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What is Lean Canvas?

Lean Canvas Able

Good planning is at the core of every successful startup. We all know these statistics “95% of starting businesses that don’t have a business plan fail”. 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs know that a business plan is essential. But… Is it?

Why planning is more important than the plan itself?

This quote from Steve Blank sums up this point in case: “Business Plan: a document investors make you write, that they don’t read”. The experience of more and more entrepreneurs shows that having a precise plan of your business, done by the book, doesn’t help much in the real world… However, planning is of fundamental importance for business management and is one of the keys to success for every business entity. So, what is the solution?

Answer: Lean Canvas.

The idea behind Lean Canvas

The key fundamental to Lean methodology is the elimination of waste — this includes time, processes, inventory, and more. So, every lean startup needs a quicker way to get ideas out of your head. And yes, Lean Canvas has been adapted by Ash Maurya from the very popular Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder.
Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept except they’ve been modified slightly to suit the needs of a Lean Startup. 
Lean Canvas
Lean Canvas is adapted from The Business Model Canvas and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Un-ported License.

The Lean Canvas is the perfect short format for brainstorming possible business models. It is structured in very logical steps starting with your customer problems right through to your unfair advantage and ending with your potential revenue streams.

Why Lean Canvas?

It is Fast, it is portable, it is concise, and it is effective.

Fast: The idea here is to spend around 15–20 minutes to get the first impression of your future business down on to paper (or on the whiteboard). 

Portable: A single-page business model is much easier to share with others. Period.

Concise: You have 30 seconds to grab the attention of an investor, and 8 seconds to grab the attention of a customer on a landing page. Do you really need more arguments?

Effective: The key to sending the right message to your audience is structure. And Lean Canvas gives you a perfect example of a structure that works great for presenting your business idea.


If you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s your duty to get ideas out from your head and put them in the best possible format that others can see and help build the problem solution. Traditional business plans are not relevant in the ideation stage. They take time, they are usually not based on experience or any other relevant statistics and are closer to wishful thinking than to sound data and analysis. So, why using them in the ideation stage? Remove the waste. Be lean.