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Testing Business Ideas

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A practical guide to effective business model testing

7 out of 10 new products fail to deliver on expectations. Testing Business Ideas aims to reverse that statistic. In the tradition of Alex Osterwalder's global bestseller Business Model Generation, this practical guide contains a library of hands-on techniques for rapidly testing new business ideas.

Testing Business Ideas explains how systematically testing business ideas dramatically reduces the risk and increases the likelihood of success for any new venture or business project. It builds on the internationally popular Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas by integrating Assumptions Mapping and other powerful lean startup-style experiments.

Testing Business Ideas uses an engaging 4-color format to:

Increase the success of any venture and decrease the risk of wasting time, money, and resources on bad ideas Close the knowledge gap between strategy and experimentation/validation Identify and test your key business assumptions with the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas A definitive field guide to business model testing, this book features practical tips for making major decisions that are not based on intuition and guesses. Testing Business Ideas shows leaders how to encourage an experimentation mindset within their organization and make experimentation a continuous, repeatable process.

368 pages, ebook

Published November 6, 2019

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About the author

David J. Bland

4 books30 followers
I founded Precoil to help companies find product market fit using lean startup, design thinking and business model innovation. I power the testing practice with my friends over at Strategyzer.

I've helped teams move fast and validate things at companies such as GE, Toyota, Adobe, HP and Behr just to name a few. I've worked with hundreds of teams all around the world and consider myself very lucky to do so. I strongly believe that no matter what you are creating, it needs to be desirable, viable and feasible.

Prior to advising, I spent over 10 years of my career at technology startups and continue to give back to the startup community by teaching at several accelerators in Silicon Valley. I give back to students as well, guest lecturing at universities such as Harvard, Yale and Berkeley.

I'm the co-author of Testing Business Ideas (Fall 2019), a Wiley business book with Alexander Osterwalder. An internationally recognized business book in 20 languages, it is dedicated to corporate innovators, startup entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who don't want to waste time building products that nobody wants.

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5 stars
394 (48%)
4 stars
268 (33%)
3 stars
120 (14%)
2 stars
18 (2%)
1 star
8 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews
Profile Image for Dr. Tobias Christian Fischer.
699 reviews33 followers
June 6, 2021
I am a big fan of entrepreneurial books and I like this one especially. It gives you hands-on advices for the start till the feedback loop. It’s easy and do-able.
Profile Image for Ahmad hosseini.
277 reviews65 followers
January 12, 2021
Book provides a step by step way to generate idea and convert it to a viable business.
Book explains a lot of methods and tools for testing business idea and examines pros and cons of each of them in details. It also give some advice for how and when to use them. Story board, product box, speed boat, card sorting, and boomrang are some of these methods and tools.
There are a lot of useful graphs and tables at the book that help you to use introduced methods ans tools.
Profile Image for Madhur Bhargava.
Author 2 books12 followers
November 29, 2021
This book lives up to its title - "A field guide for testing business ideas". There is ample content, specifically a whole toolkit of experiments that are ideally suited for any kind of product(hardware, software, etc.). I would go on a limb here and say that after reading this book, no experimentation technique would come as a surprise to the reader. However, as a personal opinion, there seemed a few shortcomings - the actual experimentation techniques are only introduced after 90 pages, and given the book is like 330 pages, the author decides to cross-reference/cross-sell/introduce his other published works for 1/4th of the book. Also, the content is more breadth and less depth and sometimes even superficial to the extent of being unusable. For example - the questions that are introduced by the author for some of the experiments which involve customer interviews are very dry as well as purely theoretical, hence some of the other books on that specific topic *cough*the mom test*cough* do a far better job. However, this is one of the few(if not only?) books (s) that is able to cover such breadth which still makes the feat of compiling together all the experiments remarkable and deserves a read.
Profile Image for Laura Montini.
23 reviews1 follower
May 15, 2020
I found the first parts of this book (Design & Test), including the artifacts and examples, much more informative than the largest section of this book — Experiments. The book glossed over the Experiments section too much to be useful. I was familiar with many of these experiment types. For the ones I wasn’t, I was left wondering what their purpose was and how they really worked. I liked whenever the book tried to explain the experiments through case studies, which is how I best learn, but these examples were rare and not very detailed when they did appear.
Profile Image for Rick Lindeman.
Author 1 book4 followers
October 19, 2020
Een testlab voor businessideeën

Een paar maanden geleden had ik een aantal directeuren van Greenchoice op bezoek. Ze gingen op zogenaamde klantsafari. Nu moet je je niet een voorstelling maken als de Beekse Bergen, met ondergetekende in de rol van groot wild. De mensen van Greenchoice wilden een businessidee testen. Ik was volgens hun data een potentiële klant.

Businessideeën zijn er namelijk genoeg. Het probleem is dat er weinig goed zijn. Om te weten of ze goed zijn, moet je ze eigenlijk testen. In "Business Ideeën Testen" helpt David Bland (samen met Alexander Osterwalder van het Business Model Canvas) je hiermee op weg,

In mijn facilitiepraktijk heb ik menig design thinking proces doorlopen. Vaak waren deelnemers enthousiast over hun idee, maar konden moeilijk uitleggen waarom het zou werken. De drempel om over de drempel naar buiten te gaan bleek vaak best groot. Bovendien wisten ze vaak niet wat ze precies moesten testen.

Bland biedt een routekaart door het testlandschap. Allereerst onderscheid hij vragen over haalbaarheid, wenselijkheid en levensvatbaarheid. Bij het ene vraagstuk gaat immers over de productie, soms over of consumenten het willen, en een andere keer over of er wel genoeg marge te behalen is. Hij legt deze vragen vervolgens over het Business Model Canvas.

Vervolgens kijkt hij naar welke fase je in het proces zit, en naar wel type propositie je eigenlijk wil test. Hierdoor kom je bij 1 van de 44 experimenten terecht die antwoord geven op jouw vraag,

Bland's boek past perfect in de serie van Osterwalders Canvassen. Het staat vol met heldere voorbeelden, goede graphics en duidelijke stappenplannen. Wat ik extra sterk vind is dat het je niet gewoon een aantal methodes aan reikt, maar je door heldere vragen te stellen -als een choose your adventure boek - je bij het perfecte experiment aflevert. Business Ideeën Testen is daarmee een essentieel boek voor wie de stap van idee naar realisatie wil maken,
41 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2021
Another entrepreneurship classic! Very interesting read on how to test business ideas by providing a very large library of testing experiments. Quite counter intuitively, the book seems more fit for large enterprises than for solopreneurs/entrepreneurs just getting started with something. While many experiments still apply to these, many others require an established, pluridisciplinary team, which is sometimes frustrating for the one getting started with limited resources.

While a very interesting read, as so many experiments are covered, it feels like scratching the surface of a very complex theme, which will certainly leave many readers needing for more. Regarding the quality of the book itself, it feels like a step down from previous editions: the paper quality is pretty poor, with the printed part of the other side of each page clearly visible, something the authors seem to have acknowledged by having fixed this in the more recent "Invincible Business Models" book.

While not as outstanding as the previous Strategyzer books, this one still remains a classic in this genre. A must read for all entrepreneurs!
Profile Image for Christoph.
27 reviews1 follower
March 28, 2021
I'm a little bit torn about this book. For readers who are new to Lean Business methods, the book probably gives a good intro, frameworks, and mindset to get started. But every aspect is not deep enough explored, to be really actionable. For example, I don't believe that a team is ready to create meaningful insights just by reading this book.
For people who are already experienced in lean prototyping, this book is a nice collection of experiments and is a good read, but in a way just a collection of already well-known techniques.

The probably best thing about this book is the connection between different experiments, and also comprehensiveness. I will keep it in reach just to quickly get some inspiration for experiments or as a catalog for clients.
February 13, 2022
Nice slice-through and structured setup of experimentation structure in the lean startup type approach.

I found the level of granularity perfectly balanced (not easy) providing and end to end framework with enough details to get a sense of the experiments. Actual execution of each experiments demands more understanding for each of them but thats to be expected.

I give it five due to the sharpness and precision, as well of the mix of the framework elements created here. Theres a quality to it.

I scan read it over a few hours - its easily digestible. But even as an experienced practitioner i got new angles and refined pointers on various areas that i thought were well thought out.
April 11, 2023
This is a good book. It covers a lot of important tools and it provides valuable mental models aiding you in product discovery. I find it an amazing reference book which can almost work like a checklist. My main critique is on the structure. While the regular structure makes it a good reference book, by making it easy to find things, it also makes the first read of the book boring at times. The lack of variation in the structure of the book and how information is laid out during the Experiments section, makes it feel like you are reading a dictionary. The first segment of the book and the last segment of the book which is more focused on providing you with the right mental model are very entertaining to read
Profile Image for Ecaterina Moraru.
71 reviews4 followers
June 5, 2022
Unfortunately, this book relies on the information found in the other books from the Strategyzer series (in terms of process and context). It is a good compendium of tests. The info doesn't go into lots of details. It could use screenshots with the experiments' deliverables (for example 'Buy a feature' has an unreadable illustration, etc.) I appreciate the test's metadata: cost, setup time, evidence strength, etc. The book's strength is in the overview/visualization of the tests and the sequences and test pairings examples. Still, the content is very repetitive since the book is meant to be read on-demand, for individual tests, as a quick reference.
Profile Image for Kaspars Koo.
348 reviews41 followers
January 25, 2021
If you are new to testing business ideas and don't know how to do it, then this is an excellent read.
If you already have some experience with customer interviews, mockups, storyboards, marketing campaigns, and similar ways to test your ideas, then this could be an ok book to have on your table to leaf through for inspiration from time to time.
Probably one of the better ones of Strategyzer books, however, I was hoping for a bit more new ideas and the structure didn't really work for me either.
Profile Image for Peter.
684 reviews
January 26, 2020
This is a perfect handbook for testing business ideas, hypotheses, features, products and general data collection on new ventures. The writers present the information in a lean, rich, infographic style that is very easy to reference and interesting. You could read the whole book in a sitting but the real value is in returning when testing hypotheses. One should definitely revisit to look at processes and insights when testing.
Profile Image for Gerard Chiva.
65 reviews9 followers
April 21, 2020
David Bland and Alex Osterwalder made a great job on putting together a huge repository of all sort of experiments you can run and combine in order to develop a winning business model.

The first part of the book is basically a summary of two previous Alex's books. So before reading this I would recommend you read the previous ones.

Highly recommended for product managers, product teams and entrepreneurs.
18 reviews
August 21, 2022
Well... this book should be read by everyone who wants to create your own startup. That's all.

Even if you have marketing knowledge (like me), you will find many ideas and inspiration, on how to validate your project in the real life, not on paper.

The book contains not only ideas but shows how to test each hypothesis and the whole approach in general, which is called Customer Development.

Great, great stuff.
Profile Image for Carlos.
55 reviews7 followers
August 22, 2022
A very good book about practices and techniques regarding testing business ideas.

If you want only the toolbox, with this only book is enough, but if you want to link it with the business model whole idea is better to read the first two books beforehand.

My only complain is that the whole book is extremely focused in digital business, with B2B needs mainly out of scope.

A very goo companion if you are into product management too.
Profile Image for Juan Manuel Vera.
198 reviews3 followers
December 18, 2019
Great book, as usual....

I really enjoyed this book as all from Strategyzer collection.
the book is a necessary complement of the other two.
Id like te explanation and tips of each one of the experiments and techniques.
Certainly is not a deep book but is a reference book for get ideas and a motivation to go further
Profile Image for Marina Ha.
18 reviews8 followers
February 8, 2020
This became a book that I keep on my desk and open often. I love the visual aspect of this book - helps explain a larger team the approach to testing the business ideas. I also appreciate the authors took the time to structure business idea testing - what often becomes a very messy process.
You do need to have the context of why you want to test the business ideas, how to generate them etc.
February 14, 2020
Very comprehensive list of potential experiments to be employed for testing business ideas, I wish however that there were more case studies included to highlight the intricacies of each method. Reading this book, helps you select and prioritize these methods but does not actually give you the skillset to actually execute these experiments since each method is only given a summary view.
Profile Image for Javier.
10 reviews
September 7, 2021
Total waste of money. It is like a blog post listing a ton of tests one could use without entering into the details, not even suggesting tools for that or how to accomplish the test. It is beautiful because of the drawings but that is. Also the format of the book is not very comfortable if you tend to read in the bed.
Profile Image for Armands Ķirītis.
56 reviews6 followers
May 18, 2022
This is a good collection of various methods of validating your idea, problem and solution in various stages of its development before you have spent a huge amount of money to find out it doesn't work. Use it to fail fast, iterate, get good results.
Could have some more depth in some cases, provide links for more info on topics etc, so one star goes away for that part.
Profile Image for Yannick.
22 reviews
December 3, 2019
Excellent companion to the two other great books. Would have been a 5 star if the evidence scale had been consistent when comparing the different testing tools. If you know a bit about stats and social research though, it won't be an issue.
Profile Image for Alex Gostev.
27 reviews1 follower
April 14, 2020
Nice visual vocabulary of methods for testing business hypothesis. Each method listed in a concise manner and should be researched further before it's applied. The book lays on the surface, not digging deep, though doing the job well.
Profile Image for Jens Poder.
113 reviews41 followers
September 26, 2020
A brilliant and practical guide

This book shows you how to execute effectively when developing and testing products. From assumptions mapping to doing experiments in order to remove uncertainty about your business idea. This book will help you all the way.
5 reviews
December 21, 2020
Great guide to test ideas before expending lots of money

These guide offer options more available and affordable for both businesses and entrepreneurs to test basic aspects of their ideas and sea if it is worth it to move forward before spending money and other resources
Profile Image for Nacho Bassino.
Author 2 books13 followers
January 18, 2021
A great summary of the experimentation process, with details and examples for multiple types of experiments.
The book is amazingly organized, and experiments are grouped and linked to show you how to use them in each context.
Profile Image for Luiz Marques.
94 reviews2 followers
July 5, 2021
Excellent. I read The Lean Startup, which talks a lot about the need to validate your ideas. I knew a few ways, but this book goes deep into the various ways, how useful the evidence from them is, the best ways to do them and how they connect.
Profile Image for Hugues Le Gendre.
138 reviews3 followers
July 16, 2021
Dans la série de Strategyzer, cet opus se concentre sur les stratégies de tests afin de découvrir et valider rapidement de nouveaux business models. Un ouvrage moins puissant que les autres et qui gagnerait à avoir plus d’exemples réels.
Profile Image for AnxnAnia.
3 reviews
January 4, 2020
Good ideas and structure. But not as awesome as business model canvas and value prop.
Profile Image for Bastian.
108 reviews21 followers
February 3, 2020
Great ideas for testing. But too academic in its approach (too many templates and structure).
Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews

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