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Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model Hardcover – September 1, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“...it is both a handbook for those already on the way to building a successful business as well as encouraging others to think they could do it.” - The Financial Times, September 30, 2009

From the Back Cover


“This is a fantastic book. The stories are excellent . . . deep and insightful . . . and the storytelling is real. Getting to Plan B isn’t as much about second tries as it is about the authors’ helping you understand what it takes to drive an early-stage company to success.” - Bill Campbell, Chairman, Intuit


“This great book will guide business leaders and help them stay focused as they transform their plans. Whether they are reshaping a new business model, or executing a quarterly strategy review in an ongoing business, this book will help leaders overcome the unpredictable waves and obstacles that stand in the way of their envisioned goals.” - Takaaki Hata, Partner, Globis Capital Partners, Tokyo


“Getting to Plan B is the definitive handbook about the mind-set and moves required to lead any company in our messy and ever-changing world. This is more than the most useful book I’ve ever read on entrepreneurship: Mullins and Komisar challenge and redefine how organizational strategy and innovation ought to be managed in any company. - Robert Sutton, professor, Stanford University, and author of The No Asshole Rule

“Getting to Plan B is a treasure trove of clear, practical lessons for entrepreneurs. It is real-world, hard-hitting, and prescriptive—not the fuzzy theoretical stuff found in too many business books. Komisar and Mullins repeatedly challenge conventional wisdom with experience and insight. This is a must-read.” - John Doerr, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers


“John and Randy perfectly capture the trials and triumphs of entrepreneurship. They weave in antidotes that can be successfully applied. I wish this book was published a decade back—I could have used it as an entrepreneur. Now as a venture capitalist I would suggest this as required reading to all my CEO’s.” - Vani Kola, Founder, Indo U.S. Ventures, Bangalore
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 7.2.2009 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422126692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422126691
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Anders Sundelin on January 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book, written by John Mullins and Randy Komisar, contains several important lessons, primarily for start-up entrepreneurs, on developing successful business models. Though very repetitive around a few key ideas, the book is well worth reading especially for those who want to better understand how the business model is reflected in the different financial statements. with interesting examples from: Amazon, Apple, Celtel, Costco, Dow Jones & Company, eBay, GlobalGiving, GO airlines, Google, Oberoi Hotels, Pantaloon, Patagonia, Ryanair, Shanda, Silverglide, Skype, Southwest Airlines, Toyota, Walmart, Zara and ZoomSystems.

The book in three bullet points:

* The business model concept is in the book defined as the pattern of economic activity comprising of five key elements that together determines the viability of any business. The five key elements being the revenue model, the gross margin model, the operating model, the working capital model and the investment model. Companies are successful when the five elements work together.

* Getting to Plan B is about the process of discovering a business model that works, with the assumption that the initial plan is most often wrong. The discovering process can be made systematic by constantly formulating different hypothesis and measurements and continuously follow up and iterate the business model into a new Plan B.

* The starting point for a new business model is to learn from successful examples worth mimicking in some way and examples to which you explicitly choose to do things differently, where the ultimate judge is the customers and the cash flow generated from your business model.

A brief summary of the different chapters:

1.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd like to start with the conclusion, get yourself "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development" by Brant Cooper and "The Four Steps to the Epiphany" by Steve Blank, those two books will give you a real step-by-step guide to building a company. Now for the actual review.

This book is a collection of stories in the style of "Founders at Work" or "Art of the Start" or any one of the other Startup Genre books. And as such, it is interesting to read the authors analyses from an academic stand point, hence 2 starts, but it offers little advice for someone starting a company.

However, as a guide for building a business, this book can be summed up as follows:

Your first idea will fail, plan on it failing but you need to start somewhere, so get going and look for opportunities to change course or pivot in the startup parlance.

It's an important notion that has been covered on numerous blogs and in great depth, which you can read for free, without paying money for the book; just do an online search for "startup pivot" and you will find plenty of examples by industry veterans.
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Format: Hardcover
It takes an average of 58 new product ideas to deliver a single successful new product. That is the core message of Getting to Plan B, a new book by John Mullins and Randy Komisar.

Since Plan A almost never works, it is critical to quickly learn from failure and move on to a successful Plan B (or C or D or E...). This book provides an exceptionally helpful framework for how to do this. Its power lies in its analytical framework combined with vivid examples from companies - including both for-profit and non-profit.

Contrary to popular perception, most successful businesses did not strike it rich from the beginning. A company like eBay, profitable from day one, is the exception that proves the rule (and Pierre Omidyar has said that he realizes how lucky he was). Even eBay has struggled to figure out how to make money from new business lines such as Skype. Google would not be the behemoth it is today - and might even be out of business -- if it had not discovered its own Plan B, paid Adwords. Amazon burned through hundreds of millions of dollars before it hit upon the right business model that made it profitable. Today, the jury is out on whether Twitter and even Facebook will find profitable Plan Bs that sustain their early growth.

What matters most is not the quality of the initial business plan, but instead the ability of the team to iterate successive business plans as a means to finding what works. Merely flailing about from Plan A to B to C increases the chance you will run out of cash before finding the right Plan. So the trick is to experiment quickly but intelligently, and with discipline. That is what this book helps you do.

Anyone who is thinking about starting a new business should read this book.
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As a Professor of Entrepreneurship I have been a big believer in Randy Komisar. His book, The Monk and the Riddle has inspired hundreds of my students.

Much to my surprise, this is a very different book. Most new venture planning and strategy books remind you of doctoral dissertations--moving bones from one grave to the other. There is nothing new.

This is different. It challenges you to delve deeper into a venture (new or growing). What can you learn from other companies experiences. Mix and match what you learn. Figure out what you don't know and develop tests to learn.

This book is also the best I have seen in blending its unique approach to the business model--revenue, gross margin, etc. It shows how the components work together to create a sustainable business. Its examples are stimulating.

The answer to the riddle in this book is hard work and creative research and continual learning. There are no eggs.
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