Whats the Difference Between a Business Model Canvas and a Lean Canvas


As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for the right tool to help our business succeed. But there are so many available – it can be difficult to know which ones to use! Today we’ll explore the differences between a Business Model Canvas and a Lean Canvas and discuss which one will work best for your business. So buckle up and let’s get started!


Understanding the differences between a business model canvas and a lean canvas can be important for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to develop, define, or refine their strategies. A business model canvas is a visual framework used to describe the revenue and costs associated with different activities while a lean canvas is focused more on customer discovery, using creativity and analytics to develop business ideas.

The business model canvas provides companies or entrepreneurs with an organized view of their business as it exists now, helping to identify any potential risks or uncertainties that may arise in their operations. It uses 9 key building blocks within 4 distinct perspectivescustomer segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships – to build an actionable plan on how they can add value and generate revenue over time. The lean canvas on the other hand uses data-driven methods such as user interviews, surveys, experiments and intelligence gathering across multiple channels including online presence and executive visioning in order to effectively identify customer needs and map out where a company should focus its resources in order fulfill those needs.

The two canvases are designed for different purposes: whereas the business model canvas is best used when thinking about existing models that are already established; the lean canvas is intended to help shape new growth opportunities before launching a product or service into the marketplace. In accordance with their differing objectives, each approach demands different resources from the team; time commitment from analysts for lean canvassing projects whereas those who use business canvasses may require access to staff more experienced in financial forecasting.

Ultimately both tools are great frameworks that provide invaluable guidance in strategic planning and execution development of companies at any stage of maturity.

Definition of Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool used to help organizations plot out their current or proposed business model in a visual and structured format. The canvas combines the key elements of a business – customer segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key activities, key resources, partners and cost structure – into a single graphical representation. It serves to provide an overview of how a business works and offers useful insights into developing new ideas or studying existing models. The Business Model Canvas is especially effective for start-ups who want to quickly test the viability of their ideas without investing too much time or budget preparing detailed plans.

The Business Model Canvas was developed by Alexander Osterwalder based on his earlier work on Business Model Ontology. It was first introduced in Osterwalder’s book entitled “Business Model Generation” in 2010. Since then it has become increasingly popular with start-ups and established businesses alike as it offers a convenient way to quickly understand how different parts of an organization fit together to create value.

The Lean Canvas is another strategic planning tool that is closely related to the Business Model Canvas, however it differs in some important ways. Whereas the Business Model Canvas focuses on providing an overview of existing or proposed business models , the Lean Canvas helps organizations identify what products they should create (as opposed to how they will be created). In particular, it allows organizations to identify which market segments have unmet needs that they can address with new products or services and identifies which assumptions are likely to be true (to inform marketing decisions). Developed by Ash Maurya and introduced in 2011 in his book “Running Lean”.

Definition of Lean Canvas

Lean Canvas is a 1-page business plan template created by Ash Maurya, the author of Running Lean. It provides an overview of all key components that make a business successful including customer segmentation, value proposition, customer relationships, channels, revenue streams, key metrics and resources needed to develop the product and reach customers.

Unlike the Business Model Canvas (BMC), the Lean Canvas focuses on identifying problems early in development rather than completing a full business plan.

Developed with startup founders in mind, Lean Canvas centers on finding cost-effective solutions to customer problems and covers topics such as user acquisition channels and monetization methods. Compared to BMC which looks at a company from a broad level, Lean Canvas drills down into each area of focus necessary for startups – developing ideas quickly with limited resources. This clarity helps entrepreneurs identify their target market before wasting time or money on creating products or marketing campaigns for the wrong customers.

Similarities Between Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas

The Business Model Canvas (BMC) and the Lean Canvas (LC) are two similar tools that help entrepreneurs visualize their business model in order to move it towards success. Both methods provide an overview of a strategy for a startup, a small or medium-sized business and make it easier for them to communicate their idea to possible partners, investors or employees.

Despite some key differences, the BMC and LC have many common characteristics. Firstly, both have 9 main elements that are organized on one page – this helps the entrepreneur check if all necessary aspects of a business model are present and understand how they fit together. Some of those nine elements are customers segments, value propositions and channels which addresses market related issues, while revenue streams, resources required and cost structure discuss financial dynamics within the company. Secondly, both models emphasize learning though experimentation as part of the process which is essential for any successful venture. They also allow adjusting subsequent items on the chart accordingly as changes occur in other parts. Finally both models signify transparency in communication – they are intended to be used as visual easy-to-grasp representations that should be able to transfer information quickly between stakeholders with ease.

Differences Between Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas

The Business Model Canvas (BMC) and the Lean Canvas (LC) are two different visual tools that allow entrepreneurs to structure and evaluate their business model. The BMC is used to map a business’s current state by capturing ideas, designs, technologies and markets in a structured way. It has nine distinct blocks, each with its own purpose:

  • Customer segments
  • Value propositions
  • Channels
  • Customer relationships
  • Revenue streams
  • Key resources
  • Key activities
  • Key partnerships
  • Cost structure

This model allows for quick action-oriented responses that help entrepreneurs see areas of opportunity in their businesses from an outside-in perspective.

The LC is an adapted version of the Business Model Canvas popularized by Ash Maurya’s Running Lean book. It was created to build on the insights of the BMC and focus more on designing experiments rather than on research for traditional business planning. It has ten components instead of nine –

  • Problem statement
  • Solution road map
  • Unique value proposition
  • Unfair advantage
  • Customer segment
  • Channel strategy/solution go-to-market strategy
  • Key metrics – conversion rate/CAC
  • Revenue streams/monetization strategy
  • Cost structure – fixed costs and variable costs

that measure actions taken against a hypothesis by testing assumptions related to customer segmentation and repeatability models.

In general terms both models can be used interchangeably, however some people prefer using one tool over the other depending on their needs. Additionally each model works best if used regularly to assess progress or changes within businesses over time.

Benefits of Using Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas (BMC) is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool that provides a structured framework for understanding, defining, and detailing the components of a business model. It helps entrepreneurs to visualize their business ideas in an easy-to-understand format and formulate strategies that can be implemented to create a successful venture.

The BMC consists of nine building blocks:

  • Customer segments
  • Value proposition
  • Channels/unfair advantage
  • Customer relationships/platforms/partnerships
  • Revenue streams
  • Key activities and resources/key partners
  • Cost structure/pricing strategy
  • Financial constraints

These building blocks can give entrepreneurs and startups an understanding of the resources needed to launch their businesses. Furthermore, the canvas provides an excellent visual representation for evaluating different models and determining potential risks before final decisions are made.

Using BMC allows entrepreneurs to rapidly iterate on ideas by quickly finding out which elements work best for their current idea or business model; all without having to invest in engineering resources until the core of the idea proves itself out. Additionally, with tools like Leanstack’s Business Model Canvas – savvy entrepreneurs can now use visualization tools combined with built in analytics to help make decisions related to their business model Validation or Growth experiments- helping them quickly pivot when necessary.

Benefits of Using Lean Canvas

Lean Canvas is a simple one-page business model that helps entrepreneurs and startups develop successful businesses. It takes the concept of Business Model Canvas and boils it down to the fundamentals needed in order to quickly validate ideas. The Lean Canvas model allows entrepreneurs to quickly create and iterate their business models in order to test them on customers.

The primary benefits of using Lean Canvas are its simplicity, speed, and directness. This business planning tool focuses on what is most important for organizations and streamlines the process of developing a plan. Additionally, the focus on customer segments allows entrepreneurs to make sure they are addressing a root problem that potential customers have. By concentrating on a particular ache point, businesses can develop services or products that solve their customers’ needs efficiently.

The Lean Canvas provides business owners with an accelerated roadmap with which to quickly create solutions that provide tangible results for buyers in their target markets. Using this model helps streamline product or service development processes by focusing activities directly on achieving customer objectives, thus allowing companies to develop successful products or services more rapidly than conventional methods allow for.

With Lean Canvas, entrepreneurs can more effectively:

  • Identify areas where user feedback is needed
  • Create solutions more quickly through ongoing testing and validation of assumptions
  • Reduce business risk through early market testing
  • Ensure wider outreach by focusing on specific problem demographics with appropriate language during product launches
  • Ensure consistency within communication channels used during promotions.


In conclusion, it can be said that the Business Model Canvas and the Lean Canvas are two useful tools for anyone working to start or improve a business. Both provide a valuable snapshot of an organization at a given moment, with the model canvas providing an overview of all aspects of operations while the lean canvas provides more detail on specific areas of strategy.

The primary difference between them is that while the model canvas facilitates general discussion around different aspects of operations, such as marketing and finance, the lean canvas focuses on specific business decisions related to customer segments, value propositions and revenue models.

Ultimately, when deciding which one to use for your own business venture or project it is important to consider your particular needs and objectives in order to choose which tool is the most appropriate for you.