CO-STAR Template Defined
Creating a business model takes many things into consideration: the target market, customer funnels, financial concerns, key activities, and many more. Most importantly, a business model highlights the critical value proposition that your business will be built on. Creating a solid value proposition is one of the most important elements of a successful business, and it usually takes a more thorough approach to get it right.
The CO-STAR template enables you to develop a powerful value proposition bolstered by the core elements of your business model. The CO-STAR board focuses on how your entire business model supports your value proposition, which will be the foundational piece of your success.
This template was created by the Enterprise Development Group, which defines it as “CO-STAR then provides a template you can use to gather collective intelligence until your value proposition is as strong as it can be.”
CO-STAR Template Walkthrough
CO-STAR is a template focused on building a business model using unique and concise perspectives to drive value into every facet of the business. CO-STAR is defined by six key questions.
- Who is the Customer? Describe your ideal customer. How can you meet their needs, both met and unmet in their current solution? What problem are you solving for the customer? What specific benefits are you providing to them?
- What is the significant, high-impact Opportunity? What is the opportunity in the market? What is the specific market potential for your idea? What trends can you capitalize on within the current market? Think about the existing ecosystem and what you can do to replicate their success while maintaining your unique edge.
- What is your Solution? What unique and valuable solution do you offer in the market? Begin brainstorming specific solutions after reviewing all of the elements.
- Who needs to be on the Team? Who needs to be a part of your team to achieve your goal? Think about the interior members and external partners that can fuel your success.
- What is your Advantage over alternatives? What is your competitive advantage? How is your solution significantly better than the competition?
- What Results will be achieved? What results will be achieved because of your solution? What are the investors’ returns and the quantifiable benefits to customers?
With your team, collaborate on answering these questions with a focus on goal-oriented value, both for your business and your customer. Once you complete every section, return to the middle to determine the solution your team will deliver.
Advantages of the CO-STAR Solution
The CO-STAR template is an exercise that helps teams determine their unique value and map it to the rest of their business. This is advantageous because it allows you to build your business model around your key value proposition. Here are the biggest advantages of the CO-STAR template.
- Focuses on value: The CO-STAR board focuses on the value proposition behind your product/service and your business. This value provides a key advantage to your company and should be prioritized throughout your business model.
- Creates a communicable plan: CO-STAR enables you to create a business model that is communicable to your stakeholders and collaborators. Additionally, this template can be shared with your customers for increased transparency. Visualizing your business model on a whiteboard is an easy way to communicate your findings collaboratively, and CO-STAR is a perfect place to start collaborating.
- Integrates results: One unique aspect of the CO-STAR template is its integration of results. Planning your ideal results and metrics to achieve them helps set top-level KPIs for your team to measure. Creating these in line with your unique value ensures that your plans for the future align with your current strategy.
In the above example, we outlined a CO-STAR template for a new water bottle competitor and showed how they might break into a saturated market. Here are the main points for each section.
- Any people seeking mobile hydration.
- People that need/want a purification option.
- Water bottles are a popular accessory.
- There is an influx of reusable bottles & sustainability movement.
- A purified water bottle you can take and fill anywhere.
- Design Team.
- Marketing & Partnerships.
- Sales Team.
- External partner → Collaboration with REI to distribute at events.
- Unique shape makes transport easy.
- Built-in purifier.
- Sliding scale of price based on adoption – build up to market standard.
- Increased promo from events/people using them – word of mouth.
On top of these areas, we highlight the best features for each category, including what product features are special, the tagline, the risks, the customer rewards, and the needs of the company. These all come together to form a holistic business model and value proposition.