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  • Cost Structure in the Business Model Canvas

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    We often focus on business innovation. It’s important, but it’s also fun. Who doesn’t love revolutionizing an industry and changing the way people live their lives for the better? Innovation isn’t unchecked, however, no matter how much we wish it was. There are limitations, and frequently those limitations are due to cost. That makes Cost Structure an important component of your overall innovation strategy, and an important piece of all businesses.

    Cost Structure refers to all the ways a business approaches paying its bills. Such costs take many forms: the fixed cost of building rental, the variable cost of hourly wages, the sometimes unpredictable costs of repairs or disaster response. How a business prepares for fixed and variable costs, overhead expenses, production supplies, and any number of other concerns must be completely reflected in its cost structure.

    Financial accounting is a key activity in all business models, whether you employ an in-house accountant or simply a service provider to help you manage payroll taxes.

    In this article, we touch on some of the reasons why Cost Structure plays such a vital role in business innovation. We also discuss some ways to alter your Cost Structure to make innovation and transformation possible. The experts at Digital Leadership have plenty more to say about all of this, so don’t hesitate to reach out through our website.

    What is Cost Structure in the Business Model Canvas?

    Cost structure is a combination of the many expenses incurred over a set period of time, The Business Model Canvas introduces cost structure in various ways throughout the Business Model Canvas , and cost is always part of the equation when considering any innovation.

    Cost Structure - Cost Model in Business Model Canvas
    Cost Structure – Cost Model in Business Model Canvas

    Your overall approach to doing business must always consider cost structure, and you’ll need to identify which costs incurred by the business are unavoidable and among the key elements of your work, or represent investments that would be best used elsewhere.

    Always closely assign costs to innovation so you’re making the most of key resources. When considering cost structure, there are a number of specific elements to keep in mind.

    1- Fixed Costs

    These are costs incurred no matter how many goods or services the business produces. These costs tend to be recurring, like rent, insurance, or loan payments. A fixed cost is usually predictable.

    Fixed costs are often capital investments and other overhead costs.

    2- Variable Costs

    A variable cost changes in relation to how many goods or services the business provides. While these costs can be predictable if the business is planning properly, they are not the same from one period to the next.

    Variable costs include direct labor costs, direct materials costs, and maintenance payments.

    3- Cost Allocation

    Through cost allocation, a business spreads the impact of a cost across multiple business units or cost centers.

    The result is that costs are much more tolerable on an instance-by-instance basis. When you allocate costs accurately, you more fairly reflect the impact, investments, and advantages certain business units experience as a result of such costs.

    Cost allocation usually takes one of four forms: direct labor, machine time used, square footage used, and units produced.

    4- Cost Pool

    A cost pool is the total cost for completing one particular business activity, like manufacturing a product line or providing a service. The cost pool represents the total cost incurred across multiple segments of several business activities.

    For example, the costs associated with bringing a product to market would include manufacturing overhead, design, development, marketing expenses, piece rate wages, logistics, and any number of other fixed and variable costs connected to the product.

    Types of Cost Structure

    In the Business Model Canvas, cost drives innovation as we seek to create value through unique cost strategies.

    While Cost Structure as a complete concept would take many articles to properly investigate, we have identified the primary components that should receive your attention early in your innovation and transformation efforts.

    1- Value Driven Cost Structure

    Provide more value and generate more revenue through premium services and products.

    2- Cost Driven Cost Structure

    Create the leanest possible cost structure through automation, outsourcing, and using low-price value propositions.

    3- Economies of Scale

    Create cost advantages as the output expands.

    4- Economies of Scope

    Create cost advantages as the scope of operations expands.

    A Value Driven Business vs a Cost Driven Business

    It’s easy to oversimplify our thinking when we compare a value-driven approach to a cost-driven approach, but we will keep things simple for now, and if you’d like to discuss these distinctions further, drop us a line.

    A cost-based pricing strategy and cost-based business focus on the company when determining price and services sold.

    A value-based pricing strategy and value-based business focus on the customer and how they perceive price in relation to value.

    For example, a cost-based company might supply a customer with a widget for the lowest possible price by sweeping away anything that contributes to raising the cost. These companies are often noteworthy for using maximum automation and extensive outsourcing.

    A value-based company sells a widget that addresses the same need, but perhaps provides personalized service or other elements of the purchasing experience that focus on the customer.

    In other terms, consider the differences between luxury hotels and bargain hotel chains. On the surface, both of these businesses provide customers with a place to sleep, but in reality, the customer experience is very different.

    Importance of Cost Structures

    Cost structures play a key role in the Cost Model of your Business Model Canvas. The cost structure concept helps guide how you target innovation and value proposition development.

    Through understanding cost structures, you can aim to reduce costs, as well as make the most from every cost your business incurs.

    eXtended Business Model Canvas
    The UNITE eXtended Business Model Canvas
    Designed by: Digital Leadership AG – Building on the work of Alexander Osterwalder, the Lean Canvas, and the thinking of Patrick Stahler

    The UNITE Business Model Framework: A Framework for Innovation Success

    How to Create Innovation includes a number of canvases that focus on value creation and finding the right business model to meet your customer segment and customer needs. The framework is built to inspire drastic changes that help you find a competitive advantage. Our hope is that your company grows through business model innovation, and so we again encourage you to look deeper into our website and the book.

    Here is a summary of the key ingredients of the Business Model Framework:

    Business Model framework
    The UNITE Business Model Framework
    Designed By: Digital Leadership AG

    Business Models

    The centerpiece is the Business Model Canvas, which covers the six main areas of a Business Model (the Operating, Value, Service, Experience, Cost, and Revenue Models).

    The eXtended Business Model Canvas adds the immediate business context, including Business Drivers, customers, and the team, as well as the Unfair Advantage.

    Detailed Models

    A Business Model can be broken out into its numerous aspects. Depending on what challenges you face, you can zoom in on your area of interest using an appropriate tool or canvas:

    • Your Business Intention and objectives as well as your Massive Transformative Purpose summarize your drivers and give direction to what you do.
    • The Value Proposition Canvas details the central components of your offering (the product or service).
    • To dig into your Customer Segments, work with data-driven Personas.
    • The JTBD Customer Job Statement and Job Map frame the JTBD of your customers.
    • The Business Model Environment puts your Business Model in a market context composed of emerging trends and disruptive forces.
    • The Innovation Culture Canvas helps you understand and consciously shape a culture that supports innovation.
    • The Innovation team structure enables you to draft a team structure for your innovation initiative.
    • Using learning and growth metrics, you can measure progress at the initial stages of development. These metrics help you focus on what really matters instead of creating a detailed business plan that will not really help you. Later on, you can expand the financial aspect of the Revenue and Cost Models with a full business case.
    • The Operating Model Canvas helps you think through the Operating Model.
    • Business Capability Map: A Practical Business Approach

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