#57/111: The New Business Road Test

What is it about?

How can you increase your probably of success? John Mullins takes a scientific-like way to explore why startups fail and how it can be fixed. Each major point is illustrated by case studies and a short section “what investors want to know”.

What can I learn?

What are your goals? Before starting you should define your goals. Do you want to build a multi million dollars company or a lifestyle business? Do you want to work 80h/w or rather 25? This is the general framework to later decisions.

Market and Industry: Often these two things are not really understood. Your market exists of your customers. Your Industries are your competitors. Often there are great markets but the industry sucks. A example are restaurants. There are a mass of people who have to eat every day but the industry is gigantic and competitive. There are lots of restaurants or people could cook for themselves. That is, you market should be acceptable and your industry.

Obey the Critical Success Factors: If you have chosen your market and industry, you have to identify the industry’s Critical Success Factors (CSF). What is really important in your industry? For example, you can’t build a successful news site if you don’t have topical and good content.

Choose a great management team: Your management team should be complementary to you. Firstly, you have to know your strengths and weaknesses. If you suck at finance look for a smart CFO. If you suck at managing people, look for a smart COO/CEO. You don’t have to do anything for yourself and probably better don’t.


This is a pretty good book. The New Business Road Test is well structured and each chapter includes case studies which support Mullins’ assumptions about starting a successful business. The book is very practical and definitely worth reading if you want to start a business. Recommendation!

#42/111: Mastering Niche Marketing

What is it about?

How do you build a niche product, e.g. an ebook and market it properly? Eric Van Der Hope shows how to find product ideas, create products and sell them.

Key points?

Write your goals down: Before you start, you should think about your goals. What do you want and how can you reach this? You can start at a farer horizon, e.g. 5 years in the future and plan top-down how to reach these goals.

Test your idea: He presents some key features of good niche markets. You need to check if there is few competition. If there’s too much, it’s already too hard to enter, but if there’s none, you should ask yourself why nobody had the idea, yet. The next step is to check the willingness to buy. Do people in this market normally pay money? For example, it’s probably hard to sell to open source developers because they aren’t accustomed to pay for most stuff. The next step is to check if there is any need, you have a hard time to sell if nobody really wants your product. The last step is to check if this is a sustainable market. I.e. is it just a hype or can it bring your steady revenue for the next years?

Know your customer: If you found your niche market, you should try to find out as much as possible about your customers. To write your copy and set your pricing, you should know what their problems are, a little bit demographics, maybe whom they trust, etc.


I think the cover looks extremely scammy, though some chapters are really useful. Especially, I like the niche finding and the very first chapter about setting goals. Sadly, most of the book got some dubious practices.