Structures

Key Resources In The Business Model Canvas: What To Include?

Gerrard Lipscombe
5
Minute Read
New

One of the more important (though at times trickier to define) sections of the business model canvas is the key resources section. Particularly for small and early stage ventures--there can be some confusion about what to include here.

So let's just get right to it.

What are key resources in the business model canvas?

In a nutshell, your key resources are those assets which are absolutely essential for your business model to work.

They describe all the valuable things that will be needed for you to actually deliver on the promise (or value proposition) you're making to your target customers.

For example, if you're selling items online, then a website, hosting and Ecommerce infrastructure are kind of essential resources for that model to be at all feasible!

In contrast, if you're running a B2B service company that does consulting work for other businesses, your key resources might be your team of expert consultants, and perhaps some specialized software or equipment.

Useful prompts for your key resources section

  • What do you need in order to bring your value proposition to life?
  • What are the necessary inputs for your business model?
  • What assets or capabilities do you need to have in order to make your business model work?

Tying your key resources back to the core value proposition your business is making can be a useful way to check off your most important assets. Especially if you are projecting forward to some future value proposition, or considering a venture which doesn't quite exist yet--start by imagining a future where you are delivering on your value proposition perfectly, then picture the assets that would need to be in place to do so effectively.

Common types of key resources

Key resources come in a few common forms, and it's worth taking a moment to consider each of these larger categories when brainstorming your own business' key resources.

These are, according to Strategyzer:

  • Physical resources
  • Intellectual property
  • Human
  • Financial;
  • Bonus: Digital

A little more on each below.

Physical resources

Physical resources refer to assets like infrastructure, equipment, real estate, delivery vehicles, inventory and basically any assets that are grounded in the physical world; ie. made up of atoms,

For example, a coffee shop needs a location, brewing equipment, and (of course) coffee beans! Other examples of physical resources might be:

  • A retail store needs shelves, registers and products;
  • A food delivery like Deliveroo business needs vehicles (in this case bicycles!), uniforms and packaging materials; and
  • A manufacturing business likely needs a factory, tools and raw materials.

Intellectual property

In an increasingly online business world, intellectual property resources are incredibly valuable. This includes things like any patents, copyrights or other legal protections that you might have on your products or processes. But it also refers to your brand, proprietary software and systems and even data warehouses that you may have collected through business activities.

Human resources

Your human resources are, quite simply, your people power. This could be a team of in-house experts, your contractors, or even just yourself if you're a solopreneur. Understanding the role that human resources and talent will play in your broader business model is a key piece of the canvas; are you dependent on highly skilled talent (e.g. niche software developers?) or are you more dependent on a high volume of low-skilled workers (e.g. Deliveroo delivery drivers).

Financial resources

This could include investments, grants, lines of credit, or even just cash on hand. Other common financial resources are invoices (if you're selling on credit) or accounts receivable (if you're selling products or services before they've been paid for).

Some business models have higher capital demands than others, in which case being clear about the financial resources needed up front (and throughout) are essential--you can have all the other forecasts and projections going in the right direction, but if you run out of cash, everything will end in a hurry.

Digital resources

Not included in the original model, I've added this as a specific consideration for modern online businesses. While there's some overlap with the Intellectual Property resources, I think it's worth making a point of considering your digital resources that will be deployed (and secured) as your business model develops.

Things like:

  • SEO and digital real estate: How much of the digital search space do you own? And how much can you realistically win?
  • Virality: Do you have assets which are inherently viral, or access to channels which can go viral readily?
  • Automation: If manufacturing facilities and systems are a key resources in physical space, thinking through areas of your business' digital knowledge processes that can be automated (and building or developing those systems) can also be considered a key digital resource in your business model.

Filling out the Business Model Canvas

We'll be adding to this series on filling out the Business Model Canvas in due course; in the meanwhile, if you'd like to duplicate an editable template of the business model canvas in Notion, you can do just that with the link above.

Happy business building.

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