KISS Canvas

KISS Canvas 9. Cost Structure

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] What are the major cost centers of your business? When do you have to pay? Do you have any options to pay differently? What costs can kill you? All of this is covered in the Cost Structure section of the KISS Canvas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnuUTtM1AUg&list=PLdfQKNp8w2Qlgk_5iV0oYLN34_9BrQXQz

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Intro
  2. Capital costs
  3. Fixed  & Variable costs
  4. Example: a family
  5. Summary

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Introduction to the KISS Canvas

[This is part of a series on the KISS Canvas] The KISS (Keep It Super Simple) Canvas (inspired by Alex Osterwalder's Business Model Canvas) is a 1-page (or 4x3 foot poster) to help you quickly document (and then test) the key hypothesis behind your business model.

If you like to read, keep scrolling. For video lovers, click below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=563H3c3yl3M

OK, let's dive in. It looks like this...

KISS Canvas-Easy2Read

The KISS canvas tells a story in the way entrepreneurs should pitch, with the most important elements first (on the left).

  • The Customer - Who do you serve?
    • Segments - Who are all the groups of people you will serve? Buyers, users, referrers, etc.
    • Pains - What problems do they have? Which are most important?
  • Value Proposition - What do you offer?
    • Features - How will you solve your customers problems?
    • Benefits - What promises are you making to your customers?
    • Competitive Advantages - Who are your competitors and how are you better at solving your customers' Pains?
  • Marketing & Sales - What kind of relationships will you have with customers?
    • Get - How will you find and acquire customers?
    • Keep - How will you prove you kept your promises?
    • Grow - What new promises might you make?
  • Financial -
    • Value Model - What value do customers provide you in return for your product?
    • Cost Structure -  What are the costs associated with running your venture?
  • Beard of Learning - When you disprove a hypothesis, move it to the bottom. If you're using sticky notes they will eventually form chains and completely cover the bottom of your canvas. It kind of looks like your canvas grew a beard. Each sticky in that beard represents a hypothesis the student thought was true... and found out it was not! Thus the name my students gave it, the "Beard of Learning" :).

This Canvas is by no means a complete map but I have found it is the foundation of everything else that is to follow. To get a better feel...

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KISS Canvas 8. Value Models

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] What price should you charge for your product? How should people pay you? What value do non-paying customers provide you? All of this is covered in the Value & Revenue model column of the KISS Canvas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ybTYXi5aDY&list=PLdfQKNp8w2QnXP_JGRiKbpFGcU7qmphJU

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Intro
  2. Every customer segment pays
  3. Understand customer expectations
  4. Know your models
  5. Choose your pricing strategy carefully
  6. Discover your price point(s)
  7. Summary

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KISS Canvas: 7. Grow (Research & Development)

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] If your flagship product is a success, what next? This section of the canvas helps you think through what new products you might offer and what new customer segments you might approach. This video explains some of the core concepts...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jymJ22-jRuc&list=PLdfQKNp8w2QmhqRTnk0lDBeRuSSqagihV

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Intro
  2. Add “sizes”
  3. Solve your customer’s other problems
  4. Bring your existing product to new customer segments
  5. Summary

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KISS Canvas: 6. Keep (Customer Retention)

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] This section of the canvas helps you think through customer retention. Once you a customer purchases your product, how do you prove to them you have kept your promises?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDRApeFP-xc&list=PLdfQKNp8w2QnxBMFiuo3VottJLI0qP_9V

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Intro & Keeping your customers is the right and smart thing to do
  2. Make your benefits visible
  3. Scorecards make benefits visible
  4. Summary

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KISS Canvas: 5. Get (Marketing & Sales Channels)

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] This section of the canvas helps you understand the many different ways you can find and cultivate relationships with your customers (AKA marketing & sales). Here is a video explaining the how to use this part of the canvas and tips for understanding and strengthening your hypothesis around customer acquisition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUuYj5ZeWKc&list=PLdfQKNp8w2Qmj2EzvePWSkV9d8TYFB6mJ

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Intro
  2. Decide: direct or indirect
  3. Decide: physical or digital
  4. Discover key channel metrics
  5. Decide how you’ll generate leads
  6. Determine cost to acquire a customer
  7. Summary

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KISS Canvas: 4. Competitive Advantages

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] This section of the canvas helps you find and own your niche! Here is a video explaining the how to use this part of the canvas and tips for understanding and strengthening your competitive advantage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUPTCDVQxD4&index=1&list=PLdfQKNp8w2QkrkmBQFb29QWus5O6vEPsd

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Introduction
  2. Know your competitors
  3. Don’t underestimate the status quo
  4. Competitors are free R&D!
  5. Advantages stem from Benefits
  6. Create a Competitive Landscape Map
    1. TOOL: Get a blank Competitive Landscape Map
  7. Seek barriers to entry
  8. Summary

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KISS Canvas: 3. Features & Benefits

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] On to most entrepreneurs' favorite part of the venture, the product! But to do so, we must first understand the difference between features & benefits. Benefits are what the customer wants. Features are how we give them what they want. Confuse these and you'll keep building the wrong product or providing it to the wrong people.

Here is a video explaining the Features & Benefits columns of the KISS Canvas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu_-xSeQ-u8&list=PLdfQKNp8w2QkuxtOyiq7FPfOYiUFesdRs&index=1

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Introduction
  2. Customers buy Benefits, not features
  3. Benefits are the reverse of Pains
  4. Focus on the FIRE!
  5. Features are dictated by Benefits
  6. Know your product status
  7. Good taglines emphasize Benefits
  8. Summary

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KISS Canvas: 2. Pains

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] Once you have identified who your customers are, your next job is to gain deep insights into their pains. This video walks you through the PAIN box of the KISS Canvas, but more importantly, gives you tools for finding the pains that you must solve first if you want to succeed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQkOMKe4sG0&index=1&list=PLdfQKNp8w2QmnYEF5jlgQVTOixHXrSBG4

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Introduction
  2. Pains are felt by the customer
  3. Only list pains you can address
  4. Pains must be intense
  5. Summary

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KISS Canvas: 1. Customer Segments

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas] Knowledge of the customer is the foundation of all great organizations. Mess that up and your organization eventually comes toppling down. If you are a startup and you goof it up you never get off the ground in the first place.

This video series explains the KISS Canvas's 1st box, and in so doing gives you a framework to quickly and effectively identify who your customers are and what critical properties they have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgD_B4qa4TM&list=PLdfQKNp8w2QnFm9-ynAKmoVR5v1HTw8iI

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Introduction
  2. Users & payers are not always the same
  3. Single or multi-sided market?
  4. Customers are always people
  5. Know the decision chain
  6. Create a "sample customer"
  7. Customer segment evolve
  8. Size your market
  9. Summary

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KISS Canvas vs Business Model Canvas

[This is the first post in a series on the KISS Canvas] About five years ago I switched to using Alex Osterwalder's Business Model Canvas (BMC) as a go-to tool for helping startups. It was superior to anything I had tried before. However, after watching hundreds of students use the BMC (and some alternative canvases), I noticed some consistent friction points:

  • The BMC doesn't read from left to right (or right to left!), making it hard to tell a story and for newbies to get used to using it.
  • The revenue model section doesn't capture the value one gets from every customer segment. Its location makes it awkward to cover multiple customer segments' values.
  • Color coding is required to map components to different customer segments, making the canvas get a bit visually overwhelming.
  • Lots of space was allocated to components that I don't find as important as others for concept through seed-stage companies.

So, I took a stab at creating a new canvas, one that reflects the way I like to teach and focusing on the elements I have found are the most important for a startup to master. I call it the Keep It Super Simple (KISS) Canvas. It looks like this...

KISS Canvas-Easy2Read Here is a 2-minute video walking you through it.

The main advantages of the KISS canvas for me...

  • It tells a story in the way entrepreneurs should pitch, with the most important elements first. Start with the customer because the understanding of the customer is the foundation of your business. Then explain your value prop, move on to how you'll Get/Keep/&Grow those customer relationships, and finally cover the financials.
  • The last column lets you explicitly list what value you derive from each customer segment. Sometimes it is money, but many times it is something else, and one needs to know and focus on that!
  • No color coding required. In the upper two thirds, simply add a row for each customer segment like so...Screenshot 2018-01-22 at 7.02.37 PM - Display 1

I welcome your input on the design. You can download several versions here:

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