While Key Resources in the Business Model Canvas are about what you have, Key Activities are about what you do. And often the two work together. The most important thing to ask yourself is this: what activities does our value proposition need? Your activities must be focused on unique value creation. But you’ll also want to ask yourself what activities your channels, customers, revenue streams, and Key Partners call for.

To catch up on the rest of my Business Model Canvas series, view the following links: Value Proposition, Customer Segment, Channels, Customer Relationships, Revenue Streams, Key Partners, Key Resources.

The core issues of Key Activities are these:

  • Production: Marketing, designing, producing.
  • Problem solving: Training, studying metrics, improving.
  • Platforms: Website updating, promotion, IT.
  • Networks: Primarily people networks.
  • Financial: Securing a merchant account, shop management, ecommerce.

All of these things are incredibly important. Yet they happen behind the scenes. But for growth to happen, your Key Activities need to be running. Starting a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop? Then make sure you are developing your Key Activities: menu creation, client-happiness observation, pulling in regulars, social media. Your thinking process needs to be this: What am I doing in that Key Activity with my Key Resources to make this whole business function?

Two major types of Key Activities are Supply Chain Management and Software Development.

  • Supply Chain Management—I’m not talking about your physical supply chain here. Typically your supply chain comes in two places: Key Partners and Key Resources. And typically Key Resources are helping you manage your Key Partners, which are part of your supply chain. But if you’re in manufacturing or have a product to produce, then supply chain management will certainly become one of your Key Activities. Even if you’re jobbing it out, it needs to be a Key Activity because you want to make sure you’re working closely with your Key Partner to produce the best product in the best way possible.
  • Software Development—Software is here to stay. Almost all business systems have been moved into software processes. Now you have computer software that helps you mange all of the pieces of a business that need to operate and run. For example in nonprofits, if one of your channels is dealing with a lot of clients, you can use a software like SalesForce.com. Salesforce.com helps you manage customers and clients. No matter what your business, someone has probably created a software for you to begin working with. Find it, and develop it.

A lot of times businesses fail because the entrepreneur, or the manager, is in the heart of the machine doing the wrong thing and pulling the wrong levers. There are several steps before you get to Key Activities. Make sure you’re working from your Value Proposition first.

What is an important Key Activity for your business? Let me know in the comment section!

Join me next Monday to hear the last bit about the Business Model Canvas: Cost Structure!