KISS Canvas vs Business Model Canvas

[This is the first post in a series on the KISS Canvas]

About five years ago I switched to using Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas (BMC) as a go-to tool for helping startups. It was superior to anything I had tried before. However, after watching hundreds of students use the BMC (and some alternative canvases), I noticed some consistent friction points:

  • The BMC doesn’t read from left to right (or right to left!), making it hard to tell a story and for newbies to get used to using it.
  • The revenue model section doesn’t capture the value one gets from every customer segment. Its location makes it awkward to cover multiple customer segments’ values.
  • Color coding is required to map components to different customer segments, making the canvas get a bit visually overwhelming.
  • Lots of space was allocated to components that I don’t find as important as others for concept through seed-stage companies.

So, I took a stab at creating a new canvas, one that reflects the way I like to teach and focusing on the elements I have found are the most important for a startup to master. I call it the Keep It Super Simple (KISS) Canvas. It looks like this…

KISS Canvas-Easy2Read Here is a 2-minute video walking you through it.

The main advantages of the KISS canvas for me…

  • It tells a story in the way entrepreneurs should pitch, with the most important elements first. Start with the customer because the understanding of the customer is the foundation of your business. Then explain your value prop, move on to how you’ll Get/Keep/&Grow those customer relationships, and finally cover the financials.
  • The last column lets you explicitly list what value you derive from each customer segment. Sometimes it is money, but many times it is something else, and one needs to know and focus on that!
  • No color coding required. In the upper two thirds, simply add a row for each customer segment like so…Screenshot 2018-01-22 at 7.02.37 PM - Display 1

I welcome your input on the design. You can download several versions here:

Check out more KISS Canvas Content.

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2 thoughts on “KISS Canvas vs Business Model Canvas

  1. Hi Paul, I am delighted that you are improving and open-sourcing your new KISS worksheet. The only point that you might consider is changing The Customer to My Customer to help keep the user focused on who he is selling to, versus the end user if they are different. I look forward to working with you in the future.
    Your indebted student, Gary

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