build a product or service that is 10X better than existing ones and a solid brand. The financial dimension will help you develop proper distribution channels by identifying the people that are willing to pay for your product or service and make it financially sustainable in the long run.

How to dissect Tech Business Models

A tech business model is made of four main components: value model (value propositions, mission, vision), technological model (R&D management), distribution model (sales and marketing organizational structure), and financial model (revenue modeling, cost structure, profitability and cash generation/management). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build a solid tech business model.

Business Model Template - By FourWeekMBA


How to dissect Blockchain Business Models

A Blockchain Business Model according to the FourWeekMBA framework is made of four main components: Value Model (Core Philosophy, Core Values and Value Propositions for the key stakeholders), Blockchain Model (Protocol Rules, Network Shape and Applications Layer/Ecosystem), Distribution Model (the key channels amplifying the protocol and its communities), and the Economic Model (the dynamics/incentives through which protocol players make money). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build and analyze a solid Blockchain Business Model.

VBDE Blockchain Business Model Template

Key takeaway

Building a startup, a small business or a solo business isn’t simple. Yet to make this endeavor more successful you would be better off by simplifying the processes and methodologies used.

Instead of relying on pages and pages of business planning with a few one-page tools you can be way more effective.

Once you have cleared the few critical elements to build a successful business the remaining part will be about ongoing experimentation. You’ll set up feedback loops from customers, to comprise into the product and service and test if the market likes them.

This process can be simplified with simple tools that in a page can allow the entrepreneur to have a clear idea about the business and start taking actions to build a sustainable business model!

Other resources for your business:

Handpicked business models:

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