The Field Guide to Testing Business Ideas

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Experimentation is hard

You want to start testing your ideas to avoid big failures, but are unsure where to begin.

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Experiment Library

43 beautifully illustrated, detailed experiment types organized by cost, time and strength of evidence.
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Find the path to Scale

Build a bulletproof, evidence-backed case so that your idea isn’t a flop and is ready to scale.

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Testing Business Ideas

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Systematically win big with small bets. Join the testing movement today and learn how to turn your ideas into a thriving business!

About The Book


7 out of 10 new products fail to deliver on expectations. Testing Business Ideas aims to reverse that statistic. In the tradition of the global bestseller Business Model Generation, this practical guide contains a library of hands-on techniques for rapidly testing new business ideas to reduce the risk of failure.

The book explains how systematically testing business ideas can dramatically reduce the risk and increase the likelihood of success for any new venture or business project. It builds upon the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas by integrating Assumptions Mapping and other powerful lean startup-style experiments. The book closes with practical tips for teams to help make experimentation a continuous, repeatable process.

Concluding with a challenge to leaders on how to encourage an experimentation mindset within their organization, this book is the definitive field guide to business model testing.

Table of Contents

  1.  Prepare
    1. Design the team (p. 3)
    2. Shape the idea (p. 15)
  2. Test
    1. Hypothesize (p. 27)
    2. Experiment (p. 41)
    3. Learn (p. 49)
    4. Decide (p. 59)
    5. Manage (p. 65)
  3. Experiments
    1. Select an Experiment (p. 91)
    2. Discovery (p. 101)
    3. Validation (p. 231)
  4. Mindset
    1. Avoid Experiment Pitfalls (p. 313)
    2. Lead Through Experimentation (p. 317)
    3. Organize for Experiments (p.323)

Integrates with popular tools

Testing business idea works with popular tools like the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas. The “Method” chapter will teach you how to break down your ideas into prioritized, testable assumptions to focus your effort. You’ll then use the selection guidelines to chose the right experiment to produce evidence reduce the risk, and alter the plan where necessary. By working in this way you’ll always have a clear next action, avoid big failures and make constant progress from your vision to a validated business idea.

This book is written for...

From Idea To First Validation


Understand the future viability of your business idea. Use your time efficiently to engage in the right experiments. Communicate your ideas clearly through evidence to turn your side hustle into a business.


Corporate Teams

Clarify the testing process.  Build your innovation practice. Communicate evidence and progress to stakeholders. Find the right experiment for the next big risk.



Identify the biggest risks to your business. Reduce risk by generating concrete evidence. Communicate evidence and align with co-founders or other stakeholders. Place small bets to grow your business on the right path to scale.

The Book Team


David J. Bland

David helps companies all over the world find their own product market fit using lean startup, design thinking and business model innovation.

Alex Osterwalder

Alexander Osterwalder

Dr. Alexander Osterwalder is the lead author of the international bestseller Business Model Generation, passionate entrepreneur, and in-demand speaker.

Alan Smith

Alan Smith

Alan is obsessed with design, business, and the ways we do them. He cofounded Strategyzer, helping business people make stuff that customers actually want.

Order your copy of Testing Business Ideas today!