What business model "frameworks" are available to help lead/manage a business?


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There are a lot of different but interconnected aspects of a business and I'm struggling to get my head around them.

I'm a software developer by education and passion that is needing to transition to a more executive role in our small business. In the software world, we use "frameworks" to help us think through & solve complex problems. If I have to build a web application, I know that there are various components of that application that will need to be considered separately (front-end UI, forms, views, templates, data layer API, database, etc.), but they all need to interconnect at the end of the day. Thinking through a programming problem with my framework in view helps me to understand the problem more thoroughly and even begin working on the solution to the problem as I am discussing it with others. That is, because I understand all the pieces of a web application and how they fit together, the problem my customer is asking me to solve, even though it may be complex, is much easier to work through.

I'm hoping to find a "framework" to help me think through my business in a similar way. I know there are a lot of business & leadership books & resources out there, but most of what I have seen on Amazon are not "frameworky" enough for what I am looking for. I have found one program that seems to summarize the various aspects pretty well:

http://www.the8factors.com/ (no affiliation)

but the only resource they offer is a $199 video series and I'm hesitant to spend that much money b/c I can only find testimonies on their website (which will obviously be biased in their favor).

So, can you recommend a book or resource that will provide a mental framework for understanding the various distinct but connected aspects of a business? Something to turn my mental "spaghetti" model into a more nicely structured "waffle"? If possible, I would prefer answers by those who have actually used the resource they are recommending in their own business/career with measurable success.

Thank you in advance.

Management Leadership

asked Oct 11 '12 at 13:53
Randy Syring
116 points

3 Answers


Three things I've found really useful (as somebody who started out as a dev).

  • The Business Model Canvas - is a great tool for thinking about all the aspects of a business. I've found it a useful tool for documenting where we are now, and as a generative tool for helping spot alternatives to try. The book Business Model Generation covers it well. There are alternate canvas type models about too. Google for Lean Canvas for example.
  • The Customer Development model from Steve Blank. His "Startup Owners Manual" is the best intro at the moment. Gives a framework for thinking about how business grow and the different kinds of behaviours you need at different stages. Especially good for it's focus on actually getting out and talking to customers.
  • The Lean Startup - it is the buzzword of the moment but there's some useful stuff there. You can think of it's approach as Agile/Lean + Customer Development.

These three should give you a good handle on some ways to approach finding markets / building products / starting new businesses. They won't help with the technical details of running a business (tax, etc.). For that I'd recommend finding an accountant local to you and talking to them. They'll almost always save you time and money in anything but the very short term.

answered Oct 11 '12 at 21:04
Adrian Howard
2,357 points
  • +1 for finding an accountant to handle the taxes. Nobody can handle everything by themself!!! – Torsten 11 years ago


I am in the same shoes as you: software developer and no idea of business or business "frameworks".

What I found particularly helpful was How to build a Startup: The Lean Launchpad, which gives you the business model canvas as a "framework".

Except this I didn't go deeper yet. Once you reached the point where your startup is becoming a company you certainly have to know different skills as well.

answered Oct 11 '12 at 16:56
176 points


All good answers so far, I would also recommend "The Art of the Start" by Guy Kawasaki. It may not be the framework that you are asking for, but it is a great primer for anyone starting something new.

answered Oct 12 '12 at 00:38
Need A Geek Indy
562 points

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