Basic Lean Canvas Exercises at July 2018 Bootstrapper Breakfasts in Silicon Valley

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Basic Lean Canvas Exercises at July 2018 Bootstrapper Breakfasts in Silicon Valley

This is the handout from our “3×5 card workshop” on the Lean Canvas at the July 2018 Bootstrapper Breakfasts in Silicon Valley. Attendees did one of the basic exercises on a 3×5.

Basic Exercises for Lean Canvas at Bootstrapper Breakfasts July 2018

Lean Canvas image courtesy 3 Day Startup

Pick one of Customer, Problem, or Solution Focus:

Customer Focus

  • We Want to Help [Customers]
  • Who are Currently relying on [Existing Alternatives]
  • To solve [Problem]
  • Refinement: identify 3-6 objective selection criteria to determine Target customer

Problem Focus

  • We want to Solve [Problem]
  • For [Customers]
  • Currently relying on [Existing Alternatives]
  • Refinement: identify 3-6 diagnostic criteria to help narrow problem definition

Solution Focus:

  • Our [Solution]
  • Replaces [Existing Alternatives]
  • For This [Problem]
  • Refinement: Identify potential types or categories of customer who have this problem and are using one of the existing alternatives

Intermediate Questions

Customer Focus

  • For [Customer Segment]
  • With [Problem]
  • Our [Solution]
  • Offers [Unique Value Proposition]
  • Compared to [Existing Alternatives]
  • Fueled by [Our [Unfair Advantage]

Obsolete Status Quo

  • Unlike [Existing Alternatives]
  • Our [Solution]
  • For [Customer Segment]
  • With [Problem]
  • Offers [Unique Value Proposition]
  • Fueled by [Our Unfair Advantage]

Key Elements of the Full Canvas

  • Customers: focus on Early Adopters (Narrow / Sort / Identification Criteria)
    Given 100 prospects: who is in the most pain or who is most likely to decide quickly
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Unique Value Proposition
  • Existing Alternatives (status quo baseline for value proposition)
  • Unfair Advantage (e.g expertise, technology, relationships, track record, reputation/brand)

Background / Articles on Lean Canvas

Here are three ways you can fill out a Full Lean Canvas

  1. Free App: Use the free version of Leanstack available at
  2. GDoc: File menu “Make a Copy”) This can also be saved as a Word File.
  3. PDF:
    For some background on the Lean Canvas see Ash Maurya’s “Why the Lean Canvas vs. Business Model Canvas”

Worksheet © SKMurphy, Inc for use at Bootstrapper Breakfasts
(contact Sean Murphy / 408-252-9676)

Image Credit: Lean Canvas Image Courtesy 3 Day Startup Please note that image was not included in original handout, credit is for use in this blog post.

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  1. […] Lean Canvas / LeanStack Mentor Community. I have known Ash Maurya  for more than a decade and have tremendous respect for his work as a thought leader driving the state of the art in methodologies and tools for entrepreneurs. He has taken a holistic view of the entrepreneur’s journey and developed a mix of software and paper tools that help founders to plan and manage market exploration, experiments that attack the riskier hypotheses in their business model, and challenges they will face in scaling up. I was pleased to join his LeanStack Mentor Community of Practice in March of this year. We incorporated his open source Lean Canvas model into a “3×5 card workshop” at Bootstrapper Breakfasts in July. […]

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