Business Opportunity

The Opportunity Discovery Canvas

Problems are often opportunities in disguise and entrepreneurs are the problem solvers who have the ability to identify problems and find solutions.

With funding provided by the Kauffman Foundation, Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, LLC has developed a tool called the Opportunity Discovery Canvas. The tool was designed to help entrepreneurs that have identified a problem to work through a basic framework to evaluate the feasibility of their solution. Using a series of questions that make up the Opportunity Discovery Canvas, entrepreneurs can examine the problem in detail, propose a solution, and connect with the customer to help them determine if their idea is worth building a business around.

The Problem

  • Describe the problem you want to solve.
  • How did you encounter this problem or unmet need?
  • Do other people have this problem?
  • Why is this problem worth solving?
  • Describe the type of people who have this problem.
  • Describe the people who most likely have this problem.
  • What is their age, gender, areas of interest, profession, etc?
  • Which of these potential “customers” can you most easily connect with?
  • How are they currently solving the problem?
  • Describe other solutions that are currently available.
  • Why are the current solutions inadequate?
  • How important is this problem?

The Solution

  • Describe your proposed solution.
  • What is the single most important feature of your solution?
  • What is the most effective way to demonstrate your idea?
  • How will you know if others are interested in your solution?
  • How will your solution be different?
  • How is your idea better than existing solutions?
  • Describe the key differences.
  • How will you know if others value this improvement?
  • Will people pay for your solution?
  • Will people be willing to pay for your solution?
  • How often will they need your solution?
  • How will you know that your solution is valuable to others?

The Connection

  • How will potential customers know about your solution?
  • How can you find people who would be interested in your solution?
  • What methods of communication will you use to reach them?
  • What messages do you intend to convey?
  • How will potential customers purchase your solution?
  • How can you make it easy for your customers to purchase your solution?
  • How are they currently accessing other solutions?
  • How will your customers know they can rely on you?
  • How will you communicate this message explicitly?
  • Why is this problem worth solving?

How can you use the Opportunity Discovery Canvas to refine your business idea?

You can view and download the Opportunity Discovery Canvas at:

Note: this post originally appeared at


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