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John Mullins

Associate Professor of Management Practice in Marketing and Entrepreneurship


BA (Lehigh), MBA (Stanford), PhD (Minnesota)

An award-winning teacher and scholar and one of the world’s foremost thought leaders in entrepreneurship, John brings to his teaching and research 20 years of executive experience in high-growth retailing firms, including two ventures he founded and one he took public. 

Since becoming an entrepreneurship professor in 1992, John has published five books, dozens of cases and more than 50 articles in a variety of outlets, including Harvard Business Review, the MIT Sloan Management Review, and The Wall Street Journal. His research has won national and international awards from the Marketing Science Institute, the American Marketing Association, and the Richard D. Irwin Foundation. He is a frequent and sought-after speaker and educator for audiences in entrepreneurship and venture capital. 

John’s first trade book, The New Business Road Test: What Entrepreneurs and Executives Should Do Before Launching a Lean Start-Up (1e 2003; now 4e, London: Prentice-Hall/FT 2013), has become the definitive work on the assessment and shaping of entrepreneurial opportunities and is widely used by investors and entrepreneurs and in university courses worldwide. 

His second book, the critically acclaimed Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model (Boston: Harvard Business Press 2009), co-authored with Randy Komisar, a partner at the esteemed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, was named to “Best Books of 2009” lists by BusinessWeek and INC Magazine. 

John’s newest book, The Customer-Funded Business: Start, Finance or Grow Your Business with Your Customers’ Cash, (Jersey City, Wiley 2014), was named one of five “not-to-be-missed books” for 2014 by Fortune magazine. It challenges the widely held assumption that among an entrepreneur’s first and most important tasks is that of raising investment capital. Its materials provides the foundation for his MOOC on Coursera.org, How to Finance and Grow Your Startup - Without VC. 

John has done executive education on five continents for a variety of organizations both large and small, including the Young Presidents’ Organization, Endeavor, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Kenya Airways, Merck-Serono, 3M, the European and African Venture Capital Associations, and the IFC, among many others. He has served on the boards of fast-growing entrepreneurial companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia.

Listen to John on the From Founder to CEO podcast. 

2014

Launching a business: Call on your customers first, angel investors second

Mullins JW

Business Strategy Review 2014 Autumn

Break your industry’s bottlenecks

Ersek B; Weisenbach-Keller E; Mullins JW

Harvard Business Review 2014 July-August p 98-105

Marketing Strategy: A Decision-Focused Approach

Walker OC; Mullins JW

8th edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin

Will my idea work?

Mullins J W

Business Strategy Review 2014 June

Tell me why

Mullins J W

Business Strategy Review 2014 March Vol 25:2 p 50-53

Why banks are no use to tech start-ups

Mullins J W

Wall Street Journal 2013 May

Plan B to start or grow your business

Mullins J W

Business Strategy Review 2013

Use customer cash to finance your start-up

Mullins J W

Harvard Business Review, July-August 2013

Start-up business plans seriously flawed

Mullins J W

Outlook Series, May 23 2013

Marketing management: a strategic decision-making approach

Mullins J; et al.

8th edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2013.

2012

How rock solid funded growth

Mullins J W

Financial Times 2012

What's your working capital model

Mullins J W; Komisar R

Book Chapter: In Harvard Business Review Guide to Fiance Basics for Managers, Harvard Business Review Press, 2012

Se puede enseñar el emprendimento

Mullins J W

INCAE Business Review 2012 Jan-April Vol 2:4

Managing ethically in corrupt environments

Mullins J W

The Edge 2012 March

2011

Marketing strategy: a decision-focused approach

Walker O; Mullins J; Boyd Jr H

7th edition, McGraw-Hill, 2011.

Managing in ethically corrupt environments

Mullins J W; Rhodes T

Business Strategy Review 2011 Vol 11:4

Measuring up: Dashboarding for innovators

Mullins J W

Business Strategy Review 2011 Vol 22:1 p 7-16

Can entrepreneurship be taught?

Mullins J W

Fickle Grey Beast Blog 2011 January :6

A business plan? Or a journey to plan B?

Mullins J W

Sloan Management Review 2010 Vol April:Online

Marketing

Mullins J W; Walker O C Jr.

Edinburgh Business School, 2010.

Marketing management: A strategic decision making approach

Mullins J W; Walker O C JR

7th Eds., McGraw-Hill, 2010

2009

A Capital Idea

Mullins J W

Business Strategy Review 2009 Autumn

Launching a new venture

Mullins J

Business Strategy Review 2009

Why business plans don't deliver

Mullins J W

Wall Street Journal 2009 June

Getting to plan B: Breaking through to a better business model

Mullins J; Komisar R

Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2009

2008

Marketing strategy: A decision-focused approach 6th eds.,

Walker O C JR; Mullins J W; Boyds H W JR; Larreche J

McGraw-Hill, 2008

Marketing management: A strategic decision making approach 6th Eds.,

Mullins J W; Walker O C JR; Boyd H W JR

McGraw-Hill, 2008

Entrepreneurially fit

Mullins J W

ISB Insight 2008 September

Fundamentally fit

Mullins J

Business Strategy Review 2008 Spring

2007

Worth a second chance?

Mullins J; Farneti I; Hassan F; Johnson RM; Zott C

Harvard Business Review 2007 March Vol 85:3 p 37-48

Discovering unk-unks

Mullins J

Sloan Management Review 2007 Summer Vol 48:4

2006

Can we teach entrepreneurship?

Mullins J

Business Strategy Review 2006 Winter Vol 17:4 p 13-17

2005

Missing the boat or sinking the boat: a study of new venture decision-making

Mullins J; Forlani D

Journal of Business Venturing 2005 Vol 20:1 p 47-69

2004

What they see, how they act: new venture perceptions and decisions of managers and entrepreneurs

Mullins J; Forlani D

in Strategic Management Society Conference, San Juan, 2004

Toward a theory of opportunity development

Mullins J; Dimov D

in Babson/Kaufman Entrepreneurship Research Conference, Glasgow, June 2004

Entrepreneurial gold mines

Mullins J

Business Strategy Review 2004 Spring Vol 15:1 p 2-4

Managing cash: what a difference the days make!

Mullins J; Churchill N

Business Horizons 2004 Nov-Dec Vol 47:6 p 79-82

Take the money - or run?

Mullins J; et al.

Harvard Business Review 2004 Nov Vol 82:11 p 35-47

2002

New product decision making: how chance and size of loss influence what marketing managers see and do

Mullins J; Forlani D; Walker O C Jr

Psychology and Marketing 2002 Nov Vol 19:11 p 957-981

Seeing differently, acting differently?: new venture perceptions and decisions of managers and successful entrepreneurs

Mullins J; Forlani D; Cardozo R

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship 2002 Vol 4:3

2001

How fast can your company afford to grow?

Churchill N C; Mullins J

Harvard Business Review 2001 May Vol 79:5 p 135-143

Market entry strategies of successful entrepreneurs: the effects of risk propensity and risk perception

Mullins J; Forlani D

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 2001

2000

Pioneering practices for new product development at US West

Mullins J; Sittig S; Brown C

Marketing Management 2000 Winter Vol 9:4 p 36-41

Perceived risks and choices in entrepreneurs' new venture decisions

Mullins J; Forlani D

Journal of Business Venturing 2000 Vol 15:4 p 305-322

1999

Situational strength: a framework for understanding the role of individuals in initiating proactive strategic change

Mullins J; Cummins L L

Journal of Organizational Change Management 1999 Vol 12:6

Perceptions of and decisions about market opportunities: comparing managers and entrepreneurs

Mullins J; Forlani D

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 1999

Factors that distinguish among entrepreneurs' new venture funding decisions: a risk-based typology of entrepreneurs

Mullins J; Forlani D

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 1999

The effects of organizational and decision-maker factors on new product risk taking

Mullins J; Forlani D; Walker O C Jr

Journal of Product Innovation Management 1999 May Vol 16:3 p 282-294

1998

Differences in perception and behavior: a comparative study of new venture decisions of managers and entrepreneurs

Mullins J; Forlani D

in Frontiers of Entrepreneurial Research (Proceedings of the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference), 1998

New product development in rapidly changing markets: an exploratory study

Mullins J; Sutherland D

Journal of Product Innovation Management 1998 Vol 15:3

Effect of contextual factors and decision maker risk propensity on new product decision-making: an experimental study

Mullins J; Walker O C Jr

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 1998

1997

Cash flows, the cash cycle, and unlocking the door to self-financed growth

Mullins J; Churchill N

in Birley S and Muzyka D eds., Mastering enterprise, Pitman Publishing, 1997

New product development in rapidly changing markets: an exploratory study

Mullins J; Sutherland D; Anderlik K

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 1997

Anomalies in the timeliness of strategic marketing change: a process perspective

Mullins J; Ruekert R W; Walker O C Jr

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 1996

Competency prior performance, opportunity framing, and competitive response

Mullins J; Walker O C Jr

Marketing Letters 1996 Vol 7:2

Road less traveled: the joys and sorrows of team teaching. Stage four: the raging debates

Mullins J; Fukami C

Journal of Management Education 1996 Nov Vol 20:4 p 446-461

Risky choices in new product investment decisions: an experimental investigation

Mullins J; Forlani D; Walker O C Jr

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 1996

1995

Playing the odds versus manipulating the odds: a test of two perspectives of risk in new product introduction decisions

Mullins J; Forlani D; Walker O C Jr

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 1995

Strategic framing: the antecedents of threat and opportunity perceptions

Mullins J; Bacon D R

in American Marketing Association Winter Educators' Conference, 1995

1993

Role of individuals in creating change in marketing strategies: a conceptual framework

Mullins J; Cummings L L

in American Marketing Association Summer Educators' Conference, 1993

1992

New venture strategies and startup environment: concepts, measurement and a research agenda

Mullins J; Cardozo R N

in MacMillan I and Birley S, eds., Research in global entrepreneurship, Elsevier, 1992

1991

Levels and components of strategy, types and dimensions of strategic change: a perspective from the product-market level

Mullins J

in American Marketing Association Summer Educators' Conference, 1991

Determinants of proactive strategic change: a cross-level review of situational and individual factors

Mullins J

21st Annaul Albert J Haring symposium proceedings, Bloomington, Indiana University, 1991

New business strategies: an exploratory examination

Mullins J; et al.

in MacMillan I and Birley S eds., Research in global entrepreneurship, Elsevier, 1991

Evolution of competitive strategy in new firms

Mullins J; et al.

in Hills G E and LaForge R W eds., Research at the marketing/entrepreneurship interface, Chicago University of Illinois, 1991

    Books

    Cover

    The Customer-Funded Business

    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. 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. 


    Download a sample copy of Chapter 1 (PDF, 2MB)

    Buy a copy from Amazon UK 

    Buy a copy from Amazon US

    Visit the Customer-Funded Business website.


    NBRT4

    The New Business Road Test

    What entrepreneurs and executives should do before writing a business plan 

    The New Business Road Test helps entrepreneurs and business professionals avoid impending disaster. It shows them how to enhance their chances of winning customers and capital and actually achieve their entrepreneurial dreams! Chapter 1 is a 'must read' for the first session in any business plan course, as it provides a framework for assessing the seven domains that characterise attractive opportunities. 


    Download a sample copy of Chapter 1 (PDF, 0.6MB)
    Buy a copy from Amazon UK  
    Buy a copy from Amazon US 
    Visit The New Business Road Test website.


    Cover_Plan_B_thumbnail

    Getting to Plan B

    Breaking through to a better business model 

    If the founders of Google, PayPal, or Starbucks had stuck to their original business plans, we'd likely never have heard of them. Instead, they made radical changes to their initial models, became household names, and delivered huge returns for investors. How did they get from their Plan A to a business model that worked? In Getting to Plan B, John Mullins and Randy Komisar present a field-tested process for rigorously stress-testing your initial business idea, and using the evidence you uncover to make swift corrections that tip the business equation in your favour. Whether launching a new venture in the marketplace or inside your company, Getting to Plan B will help you replace assumptions with evidence - and vastly improve your odds of success. 

    About the authors

    John Mullins is an Associate Professor of Management Practice at London Business School. Randy Komisar is a Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. 


    Buy a copy from Amazon UK 

    Buy a copy from Amazon US

    Visit the Getting to Plan B website.

    Massively Open Online Course (MOOC)

    JMMOOC_200This course (into which enrollment is free of charge) will introduce, and help you put to use in your startup, the five models through which your customers can – and will, if you ask them! – fund your business. These five time-tested models have been put to use by entrepreneurial superstars like Michael Dell, Bill Gates, and many more. 

    Sadly, though, the five models are rarely talked about and not widely understood. Until now! The five models are brought to life by the real-world stories of an inspiring collection of incredibly creative entrepreneurs from around the world – including successes and failures – through a series of captivating no-holds-barred interviews with founders and others, and investors, too.  

    If you’re an entrepreneur at any stage of your journey, or even an aspiring one, and you need money to start or grow your business, this course is for you.

    Sign up for the MOOC at Coursera. 

Assistant

Contact Amanda-Jane Asifo

Email: aasifo@london.edu

Tel: +44 (0)20 7000 8614


Research Interests


  • Opportunity assessment
  • Business model innovation
  • Venture capital
  • Entrepreneurship in emerging markets.