Recently I went through the elements of a business model with a couple entrepreneurs. When explaining the concept of Customer Relation I found it necessary to get my Business Model Architect-cards, since Customer Relation is often misinterpreted or oversimplified when you use the Business Model Canvas.

The simplification in the canvas model is both it’s strength and weakness.

The most accurate way to explain the element of Customer Relationship it to say that it answers the question: How can I create demand? Customer segments define who you primarily want to sell to, Channels define how to reach your customers, but Customer Relationship defines the ultimate quetion: How do you get customers to buy? So it shouldn’t be neglected or taken too easy upon.


So I spread out the 26 ELEMENTS- cards about customer relationship in four stacks in front of the entrepreneurs:

  • GET – how do you get new customers?
  • SERVE – how do you serve the customers?
  • KEEP – how do you keep the customers? How do you make them buy again?
  • GROW – how do you grow the customer relationship? How do you get the individual customer to buy more products and services?

It was actually quite fun to see how they got inspired when I spread out the Customer Relationship cards in front of them. Of course they recognized the elements that they had already considered- e.g.  the use of an early customer referral to make the next customers buy in the early stages – but during the few minutes it took to go through the options, several ne ideas appeard completely unsolicited. They saw opportunities in using Gamification to make users to more involved and they also got a few ideas for other services that could be offered to the customer, when they saw the cards Add-on Products and Cross-selling.

And I never even intended to start brainstorming on their business model. It just happened.

Although we have become accustomed to seeing the business model as a whole, it can be very rewarding to focus on a limited part of the model and go deeper into it. For example, by taking a single color in Business Model Architect ELEMENTS and discuss how to use the various options (cards).

When you sit with the entire business model, the task is often to stay organized and keep the big picture, and it is difficult to think creatively about individual elements. So if you want to think outside the box in your business model, try to focus on one element at a time.

Creativity often occurs when you focus and set up constraints.


Buy Business Model Architect ELEMENTS today!