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Book review: Foolproof

An actionable, accessible guide to market validation.

Foolproof
by Jenny Douché (Hugs Press limited, 2012), $29.95

Foolproof - Jenny DoucheNobody sets out to start a business with the intention of failing, yet the majority of ventures do just that.

Entrepreneur and ex-marketer Douché has crafted an actionable, accessible guide to help those starry-eyed with dreams of startup success decide if an opportunity is worth pursuing, and help SMEs grow the bottom line through new or improved offerings.

She admits there are other books out there on the subject of market validation – the toughest yet most eye-opening part of the development process – but Foolproof is aimed squarely at the New Zealand market. It sets out to hold your hand through all the steps of creating a customer-centric business, from nutting out your point(s) of difference to conducting comprehensive competitor analysis to surveying not just customers, but influencers, suppliers, distributors, industry organisations and more.

Where this book shines is not in exposition, but the meaty, practical stuff. Even if you don’t know the first thing about market research, Douché has done the hard yards and is more than happy to share her wealth of knowledge, with reams of action points to dig into. She explains who to talk to, what to ask, how to observe them and draw out insights into how customers think and act, interspersed with punchy case studies from Xero, Phil & Teds, Urban Harvest and more.

And while you certainly can’t control everything that affects your business, you can give yourself a head start; Foolproof also touches upon both ‘critical’ and ‘magical’ success factors and how those can be harnessed to best effect.

The book hasn’t been made available in print format except for limited media copies, but you can get it as an e-book at foolproofbook.com.