Review: Business Model Toolbox
Are you starting a company? Have you drunk the customer development/product validation “Kool Aid” (we mean that in the nicest way possible)? If you have, you may have gotten stuck on how to go about “doing” customer development. Sure, there are firms that can help you, but most startups are lean and mean, and don’t have a lot of money for consultants.
Well, a new iPad app called the Business Model Toolbox (BMT to us) by Business Model Foundry GmbH may just be the answer for the do-it-yourself startup.
Pros - Although there are some intellectual prerequisites, BMT’s ease of use is a big selling point (it costs just $30 on the App Store). BMT works by giving you a “canvas” that describes your business model in terms of important elements like Partnerships or Target Markets, but also in terms of Revenue and Cost. You “generate” your business model through customer development-style prep sessions and customer meetings using “notes” (which look like 3M’s PostIts). Adding “notes” to the Business Model Canvas is easy – and the BMT tools allow you to dive as deep as you’d like.
For example, when you create a Customer Segment, the tool suggests some basic questions you might begin by asking (“For whom are we creating value? Who are our most important customers, clients or users?”). It’s quick and easy to do some issue-spotting, and come up with a working description of your business.
Cons – If you find “cons” to the BMT product, they’ll likely be in getting your head inside the Customer Development methodology, and navigating tricky business questions and market research. The tool helps you raise lots of questions – but like all tools (Excel for example), the numbers you plug in are up to you, and your model’s predictions of profitability are going to only be as good as your own rigor.
Rating: 5 out of 5 All in all, for the average entrepreneur, we’d highly recommend trying this product out. But first, take the time to understand the process you are getting yourself into, and you’ll be much better off for it.