The business model concept was first developed to explain dot-com companies. It was then studied by academics in the context of medium to large companies. The irony is that it is now used primarily to explore entirely new venture ideas. In other words, the majority of research on business models simply does not apply to its most common use.
In the mid-1990s, most business schools provided instruction on how to write a business plan. By the mid 2010s, business schools had begun replacing the business plan with business model analysis, usually Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas.
Osterwalder’s Canvas, and Maurya’s Lean Canvas, which we will discuss in Chapters 10 and 11, are excellent tools. But they are most effective for organizations at growth and development stages, respectively. Both canvases direct entrepreneurs and managers to ask and answer questions, make assumptions explicit, and consider how business model elements connect. But both are more complex than needed for the entrepreneur at the very earliest stage of opportunity exploration.