One of five not-to-be missed books, 2014. Verne Harnish, Fortune Magazine
From the Inside Flap
“John Mullins has a critical lesson for entrepreneurs: Not all money is created equal. When you fund your business with customers’ cash, rather than investors’, it makes you more focused, less dependent, and more likely to succeed. (Not to mention it saves you from a lot of begging.) It’s a message every entrepreneur—and every new product team—needs to hear.”
—Dan Heath, coauthor of the New York Times best sellers Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive
More than two generations ago, the venture capital community—VCs, business angels, incubators, and others—convinced the entrepreneurial world that writing business plans and raising venture capital constituted the twin centerpieces of entrepreneurial endeavor. They did so for good reasons: the sometimes astonishing returns they’ve delivered to their investors and the incredibly large and valuable companies that their ecosystem has created. But the vast majority of fast-growing companies never take any venture capital. So where does the money come from to start and grow their companies? Or yours?
For most companies, fast-growing or otherwise, the early funding comes from a much more agreeable and hospitable source, their customers. That’s exactly what Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Banana Republic’s Mel and Patricia Ziegler did to get their companies up and running and turn them into iconic brands.
In The Customer-Funded Business, John Mullins identifies five novel approaches that scrappy and innovative twenty-first century entrepreneurs have ingeniously adapted from their predecessors like Dell, Gates, and the Zieglers:
Matchmaker models (for example, the U.S. companies Airbnb and DogVacay)
Pay-in-advance models (the USA’s Threadless, India’s Via and Loot)
Subscription models (India’s TutorVista, the USA’s H.Bloom)
Scarcity models (Spain’s Zara, France’s vente-privee, the USA’s Gilt Groupe)
Service-to-product models (Denmark’s GoViral, Puerto Rico’s Rock Solid Technologies).
STARTING, FINANCING, OR GROWING YOUR BUSINESS
Drawing on more than two years of in-depth research into the customer-funded phenomenon, and through the captivating stories of these and other companies from around the world, John Mullins brings to life the five models and identifies the questions that angel or other investors will—and should!—ask, and he addresses the key implementation issues that characterize each of the models: when to apply them, how best to apply them, and the pitfalls to watch out for.
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur lacking the startup capital you need, an early-stage entrepreneur trying to get your cash-starved venture into take-off mode, a corporate leader seeking to grow an established company, or an angel investor, mentor, or business accelerator or incubator professional who supports high-potential entrepreneurial ventures, this book offers the most sure-footed path to starting, financing, or growing your business or those you support.
Learn more at www.TheCustomerFundedBusiness.com
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