A lot of business owners struggle with creating a business plan because they feel overwhelmed by the task. They don’t know where to begin, how long it will take, or even whether it’s worth it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or already running a profitable business. Having a good business plan is essential to your success. However, most entrepreneurs don’t have the time or resources to create a full-blown business plan.
This is where a lean canvas template can help. It captures only the essential things you need to focus on, which means you don't need to spend hours writing a detailed business plan.
By using the free Nimbus lean canvas template, you can start immediately and save yourself from wasting valuable time and energy.

How to Use the Nimbus Lean Canvas Template

The Nimbus lean canvas template follows the structure below. You can use it to have a quick snapshot of what to focus on, how you are tracking, and where you need to improve.

Add in the following details:

1. Problem
  • List up to three problems your business and/or your product or service solve.
2. Existing Alternatives
  • Find out solutions that already exist in the marketplace that also address the problem your business solves. Identify which solutions are most effective and what else might be needed.
3. Solutions
  • Identify the solutions that you provide and how they make your customers' lives easier.
4. Key Metrics
  • Identify what is success for your business. These are your key financial measures or KPIs. Reviewing these metrics should help you get an understanding of how your business is doing.
5. Unique Value Proposition
  • Identify how you are differ from your competitors and what makes your product or service different from others.
6. High-Level Concept
  • Describe your unique value proposition in a simply and clear statement that conveys the benefits you customers will get.
7. Unfair Advantage
  • Articulate how you have a competitive edge over your competitors. Highlight what you provide that customers can only get with your solutions.
8. Channels
  • List how you plan to reach your customers. Define what your marketing, sales, or promotion strategies are.
9. Customer Segments
  • Identify who your ideal customers are. Determine what makes them unique and define what they want from your products and services.
10. Early Adopters
  • Identify which segments in the marketplace would be interested in using your product or service early or before you offer it to the entire marketplace.
11. Cost Structure
  • List your main costs or expenses. These can be broken down into operational costs (both fixed and variable), distribution costs, and customer acquisition costs.
12. Revenue Streams
  • Determine your sources of revenue. Determine if you have other streams of revenue you may not have considered.

You can work through each section either by yourself or with your team. It's best to complete it in the order listed above, which will give you greater clarity as you work through each section.

What is a Lean Canvas?

A lean canvas is a simple on-page business plan that captures the essential metrics any business owner needs to monitor. You can use a lean canvas as a tool to help you monitor factors such as problems you're experiencing, revenue streams, costs, customer segments, services you provide, and other external factors.

Using a lean canvas makes it easy to keep track of your key functions to ensure they're working correctly as per your business model. A lean canvas is a tool to create a summarized version of your business plan.

Benefits of a Lean Canvas Template

Depending on your business model, using a lean canvas template can help the following ways.

1. Solve problems faster

You can solve any problem faster if you give it the focus it needs. Problems drag on because of lack of visibility and no one being responsible for solving it. The lean canvas template helps ensure you don't lose sight of what you need to give attention to.

2. Monitor key business metrics 

When you focus on too many things, it's easy to lose sight of what's important. To build your business, it's essential to know what the main factors to monitor are. The lean canvas template focuses specifically on factors that improve the product or service you provide, increase customer satisfaction, and achieve what your business has the potential to.

3. Build a business plan that does not overwhelm you

There are many moving parts to make any business idea successful. Operating and building a business is difficult. You may juggle multiple projects at once. If you try to do everything, you'll quickly get overwhelmed. That's why having a lean canvas template is helpful. When you have a lean canvas, you can focus on the critical aspects of your business without getting bogged down in details.

4. Align your team to manage growth

The lean canvas template gives you an overview of all the areas to focus on. It also provides a picture of your current situation, so everyone has clarity about what they need to work on. When everyone has greater clarity, you can easily align your team to grow your business. Having more clarity is one of the biggest advantages of having a lean canvas.

5. Improve communication between departments

If you want to run a successful business, you must communicate effectively across teams. The lean canvas template ensures you stay focused on the right priorities. By doing so, you can avoid miscommunication and unnecessary stress. If something isn't functioning correctly, you can correct it quickly before it becomes a bigger issue.

How to Create a Lean Canvas?

When you use a lean canvas template, you will see it has ten sections, with two sub-sections. It's best to complete the top row first and complete the two sections in the bottom row last.

You can edit and refine your lean canvas as you go along.

1. Problem

In this step, list up to three problems your product or service solves. Identify how common the problem is and what customers will pay to solve it.

2. Existing Alternatives

Find out solutions that already exist that also solve your business problem. Identify how effective those solutions are and what could be missing in what they offer.

3. Solution

Identify how the solutions you offer solve your customers' problems. Describe how your solutions will make your customers' lives better.

4. Key Metrics

Here, define what your markers for success are. These are your key business metrics or performance indicators. When you review these metrics, it should give you are idea of how your business is tracking.

5. Unique Value Proposition

Identify what makes your business and the solutions you offer different from your competition. This is your differentiator. You need to know whether you are different based on quality, price, or other features.

6. High-Level Concept

This is like your benefit statement, which conveys your value proposition simply and clearly.

7. Unfair Advantage

Define what gives you a competitive edge. Identify what you offer that's only available with your solutions.

8. Channels

Describe the options available to reach your customers. This is your plan to get in front of your customers. It can be via traditional media, social media, various forms of paid advertising, etc.

9. Customer Segments

Define who your ideal customers are, what their key characteristics are, and what would make them interested in your solutions.

10. Early Adopters

Identify where in the market you can get quick wins. This is about describing segments in the market that will want to use your product or service as part of your beta launch or early release. These customers can provide valuable feedback to help you improve what you offer.

11. Cost Structure

The section in the bottom row is to consider all your costs. This includes operational costs, both fixed and variable, distribution costs, and customer acquisition costs.

12. Revenue Streams

Identify how you plan to generate revenue. Based on your business and your customer segments, identify which revenue model will work best. Knowing this will inform you whether you will cover your costs and make a profit in your business.

Ready to Use a Lean Canvas Template?

Now that you know what's required, it's time to create your lean canvas template. You can use the Nimbus lean canvas template as a starting point. This template is a one-page document to capture your key business indicators, which you can share with your team.

If others could also benefit from using this lean canvas template, please share it with them.