Business Model

Turn Your Idea into a Business Model

So you think you have a great business idea.  You have a target client and you are solving a compelling problem for them. Now what?  Now you need to figure out how your business is going to generate revenue and profit.  And how your business will run day to day.  Basically, you need to understand your business model.  And explore alternatives.  In this module, you’ll learn about the components of a business model, review some examples, and get starting on mapping out your business model.  This will tell you what assumptions you need to go out and test, and validate before moving forward.


Read this article to provide context and background information prior to digging into business model components:

No Business Plan Survives First Contact with Customers by Steve Blank



Review these two presentations to learn more about business modeling and to see some examples of various business models.

Creating Startup Success 101 

10 Business Models That Rocked 2010



Ok, now that you understand the components of a business model and you’ve explored several examples of business models, its time to map out yours using the Business Model Canvas.  Click on either the printable version or the electronic versions below and then follow the steps below.

Printable Business Model Canvas

Electronic Business Model Canvas 1

Electronic Business Model Canvas 2

1. Map out the model you currently have in mind.

2. Map out at least 4 other possible models (the more the better).  HINT: Try switching your client and key partners/vendors, or consider changing your revenue model.  Look back through the different business models and apply them to your business to see what that looks like.



Once you have mapped out several different business models, take them and get feedback from other people.  They might see something you don’t.  Here are examples of 5 people you should show your business models to and get feedback from:

  1. A business expert or mentor.
  2. A potential customer you know well.
  3. A potential customer you don’t know well (getting feedback from more than one potential customer is advised).
  4. A business owner with the same business model, in a different industry so that they don’t feel that you are a competitor.
  5. Another entrepreneur whose opinion you trust.

If you don’t readily have access to business experts, entrepreneurs and mentors, check out the following resources:

SCORE:  a free business mentor program

Meetups:  a network of local Tech, Business, etc. groups who meet regularly. This can lead you to other entrepreneurs, mentors, developers, etc.

Universities & Business Schools: reach out to your local Universities and Business Schools to find out about entrepreneurship clubs, incubators, networking events, etc.

Community Office Hours: If you are located in the Detroit or Cleveland areas, join us for a monthly Community Office Hours to discuss your business with our experts. Click here to find out about upcoming events.


Once you have received feedback on your business model, make the necessary changes and then get ready to research your market and industry and to come up with a plan to build your minimum viable product.