Innovation Management

Innovation: Business Model Canvas vs Strategic Business Functions

If you had been following our Innovation posts where we use the business model canvas to breakdown businesses, you might have always wondered how the business model canvas for a lean business scales up to that of a full business. We also had that question so we decided to explore linking the business model canvas to various business functions, in order for us to fully comprehend what it means.

Business Model Canvas
Business Model Canvas obtained from Quantic

Value Proposition

The value proposition is considered the most top level summary of what the business is. Therefore, this should be under the Chief Executive Officer, or the Business Strategy Department. While the Marketing team also would have a say in this, the value proposition is the heart of the business just like how the Chief Executive and Business Strategy brings everything together.

Customer Segments

In a corporate business, segmentation should be jointly owned by the Marketing Department, Consumer Insights Department, as well as Business Strategy Department, as there is a high level view of the customer and certain decisions would have to be made on the specific customer segments to target.

Customer Relationships

For customer relationships, the high level view would be driven by the Marketing Communications Department, as it would maintain the general relationship with the customer.

To target specific customers, the Sales Department would be the primary team developing these personal relationships.


Channel selection should be done by the marketing department, in order to achieve the broad go-to-market objectives of the company.

The execution of channels would usually be done by the Supply Chain Department and Operations Department, depending on the mix of channels chosen.

However, in this age, there is also online channels available. This is when the Digital Marketing Department arises to manage these channels.

Key Partners

Away from the external facing functions, key partners would usually be managed by the Corporate Communications Team, who consistently keep partners engaged. In businesses without a dedicated Corporate Communications Team, the Business Strategy Team should own this function.

The Sales/Procurement department might also be the right team to engage these key partners depending on whichever side the company is on.

Key Resources

For key resources, there is a variety of functions which govern this.

For human capital and labour, the Human Resources Department is definitely the one in charge.

For resources related to technology and infrastructure, we have the Information Technology Department in charge.

For financial-related resources, we have the Finance Department in charge and if there is no Real Estate department, the Finance Department also owns the aspect of leasing and ownership of commercial space.

Key Activities

The key activities will likely vary based on the business which is in question. While key activities should be carried out by the Operations Department, organisations are becoming more decentralised and constantly spreads out the key activities across various departments.

Cost Structure

The cost structure of the organisation should be helmed by the Finance Department, but as a partner to the various departments. Everyone plays a part in the cost structure but the owner of the costs should be finance.

Revenue Streams

The revenue streams usually stems from the pricing strategy as well as opportunity identification and the Business Strategy Department should clearly be in charge. The Finance Department can track the revenue streams to manage the profit and loss of the company, however the onus is on the Business Strategy Department to consistently look for new opportunities to increase the revenue streams.

How Many Teams Should There Be?

While you first start a business, you may find yourself doing everything, you might eventually want to scale up and see which functions are required by the business. As a general guide as covered, these are the functions in a business:

  1. Chief Executive Office + Business Strategy (To plan for the business.)
  2. Marketing + Consumer Insights + Sales (To manage customer-facing aspects of the business.)
  3. Supply Chain + Operations + Procurement (To run the external operations of the business.)
  4. Finance + Human Resources + Information Technology (To enable the internal operations of the business.)

While the functions can be combined in other ways too, the key is to understand your evolving business needs, as well as the skills of your team to ensure that your business runs smoothly.

Now that you have read the breakdown of how each department comes together in the business model canvas, are you more intrigued to run your own business in the future? Let us know in the comments below!

Are you interested in exploring business ideas? Please drop us a note at

If you liked reading about this post, do follow us on our LinkedIn Page. You may like to build your own hair salon, photo studio, bakery or ramen restaurant.

Image Credits: Photo by Raspopova Marina on Unsplash
Artwork Designed by Tan Wei Xiang


Business Model Innovation: Ramen Restaurant

Remember our previous post on Pricing a Ramen? Now, we have an innovation post which follows the same series! For the Ramen lovers who cannot go to Japan, but would love to set up your own restaurant.

As usual, we will be doing our analysis with the business model canvas. In addition, we got this inspiration for a whole ramen series from a friend who loves dining in Japanese restaurants. Note that this is a possibility, no hard and fast rules. After all, the beauty of the business model canvas is that it is just a hypothesis waiting to be tested! We will be putting together things we observed from various Ramen Restaurants in Singapore.

Unique Value Proposition

The challenge of business models as usual would be the unique value proposition.

In this case, we are offering a ramen restaurant which allows you to choose your own ingredients and is highly customisable.

Customer Segments

In terms of customer segments, we can do a behavioural segmentation: Our target customers are those who are interested in Ramens which offer choice of ingredients.

We could also do a demographic segmentation, younger adults may be more open to looking at a modular approach to buying food. (assumption)

As usual, customer segmentation is a really complex approach and so let’s focus on younger customers who may be interested in highly customisable ramen.

Customer Relationship

In order to maintain customer relationship, a loyalty application is a possibility, including stamp collection, or vouchers for redemption.

Publishing about new launches and special ingredients of the month to food blogs is also a method to keep customers updated.


Through the physical store, an online presence with an own website, which are standard components of a business. In addition, the business could explore working with restaurant concierge applications to reach out to a variety of customers. Over time, developing an own application would allow the customers to be kept in your ecosystem.

Key Partners

Some key partners in this case are:

  • Raw Ingredients Suppliers
  • Staffing Agencies as F&B is manpower intensive
  • F&B Concierge Applications

Key Activities

Some key activities in this case are:

  • Purchasing/sourcing of Ingredients from suppliers
  • Concocting new recipes to keep customers excited
  • Driving Foot traffic through interesting promotions.

Key Resources

The Key Resources in this case are:

  • Ramen Making Machine
  • Ramen Chef


In terms of Cost, these are the possibilities:

  • Rental
  • Salary
  • Cost of Equipment
  • Cost of Ingredients
  • Maintenance of Equipment
  • Marketing (Own website and royalties from platforms.)


In terms of Revenue, these are the possibilities:

  • Revenue from selling the Ramen itself.
  • Side Revenue from fringe items for instant soda drinks, and other sides like Gyoza.
  • Membership Fees / Subscription Model (this model does not seem to be frequently practised though, where customers are locked in for future discounts.)
  • Advertising Revenue (Maybe through partnership with tour companies, or other “Japanese” places like Japan Home.)
  • Consignment Products Revenue (Japanese Snacks Manufacturers, for customers to buy home.)
  • Merchandise Revenue (Think of the Sakae Sushi frog.)

In summary, this is a business model for a ramen restaurant!

Are you interested in exploring other business ideas? Please drop us a note at

If you liked reading about this post, do follow us on our LinkedIn Page. You may also like to build your own hair salon, photo studio or bakery!

Image Credits: Photo by Hari Panicker on Unsplash
Artwork Designed by Tan Wei Xiang


Business Model Innovation: Photo Studio

For the first post in this Business Model Innovation series, I was inspired by a photo studio which I came across last week, I found the small business concept extremely innovative and decided that I would write the first post based on this. I’ll be analysing the business based on the Business Model Canvas. There may be many ways a business can be run, but I hope that this post can serve as a basis to explore your creativity.

Unique Value Proposition

To create and document unforgettable memories for (our customers).

To strengthen the Unique Value Proposition (UVP), there will be a need for a clear definition on the customers.

Customer Segments

There are a few customers who will document important memories, to list a few important life events:

  1. Birth of a Child
  2. Graduation
  3. Wedding
  4. Other memorable events

Based on this our target audience will be different. This is a segmentation by life cycle stage.

Other possible segmentations can be geographic, psychographic, behavioural segmentation.

Key Partners

For the ease of analysis, we have chosen the customer as graduates and next we can think of potential partners. A key question is where the customer comes from, secondary school, polytechnics, university. In order to reach the customer, we establish some partners. Potential Partners can be the Ministry of Education, the various higher education institutions, special education institutions, the various student clubs.

Key Activities

Some key activities in this business value chain is lead generation, sales, the photography services, editing, finishing, as well as packaging of the final product.

Other activities can include business functions like marketing, procurement, and other support functions.

Key Resources

The key resources of the business come from the partnerships, where you want to have exclusive rights to the customer, as well as potential incentives which you can offer. Having enough cashflow would also be important to ensure that the high overheads from studio rental. The staff would also be essential in securing sales and carrying out the business activity with standard.

Customer Relationship

The customer would first need to be baited in with something. A loss leader can be used or even offered for free to up-sell to different photography packages.

The customer can also have loyalty benefits, early discount to lock them in and returning benefits, referral discount, etc. This is also the place where you can exercise your creativity.


The channels for your photo studio can be offline or online. The offline channels which could be explored includes booths at the locations offered by various partners, where the customer will be at. For graduation, the added benefit would be also schools will usually have designated vendors for the various segments in the event, every student who wants to attend the graduation will likely take notice of your business.

Online channels through google AdWords or SEO can also generate potential leads to your website.


To list a few possibilities:

  1. Rental
  2. Salary
  3. Cost of Materials (Photo Frame and Photos)
  4. Cost of Capital (Photography Equipment, Photo Printer)
  5. Cost of Freebies
  6. Other Business and Support Costs


To list a few possibilities:

  1. First Photo Sales
  2. Subscriptions
  3. Deposit for Advanced Booking
  4. Lifetime Membership Fee for future discounts
  5. Additional Add on Packages (e.g. finishing, larger photos, repeat prints, embossing, waterproofing, soft copy)

That’s a photo studio business summarised in one page, do let us know if it worked for you and do let us know the other business models you may be interested in!

Interested in exploring other business ideas? Do drop us a note at

If you loved our post, follow us on our LinkedIn for updates:

Do look at our analysis on hair salons too! You can also read our analysis on DIY Bakery.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash