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Applying the Business Model Canvas to Personal Growth

“The future isn’t what it used to be,” quipped Yogi Berra famously. The same can be said about business models, and how we deal with the fundamental processes of value creation, delivery, and capture. (For a detailed explanation of Business Model Canvas, click here). Business models are constantly being disrupted, and only the agile, and some might say, paranoid, businesses can survive this age of hyper-competition.

The same is true for individuals. A few decades ago, most college graduates sought jobs with large employers for a lifetime of employment and generous retirement benefits. The environment today is radically different. Jobs are not for life. Corporations need to reinvent themselves constantly. Everyone has to sharpen their skill set constantly to stay relevant and earn a living.

business model you

This is the reason that more individuals are taking their destiny in their own hands, and starting a new life as entrepreneurs. The essence of entrepreneurship lies in creating unique value, also called the customer value proposition. How we create that value, deliver it, and monetize it is the essence of a business model, whether it refers to a business or an individual.

Business Model You: Reinvent Your Career

Business Model You is an excellent book written by Tim Clark. Using the design principles of Business Model Generation, it guides the reader through the process of reinventing one’s career:

business model you book

It is easy to apply the Business Model Canvas to one’s career by creating a personal business model canvas. The table below shows how the Business Model Canvas section titles are modified to apply them to one’s career. I have grouped them by the 4 main strategic areas of Business Model Canvas:

standard business model canvas

The nine business model canvas sections are modified to apply to personal growth:

business model canvas comparison

The four main strategic areas of a personal business model canvas are:

personal business model canvas

The next image shows how the new “personal” titles map to the business model canvas titles:

business model canvas mapping

Given that most of us have many passions, talents, and experiences, it is possible to create multiple personal business model canvases. One can then prioritize them through self-reflection.

Finding the fit between interests, skills, and personality

The book encourages the reader to take an honest look at:

  • Interests: what excites you?
  • Skills and Abilities: Acquired and natural talents. What can you do easily?
  • Personality: The way you like to work with others.

Once you have an honest assessment of these three aspects of your life, you can plot them like a Venn diagram. The intersection of the three circles is your career sweet spot:

career sweet spot

Apply the principles of Business Model You and reinvent yourself!

Shyam is a consultant and mentor to entrepreneurs. He has over 3 decades of international technology industry experience. He earned his MBA from Oregon State University, and Bachelor of Technology from Indian Institute of Technology. View details.

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