Documenting and Developing Business Models

The “Business Model Generation” methodology is an essential aid to all business owners and consultants, who want to  document, communicate and brainstorm businesses models in a succinct manner.

The book “Business Model Generation” by Alexander Osterwalder & Yvess Pigneur provides great examples of how to document business models, along with methods to brainstorm innovative changes in business models for existing businesses.

If you like visual aids, then you are going to love the techniques described in this must have book. What struck me, biased as I am toward visual tools, is how their visual models encapsulate the linkage and dependency on the key elements of the business in one page.

The base technique describes uses a common base canvas to capture the core building blocks of your business model: Key Partners (FP), Key Activities (KA), Key Resources (KR), Value Proposition (VP), Customer Relationships (CR), Channels (CH), Customer Segments (CS), Cost Structures (CS)  and Revenue Streams (RS).

A simple example of how this would work for apple’s I-pod is shown below:

Once the base or existing model is created the book then helps you explore the opportunities to explore other alternative business models. Some example business models described in the book include:

  • Unbundling Business Models
  • The long tail
  • Multi sided platforms
  • FREE as business model
  • Open Business Models

Key techniques described include brainstorming with the use of post-it notes against the base canvas, as well as my old chest nut of customer value propositions and what’s in it for customers.

Once you have your model developed with post it notes, you can really go to town and prepare a visual form of your business with pictures.

BTW: Do not be put off by the 72 page book preview available on their web site  As a result of my pre-read of the preview I nearly didn’t buy the book. So glad I did purchase, based on a recommendation (thanks Matt McKendry).  My order on amazon was delayed waiting for a reprint, so hopefully they now have plenty in stock.

This book is now going on my must read list for entrepreneurs, order your own copy now

Post Ed note: I now run workshops which include this methdology –

After using this model for some time I have come up with my own variant read more>

Not Convinced That Social Media Is Right For Your Business?

Social Media is all the talk, many business owners still have their heads in the sand and still think it’s just Facebook, Twitter..blah, blah. Nothing to do with real business.

If you’re a business owner or marketing manager, then add Erik Qualman’s book, Socialnomics, to your must read list before it’s too late.

My take after exploring this new phenomena , Social Media in business,  is it’s a new way of leading and managing a company, a new culture of total customer engagement that will guarantee success.

Warning: this is not about setting up a Facebook page … see my other blog posts to come…

Social Media is so disruptive, that Socialnomics author Erik Qualman states it simply as: The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in 5 years”

If you’re still stuck in denial (and you are not alone) – a non-believer in social media, then do yourself a favour: view the two great  YouTube clips – Media Revolution 2 (Refresh) 4min:26sec  and Social Media ROI 4min:15sec.  (see below), then go buy their book. 

“I found the book a great and easy read. One hotel night and a flight back from Sydney, had this inspirational  book read.We are entering a new world and way of doing business, this is not about applying old business models to new tools its a new way of thinking.At its heart is a philosophy and culture that embraces customer feedback in this instantaneous world. Done properly = instant market intelligence”

 It was so good I have added it to my must read business book list.

Here are a few of the many facts –opinions that Socialnomics promote:  

Epidemic adoption rates: Years to Reach 50 million users:  Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year,

Power of endorsement:  78% of consumers trust peer recommendations. Only 14% trust advertisements. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI

25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content, 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands, Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better!

To get the full list of facts mentioned in the video clips g to the Socialnomics site links below:

So is this applicable to your business ? –  Yes .
Of course we care about what people say about our brand or people. So how do we participate then, because it appears that we do not have a choice?

@MRobotham #socialmedia

The Perfect Pitch – a great read

For those who share my passion for “creating a perfect pitch” here is a great book to read.    The Perfect Pitch The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business  by Jon Steel

I am always on the hunt for new book on preparing for and delivering great presentations. This one had a slow start, but then fired on all cylinders. The initial case studies were to long-winded and in my mind out of character with the message of the book. But in the guts of it was a great read. Once I made it 20% of the way through I couldn’t put it down. 

Oh and don’t read it if you are a Porsche owner or belief that power point is a key ingredient to succinct pitches.


My key takeaways from this great book are listed below, not to give it all away but to bait you for a great read – this book is full of great ideas.

  • Often pitches “Say everything, but tell nothing”
  •  The Most powerful statements come in small bundles.. check these powerful remembered statements out: “I do”,” I’m leaving”, “she’s dead”
    People can only assimilate one idea at a time… a great example is throw five balls at once at someone and they wont catch any. Throw one and they will catch it. This concepts take me back to a comment that has stuck in my mind “One thought, one message , one person”  Bernie White from Wellington (the moment).
  •  Surprise your audience with something different – my version is “stand out from the crowd” …
  • Always write the 2 min version of your pitch first, even if you are doing a longer version.
  • Use post notes to brain Storm and collate and order thoughts – themes. Jon argues going to power point to soon kills the creative process.
  • Check you are Communicating vs lecturing to your audience
  • Team – presentations need flow and if you are selling the team they need to look like a team eg all members need to be engaged excited with other team members presenting – Not reading email on their iPhones 
  • Use the room as part of your presentation always look at changing the layout from the norm.
  • Remember 5-15-80 rule when accessing clients:  5% u know that u know,  15% u know they don’t know, 80% u don’t know they don’t know

 Oh Jon Steel is not a great power point fan … I love this quote he has taken from Edward Tufte’s book a “Cognitive Style of Power Point”:

 Imagine a widely used and expensive prescription drug that claimed to make us beautiful but didn’t.
Instead the drug had frequent, serious side effects: making us stupid, degrading the quality and credibility of our communication, turning us into bores, wasting our colleagues’ time.
These side effects, and the resulting unsatisfactory cost/benefit ratio, would rightly lead us to a world-wide product recall.

 Go buy this great book, its well worth the read.

Other books I recommend