Insights & Strategy
September 25, 2022

Business Design: The Definitive Guide

This definitive guide to Business Design will answer all your questions about what it is and how it can help your business. Along the way, you'll also learn who needs business design, when to use it, and what to expect.

Roald Larsen

Who is this for?

If your goal is to sharpen your business design skills or want to learn more about the tools, mindset and business design process then this guide is for you! Business design is a process that can help you improve your business in a number of ways, from developing new products and services to improving your marketing and sales strategies. Even if you're not sure where to start, this guide will give you the basics of business design and how you can use it to benefit your company.

What is business design actually?

Business design is the process of creating value for a business through the application of design thinking. Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem solving that emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and innovation.

The goal of business design is to create products, services, and experiences that people love. When done well, it can help businesses achieve their objectives and thrive in today’s competitive marketplace.

There are many reasons why you should care about business design. For one, it can help you create a more successful business. In today’s world, businesses must be able to constantly adapt and evolve to survive. Business design can give you the tools you need to do this.

Additionally, business design can also help you create a more sustainable and ethical business. As consumers become more aware of the impact of their choices on the environment and society, they are increasingly looking for businesses that align with their values. Business design can help you create a business that meets these demands.

Finally, caring about business design simply makes good business sense. Design thinking has been shown to improve financial performance, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce costs. Investing in business design can help you reap these benefits and position your business for long-term  success.

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is a process that allows businesses to set themselves apart from the competition and achieve long-term success. It involves looking at the big picture, identifying opportunities and threats, and making decisions that will help the business reach its goals.

There are many different approaches to strategic thinking, but all businesses should start by asking themselves four key questions:

1. What does our business do?
2. Who are our customers?
3. What do our customers want?
4. How can we best meet those needs?

Answering these questions requires a deep understanding of the business, the market, and the customers. It also requires a willingness to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. But if businesses can master strategic thinking, they will be well on their way to success.

Design Mindset

There's no question that design is a critical part of any business, but what exactly is business design? Business design is the process of creating value for your company through thoughtful and user-centered product, service, and experience design.

In order to create a successful business design, you need to have a designer's mindset. This means thinking about the user first and foremost. What problems are they trying to solve? What are their needs and wants? How can you create a better solution for them than anyone else?

It's also important to think about the bigger picture. What is the overall goal of your company? How can design help you achieve that goal? Every decision you make should be in service of that larger mission.

By keeping the user at the center of everything you do and thinking about the big picture, you can create a powerful and effective business design that will help your company succeed.


In business design, the user is always at the center of attention. This means that everything from the layout of your website to the way your customer service team interacts with clients should be focused on providing the best possible experience for the user.

Creating a user-centric environment can be challenging, but it's worth the effort. When done correctly, it will result in happier customers, better business outcomes, and a stronger bottom line.

Abductive reasoning

In business design, abductive reasoning is used to generate new ideas and solutions. This type of reasoning starts with an observation or a problem and then comes up with a possible explanation for it. The explanation is usually based on previous knowledge and experience.

For example, a company may notice that its sales have been declining for the past few months. After doing some research, the company may come up with a possible explanation for this decline. The company may think that the decline is due to changes in the market or the economy.

Adductive vs Deductive reasoning

Deductive reasoning is a type of reasoning that starts with a general statement or principle and then applies it to a specific case. This type of reasoning is often used in business to make decisions based on data and analytics.

For example, a company may have a rule that all new employees must complete a training program before they can start work. In this case, the company is using deductive reasoning to make a decision about who can start work.

Business design tools

There are a number of different tools available to help you with business design. Here are a few of the most popular:

1. Business Model Canvas: The Business Model Canvas is a tool that helps you map out your business idea and explore different aspects of your business.

2. Value Proposition Canvas: The Value Proposition Canvas is a tool that helps you articulate your value proposition, or the unique value that your business offers to customers.

3. Lean Canvas: The Lean Canvas is a tool that helps you validate your business idea and test it against various assumptions.

4. Financial Modeling: Financial modeling is the process of creating a financial model of your business in order to forecast future financial performance.

Business Design challenges

Business design is all about solving problems. It's about taking a complex business challenge and finding the simplest, most elegant solution.

The best business designers are able to take a step back from the day-to-day grind of running a business and see the big picture. They're able to identify areas of opportunity and potential areas of improvement. And they have the creative vision to come up with new ways to solve old problems.

If you're looking to improve your business design skills, this article is for you. We'll be exploring some of the most common business design challenges and providing actionable advice on how to overcome them.

As the business world continues to evolve, so too does the field of business design. Business design challenges traditional thinking about how businesses are structured and operated. It is an emerging discipline that is still in its early stages of development.

There are many different interpretations of what business design is, but at its core, it is about creating value for businesses through innovative thinking and new ways of doing things. It is about designing businesses that are not only profitable, but also sustainable and adaptable to change.

There are many different challenges that business designers face. One of the biggest challenges is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to business problems. Every business is unique and has its own set of challenges. This means that business designers must be very creative in their thinking and come up with tailor-made solutions for each individual business.

Another challenge faced by business designers is the need to constantly learn and keep up to date with the latest trends and developments in the field. As the field of business design is still relatively new, there is a lot of change and innovation happening all the time. This can be a challenge for designers who need to stay on top of their game if they want to be successful.

How business design is different from management consulting

There's a big difference between business design and management consulting. Business design is all about creating new value for businesses, while management consulting is focused on optimizing existing businesses.

Business design brings together people from different disciplines to work on problem solving and innovation. This includes designers, engineers, marketing experts, and more. The goal is to come up with new ways to improve the business, whether that's through developing new products or services, improving processes, or anything else.

Management consulting, on the other hand, is all about helping businesses run more efficiently and effectively. Consultants offer advice on topics like strategy, operations, financial planning, etc. They help businesses implement changes that will improve the bottom line.

So which one is right for your business? It depends on what you need. If you're looking for help with big-picture thinking and coming up with new ideas, business design is the way to go. If you need help with making your existing business run more smoothly, management consulting is the better option.

Business design is not (only) about business development

If you think business design is only about business development, you're wrong.

Business design is a much broader field that encompasses everything from developing new products and services to improving existing ones. I'd say business development is just a small part of business design.

Business design is all about creating value for your customers. It's about understanding their needs and wants and then creating solutions that address those needs.

There are many different tools and techniques that business designers use to create value for their customers. Some of these include user research, customer development, business model design, and service design.

User research helps businesses understand their customers better. It involves talking to customers, observing them, and understanding their motivations and behaviors. This type of research is essential for businesses that want to create products and services that meet the needs of their target market.

Customer development is another important tool for business designers. This process helps businesses validate their assumptions about their target market and determine whether there is a demand for their product or service. Customer development involves talking to potential customers, testing prototypes, and getting feedback.

Business model design is another important aspect of business design. This process helps businesses identify the best way to generate revenue from their products or services. Business model design involves figuring out how to price, package, market, sell, etc...

Business design is different from product design

Business design is the process of designing and creating a plan for a business. This includes the creation of a mission statement, business model, and marketing strategy. It also includes research on the competition, target market, and other factors that will affect the success of the business.

A good business design will take all of these factors into account and create a comprehensive plan for the business. This plan will be the roadmap for the business and will help it to achieve its goals.

Product design is part of business design
As a business designer, you will often be asked to design products. This can range from simple physical products to complex digital products. In either case, there are plenty key considerations that you need to take into account in order to create a successful product that will affect how your business model will work.

First and foremost, you need to have a clear understanding of the problem that you are trying to solve with your product. What need does it address? How will it make your customer's life better? Once you have a good grasp on the problem, you can begin to think about potential solutions and how the will integrate in the wider business model.

The mindset of a business designer

A business designer is a thinker and a doer. They are constantly experimenting and exploring new ways to create value for their businesses. They are always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve their business model.

A business designer is always thinking about the customer and how they can be better served. They are always looking for new ways to improve the customer experience. They are also always looking for new ways to increase revenue and profitability.

A business designer is always looking for ways to simplify and streamline their business. They are constantly looking for ways to make their business more efficient and effective. They are always looking for ways to eliminate waste and inefficiencies in their business.

A business designer is a problem solver. They are constantly trying to find new solutions to old problems. They are always looking for new ways to improve their business.

Embrace Visual Thinking

Design isn't just about what looks good on paper—it's about solving problems. And one of the best ways to do that is through visual thinking.

Visual thinking is a way of approaching problem-solving that uses visuals instead of (or in addition to) words. It can help you see relationships between ideas, make concepts more concrete, and communicate your thoughts more effectively to others.

If you're not used to thinking visually, it can be a challenge to get started. But with a little practice, it can become second nature. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Don't be afraid to sketch. It doesn't have to be perfect—in fact, the rougher the better. Just get your ideas down on paper (or whatever medium you're using).

2. Use color. It can help bring out relationships between ideas and make them easier to remember.

3. Use symbols and icons. They can represent concepts in a way that words alone can't, and they're often more memorable than words.

4. Simplify. The goal is to communicate your ideas clearly, so don't try to pack too much into one image.

5. Be creative. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. There are no rules when it comes to visual thinking, so have fun with it.

The most important thing is to just get started. The more you practice, the better you'll become at it.

The Business design process

The business design process is a critical tool for any organization. It helps to ensure that the products and services you offer are aligned with your business goals, and that your team is able to execute on your vision.

There are a few key steps in the business design process:

1. Define your business goals
2. Research your target market
3. Identify your unique selling proposition
4. Develop your product or service offering
5. Create a go-to-market strategy
6. Setup systems and platforms
7. Launch your product or service
8. Evaluate and iterate

The first step in the process is to clearly define your business goals. What are you trying to achieve? What problem are you solving? Once you have a good understanding of your goals, you can move on to research your target market.

Who are your potential customers? What needs do they have? What are their pain points? This research will help you to identify your unique selling proposition – what makes your product or service different from anything else on the market?

Once you have a clear understanding of your target market and what sets you apart, you can begin to develop your product or service offering. What features will appeal to your target market? How can you package and price your offering in a way that makes sense for your business goals?

After your product or service is developed, it's time to create a go-to-market strategy. How will you reach your target market? What channels will you use? How will you create awareness for your brand?

Finally, it's time to launch your product or service. This is where the rubber meets the road – it's time to put all of your planning into action and see how well your product or service performs in the real world.

1. Define your business goals

As a business owner, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve with your company. This will not only help you make better decisions about how to grow your business, but will also help you measure your success along the way.

Some common goals for businesses include:

- Increasing revenue
- Expanding into new markets
- Developing new products or services
- Improving customer satisfaction
- Reducing costs

No matter what your goals are, it is important to have a plan in place to help you achieve them. The Definitive Guide can help you create a roadmap for success.

2. Research your target market

Before you start designing your business, it's important to research your target market. This will help you determine who your customers are and what they're looking for.

There are a few ways to research your target market. You can conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups. You can also look at demographic data and consumer behavior trends.

Once you've gathered information about your target market, you can start to design your business around their needs. This will help ensure that your business is successful and meets the needs of your customers.

3. Identify your unique selling proposition

If you want to succeed in business, it's important to have a strong unique selling proposition (USP). This is what sets your business apart from the competition and helps you attract customers.

There are a few things to keep in mind when identifying your USP. First, think about what makes your product or service unique. What can you offer that your competitor cannot? Second, consider what need or want your product or service meets. What problem does it solve for your customers? Finally, make sure your USP is something that is important to your target market.

Once you have identified your USP, make sure it is prominently featured on your website and in all of your marketing materials. It should be clear to everyone who sees it what makes your business special. If you can effectively communicate your USP, you'll be well on your way to success.

4. Create a prototype

Prototyping is an essential part of the design process. It allows you to test your ideas and get feedback from users.

Creating a prototype doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. You can create a low-fidelity prototype using paper and pencil, or a high-fidelity prototype using software such as Adobe XD or Sketch.

The important thing is to create a prototype that is realistic enough to test your ideas. For example, if you're designing a website, your prototype should include all the key pages and functionality.

Once you've created your prototype, it's time to test it with users. This will help you to identify any problems with your design and make necessary changes.

Testing your prototype doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. You can use online tools such as UserTesting or HotJar to get quick and valuable feedback from users.

So, there you have it! Prototyping is an essential part of the design process and can help you to create a better product.

5. Create a go-to-market strategy

Creating a go-to-market strategy is an important part of starting a business. Without a plan, it can be difficult to know how to reach your target market and sell your product or service.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating a go-to-market strategy. First, you need to identify your target market. Who are you trying to reach with your product or service? Once you know who your target market is, you can start to think about how to reach them.

There are many ways to reach your target market. You can use traditional marketing methods like advertising or direct mail. Or, you can use more modern methods like social media marketing or content marketing.

Once you've identified your target market and chosen the best way to reach them, you need to create a sales strategy. How are you going to sell your product or service? Will you use a subscription model, a one-time purchase model, or something else?

Your go-to-market strategy should be designed to help you achieve your business goals. It should be flexible and adaptable so that you can make changes as needed. And, it should be reviewed regularly.

6. Setup systems and IT platforms

Designing a business is more than just coming up with a great idea. You also need to have systems and platforms in place to make your business run smoothly.

One of the most important systems in any business is the financial system. This includes everything from bookkeeping to taxes to budgeting. A good financial system will help you keep track of your income and expenses, so you can make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources.

Another important system in a business is the customer management system. This system helps you track leads, customers, and sales. It can also help you provide customer support and handle customer complaints. A good customer management system will help you keep your customers happy and loyal.

A third system that is important for businesses is the shipping and logistics system. This system helps you get products from point A to point B. A good shipping and logistics system will help you minimize shipping costs and maximize efficiency.

These are just a few examples of the types of systems and platforms that businesses need to be successful. When designing your business, be sure to include systems and platforms that will help you reach your goals.

7. Launch your product or service

You’ve worked hard to get to this point. You’ve designed a great product or service, you’ve built a strong team, and you’re ready to launch.

Now it’s time to start promoting your business and getting customers through the door. In this section, we’ll go over some of the best ways to launch your product or service and start generating buzz for your business.

1. Create a launch plan

The first step is to create a launch plan. This will help you map out all the details of your launch and make sure everything goes smoothly.

Your launch plan should include:

- Your launch date
- A list of all the tasks that need to be completed before launch
- Who is responsible for each task
- A budget for your launch marketing efforts
- A timeline for promoting your product or service leading up to launch day

2. Get the word out

Once you have your launch plan in place, it’s time to start promoting your business. There are a number of ways to do this, including:

- Creating a website or landing page for your product or service
- Promoting  your business on social media
- Reaching out to influencers and media outlets
- Hosting a launch event

3. Make it a success

On launch day, it’s important to make sure everything goes smoothly. This means having a plan in place for dealing with any issues that might come up, as well as making sure your team is prepared to answer customer questions and provide support.

After your product or service has launched, it’s also important to continue promoting your business and getting feedback from customers. This will help you fine-tune your offering and make sure your business is on track for long-term success.

8. Evaluate and iterate

Business design is all about creating value for your customers. To do this, you need to constantly evaluate and iterate on your business model.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when evaluating your business model:

1. How well are you meeting your customer needs?

2. What is your customer acquisition costs?

3. What is your customer lifetime value?

4. What is your churn rate?

5. How scalable is your business model?

6. What are the costs of goods sold?

7. What are the gross margins?

8. What are the operating expenses?

9. What is the net income?

10. What is the return on investment?

Evaluating your business model on a regular basis will help you to identify areas that need improvement. Iterating on your business model will help you to constantly create value for your customers.

Business Design Roles

There are a few different roles that are typically involved in business design. These roles can vary slightly depending on the company, but usually include a business designer, UX designer, and visual designer.

The business designer is responsible for understanding the needs of the business and mapping out a plan to meet those needs. They work closely with the UX and visual designers to create a user experience that is both effective and appealing.

The UX designer creates the actual user interface and experience. They focus on making sure that the user can easily navigate through the site or application and find the information they need.

The visual designer is responsible for creating the overall look and feel of the site or application. They choose the colors, fonts, and images that will be used and make sure that everything looks cohesive.

Business design deliverables

As a business designer, you will be responsible for creating a variety of deliverables that can be used to help businesses achieve their goals. These deliverables can include process maps, customer journey maps, service blueprints, business models, and more. Depending on the project and the client's needs, you may also be responsible for creating prototypes or other visual aids.

The most important thing to remember is that your deliverables should be tailored to the specific needs of the client. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to business design, so make sure to take the time to understand the client's business and what they are hoping to achieve before starting work on any deliverables.

Process maps

A process map is a graphical representation of a business process. It can be used to help businesses understand and improve their processes. Process maps typically show the steps in a process, the order in which they are performed, and who is responsible for each step.

Customer journey maps

A customer journey map is a graphical representation of the customer's experience with a company or product. It can be used to help businesses understand how customers interact with their products and services. Customer journey maps typically show the different touchpoints that a customer has with a company, as well as the emotions that they feel at each stage.

Service blueprints

A service blueprint is a graphical representation of a service system. It can be used to help businesses understand how their services are delivered. Service blueprints typically show the different steps involved in delivering a service, as well as who is responsible for each step.

Business models

A business model is a graphical representation of a business. It can be used to help businesses understand how they make money. Business models typically show the different revenue streams that a business has, as well as the costs associated with each one.


A prototype is a working model of a product or service. It can be used to help businesses test and improve their products and services. Prototypes are typically created using software such as Photoshop or Sketch.

Visual aids

Visual aids are any type of graphic or drawing that can be used to help businesses understand a concept. Visual aids can include flowcharts, diagrams, infographics, and more.

How to become a business designer

If you're looking to become a business designer, there are a few things you should know. First and foremost, business designers need to have a deep understanding of both business and design. They need to be able to apply design thinking to solve complex business problems and create new opportunities for businesses. Additionally, they need to be excellent communicators and team players, as they'll often be working with cross-functional teams.

If you have the requisite skills and experience, becoming a business designer can be an extremely rewarding career move. You'll get to use your creativity and problem-solving abilities to make a real difference in the lives of businesses and their customers. If you're up for the challenge, read on for tips on how to become a business designer.

1. Get a degree in business or design

If you want to become a business designer, you'll need to have a strong foundation in both business and design. The best way to develop this foundation is to get a degree in one of these two disciplines. A bachelor's degree in business administration or management will give you the business knowledge you need, while a bachelor's degree in graphic design, industrial design, or another form of design will give you the design skills you need.

2. Develop your problem-solving skills

Business designers need to be excellent problem-solvers. They need to be able to identify complex business problems and then find creative ways to solve them. If you're not naturally good at problem-solving, don't worry – it's a skill that can be developed with practice. To start honing your problem-solving skills, try working on some puzzles or brainteasers. You can also try taking on some challenging projects at work or in your personal life. The more problems you solve, the better you'll get at it.

3. Learn about design thinking

Design thinking is a powerful tool that can be used to solve complex business problems. If you want to  be a successful business designer, you need to have a strong understanding of design thinking. There are plenty of resources available on the subject, so take some time to learn about it. Once you have a good understanding of design thinking, you'll be able to apply it to solve problems in your work.

4. hone your communication skills

Business designers need to be excellent communicators. They need to be able to clearly articulate their ideas to both business and design teams. Additionally, they need to be good listeners so that they can understand the needs of their clients and team members. If you're not naturally good at communication, don't worry – it's a skill that can be developed with practice. To start honing your communication skills, try taking some public speaking classes or joining a Toastmasters club. You can also try practicing your communication skills in your personal life. The more you communicate, the better you'll get at it.

5. Build a strong portfolio

When you're applying for jobs as a business designer, one of the most important things you'll need is a strong portfolio. Your portfolio should showcase your best work and highlight your skills and experience. Be sure to include projects that demonstrate your ability to solve complex  business problems. If you don't have any relevant work experience, you can include projects from your personal life or from your academic coursework.

6. Get a job in a related field

If you're just starting out in your career, you may not be able to get a job as a business designer right away. However, you can increase your chances of landing a job in this field by getting a job in a related field. Some examples of related fields include management consulting, user experience design, and product management. By working in a related field, you'll gain the skills and experience that will make you more attractive to employers when you do apply for jobs as a business designer.

7. Network with other business designers

One of the best ways to learn about becoming a business designer is to network with other business designers. You can connect with other business designers online or in person. Attend conferences and meetups, or join professional organizations. These networking opportunities will give you insight into the day-to-day work of business designers and help you make connections in the industry.

Take our business design masterclass

Many companies are looking to adopt business design thinking principles to help them solve complex problems and create more user-friendly products and services.

If you're interested in learning more about design thinking and how to apply it to your business, consider joining our Business Design Masterclass. In this course, you'll learn everything you need to know about design thinking, from the basics of human-centered design to more advanced techniques for problem solving. You'll also get the chance to put your new skills to the test with hands-on exercises and real-world projects.

So whether you're a seasoned design professional or a complete novice, join us for this exciting journey into the world of business design. You won't regret it!

Looking to build or refine your business design skills? Take our business design masterclass and learn from the best in the industry.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and get started on building your dream business!

What a business designer does on a project

As a business designer, you will be responsible for creating and executing the vision for a company or product. This includes everything from market research and competitive analysis to developing the brand identity and marketing strategy. You will also be responsible for creating user flows, wireframes, and prototypes to help communicate your vision to stakeholders. In short, a business designer wears many hats and plays a vital role in bringing a new product or service to market.

A business designer is responsible for the end-to-end design of a business, from concept to execution.

The goal of business design is to create a repeatable and scalable business model that meets the needs of the target market. This requires a deep understanding of the customer, the problem they are trying to solve, and the market opportunity.

Business design is a relatively new field, and there is no one right way to approach it. However, there are some common steps that most designers take when working on a project.

1. Define the problem: The first step is to understand the problem that the business is trying to solve. This requires market research and customer interviews.

2. Identify the opportunity: Once the problem is understood, the next step is to identify the opportunity for the business. This step requires an analysis of the competition and the current market landscape.

3. Develop the solution: The next step is to develop a solution that meets the needs of the target market. This includes product design and go-to-market planning.

4. Test and iterate

Once the solution is developed, it’s important to test it with potential customers and make sure it’s meeting their needs. This step includes user testing and market research.

5. Launch: The final step is to launch the product or service to the market. This includes marketing and sales strategy.

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