The importance of a Lean Canvas and the 60 Second Pitch – how to learn from a Pro (part 1)

After a long and busy working week, it’s only normal to long for that well-deserved weekend. However, Natasia Malaihollo’s weekend in San Francisco, California, didn’t start until she had presented her first of two workshops (26th September and 30th October 2020) to budding and experienced Moluccan entrepreneurs who dialled in from all over Indonesia.

Inspired by the questions she was asked after her webinar on Secrets to a Successful Start-Up Company, on 29th August 2020, she spontaneously decided to give two workshops to her fellow Moluccans, on How to set up a Business Plan and How to give a 60 Second Pitch.

Natasia’s first two-hour workshop covered the importance of a good business plan. Not the dry and boring 50-odd page ones we were used to, but the creation of a Lean Canvas. A simple one-page plan, devised by Ash Maury, who wrote the international bestseller Running Lean. This business modelling tool is an inexpensive way to test, if a new business plan has any potential, but it also proved important for existing entrepreneurs to check whether their business was still on the right track.

According to Maury, the model is intuitive, universal, different, simple, practical and actionable. Most importantly, the Lean Canvas had worked for Natasia and her company Wyzerr. She still reverts to her Lean Canvas and makes slight amendments to it, as things obviously change over time.

Using Facebook’s trajectory (and identifying their actual principles) as an example, whilst  encouraging the participants to think about their own ideas, Natasia explained the 12 different segments needed to create a Lean Canvas. Of all these steps, the ‘Problem’ segment, which was covered right at the start, was the most important part of the Lean Canvas. Recognising whether your company could solve at least three problems, as people are generally willing to pay for a problem to be solved. If a company didn’t have three problems, then it probably wasn’t a good company/idea and you had to re-think your strategy.

With a break half-way through – as there was a lot of information to digest - she covered all the other segments like Solutions (main selling points); Unique Value Proposition (what can you offer that’s so special); Unfair Advantage (knowledge or skills only you possess); Customer Segments (who are you targeting); Early adapters (identifying your first customers); Existing Alternatives (competitors’ analysis); Key Metrics (data tracking); High-Level Concept (your pitch); Channels (path to customers); Cost Structure (how much does it cost to build your business ) and finally the Revenue Streams (how much money can you make).  

After a Q&A, Natasia encouraged the participants to send her their Lean Canvas to, and the best entrant would be awarded a prize. Last month, Theofilia Ravenska Tomasoa, founder of Renatha Frozen Food, was picked by a group of judges and the first one to receive the US$250 prize.

 Those interested in learning more about the Lean Canvas and Natasia’s first workshop can watch it (again) on YouTube.