Make Your Business Model Clear with Vivid Thinking. Guest Post by Dan Roam

Visual Thinking is central to designing, testing, and building business models. So I was really excited when Dan Roam accepted to write a guest post on the Business Model Alchemist. His brand new book “Blah Blah Blah: What to Do When Words Don’t Work.” is THE reference book to have better conversations and effective meetings.

At the heart of a business.

Dan Roam Blah Blah Blah Idea

At the heart of every business beat two essential elements: an idea and a plan. An idea without a plan is just a dream. A plan without an idea is just a list. For a business to grow and thrive, it must have both.

Dan Roam blah blah blah plan

Sometimes the idea comes first: “How about we make a computer screen you can touch?” Add a plan (design + manufacturing + marketing) and you’ve got the iPad. Sometimes the plan comes first: “What would happen if we sold something other than books the way Amazon sells books?” Add an idea (online shoes!) and you’ve got Zappos.

The first reason I think Alex Osterwalder’s “Business Model Canvas” is the greatest business modeling tool of the decade is because it gives us a place to quickly translate any business idea into a testable plan – and vice-versa.

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I’ve got a model. Now what?

But once we’ve developed and tested business model, there’s still one more critical step towards making a living business: we need to sell it to partners, investors, and customers. And that’s the second reason I love the “Business Model Canvas”: it provides us with the basis of the Vivid Story we’ll need to crystallize and communicate our idea. When I say “Vivid” I mean something very specific: a Visual-Verbal-Interdependent idea; an idea made absolutely clear because it is expressed with both words and pictures.

Let me show you. A word-only description of a complex idea is hard to “get” and equally remember. Because words always proceed in a single line, when they are finished we usually forget where they started. That’s a terrible way to describe a business.

Dan Roam blah blah blah words only

A “Vivid” idea weaves together both words and pictures to create a visual+verbal image we can see, understand, and remember. And that is a great way to describe a business.

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Dan Roam is the author of the international bestseller “The Back of the Napkin”, the most popular visual-thinking business book of all time, named by Fast Company, BusinessWeek, and The Times of London #1 creativity and innovation book of the year. For more insights on the power of power of Vivid Thinking look at Dan’s new book, “Blah Blah Blah: What to Do When Words Don’t Work.

More on Dan at

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