Lean Canvas: 1-page business plan (guide)

A business cannot do without a business plan. Whether you have your vision, mission, and goals in your head or actually described in detail, the Lean Canvas method will teach you how to work with them in a whole new way. Quickly, flexibly and, above all, with maximum clarity.

What is Lean Canvas?

We explain the Lean Canvas method in English as a business plan in a simplified format - clearly laid out in a table on a single page.

It is perfectly suited for budding entrepreneurs who need to sort out their ideas efficiently and move their business along at a brisk pace. The straightforwardness of the Lean Canvas model will be appreciated by start-ups as well as established companies that operate in a dynamic environment.

While a traditional business plan requires hours of in-depth analysis, setting strategies, goals and describing key categories, the Lean Canvas model can do this in much less time. It selects only the most important areas of the business plan. And it asks much more targeted questions.

How to create a Lean Canvas?

Creating a Lean Canvas is not complicated. The model works with 9 segments that are interconnected and naturally complement each other. Follow along with us step-by-step, answer the guiding questions and find out how to easily complete the Lean Canvas template:

  • The Problem: Determine the top 3 problems your customers are most passionate about. Ask: What specific problem is bothering them? Can I provide them with a good solution? Briefly describe the problems, but we'll discuss the actual solutions to these problems in later segments of the Lean Canvas.
  • Customer segments: or who are my users and customers. Can I segment them into groups? Do I sell in B2B mode (to other companies) or B2C mode (to end customers)? If the groups are significantly different but their problems are similar, it's better to prepare a separate sheet for each.
  • Uniqueness of the solution: Does your product have a pithy or catchy slogan? A short label that makes it memorable? A motto that gets the point of the offer across without having to describe it in complex terms? Then you win in this category. When you want to set yourself apart from the competition, the uniqueness and value of your solution gives customers a clear incentive to buy from you.
  • Solution: What features of your product solve customers' problems? It could be a specific product design. Services provided. Parameters regarding performance or durability. The capabilities that the product has. But maybe even the fact that it is a limited edition with limited availability.
  • KPIs: Define your own measure of success - a key indicator that leads to or contributes significantly to your sales. Is it the number of sales or new customers? Do you count increasing website traffic or number of social media followers as success? Or the number of returning clients? We'll take a closer look at calculating price, margin and revenue in another segment.
  • Sales journeys: or the best way to reach customers. Do you prefer in-person or online sales? How can your product or unique solution be marketed effectively? Are these sales channels free or for a fee? Are your sales channels working optimally, or are people getting lost in them? You can include client communication in your distribution.
  • Cost structure: do you have (at least roughly) mapped cost categories? Write down your fixed costs - the ones you have to pay every month, whether you sell something or not (rent, phone bill, loan repayments). And then quantify your variable costs - these vary with the volume of goods produced (raw materials, packaging, fuel) or services provided. But this also includes incentive bonuses for business partners or associates, advertising campaign costs and gift items.
  • Sources of income: We now come to the price quotation in detail. How does the margin calculation work for your product? Do you set a break-even point - the volume of production and sales where costs equal revenue? Do you factor in losses for goods that are produced but can no longer be sold? Or is commission the main source of your income?
  • Unfair advantage: We left the seemingly most difficult segment for last. The unfair advantage is really hard to replicate or buy. However, don't hang your head if you don't think of anything in the beginning. The unfair advantage will often only become apparent with practice and sales. It can take the form of non-transferable experience, a database of contacts, a prestigious location, unique sales premises or even access to information.

Who is Lean Canvas suitable for?

Wondering if Lean Canvas is a good model to describe your business? You will appreciate this method when:

  • You prefer speed of creation to hours of analysis and descriptions;
  • you need to organize your initial thoughts and test your hypotheses on them;
  • you have a vision in your head, but you are unable to translate it into concrete form;
  • you need a clear and understandable document for your collaborators;
  • you are in a dynamic business environment where you need to constantly react to change.

Lean Canvas vs. classic business plan

Naturally, the Lean Canvas model has a few drawbacks. You won't appreciate the simplicity of the template if:

  • You need a more complex plan that goes into detail;
  • you are in an established business where there is no need to constantly innovate and re-evaluate proven solutions;
  • your pricing depends on detailed calculations that cannot be reflected in the template.

Evaluating the Lean Canvas method

Although the 9 segments described above may seem like a challenging warm-up, it is really a lightweight solution compared to the traditional business plan processing.

Instead of lengthy analyses and detailed strategies, the Lean Canvas model clearly defines the core areas of each project in bullet points. You can easily modify the entire plan at any time or quickly create other variations from it.

The great advantage of the Lean Canvas model is undoubtedly its overall customer orientation. Whereas in a traditional business plan companies often get bogged down in their own processes, production and setup, in Lean Canvas the client, their problem and your functional solution are the focus.

Last but not least, you will appreciate the logical interconnection of the different areas, which gives you a coherent yet concise overview.

Planning to start your own business?

Maybe you have an idea in your head but don't know exactly how to grasp it yet.

And then hooray for practice! We'll help you get your business off the ground formally. Don't worry about paperwork at the offices and order your company formation or trade license online.

Contact information

Write to us and we’ll get back
to you within 24 hours.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Company Incorporation
Company Incorporation

Fast & online incorporation – get your company in 3…

Fast & online incorporation – get your company in 3 days from EUR 280. Just few clicks online and we'll handle all…

Learn more Learn more
Trade License
Trade License

Want to do business as self-employed, but you get…

Want to do business as self-employed, but you get lost in the administration for notifying your trade? Save time, we'll…

Learn more Learn more

News from our blog