Add value to your business (sustainable business model canvas)

Strategically improve your business by completing the sustainable business model canvas. It enables you to plan and arrange your business infrastructure.
Add value to your business

Improve your business strategically with the sustainable business model canvas

From a broad perspective, a successful tour operator is a business whose purpose and actions are equally grounded in financial, environmental and social concerns. A business that takes into account people, planet and profit and strategically manages these elements.

In order to strategically improve your business and manage it accordingly, completing the business model canvas will be of great value. It’s basically a visual chart describing your:

  • Business value proposition
  • Key activities
  • Partners and resources
  • Customer relationships
  • Cost structures
  • Revenue and benefits

By completing the model, you establish value for your own business while creating the best products for your customers. It’s the perfect tool to improve the focus and clarity of your business goals and objectives. It removes all the side-activities from your key business and allows you to zoom in what’s actually important. Before you can become better in business, you need to go back to the core.

Focus points to improve your business

When you start rethinking to improve your business, keep the following four important aspects in mind.

1. Build your business on your mission

You can change any aspect of your business, except for your mission. Your mission statement is the core belief of your company and operations. Building your business on your beliefs creates value. It distinguishes your business from others and it’s what makes it unique. Your business depends on your beliefs whereupon your strategy can be built.

2. Create actual value with your business

At the end of the day, your business purpose is to create value for your customers. Focus on creating both high value service and products. It’s no longer only about the product as the added value comes from the personalised product, the unique experience and the customer service.

3. Focus on a niche market

Running a successful business is no longer about delivering standard value to all customers. It’s about delivering outstanding value to specific customers. Don’t be afraid to niche and to stand out in your marketplace. Speak directly to your target audience and tailor your products to your buyer persona to enter a niche market.

4. Never stop developing your business

It’s important to keep reinventing your business. There is no need to hop on every trend that comes along, but select the trends that add value to your business. Never stop becoming a better tour operator and improve your business constantly, create higher quality and add more value.

The sustainable business model canvas

Sustainability is one of the key features when improving your business and adding value throughout the whole chain. By implementing sustainability, your products will be of better quality, and it will add value to your customers.

For businesses that take into account the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit), the sustainable business model canvas has been developed. This model enables you to:

  • Plan and arrange your business infrastructure, the products, the customers, the finances and the socio-economic benefits.
  • Design, discuss and communicate your added value.
  • Be transparent with your business strategy and be valued for it.

The sustainable business model canvas consists of 11 key building blocks that need to be completed to identify or rearrange your core business focus. Below we have listed the key questions you have to ask yourself when starting the process.

The sustainable business model canvas

Step 1: Value proposition

What value do you want to deliver? The value proposition are your products and services that meet the needs of your customers. It’s important to define your added value of your business, the distinctive value you offer the customer.

Step 2: Customer segments

For whom are you in business for? Who do you have in mind when you are creating your products and services? Who is your target group? This is where your buyer persona comes in, to tailor your products.

Step 3: Channels

How do your products and services go from value proposition to your customers? What distribution channels do you want to use and what channels work best for your customers? In stores, online or both? Define your marketing strategy.

Step 4: Customer relationships

How you are going to find, keep and grow your customers? What is the best way to communicate with them? Determine the best ways for your business to create satisfied and loyal customers. Invest in your relations with customers.

Step 5: Revenue streams

How are you going to make money with your business? How are you going to capture value? And how many customers do you need to make profit and what are they going to pay you? Develop your financial strategy and set clear targets for revenue and profit.

Step 6: Resources

What key assets or resources do you need to make your business operative and successful? Determine what you need in terms of finances, buildings, vehicles, knowledge and other resources.

Step 7: Activities

What are the most important activities needed to make your business model work? Think about auditing your supply chain, building a website and training your employees. Define how you will add value to the quality of your product, how you will collaborate with partners and create loyal customers.

Step 8: Key partners

What key partners do you need to help you grow your business? What will they add and what will they do? It’s important you select partners that share your values and who will make your business better. They are a direct link to your key activities and resources, define what and how they will contribute.

Step 9: Costs

What will be the costs of operating your business? Do you need to make investments in key resources or partners? What about the costs of your key activities and distribution channel? Which costs are fixed, and which are variable?

Step 10: Eco social costs

What ecological or social costs is your business inducing? Brainstorm how to reduce these costs. Are all your key resources already renewable? Which key activities use too many resources?

Step 11: Eco social benefits

What ecological or social benefits is your business creating? Who are the beneficiaries? Can you transform these benefits into a value proposition in your products? Create win-win situations.

After completing the sustainable business model canvas

When you have completed the sustainable business model canvas, the key values and elements of your business have been defined. Your business purpose is clear and well thought through, and will guide you when improving and growing your business. The canvas enables you to become a better tour operator that stays close to its own values and impact, while offering significant value to customers.


  1. Great article. It could be worth while to add the “societal value proposition” to also show the intrinsic motivation of the organisations’ ambitions as a social entrepreneur. This societal value proposition focusses on the gap in society and not the gap the market. This value proposition is seen as a promise to stakeholders (key partners) which are needed for its social impact ambitions.

    1. Hi Bas, thank you for your comment. Great addition and I agree the intrinsic motivation of tour operators is also very important in the value proposition.

      For our blogs, we are trying to keep it to the basics so it’s not explicitly mentioned now. However, tour operators who already have intrinsic motivations will automatically take this into account when answering the questions of step 1: value proposition.

  2. Found this super helpful in really zooming in on all the key areas in one model. I really needed this and I am working on it. Thank you for such valuable information at no cost.

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback Tawanda. We’re very happy to hear you found the information helpful in your own process of drawing your strategy! Are there any aspects that remain a challenge?

  3. I found this article very helpful not only ensuring business success but keeping in mind that our activities have direct positive impacts in people livelihood. Thanks!

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Good Tourism Institute: sustainable today, travel tomorrow

Roadmap to sustainable travel success (free Ebook)

Discover 6 proven paths to best-selling sustainable travel experiences.