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Business Model Development, Lean Startups and Growth Hacking


The Business Model Canvas

Managing a successful business requires allocating your resources to key areas and setting the stage for growth. The purpose of this post is to touch on two business model methods and speak about how these techniques are a real boon for those looking to leverage smart marketing for their business.

Regardless of whether you are starting out, or you face a changing marketplace and need to review your brand positioning, these methods are worth a look. Moreover, the methods below reveal what the baselines are for successful businesses in today’s mobile, social and local marketplace. The important thing to mention before we begin is that these two processes for generating business models not only work in the real world, they are extremely popular.

Valuable Methods for Business Success

In our work, we employ a variety of enterprise grade services to aid in planning comprehensively for business and non-profit success. We believe the Business Model Canvas and SOSTAC ® methods together represent a valuable toolkit for effective management of your assets, capacities and revenue. For our discussion, we hope to leave you with the following: that there are 2 freely available methods that capably stitch together your marketing, customer retention and acquisition strategies, your unique brand identity and your legal and financial needs.

Both of these methods are worth using because they are portable, lightweight, and actionable. What this really means is both methods are easy to use in practice. The way to put these models into use in human terms is equally simple: bring your team together at a comfortable meeting space, display the method in a way that allows each team member to participate and share opinions, have a note taker and a project facilitator, and then start recording observations. Both models are a bit like advanced guided brainstorming. These processes require team members to come together, and as a consequence using these models requires buy-in from management. Also, both can be conducted in person or with screen-sharing.

The Business Model Canvas was first originated in the book Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur. From the description:

Business Model Generation is a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow’s enterprises. If your organization needs to adapt to harsh new realities, but you don’t yet have a strategy that will get you out in front of your competitors, you need Business Model Generation.

What are the harsh new realities that small businesses, individuals and public sector organizations face in today’s marketplace? The business model canvas helps to address your human, financial and brand capacities. The company behind Business Model Generation, the Business Model Foundry has a new web app that deserves special mention. Called Strategyzer, the web-app offers a platform for global digital collaboration and rapid business model prototyping with the business model generation tool-kit. The following video, a talk Alexander Osterwalder gave at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, shows the method in action.


The SOSTAC ® planning model by Paul Smith of PRSmith came to my attention via David Chaffey of SmartInsights. This method is different from Business Model Generation in that it is directed more at those in digital marketing, customer relations and professional communications.SOSTAC ® stands for situation analysis, objectives, strategy, tactics, actions and control. Like the Business Model Canvas, the SOSTAC ® method delivers a complex message with ease.

The SOSTAC ® model is also as good for business model planning as it is for helping to highlight required assets for efficient reputation management and crisis communications, no doubt due to the fact that this method was authored by a public relations professional. Nevertheless, the value of the model is in the details. Focused on the digital marketplace it offers valuable methodologies to ensure the following: that your brand relates and engages with key influences and communities; that you refine your unique selling position and messages; and finally, that you crucially develop your communications with an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.



How these methods complement the Lean Startup and Growth Hacking

The terms growth hacking and lean startup are relatively new. The term ‘growth hacking’ arises from the popularity and ubiquity of social media in the contemporary marketing mix. There is a nicely updated conversation on Quora that is worth viewing to get an idea of what the term means. The obvious benefit of the SOSTAC ® and Business Model Canvas should be obvious; multiple demographic groups that constitute the modern audience are using social media and mobile gadgets. For this reason, credible methodologies can certainly help in implementing tactics, but they can also be part of selling digital business intelligence to the C-Suite.

The lean startup gives evidence that today’s marketplace is fast-paced and highly competitive. For products and services looking to thrive the lean startup idea espouses that a particular approach to starting businesses can cultivate radical success.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries is a manifesto of sorts, calling for startups to be more nimble, innovative and compelled to interact with audiences and investors on the fly than business have in the past. The Business Model Canvas and SOSTAC ® methods complement the lean startup approach, integrating established processes and workflows.



  1. Hello Avi,

    That’s a great idea to integrate SOSTAC with the Business canvas – it’s good to spread the word on the Canvas since although mainly developed in Europe – it will work everywhere!



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