On 20 July, the top five finalists in our Entrepreneur Competition participated in a second skills development workshop, hosted at The Workspace and facilitated by Phaksio Tsotetsi from The Hookup Dinner.
Following the previous skills development session, the finalists were feeling confident about pitching their businesses. Some reported that the pitch training had already helped them sell more confidently and acquire new business.
Next, it was time to dive deeper into the finalists’ business models.
The Business Model Canvas
The focus of the workshop on 20 July was on teaching and assisting each of the finalists to use the Business Model Canvas (BMC) – a simple but highly effective template for developing, clarifying and describing a business model.
9 steps: using the BMC template
The finalists were guided through nine steps, answering specific questions and clarifying each of the following aspects of their business models.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you may find it useful to work through the same set of steps, addressing each of the following areas in turn:
1. Value proposition
What value does your business offer its customers? Is this value proposition clear and simple?
2. Customer segments
Who are your customers? Are they clearly defined? How do you reach them? Clearly distinguish them from your partners.
3. Distribution channels
How do you get your product to your customers? It’s worth exploring alternative avenues – including non-traditional ones – and questioning your current operations and systems.
4. Customer relations
How do you interact with your customers? Which mediums do you use to engage them and how do you ensure that your business is at the top of their minds? Keys here are keeping your business relationship with customers healthy. Understand that you’re dealing with human beings – be interested in them and their well-being. Don’t just sell, expecting business only.
5. Revenue stream
Understand each of your business’s revenue channels. If there are less than three revenue streams, explore how else the business could generate revenue, without digressing from the business’s core proposition.
6. Key resources
Clearly define and understand who and what your key resources are. Which resources make the wheels turn? Recognise the value of these resources and determine how to manage them well. This includes managing relationships with service providers and staff.
7. Key partners
This step involves identifying key partners, evaluating the relationships and their importance, and determining the best ways to manage the partnerships. Remember that partners differ from clients – they help make what you do possible, rather than purchasing your business’s products or services.
8. Key activities
What day-to-day activities have to take place for the business’s product or service to be delivered? Clearly list each activity and every step it includes. Then question each activity and step. Aim to simplify operations to make the business more effective, without compromising quality.
9. Cost structure
List businesses costs and compare them to the business’s revenue. Then consider how you could minimise operational costs to make the business leaner.
During the workshop, key challenges facing the finalists were addressed. These included:
- differentiating between partners and clients, where partners are needed for corporate financing
- developing financial strategies with clear, measurable targets
- developing systems and processes for sustaining day-to-day operations, freeing business owners to focus on the bigger picture and on bringing in business.
It can take courage to realise that sometimes, you may be the biggest obstacle to the success of your own business – but doing this opens the way for real growth.
Addressing these issues meant the workshop was intense and really thought-provoking.
Follow-up to the training
As their next step, the entrepreneurs will each be preparing a final pitch for presenting to the competition judges, on 8 August. Good luck to the finalists!