We’ve been thinking a lot about startups lately and how you pull the ideas for a business model together in a simple format that says what’s important in to interested people. We’ve had long hard looks at both the Happy Startup Canvas and the Lean Canvas as both of these looked like what we’ll need to use. The HSC would provide the ‘why’ and the key problems being solved along with potential solutions, the key ‘story’ and ‘values’ of the business, while the LC would focus on the hard to replicate unique proposition being offered by the business.
We also like how the HSC starts with how the employees are treated along with the idea that if you treat yourself and the staff as well as you do your customers, then the rest will fall into place. This is what Deming argues in his work. Few firms seem to follow this, but it makes good sense, and seems to work for the small businesses we know more closely too.
The HSC is a nice way to bring together a number of ideas in a one-page summary. You can use Simon Sinek’s ideas to formulate your ‘why’ and you can use the elevator pitch game to craft your ‘story’, and then polish it with ideas from the Heath brothers’ Made to Stick book. All of this helps you to build the idea and work on validating your assumptions in a fast and furious manner so that you build a sustainable business.
In addition, we can also add Umair Haque’s ideas from his Betterness book. In there he suggests that as business has changed since the financial crisis, and we need to focus on ‘betterness instead of business’ in order to increase the Common Wealth, we should focus the following: First, ‘ambition’ of what our business aims to do for its customers. This answer why are we here? Why does our organisation exist? This maps to Sinek’s why too. Second, ‘intention’ of how we’ll help customers improve their lives. This answers the ‘what are we here to do on a daily basis? How will we make our customers more capable in their daily lives? This is ‘constraints’, of what your business will never do. What’s a step too far for you? What are your limits, and how will these help make your customer’s lives better? Fourth, what ‘imperatives’ do you have as universal rules to live by for your business? How can you translate this into something your customers will benefit from? All together these turn the business into ‘how we benefit’ into a firm that works with others to lift everyone up and build a better society and through that gain a profit. This follows in the footsteps of Apple, Whole Foods and others.
This will work once we have an idea of what to do after we’ve gone through an ideation session to generate some possible business ideas.