Pandora Box - Business Canvas Magic Square

Updated: Nov 1

Ha Dang - Weatwork.co Founder


What is the most important block out of 9 building blocks in any Business Model Canvas? The answer is not a block. It is a Magic Square which is formed by the 3 most important blocks - Value Proposition - Revenue Stream - Cost Structure.


The 3-block Square


Whoever using Business Model Canvas to develop Business Strategies are fully appreciative of all nine (9) building blocks that form any business model. They all know that the lack of any block might cause a malfunctional one.


However not all of them are full aware of the special square that is shaped by the 03 building blocks that define the core value of any business. They are Value Proposition Block, Revenue Stream Block & Cost Structure Block.


The reason is when some only focuses on Cost & Revenue that formulates the 101 business principle (Max Profit = Max Revenue - Min Cost), some others raise the bar in defining & strengthening Core Value - the gift your business brings to your core customers.


Experiences in working with more than 100 businesses & organisations at any size across the globe gave me one survival observation:


Business leaders might aim high at either Cost/Revenue or Value Proposition. The truth is none of them target less than all 03 blocks combined. This makes the special SQUARE combining & recombining Cost-Revenue-Value which highlights both Financial & Branding Aspects in any of their Strategies

(see the yellow square inside Business Model Canvas below)

The magic Square


The Square becomes Magic for a simple yet fundamental reason: it makes sure all Business Model readers never forget the survival relationship among Value Proposition, Cost Structure & Revenue Generation.


When I consulted a corporation about Cost/Revenue Structure & how to internally communicate the structure during Covid19, the most important message was to make sure the piece of Value/Branding is included in both Cost & Revenue conversations:


  • Decision-maker 01: "Whatever happens in Covid19, make sure our Service stay at 5 stars"

  • Decision-maker 02: "We must minimise our cost, especially operation & energy, otherwise we have to close"

  • Decision-takers: "WHAT SHOULD WE DO?"

Good advisors would work with Decision-makers for their Consensus on the MOST significant Business OBJECTIVES which are measured by the MOST significant KEY RESULTS. During Covid19, these OKR must encompass both Branding & Margin with the languages that both Decision-makers must listen & understand.


For Decision-takers, make sure they are confident to become Decision-Influencers who can influence the two decision-makers with their expertises as well as the clear explanation of MAGIC SQUARE on Business Model Canvas.


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