What is a Lean Canvas?

Great for Startups and early stage product development.

The Lean Canvas is a fast idea capturing tool that helps you deconstruct an idea into a set of critical assumptions.

If you have ever produced a business plan, you’ll quickly understand most of the building blocks on the canvas.

A Lean Canvas can be used to express a business model, a product release, or even a single feature — making it a prevalent business planning and product management tool used by millions of people around the world.

Sketching a Lean Canvas is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. There is no right place to start or specific order to follow. So start with whatever box you think you understand the best and build out the rest of the canvas from there.

To get you started, try completing in this order:

It’s okay to leave boxes blank.

If you’re unsure about a particular box, it’s okay to leave it blank.

Adhere to the 1-Page Rule

If you can’t fit your idea on a single page, it’s still probably too complicated to explain. It’s a lot easier to describe something in a paragraph than in a single sentence. The space limitations on the canvas are a great way to refine your business model down to its core. Aim to fit your canvas on a single page.


Think in the present

Business plans try too hard to predict the future, which is impracticable. Instead, write your canvas with a “getting things done” approach. Based on your current stage and what you know right now, what are the next sets of hypotheses you need to test to move your product forward?


The Outcome


The Lean canvas allows you to get the idea out of your head and put it on paper. This will allow for a shared understanding of your idea which is the building blocks for the next step in the development of your idea. The activities that follow are based around reviewing your canvas, understanding your assumptions and then using customer discovery methods to validate your assumptions.

If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, why not contact our expert* Rachel at rachel@zestbusinesssupport.co.uk or on 07715 489460.

*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.