During my TechStars office hours sessions last week, several teams asked me questions that led to the same place: Please draw a business model diagram. Everyone could, or said they could, but in each case it was clearly not a practiced exercise. A business model is not a business plan, although the two are often confused. How can you tell the difference? A business model fits on one piece of paper (or one flip chart page or one white board), is referred to regularly and has all sorts of uses. A business plan is a big pile of paper that even the author doesn't read all the way through, and certainly no-one else does.
• 一目了然: 可以看到所有的同事是否清楚你正在做什么？为什么要这么做？必须确保这一点。如果要求他们独立画出商业模式图，他们画出的图会是一样的吗？商业模式图为讨论确定了一个明确的焦点，我们可以讨论商业模式各方面是否形成了一个整体，还可以看出人们对你正在做的事是否有什么误解或不同见解。
如果你已经开始考虑创业，你就已经开始将思考形成图形。这就是起点。花上一个小时。绝对不要超过90分钟。把它留在一块白板上，与同事和顾问们一起分享。让他们粘上便利贴，提出自己的问题。每次至少和几个人一起来回顾这张图，让头脑风暴激发出好点子。不要担心一些细枝末节的事情，即便是由九部分组成的商业模式样板（Business Model Canvas），也只需重点填写六、七部分就可以推进。所有公司的关键活动都是“销售和营销”，所有科技公司都“开发了科技平台”（而且，“科技平台”还会出现在接下来的关键资源这一项下面）。无需事无巨细。真正要操心的是明确价值主张，包括每个细分客户群体、细分的关键资产和关键合作伙伴以及推动经济效益的营收和成本分项。商业模式图的高级应用包括层层关键假定、获得明确的假设以及对假定的检验。硅谷创业老将史蒂夫•布兰克最近有一篇精彩的相关文章，谈到了对商业模式方法论的误解（以及修正的方法）。Spill网站的Heidi Allstop向我推荐了这个很棒的资源，对网络模板工具感兴趣的人可以点击查看。
本文作者理查德•戴尔(@rdale)是波士顿地区风投公司Sigma Partners的合伙人。他的个人博客地址是Venture Cyclist。
Here are my four reasons to have a one-page business model picture
• Completeness: You can make sure you have addressed all aspects of the business model. This is not exhaustive completeness – it should be quite high level and avoid getting into the weeds – but you get to see if you have any glaring holes.
• Consistency: You can see whether all aspects of the business model are consistent with each other. For example, does the assumption about partners line up with the assumption about channels?
• Clarity: You can see whether (and ensure that) all of your colleagues are clear about what you are doing and why .If asked to draw the model independently, would they draw the same thing? The model becomes a concrete focus for discussion about how it all fits together and brings out any misunderstandings or disagreements about what you are doing.
• Communication: You can draw and redraw the model as you tell the story of your business to mentors, advisers, potential recruits, and potential investors. It can focus a staff meeting, board discussion or investor presentation. You can much more easily remember a diagram (and recreate it from first principles) than you can remember a page of text.
If you have started to think about a business you have started to diagram things out. That's where to start. Take an hour. Certainly stop after 90 minutes. Leave it on a white board. Share it with colleagues and advisors. Let them add post-it notes with questions. Go back to it with at least a couple of people around each time – let the brainstorming drive good thinking. Don't sweat the small stuff – even on the nine-sections of the Business Model Canvas, you only need six or seven elements to get going. Every company has "sales and marketing" as a Key Activity, and every tech company has "develop the tech platform" as well (and then "tech platform" shows up on the Key Resources panel, too). Don't worry about that kind of completeness. Do worry about a value proposition for each customer segment, differentiated key assets and key partners, and revenue and cost components that characterize the economic drivers of the business. Advanced uses of a business model diagram include layering on key assumptions, generating explicit hypotheses, and building out tests of those assumptions. On a very related note, Steve Blank recently wrote a great post on misunderstanding a business model methodology (and how to fix it). Heidi Allstop of Spill shared this great resource with me for those interested in an online canvas tool.
Richard Dale (@rdale) is a partner with Boston-area VC firm Sigma Partners. He blogs at Venture Cyclist.