How to Run a Lean Canvas Workshop Remotely

19 January 2021

Imagine how terrible it would be to work long hours, months even, and not be able to make a single sale.

Unfortunately, that is the case of several businesses that fail to see the big picture and take into account the most strategic aspects of the business plan before moving onto the execution phase.

To identify all relevant problems ahead and design solutions for each, we have prepared a recipe that guides you through the Lean Canvas workshop. Understanding the advantage your business has over others, this workshop helps you shine a light on all important aspects to run a successful business. 


Ingredients list




Sticky notes

Voting cards


Nutritional Value 

Idea builder

Problem identification

Design solutions

Identify the advantages



2 hours to a day

Recipe Instructions 📄

1. Invite the right people

Just when you think you have it all covered, a problem appears out of nowhere that you hadn’t prepared for nor even considered in the first place. Taking into account all ideas when addressing different blocks that make up the business shines a light on ignored aspects, saving us time from complications further on in the process. 

2. Fill in the Canvas together

1. Customer Segments

To define a problem and shape out a solution, it is essential to figure out who we are doing this for. As a team, ask yourself who exactly am I targeting with my business offer? What customer segment is my business serving? Note relevant details, including demographics, interests, and needs. The more information you have about your potential clients, the easier it will be to map out the best solution for them.

2. Problem

In order to offer the best solution in the form of a service or product, you need a problem. The first step involves dedicating time to fully understanding your customers’ problems. Focus on the major and repetitive obstacles and note them down. Try out the 5 Whys, an approach to capture a holistic image of the root cause of your customers’ problems. Starting with this will help you define a more adapted solution to meet their existing needs in the following steps. 

3. Revenue Streams

Pricing strategies differ from one business to another. Define the method by which your team agrees to be the most adequate to generate money for the value it offers. This could be in the form of single payments upon purchase, subscription accounts, or other.

    4. Solution

    You have determined the value you can offer as a company, the customers you want to target, and the problems you are aiming to solve. The following block requires the team to think outside of the box and come up with the best fit solution. Run a Crazy Eights workshop to generate as many ideas as possible, and talk through a Minimum Viable Product, that gives a concise description of the solution to be developed. 

     5. Unique Value Proposition

    Along with your team, discuss the main points that differentiate your business from the rest.  Take turns to express why customers should buy from you, to get a rounded idea of the value your business brings. Right down all the ideas to help you develop an attractive marketable promise for your clients.

    6. Channels

    Does my business need a physical store? Do I need a website? Is it a better strategy to produce regular content on social media for my clients? Alongside your team determine the most fitting channel to reach and connect with your customers.  Brainstorm on the type of relationship you want to have with them regarding the type of interaction and communication.

    7. Key Metrics

    Defining the right metric is essential to measure the company’s performance. This can be in the form of products sold on a monthly basis, percentage of new weekly subscribers, number of downloads, and so on. Using the wrong metric can be misleading, therefore it should be well studied by the team which strategy is a better reflection on the business’s efficiency and productivity. 

    8. Cost Structure

    Providing a solution comes with its expenses. List down all monetary costs needed to fund the business, get resources, and perform activities. Include all relevant costs from the fixed ones such as rent and bills, to operational costs to keep the business up and running.

    9. Unfair Advantage

    Think about what is it that only you have and that no one can buy. This could be expertise that cannot be copied or anything that gives you a real advantage over your competitors. Keep in mind that not everyone has a competitive advantage

    How to run a virtual Lean Canvas workshop on Excelway

    Excelway is a software that enables you to run a successful remote workshop with your team.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the Lean Canvas?

    The Lean Canvas is a pragmatic, entrepreneur-focused canvas that concretizes a business idea elements in a single page. Similar to the Business Model Canvas, which is it was adapted from, it covers the channels, cost structure, revenue streams, as well as the unique value proposition of a business. However, the lean canvas focuses less on the key activities and resources and sheds light more on the problems that the targeted customers have and different methods to solve them. In addition to that, it dives deeper into the unfair advantage a company has over its competitors which represents something that other businesses can’t easily copy or purchase. Lastly, it covers the key metric, which is decided on by teams during the workshop to measure the company’s performance. The Lean Canvas was designed to focus on the riskiest aspects of a business through the nine-building blocks, generating ideas, identifying problems and solutions, and making the business actionable.

    Where does the Lean Canvas come from?

    Ash Maurya created the Lean Canvas as an adaptation of Alexander Osterwalder’s Business model Canvas in 2010.

    What is the difference between the Lean Canvas and the Business Model Canvas?

    Both the Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas summarize a great deal of a business plan in a single page document. However, what seemed to be the most important aspect of a business to Osterwalder wasn’t exactly the same for Maurya. While one esteemed that key partners, activities, resources, and customer relationships are the most important aspects to be considered when developing a Business Model Canvas, Ash Maurya modified it to include problems, solutions, unfair advantage, and key metrics, which according to him are riskier aspects of the business that need to be addressed.  Arguably, one can say, the purpose of the Business Model Canvas is a summarized business plan for stakeholders and potential investors to understand, while the Lean Canvas’s focus on solving a problem is for the entrepreneur and the developing team.

    Written by Sophia

    Passionate about how people build things together, Sophia has dedicated her academic and professional work to understanding group collaboration in a remote setting. Today, she is the founder of Excelway.
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