Say hello to Business Toybox.
The tool to help you understand your business models, and the game that motivates you to discover new ideas.
Let's start with the familiar. Building a business is hard. For this reason, experts have spent a lot of time coming up with ideas, techniques, and resources to make it all easier.
There's something that the experts have largely missed though. Something we consider pretty important. That something is that these ideas, techniques, and resources are all kinda boring, or at the very least don't stand a chance against your social media addiction.
It's why a lot of founders ultimately don't practice what the experts preach. It's why a lot of founders fail.
Business Toybox addresses that by taking some of the best ideas out there in the world of building better businesses and adding a large amount of game designer insight to make the process more fun and enjoyable.
Gaining insight, doing research, and building something great, will feel like less of a struggle, and more like game.
First off, Business Toybox uses these things called Canvases. You use these to map out complex ideas, specifically your business model.
A lot of our canvases are based off pre-existing diagrams such as the Business Model Canvas and the Lean Canvas. It would be a mistake to think of our Canvases as diagrams though. Instead, treat them more like board games. They have rules for which Tokens go where (we’ll get to what those are soon) and rules for how to improve your business model as a whole.
Each Canvas - and the rules that come with it - have strengths and weaknesses that can help you come up with unique insights and experiences. Feel free to explore. We’ll also be adding new ones soon.
As soon as you pick a Canvas you’ll want to add some Tokens to it. Think of Tokens as board game pieces (or, you know, game tokens). Each Token is a representation of something in your business model. You’ll probably wind up using a lot of tokens to represent all the different customer segments your business could interact with.
The looks aren’t for show. Once you’re done adding Tokens to your canvas you’ll have a nice birds-eye view of how all the important ideas in your business model work, and will have an easier time filling in the gaps. Not only that, but the visuals of the tokens are designed to inspire you to think a little more about the ideas they represent. You won’t get that from sticky notes or crummy whiteboard drawings.
Speaking of sticky-notes, Tokens are very note-friendly. You can drag-and-drop as many words and phrases as you want around them to capture important thoughts and ideas that you won’t want to forget. You can even color-code them if you like.
Sprints are where all the fun and action are. You don’t really start using Business Toybox until you’ve created a Sprint.
Every business model starts out relying on a lot of assumptions. In at least some way, they’re going to be wrong. You really want to figure out which assumptions are wrong so you can start working your way towards a business model based on solid evidence and facts. Sprints help you do that.
Each Sprint starts off asking you what question you want to answer, which assumption you want to improve, or something else along those lines, along with how much time you’ll need to find whatever it is that you’re seeking. Form there, the game starts.
Sprints provide you with a chat-board for you and your team along with additional equipment to go out and explore. Go out, collect evidence, talk to potential customers, plan together, and when the Sprint is over debate amongst your team whether or not you have the answers you seek, and if you’ve validated an assumption you have about your business model.
Once you’ve decided amongst your team on the overall results, it’s up to you to go back to your canvas and change things around to reflect what you’ve learned. When you’re finished, you get to do it all over again! Keep doing Sprints, and pretty soon you’ll not only have a business model supported by solid evidence, but you’ll also probably have a lot of new ideas on how to make it even better.
Oh, and don’t worry if the results of a Sprint don’t go the way you were hoping. Being wrong doesn’t mean losing. Being wrong means discovering a whole new set of paths and possibilities.