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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, 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. 



    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.



    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.



    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. 


Contact Teodora Moneva


Tel: +44 (0)20 7000 8603

Research Interests

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