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The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company Hardcover – March 1, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 924 customer reviews

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  • The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company
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  • Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The most valuable book on entrepreneurship in the past 25 years!"
Tim Huntley, An Entrepreneurial Life

"To avoid infant/instant mortality of your venture and boost success chances, this book is a 'must-have' and must practice.'"
-- Alexander Osterwalder, author, "Business Model Generation"


"... a seminal text in the new experiential and inquiry-based methods of entrepreneurship education."
-- Patrick Vlaskovits, co-author, "The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development"


"the best $40 investment you make in your startup."
-- EdSurge


"... The book has material for every type of entrepreneur ..."
-- XConomy


"Brilliantly Simple 2-step Process for Success in Products and Services!"
-- Kimberly Wiefling, author, entrepreneur


“A ‘bible’ for entrepreneurs who owe it to themselves and their investors to read … and re-read.”
-- Founder

“A must-have for all aspiring, first-time and seasoned entrepreneurs.”
-- Ben Mappen, founder


“truly a blueprint on how to build a Silicon Valley style scalable startup.”
-- Founder


“By taking this book BEFORE you spin up, founders can save thousands of dollars and man hours in mistakes.”
Scott Hoffman, author, speaker, small business advocate


“ (Blank is) one of the smartest and most commonsense thinkers I know on starting a company and harnessing creativity for start-ups.”
-- Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

"The Startup Owner's Manual is ... going to be a game changer."
-- India Business Blog


"Many, including myself, consider the 'Four Steps to the Epiphany' to be the bible of entrepreneurship. ... The Startup Owner’s Manual is a definitive manual for building successful new companies – for entrepreneurs in startups and large companies."
— Conrad Egusa, Brownstein & Egusa

"The process outlined in The Startup Owner’s Manual will prevent the waste, mistakes, and failures that come from launching too soon or too expensively- perhaps exactly what’s needed."
Kia Davis, Wamda.com

From the Inside Flap

Power your startup to success with The Startup Owner's Manual.

This near-encyclopedic guide unlocks the secrets to startup success - walking you, step-by-step, through the tested and proven Customer Development process created by startup expert Steve Blank.

Whether you're launching a physical channel startup or one that will sell through web/mobile channels, on these pages, you'll learn how to:

Use the Customer Development method to bring your business idea to life

Conduct your search for a scalable, profitable business model

Incorporate the Business Model Canvas as the organizing principle for startup hypotheses

Find Product-Market fit

Get, Keep and Grow customers

Fuel growth with metrics that matter

Avoid the 9 deadly sins startups commit most often

The Startup Owner's Manual lays out the best practices, lessons and tips that have swept the startup world, offering a wealth of proven advice and information for entrepreneurs of all stripes.

It is the go-to resource for thousands of startups, leading universities (including Stanford, U.C. Berkeley and Columbia) and the U.S. National Science Foundation, among many others.

Use it in conjunction with The Startup Owner's Manual -- Founder's Workbook (bit.ly/SlPQqc), an interactive tool for tracking your progress through the Customer Development process.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: K & S Ranch; 1 edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984999302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984999309
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (924 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very different as a business book. Instead of being filled with dense, usually overly wordy pages, it is beautifully laid out, the wording is kept to a minimum, and there are lots of illustrations.

The book is focused on ways to think of the model for your business... with some nice guidelines for structuring the thought process... as well as a bunch of examinations of different types of businesses.

It has good discussions on thinking through what is critical for the business, where the cost structures are, where the benefits are, and how to organize and present those ideas.

It also has a number of cases studies of various companies that changed or invented new business models, such as Amazon's introduction of Web Services.

The book is fast to read, and there were several sections I bookmarked to put into use in my company, which to me is always a good sign for a book.

Where the book is lacking is that I would really have liked more case studies -- a bit more meat so to speak -- once a company came up with the new model, how did the artifacts of the book's discussions come into play with the execution? Did any of the techniques discussed help with the inevitable pitfalls associated? What are some case studies for when people tried the techniques discussed and failed miserably? Innovator's Dilemma, by comparison, does a much better look at both positive and negative case studies, which can provide a lot more learning.

I also would have liked more depth on the blue ocean discussion.

Altogether though, an interesting read and a good addition to my management book shelf.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Business Model Generation" is a breezy read and a well-organized introduction to several related topics including: basic types of business models, techniques and strategies for generating ideas and thinking creatively about them, along with process steps for moving good ideas forward. But the promising title makes it sound like this is a more substantive resource than it really is.

PROS: Anyone new to these topics would likely have to read four to six separate books to get the broad coverage you'll find here. The authors have done a service for folks who want to come up to speed more quickly. I felt that I came away with some useful info in most of the chapters and each has additional references for further reading. The designers also deserve some credit for a creative and varied layout that makes the text seem fresher. Plus, you can feel good about yourself as you plow through 50+ pages in half an hour without fatigue. The bonus: this is a business book that won't have you drowning in business jargon.

CONS: As several reviewers have noted, there's breadth here but not much depth on the core topics. Those expecting more may be disappointed and some may find the book's suggestive title misleading. Probably more accurate if they called it "A *PRIMER* for Business Model Generation" instead of a Handbook. It's a place to get started, not a definitive resource as the term handbook implies. Finally, the small font sizes that a few reviewers mentioned will surely be difficult to read for those with less-than-great eyesight.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The kindle version of this is NOT the same as The Startup Owner's Manual! Instead you get the Startup Owner's Strategy Guide, which is a very condensed version. I bought this for a class and was super frustrated to find that it wasn't the same as the original hardcover book. I am going to try to get a refund because it's not what was advertised to me. Ugh.
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Format: Unknown Binding
This is an absolutely superb book and my first and only book on business models. It is so up to date and filled with gems that I feel no need to read another anytime soon.

The book is aptly titled, being all about how to generate business models. However, you have to know what it is before you can generate it. To this end, the first section of the book is devoted to introducing a standard language and format for talking about business models. They introduce nine key items which serve as the building blocks for all business models. These are listed below, illustrated with Skype's business model.

CUSTOMER SEGMENTS: Who will use the product?
1) web users globally 2) people who want to call phones

VALUE PROPOSITION: Why will they use the product?
1) free Internet and video calling 2) cheap calls to phones (SkypeOut)

CHANNELS: How will the product be delivered to the customers?
[...] and headset partnerships

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS: how will you develop and maintain contact with your customers in each segment?
Mass customizedMass customized

REVENUE STREAMS: How is revenue generated from which customer segments?
1) Free 2) SkypeOut prepaid or subscription

ACTIVITIES: What are the key things that you need to do to create and deliver the product?
Software development

RESOURCES: What assets are required to create and deliver the product?

PARTNERS: Who will you want to partner with (e.g suppliers, outsourcing)
Payment providers, Distribution partners, Telco Partners

COST STRUCTURE: What are the main sources of cost required to create and deliver the product?
Read more ›
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