My post last week regarding the “broken business model” generated a few comments and several e-mails.

The range of comments suggested the need for a better understanding of both the concept of a business model and an opportunity for expanding the discussion of alternatives that might revitalize the credit union industry.

That led me to invest a couple of evenings researching the subject, and in the process I came across an excellent book on the subject that I highly recommend to credit union leaders seeking to lead their credit unions into the future.

It’s called Business Model Generation, and here is my quick assessment after an initial reading.

On the cover of Business Model Generation the book is described as “a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow’s enterprises.”  While this is a lofty goal, the book does not disappoint.  It delivers on the promise with an easy to understand, yet comprehensive approach to defining business models.

Along the way the authors provide numerous real world examples using their framework.  But one of the most appealing features of the book initially appears to have little to do with business models, and that is the structure and format of the presentation.

Business Model Generation is filled with visuals and appears to have been designed as part reference manual, part practical guide, and part proof of concept.  The good news is that it exceeds on all of these fronts, and effectively demonstrates many of its key lessons in the way the material is presented.

At first, credit union leaders may wonder why they should care about a book on generating business models.  But that would be a short-sighted reaction.  A sound business model is the foundation for any successful enterprise, and this book provides practical guidance for creating and evaluating alternative business models.

In today’s economic environment, defining strategy for your credit union without considering alternative business models is a mistake.  This book will give you the information you need to understand the process and implement it with your team to evaluate your options and determine what model makes the most sense for your credit union in the future.

ACTION ADVICE: Pick up a copy of Business Model Generation and share it with your planning team.  Use the 9 Building Blocks of the Business Model Canvas that the authors share to examine your current business model.  Then implement at least one of the techniques they suggest to get the conversation started about the right business model for the future of your credit union.  Continue the discussion and evolve your business model to create a successful future for your members.

What Are You Reading? Have you read any good books, articles, reports, or blog posts recently that you would recommend to our readers?  Please share your recommendations by posting a quick comment.  Thanks!