Maximize Lean Canvas effort returns by doing these Pre And Post work

Business Model Canavas

The Lean Canvas* is a very popular tool used by startups because it is easy, visual and concise. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and effectiveness in eliminating wasted time. Being concise is a forcing function for deep thought and analysis. With a little pre-analysis of your customers, competition, resources & capabilities, you can increase the return of your Lean Canvas exercise. Likewise, you should also capture actionable tasks and tests that validate your assumptions and mitigate your risks. This is post Lean Canvas activity that is crucial to your success.

My biggest worry in suggesting the pre and post work is that it dilutes the ‘lean’ aspects. But, the post work of validating and mitigating your assumptions and risks is not optional. And the pre work is also essential whether you do it on the fly or if you use any template (like this one we compiled – link). It is about understanding your customer segments, analyzing your competition, knowing your team’s strengths and gaps, your product positioning etc.


To be able to articulate in pithy and concise statements on the Lean Canvas you must have a good understanding of your product and market. Below is a summary of the some quick and easy tools you can download and use for this;

  • Customer Discovery: Use this simple customer persona questionnaire to see if you really know who your customer is.
  • Competitive Advantage: Who is your competition and how their product stacks up against yours. What’s your “Blue Ocean”?
  • Core Competency: Is your Core Competency sustainable? Identify key partners and alliances required.
  • Value Proposition: What is your promise to the customer and how does the customer experience this.
  • Download the tools now. (link)


Eric Reis author of “Lean Startup” says “Startups operate under conditions of extreme uncertainty”.

A startup at best is a hypothesis full of assumptions and risks. The ‘Lean Canvas’ experience should uncover these assumptions and risks. The next phase involves validating your assumptions and mitigating your risks and honing your product features. Executing this is not easy. A system or methodology for instilling the discipline of achieving results is essential. Everybody has their own way of doing this, but excel is still the most popular way to prioritize tasks and actions. But there needs to be a better way to identify the most important post Lean Canvas actions and methodically execute them in a timely manner. There are many books and tools available. But most of these are Enterprise level. We at are developing a frame work of tools for agile and lean execution. These tools are designed to be light weight, intuitive, visual and lean – made just for startups. Check out the ‘Lean Canvas Execution’ tool and other tools for product requirements, risk mitigation, milestone tracking etc.


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