Since it’s release, Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas has taken the business community by storm, and is now taught in most business schools. From his model grew adaptations such as the Lean Business Canvas, the Personal Business Model Canvas, and the Social Business Model Canvas.

From our work using the Business Model Canvas, we identified a need to be able to map additional key areas for social enterprises. This led us to develop our own Social Business Canvas. With the utmost respect for its roots, the Social Business Canvas differentiates from the traditional Business Model Canvas in the following ways:

  • Does not include Customer Relationships
  • Includes Problem
  • Includes Key Metrics (KPIs)
  • Includes Social Benefit
  • Divides Target Segments and Channels into three types: user, funder, and regulator

The Social Business Canvas has all of the benefits from the traditional Business Model Canvas, but aims to bring awareness to issues more common to social businesses. Interestingly, we have found that even businesses that are not social enterprises benefit from using the Social Business Canvas because of the universal usefulness provided by the new sections.


Understanding the problem is key for identifying a solution of actual value. Many business fail simply because they either did not adequately test market demand to see if their solution actually was wanted, or was unable to communicate the value to the right people.

Social Benefit:

Clearly identifying the social benefit will be useful in the “why” of your marketing activities. As said by Simon Sinek, most businesses can easily communicate what they do and how they do it, but it is why they do it that will transform customers into fans.

Key Metrics (KPIs):

KPIs are necessary both internally for improvement and externally for reputation. Some businesses have tanked because they did not manage how the outside world would evaluate their results, even when the internally measured results were great.

Segments and Channels:

Identifying the three types of target segments will be useful for your communication strategy, and we find that many businesses do not adequately look at the regulatory environment when starting.

By adding these dimensions, the Social Business Canvas has all the top line information you need to know for your social business. This makes the process of drilling down into detail easier and increases the likelihood of not missing any key details during planning.

To learn more about the Social Business Canvas, visit Make Happy