Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model

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“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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“ 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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422126691
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 303,838
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John Mullins is Associate Professor of Management Practice at London Business School, and a veteran of three entrepreneurial companies. Randy Komisar is a Partner at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and has served as a Consulting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Stanford University.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Don't Reinvent the Wheel, Make It Better: Assembling Analogs, Antilogs, and Leaps of Faith to Get to Plan B 13

Chapter 2 Guiding Your Flight Progress: The Power of Dashboards 37

Chapter 3 Air, Food, and Water: Your Revenue Model 65

Chapter 4 Avoiding Rocks and Hard Places: Your Gross Margin Model 89

Chapter 5 Trimming the Fat: Your Operating Model 113

Chapter 6 Cash Is King: Your Working Capital Model 133

Chapter 7 It Takes Money to Make Money: Your Investment Model 157

Chapter 8 Can You Balance a One-Legged Stool?: Multidimensional Business Models 179

Chapter 9 Getting Started on Discovering Your Plan B 205

Notes 217

Acknowledgments 229

Index 233

About the Authors 251

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Engaging guide to entrepreneurial success

    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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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Getting to Plan B-Breaking Through to a Better Business Model

    In Getting to Plan B - Breaking Through to a Better Business Model, authors John Mullins and Randy Komisar combine their efforts in to a great read for anyone who thinks "How can we do business better around here?"

    Getting to Plan B takes a look at writing a business plan, but it goes further. It asks "How can we write a better business plan?" By following a definable path Mullins and Komisar spell out how many well known companies around the world have gotten great results by coming up with a better business model than they had first developed. The book lays out a plan that uses these steps to success:

    Use Analogs: Analogs are defined as businesses who set a good example to follow.

    Use Antilogs: Antilogs should be found that failed using ideas in you plan.

    Leaps of Faith: Creating a hypothesis that you will try to prove out in order to succeed.

    Dashboards: What gets measured gets done. Use dashboards to record the results of your business efforts as you make tweeks to your plan.

    The book does an excellent job proving out the authors ideas through stories of the successes and failures of many of today's leading companies and some old and new industries. Companies such as Amazon, Dell, The Gap, Napster as well as many others make an appearance. Getting to Plan B looks at the evolution of the auto, publishing, retail and computer industries to show how companies adapted to change and others changed the industry and made their competitors play catch up.


    1. Don't Reinvent the Wheel, Make it Better - Assembling analogs, antilogs, and leaps of faith.
    2. Guiding Your Flight Path - Using dashboards
    3. Air, Food, and Water - Your revenue model
    4. Avoiding Rocks and Hard Places - Your gross margin model
    5. Trimming the Fat - Your Operating Model
    6. Cash is King - Your working capital model
    7. It Takes Money to Make Money - Your invesment model
    8. Can You Balance a One-Legged Stool? - Multidimensial business models
    9. Getting Started on Discovering Your Plan B

    For a few bucks read this book. It can make you think about problems from a new angle and hopefully get you to develop answers you never thought of.

    Good Reading

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted January 19, 2010

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    Posted October 29, 2010

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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    Posted January 2, 2011

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