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Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

The full title of this book by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur is

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers“.

In my review on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means that it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

More style than substance

This is a remarkable triumph of visual design. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a book like it before.

I have some criticisms about how easy it is to read and the fact that the content is more style over substance. For one thing, to create space for all the funky images, the words are in a small font. I was OK but I know that some people will struggle.

I really like the idea of the one page Business Model Canvas which is described as “a shared language for describing, visualising, assessing and changing business models.” It looks very useful to summarise your existing business model and for moving towards better ways to create, deliver and capture value.

The Business Model Generation Canvas has nine elements:

1 Customer segments
2 Value propositions
3 Channels
4 Customer relationships
5 Revenue streams
6 Key resources
7 Key activities
8 Key partnerships
9 Cost structure

As you can see, it is a tight summary of a business with a balance between external and internal factors.

Business models are important because they are the means to deliver your differentiation strategy. Without a coherent plan, any differentiation is likely to be shallow. Marketing hype may fool the customers into buying such a shallow differentiated product once but probably not again.

The exercise of filling in the Business Model Canvas will help you to focus on the few things of business model design that matter although you need to have thought through your differentiation strategy first.

Beyond the the Business Model canvas, I was disappointed. Because the book looks so different and special, I was expecting the content to match.

But it didn’t. I thought it was pretty superficial.

It is a good introduction to thinking about business design although it assumes that’s the answer you want rather than giving you a diagnostic to establish whether business design lies at the heart of your business issues.

I’d have liked to have seen more consideration of the value proposition  and how it is different from competitors now and what they are likely to develop in the future. The authors have since written another book to address this issue but again, I was disappointed and only gave that book Three Stars.

This one however, overall and despite its flaws is an important book and the Business Model Canvas has become a popular tool.

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

There are many thousand of business books, you can see the full list of my reviews at Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister (Please click). I've also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs (Please click).

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