Start or Strengthen Your Food Business with the Business Model Canvas

business model canvas

What’s the tool that thousands of high-value tech companies, lean startups, and business leaders are using? You’d probably expect that it wouldn’t work for your food business. But the Business Model Canvas, a business modeling tool that was invented by a Swiss entrepreneur, is applicable for just about everyone. It’s a great way to jump-start the business planning process, but it’s also useful for strategizing an existing business.

And all you need is a whiteboard, a piece of paper, or a tablet.

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How it works

Building your Business Model Canvas can be as simple as printing the template and getting started. The canvas is made of nine different squares on a single piece of paper. Each square is a different aspect of your business, like Customer Segments or Revenue Streams. These aspects are connected, so having them on one plane is a great way for visual learners to make connections and see new opportunities. We recommend using the Canvas on a whiteboard or a tablet. That way, you can write as much as you’d like and refine later.

For new businesses

The Canvas is a great way to start the planning process as a new food business, because it touches on every aspect and allows you to see how they connect. Do you need a formal business plan for an advisor or mentor? You can easily transcribe what you’ve written on the Canvas into a compelling document. But the flexibility of the Canvas format allows you to iterate without having to make changes to a lengthy document. This article gives more detail into the nine categories, and how you should think about them.

For existing businesses

Want to explore a new sales channel or partnership? Want to review your current model without creating an entirely new document? The Canvas is just as useful for existing businesses as for new ones. If you never seem to find time for strategy, devoting an hour to the Canvas is a great place to start. Evaluating each aspect of your business in relation to all the others helps you understand your business holistically, as well as find discrepancies or areas of opportunity. You may notice an emerging customer segment when you review your partnerships and sales channels. Or maybe you’ll find that your key resources should be re-evaluated. With more creative marketing and sales channels in the food industry than ever, food businesses should be constantly refining their model.

The entrepreneurship world has plenty of tools and insights that are ultimately unhelpful for food businesses. This isn’t one of them! The Business Model Canvas is a truly universal tool that helps you start planning and operate efficiently.

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