Thinking and building a Start-Up in a Commercial Organisation

I’ve taken the role of developing and commercializing a new opportunity with my organisation.  It’s not the first time I’ve taken on such as task so it’s a matter of applying the lessons and tools I’ve used before.  So, how do you start thinking and building a Start-Up within a Commercial Organisation?

Lots of reading for the next week or so.

This is not a book review but there’s a couple of books and a tool-set I wished was around in those earlier days – Eric Ries Lean Start up and The Start-Up Owners Manual –  the information provided a way of thinking and approaching the same old problem of new business creation but with a new model and approach that resonated more with Silicon Valley entrepreneurship than the MBA business plan approach.

A key element of that is the one page Business Model Canvas.

Version       Designed for:      Date:

7. Key Partners

  • Who are our Key Partners?
  • Who are our key suppliers?
  • Which Key Resources are we acquiring from partners?
  • Which Key Activities do partners do?

Motivations for partnerships:

Optimization and economy

Reduction of risk and uncertainty

Acquisition of particular resources and activities

8. Key Activities

  • What Key Activities do our Value Propositions require?
  • Our Distribution Channels?
  • Customer Relationships?
  • Revenue streams?


Problem Solving


1. Value Propositions

  • What value do we deliver to the customer?
  • Which one of our customer’s problems are we helping to solve?
  • What bundles of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment?
  • Which customer needs are we satisfying?





“Getting the Job Done”




Cost Reduction

Risk Reduction



4. Customer Relationships

  • What type of relationship does each of our Customer
  • Segments expect us to set up and keep up with them?
  • Which ones have we established?
  • How are they integrated with the rest of our business model?
  • How costly are they?


Personal assistance

Dedicated Personal Assistance


Automated Services



2. Customer Segments

  • For whom are we creating value?
  • Who are our most important customers?

Mass Market

Niche Market



Multi-sided Platform

6. Key Resources

  • What Key Resources do our Value Propositions need?
  • Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships?
  • Revenue Streams?

types of resources


Intellectual (brand patents, copyrights, data)



3. Channels

  • Through which Channels do our Customer Segments
  • want to be reached?
  • How are we reaching them now?
  • How are our Channels integrated?
  • Which ones work best?
  • Which ones are most cost-efficient?
  • How are we integrating them with customer routines?
9. Cost Structure

  • What are the most important costs inherent in our business model?
  • Which Key Resources are most expensive?
  • Which Key Activities are most expensive?

Is your business more:

Cost Driven (leanest cost structure, low price value proposition, maximum automation, extensive outsourcing)

Value Driven ( focused on value creation, premium value proposition)

sample characteristics:

Fixed Costs (salaries, rents, utilities)

Variable costs

Economies of scale

Economies of scope

5. Revenue Streams

  • For what value are our customers really willing to pay?
  • For what do they now pay?
  • How are they currently paying?
  • How would they prefer to pay?
  • How much does each Revenue Stream contribute to overall revenues?


Asset sale

Usage fee

Subscription Fees



Brokerage fees


fixed pricing

List Price

Product feature dependent

Customer segment dependent

Volume dependent

dynamic pricing

Negotiation( bargaining)

Yield Management


The one page business model canvas forces you to look at all elements of the proposed business.  It’s a real-time worksheet that allows you to challenge your assumptions, test your logic and if necessary pivot like a half back.

Create your own Business Model Canvas