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on 1 April 2017
Over one year, I have been looking for a book that could guide me to view my ventures globally, one that could point out where we have been doing well or otherwise so we can get to what people call "the next level". This book does just this exceptionally well. Cannot thank the authors enough.
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on 26 January 2010
Cards on the table...I did an MBA and John led one of my classes. He was a great teacher, but for some reason neither he nor any of the other lecturers at my business school managed to describe any real world examples of revenue models, working capital models, investment models, gross margin models or operating models that stuck in my head!

Moreover, I never really thought about them holistically, i.e. that together they give clear financial definition to the very loosely used expression "business model".

The great thing about Getting to Plan B is that John and Randy isolate each of these elements, which link closely to the structure of the all important P&L and cash flow statements at the heart of most successful business plans.

Now when I talk to a VC or an entrepreneur, I have a great framework for discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a business.

Using the case study examples - household name businesses and social enterprises - which John and Randy present in Getting to Plan B, it is also easier to communicate the issues with journalists and non-business people.

And the jokey "lemonade stand" case study at the start of each chapter would be a neat way to teach financial literacy at schools.

One criticism - the idea of an entrepreneur using a dashboard to analyse progress against the business model sounds too academic and controlled to me.

To complement this book, and get a rounded view of what it takes to launch a successful business, I'd like to see something which covers the personal circumstances, vision, mission, interpersonal relationships, salesmanship and other "fuzzy" issues which are briefly explored in John's previous book "The New Business Road Test".
One person found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 27 August 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What I really love about this book is the idea the title gives you.

I've run several businesses. Some have failed, others have had reasonable but quiet success. The difference between them has been the ability to adjust and change for what the market is actually telling you. You might have a good idea, but ideas are worthless without execution, and this book tries to get you to hammer out the detail around strategic execution some more, and pushes you into the corner of needing to work out what to do next when that fails. It doesn't mean you will fail, but that you're always ready for when the change needs to come.

Weird thing is, this book is a great idea, but the execution is a bit lousy. There are a couple of highlights, and the dashboard tool is simple but useful if you've not done any business planning before. However, as others have pointed out the examples seem odd, the style rambles and overall it feels like it could have been so much more.

I suspect I'll come back to it and pick bits out from time to time, but is it a great business book classic? No. Is the idea behind it a great one? Yes. Shame really.
7 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 6 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There are a lot of books which claim to help the reader in business, each presenting a particular author's insights and experience as if they are the answer to all business woes. A typical book of this genre will take a single idea which could probably be expressed in a page or two, and stretch it to a few hundred. This book sits squarely in such a stereotype.

When I first tried to read through this book I became somewhat disillusioned by about half-way through and gave up. The basic principle described in the introduction seemed compelling, but the execution in the rest of the book soon settled down to a few fairly obvious developments from the basic idea, interspersed with an increasingly similar set of case studies. I did not write a review at that point, and I'm glad I held off.

After abandoning the reading and review of this book for several months, I noticed that I had begun to mention the book to colleagues and acquaintances, and was even thinking in terms of the authors' "Plan A" and "Plan B" approach when considering business opportunities. Eventually these niggles were enough for me to hunt out the book and attack it again. On second reading it seemed more practical and valuable, perhaps because I was happier to skip the bulk of the case studies and focus on the meat of each section, applying it to my own experiences.

In conclusion, this is not quite the typical business book it appears. To get the best from it you may find that you need to set it aside for a while, or at least to leave wading through the case studies until you find yourself in an analogous situation.
2 people found this helpful
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on 5 October 2012
From a child's first lemonade stand to corporate giants like Apple, all businesses start out with a plan, but few of these initial road maps go the distance. Rather, one of a company's subsequent strategies - its Plan B or C or even D - usually points the way to success. London Business School professor John Mullins, author of The New Business Road Test, and venture capitalist Randy Komisar, author of The Monk and the Riddle, explain how to develop a strong business model using a healthy dose of data balanced by the occasional terrifying-yet-exciting "leap of faith" that differentiates one business from another. getAbstract recommends this book to new entrepreneurs and leaders who are responsible for building businesses. It contains basic financial information to get you going, ample examples, inspirational characters and plenty of encouragement to trust your instincts and build a Plan B that delivers.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2009
The best thing about this book is that when it refers to a business model it means the strategy and not the spreadsheet. The worst thing is that it rather rambles about, covering all sorts of perfectly fine and interesting cases that don't seem to have much to do with the premise of the book. That premise is, I think, that most first ideas aren't very good and probably won't work, but if one sticks at it and reacts quickly in the right way to what the market is telling one then one will usually live to have a second and subsequent go. It's hard to argue with that.

There are certainly very interesting examples and definitions included. I like the concepts of 'leaps of faith' and the analytical usage of analogs and antilogs. In addition I would recommend non-accountants to look at the authors' explanations of subjects such as revenue and gross margin among others. But there are also strange elements. They make much in the early chapters of the technique of 'dashboarding' to stress-test an original idea and to refine and develop it as a business progresses, but then the concept disappears completely and is never mentioned again.

So, worth reading, but not mould-breaking.
One person found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Let's be clear from the start - if you're looking at opening a new business, or are trying to develop/improve your existing business, it's highly likely that this book isn't going to help you in the way the title suggests. There's too little in the way of actual applicable business strategy to make it a guide and the examples are likely so inapplicable to the average business that they're unlikely to apply to yours. Yes, we all want to be the next big thing and it's something we can hope for but, let's be honest, most small-medium businesses are not going to be the next Google/Facebook/Amazon or evolve in the same way.

Another massive let-down is the writing style. Jargonistic at best, rambling and incoherent at worst. You can do much better for less investment. If you have any recommendations for decent business strategy books, I'm all ears!
2 people found this helpful
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on 2 February 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Talking or writing about business is a tricky task: entrepreneurs need good instincts, the ability to take risks and the determination to succeed rather than paper qualifications or book learning. Very few businesses rise to the stellar heights of the case study examples the book uses, such as Paypal; and, conversely, many businesses manage to stagger on despite being appallingly run.

This book is not a quick fix guide for business start ups. What it does is provide a more considered read, where you can gradually absorb information that will help you take your existing business up a notch.

It emphasises the necessity of your business being responsive to market changes, and helps you plan for that so you're not caught on the hop. If you haven't done much business planning before, like many entrepreneurs, you'll find the suggestions in the book helpful. The case studies can also be inspiring.

This is a book to savour, digest and be motivated by.
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on 17 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If I were starting a business and knew nothing about how to do it, I think there are many better books that this to read first. You would be better off reading books around doing internal/external appraisal of the business environment you wich to enter, SWOT analysis, including knowing exactly the resources you have and type of market you are targeting, pricing of your product, how you will promote it, how you will sell it and how it should look. Then maybe some theorys such Porters Value Chain Analysis, and 5 Porters forces and try to apply those.

Once you have read those, this is a good general business book and easy to read. The book is good for a bit of an inspiration read that talks about mega businesses evolving such as Amazon or Facebook etc, Most of the names you would have heard off, and indeed there will probably be some insights written in the book about those companies which you probably did not know.
One person found this helpful
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on 24 September 2009
This is a good generic business book, clearly written and useful as a 'bolt on' to a more detailed and researched text, if bought for the purpose of study or with a view to re-invigorating a business.

The content is well written, although a few phrases seem to be repeated ad-infinitum which does become annoying, and there are some interesting case studies of existing businesses. What makes them interesting is that although you will know the names, and the success, you may not have successfully guessed the exact reasons behind it. A good example is given of Amazon's business model, and why is is successful, and how it nearly wasn't quite so sucessful.

My main problem with this otherwise very good and very readable book is the high cover price. It simply isn't worth it when you can get very good, much more comprehensive, business textbooks for a fraction of the price.
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