A note from Jackie: I was delighted to have Cindy Cooper of Portland State University’s Impact Entrepreneur program on one of my recent BSR Broadcasts. She and her team at Impact Entrepreneurs will be providing a series of guest posts over the coming weeks, and I am so grateful to be able to feature some of the wisdom from this incredible program here on the BSR blog! This post was originally found here.
How often do you apply the same level of planning and strategy to your own career decisions that you do to your business decisions? Tim Clark, author of Business Model You, does it all the time. If a business model is the logic we use to create value for our enterprises, he considered, why not try the same for our professional lives?
Today Tim Clark is seen as the leader of the global personal business model movement. A trainer, teacher, and entrepreneur, Clark has authored and edited five books on business and personal development. Among these was the handbook Business Model Generation, which introduced the Business Model Canvas to the world, led to the creation of Business Model You, and is now used by over a million people across the globe.
This summer Tim Clark joined Impact Entrepreneurs to take participants of the social innovation certificate program through a powerful four-step method to draw their “personal business models.”
The exercise started with a recognition that our world is changing fast, in ways no one can predict, and that any plan should be flexible and ready to adapt.
At this point Clark introduced the Business Model Canvas, which is a visual tool built for simplifying complex ideas, and for revealing unspoken assumptions. It looks like this:
After the introduction to the business model canvas, Clark asked participants to get personal and begin reflected on their own interests, skills, abilities, personalities, and assets. Then Clark introduced the Business Model You Canvas, which looks like this:
At this point students were encouraged to use piles of Post-Its to come up with just one word about what they do. This was generally focused on what they do at their job, but extended into their personal lives.
Then they figured out the value of their activity – and not just in terms of deliverables, or ways that they do the activity – but the actual value that is realized through the work they do.
Next they had to think of whom they help. As Clark defines them, customers are anyone for whom you’re creating value.
Once the value and the customers were identified, listing the key channels was next. In this context the channels would be the means through which people would be made aware of the value offered.
After those were dialed in, participants rapidly filled in the rest of the canvas.
In the second part Tim Clark asked students to look at their canvasses and say, “ok – that’s where I am, but where do I want to go?” And then, in a flurry of new sticky notes, students explored their futures.
Parts three and four were about perspectives – participants organized into groups to share feedback and suggestions. The canvas-creator was challenged to listen without “defending or debating.”
The Business Model You exercise is something anyone can do, and it goes far deeper than this three-minute summary. You can use the tool to help identify purpose, tell your story, and to turn your ideas into action. You can find a ton of information about it on the Business Model You website, and you can pick up the book there. Think of it as a “one-page method for reinventing your career”.
About Impact Entrepreneurs: Founded in 2010 in Portland State University’s School of Business Administration, Impact Entrepreneurs is unleashing the promise of business for social impact. It consists of a network of individuals and organizations committed to fostering economic, social, and ecological prosperity through entrepreneurial action. Working with partners locally and globally, the program delivers initiatives that strengthen organizations, builds entrepreneurial impact-focused leaders, and catalyzes social innovation. Read more here.