resources-for-entrepreneurs

Top Resources For Entrepreneurs To Experiment With New Business Ideas

On FourWeekMBA, I gather the most useful resources that entrepreneurs can use to help them cut through the noise. In this article, I want to highlight a few critical resources you might want to start with throughout your entrepreneurial journey.

Unlearn fist

unlearning
The Cycle of Unlearning is a three-step approach to individual and collective growth, which goes through unlearning, relearning, and breakthrough.

When starting a new venture, mastering the right mindset is critical. Thus, before you dive into this journey with all your energies, it might make sense for you to unlearn the things that might have worked in the past, but that are holding you back today.

That requires you to go through the cycle of unlearning to come up with a new mindset and get ready with your next businessventure!

I interviewed the major expert on the topic so that you can get started on this mindset shift:

Fall in love with the problem

Entrepreneurship is about solving problems for a group of people. If that group is large enough to enable you to build a company so that you’re in business. While that might sound trivial, Ash Maurya reminded us to focus on finding what he calls problem/solution fit.

Indeed, many entrepreneurs fall in love with the solution, its features, and technology behind it. This makes them lose sight of the most important thing, the problem they need to help people solve!

running-lean-ash-maurya

I interviewed Ash Maurya to help us find the way toward problem/solution fit:

Digital transformation starts from very few essential elements

When I interviewed David Rogers, I was impressed by the framework he had put together to help companies of any size to make sense of digital transformation. This is a topic that can easily fall into a buzzword. However, David Rogers has consulted for decades organizations to make sense of the digital revolution that started in the 1990s, and it is still going.

It goes through five key elements that have changed in the digital era:

  • Customers
  • Competition
  • Data
  • Innovation
  • Value

digital-transformation

From the interview, I had with David Rogers you can learn the most critical aspects of digital transformation and how to deal with them:

The real disruption? Focus on the customer value chain

Disruptive business models also fall into the buzzword category. Where we all talk about it but a few really make sense of it, or understand this phenomenon. That is why I decided to interview HBS professor, Thales Teixeira. The research from Thales is so straightforward, in-depth, and insightful that it helps you understand the nuts and bolts of what disruptive business models stand for.

disruptive-business-models

For that matter, you can read the full interview:

The dominating business model

I spoke to dozens of authors, experts, and entrepreneurs, and they all seem to agree that the dominating business model of this era is the platform business model. This is another term which often gets misunderstood in the business world.

platform-business

That is why I brought in the author of Modern Monopolies to explain is what’s that makes those platform business models special:

To make sure, you don’t need to build a platform business model to be a successful entrepreneur. Quite the opposite. Initially, you might want to start small and build a linear business instead.

linear-vs-platform-business-models

If you aim to scale up, then, you might want to consider to build a platform business model.

Also, as most of the largest companies that dominate today’s digital era is comprised of platform business model, it might be useful to understand how those businesses work so that you can ride the wave of those successful companies to build your own small enterprise.

Need for speed? Then it is time to Blitzscale

Blitzscaling is a model explained by Reed Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn:

blitzscaling-business-model

This is a model in which speed becomes critical. To make sure, this model is not suited for all scenarios, and it’s not a size-fits-all. Quite the opposite. This is a model that you might want to consider if you need to survive in a competitive landscape that has quickly changed.

That’s because in some circumstances the survival of your business might depend on its ability to scale faster than the competition. This is where Blitzscaling comes handy:

blitzscaling-business-model-canvas
In all other scenarios, you might want to rely on more traditional tools. 

Must-have startup tools

business-model-tools

The business model canvas comprises nine building blocks:

Those can help you understand how an organization works. You can also use the value proposition canvas to define and draft a compelling value proposition that holds together your business model.

However, if you’re building up a startup, you’re still in the process of understanding how to solve a fundamental problem. For that matter, the lean startup canvas might be a better-suited.

Alternative business tools

The tools above are some just of the tools available to entrepreneurs. The primary purpose is to have a simple, straightforward way to help businesspeople make clarity, understand their assumption, design business experiments, and run those experiments quickly and cheaply.

In this way, they can gather critical feedback to get the business off the ground before the money runs out, as Steve Blank points out.

For that matter, below other tools are highlighted:

design-a-business-model

business-model-navigator

pretotyping-alberto-savoia

fourweekmba-business-model-framework

Read next:

Business resources:

Related Innovation Frameworks

Business Engineering

business-engineering-manifesto

Business Model Innovation

business-model-innovation
Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

Innovation Theory

innovation-theory
The innovation loop is a methodology/framework derived from the Bell Labs, which produced innovation at scale throughout the 20th century. They learned how to leverage a hybrid innovation management model based on science, invention, engineering, and manufacturing at scale. By leveraging individual genius, creativity, and small/large groups.

Types of Innovation

types-of-innovation
According to how well defined is the problem and how well defined the domain, we have four main types of innovations: basic research (problem and domain or not well defined); breakthrough innovation (domain is not well defined, the problem is well defined); sustaining innovation (both problem and domain are well defined); and disruptive innovation (domain is well defined, the problem is not well defined).

Continuous Innovation

continuous-innovation
That is a process that requires a continuous feedback loop to develop a valuable product and build a viable business model. Continuous innovation is a mindset where products and services are designed and delivered to tune them around the customers’ problem and not the technical solution of its founders.

Disruptive Innovation

disruptive-innovation
Disruptive innovation as a term was first described by Clayton M. Christensen, an American academic and business consultant whom The Economist called “the most influential management thinker of his time.” Disruptive innovation describes the process by which a product or service takes hold at the bottom of a market and eventually displaces established competitors, products, firms, or alliances.

Business Competition

business-competition
In a business world driven by technology and digitalization, competition is much more fluid, as innovation becomes a bottom-up approach that can come from anywhere. Thus, making it much harder to define the boundaries of existing markets. Therefore, a proper business competition analysis looks at customer, technology, distribution, and financial model overlaps. While at the same time looking at future potential intersections among industries that in the short-term seem unrelated.

Technological Modeling

technological-modeling
Technological modeling is a discipline to provide the basis for companies to sustain innovation, thus developing incremental products. While also looking at breakthrough innovative products that can pave the way for long-term success. In a sort of Barbell Strategy, technological modeling suggests having a two-sided approach, on the one hand, to keep sustaining continuous innovation as a core part of the business model. On the other hand, it places bets on future developments that have the potential to break through and take a leap forward.

Diffusion of Innovation

diffusion-of-innovation
Sociologist E.M Rogers developed the Diffusion of Innovation Theory in 1962 with the premise that with enough time, tech products are adopted by wider society as a whole. People adopting those technologies are divided according to their psychologic profiles in five groups: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

Frugal Innovation

frugal-innovation
In the TED talk entitled “creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits” Navi Radjou defined frugal innovation as “the ability to create more economic and social value using fewer resources. Frugal innovation is not about making do; it’s about making things better.” Indian people call it Jugaad, a Hindi word that means finding inexpensive solutions based on existing scarce resources to solve problems smartly.

Constructive Disruption

constructive-disruption
A consumer brand company like Procter & Gamble (P&G) defines “Constructive Disruption” as: a willingness to change, adapt, and create new trends and technologies that will shape our industry for the future. According to P&G, it moves around four pillars: lean innovation, brand building, supply chain, and digitalization & data analytics.

Growth Matrix

growth-strategies
In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Innovation Funnel

innovation-funnel
An innovation funnel is a tool or process ensuring only the best ideas are executed. In a metaphorical sense, the funnel screens innovative ideas for viability so that only the best products, processes, or business models are launched to the market. An innovation funnel provides a framework for the screening and testing of innovative ideas for viability.

Idea Generation

idea-generation

Design Thinking

design-thinking
Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, defined design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Therefore, desirability, feasibility, and viability are balanced to solve critical problems.

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