Q2: Context & Constraints

As we continue to work through Business Model Generation, each layer of inquiry and application keeps getting better. This week, moving into the section on Strategy, I was struck with a juxtaposition though – the powerful tool this book is for conceptualizing business creation moves quickly to an application tool for assessing growth of already established models. The blind spot I kept expecting to be discussed is where small businesses fit into the process. Yes, the springboard for intentionally crafting initial structure is thoroughly applicable but the leap to assessing Amazon, Swatch & Nespresso size companies seems to leave a lot out in between.

Just as we discussed redesign of the canvas to incorporate sustainability principles and triple bottom line, perhaps the continued processes could be geared in more specific ways to be approachable to small businesses. Role playing the canvas segments and gaining increasingly fluidity with its concepts has kept me wanting to apply its learnings to my former small business experience.

Meet KnitabiliTea, the North Central WA tea and yarn shop I co-founded in 2008 with a dear friend. Adventures in business creation and ownership at a young age was a tremendous growth experience and major marker along the path that has lead me to business school.

More on shop life, yarn & tea and how its unfolded the canvas context for me to come!

For now, my hope is that the forthcoming book by the canvas creators will begin a series of conversations that keeps building upon this tool and continues developing its scope and reach further.

Conversations are beginning around these themes: The canvas & sustainability and even hospitality innovations by way of London & Amsterdam. May we continue to carry them on and grow the potential of this tool in its each application!


4 responses

  1. Not fair! You leave us hanging. I can’t wait to learn more about your shop. I want to know more about your perspective of being a small guy in a big guy world. What happened to KnitabiliTea?

  2. Thanks for sharing your past with us, Amanda. I look forward to learning more about your experiences and where you hope your path leads. I’m curious about your impression about the business models not reflecting small businesses. My own sense is that the tools we are given are kind of a one-size-fits-all. I’m not saying that it’s appropriate, but that’s my current sense. Your thoughts?

  3. I often wonder about limits to growth for a small business (or any business for that matter). Is it possible to grow “just enough” and remain there? Do you have to grow and expand your product line? Sure, you need to be strategic and nimble, adjusting your value proposition, but does that inherently involve growing volume of products and number of stores? How did you experience growth with KnitabiliTea? Was there pressure to expand inventory in order to remain competitive? Could you just “grow” by refreshing your inventory mix? I really look forward to talking more about your experiences as a business owner, good and bad. Thanks for sharing!

  4. agree with Jen. its not cool to leave us hanging…thanks for the links to the next version of the business model canvas.

    i’d be interested in discussing why you don’t see the BMC applying to a small business? i agree that the BMC has its shortcomings, however, i agree with Shawna that i view the tool as a one size fits all as an initial canvas. as you scale, your canvas will change and morph. maybe we can apply the scaling BMC next semester…

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