This is part four of our guide to the Mission Model Canvas: your business plan cheat sheet. Read the first four parts here in our journals. In the previous article, we listed the Key Activities that will (7) Solve the problem; (8) Listed the Key Partners; and identified (9) What we need to test the idea. This article will walk through the next three sections.
10. Engaging customers.
We’ve discussed a few different people so far in this process: those whose problem you’re aiming to solve and those who will help you with your business idea. It’s possible that neither group is your target customer or that your target customer is mixed into one of these groups amongst other people.
In this section, step into the shoes of a customer. What are your customer’s expectations? How will you engage with them and keep them engaged over time? Will you be selling products, hosting events, offering a service? Within that product or service, what are the touchpoints that lead to customer engagement? The actions listed in this section are the ones that will elevate your brand and bring repeat business.
11. Know your channels.
Perhaps related to how you’ll engage with your customers is how you will reach your customers? Before they know about your program, product, or service, what medium and channels will you use to make your idea known? Are your potential customers on these channels?
12. How much will it cost?
Budgeting is one of the most important parts of business. It can make or break you. Many things can be started with sweat equity, but some things require an injection of funds into the business. As you assess your business ideas, determine what it will cost. Take a phased approach and offer a range of investment options so that you can decide what is feasible in a given timeframe.
This also helps as you’re adding services or products to an existing business. Weigh the upfront investment against the long term returns. Then, if applicable, decide if it’s successful enough for a larger pivot discussion.
13. How will you make money?
Paired with the knowledge of how much your idea will cost to start, run, and continue operating, you need to decide a few things about your idea’s economic stability and sustainability. How will you make money? Will you make money through one or more of the products or services you’ll offer? In this section, you can also consider how much money you need to make to sustain long term operations and what financial success looks like if your idea takes off.
While it is natural to be focused on how much money you need at the start of the business to make it operational, this section is more about keeping it operational. Funders, investors, donors, and anyone supporting your business will want to know both sides of the funding equation. Be prepared with a plan.
The next article covers the last section of the Mission Model Canvas: (14) How much impact will you make?