A Canvas That Tells a Story: KISS Canvas (v4.0)

[This is part of a series on the KISS Canvas]

Why

30-page business plans are great for established businesses and terrible for startups that need to iterate quickly. 15+ years ago the Business Model Canvas (BMC) changed everything by giving us a 1-pager (or 4×3 foot poster) to help you quickly document and test the key hypothesis behind your business model. The BMC was a quantum leap forward.

However, my students and I often struggled with the structure of the canvas. While it was superior to a business plan it was relatively hard to read & use. You literally needed a map to show you how to read it – start here, jump to there, then jump down to here…

In a Nutshell

And so was born the KISS (Keep It Super Simple) Canvas. Each key stakeholder (payers, users, channel partners, etc.) gets their own row. Read the columns in each row from left to right and you’ll find the facts of the business model layed out in a logical narrative structure. In fact, it tells the story of your business, as you would in a good pitch. No map required.

At the highest level, this KISS canvas tells the following story just by reading from left to right: We help [key stakeholders] by providing [value proposition]. We find, earn, and retain their trust by [relationships]. This is economically sustainable because of [financials].

Example:

We help the blind and visually impaired by empowering them to connect with their fully sighted friends and family as equals. We find, earn, and retain their trust through word-of-mouth and strategic partnerships with nonprofits that serve the blind. This is economically sustainable because customers pay us an $8 monthly subscription.

And today, after 4 years of field testing, I’m proud to roll out version 4!

KISS Canvas v4.0

KISS Canvas (Lite)
  • Key Stakeholders – Who do you serve? Each stakeholder gets their own row to keep their information clear.
    • Type – Stakeholders tend to fall into predictable categories: the one who pays you, the one who uses the product, the one who connects you to the customer, etc. It is important to know each type’s needs.
    • PersonaDescribe the archetype that represents the key traits of this the stakeholder.
    • Pains – What problems do they have?
  • Value Proposition – What do you offer?
    • Benefits – What promises are you making to your customers?
    • Competitors – Who else is solving the problem?
    • Advantages – How are you superior at solving the problem?
  • Relationships – What kind of relationships will you have with each segment?
    • Find – How will you make people aware of your solution? This is often called marketing or promotion.
    • Convert – Once aware of you, what process will they go through to use/pay for your solution? This is often called sales.
    • Retain – Once someone is using your solution, how will you retain their loyalty?
  • Financials – How does the money (and value) flow?
    • Value Model – What value does each segment provide you in return for your product (money, attention, referrals, etc.)?
    • Pricing – How much do you charge?
    • Cost Structure –  What are the costs associated with running your venture?

Get Your Own (free!)

If you would like to use the KISS Canvas, you may do so completely for free as they are licensed under creative commons :).

Check out more KISS Canvas Content.

One thought on “A Canvas That Tells a Story: KISS Canvas (v4.0)

  1. Pingback: A Canvas That Tells a Story: KISS Canvas (v3.1) – Paul G. Silva

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