Gear Up is a framework to help you to transform your idea into a high-potential venture in real time.
Do you want to be part of the growing community of Global Gear Up Blackbelts? Please, register at Gear Up Education to learn more.

cmi_320x76 Gear Up is on the short list in one of the categories for business book of the year 2014/2015
Gear Up is published by

About Gear Up

“GearUp” is for Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, and anyone else who helps them bring a new business opportunity to life.

What makes some business ideas flourish while others whither and die? What components should you focus on when defining a new idea or sharpening an existing one? What is the single, most important element that absolutely must work for a business to succeed? (careful — that Was a trick question!)
If you are planning to pursue a fresh business opportunity or grow an existing one, you may be looking for some answers. Gear Up can help. Use this guide to determine whether a new business idea is worth your time, or to decide whether to push ahead with your current business opportunity or toss the old plan and develop something even bigger and better than you first envisioned.Gear Up does not offer solutions to specific problems. Rather, it is a tool for assessing the needs of your particular situation. Your responses to the questions raised in each chapter summary will create an outcome, a strategy, 
that is unique for you. Think of this book as your personal trainer: It will help you define a training program based on your objectives, but you will need to put in the hours at the gym yourself. It will tell you to do the push-ups, but it will not do them for you. If you stick with it, the payoff for your dedication will be worth it.

As you work with the program, you will learn to leverage your most precious possessions: your relationships, reputation, talent, time, and money.Gear Up is intended to help entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and executives responsible for deciding which new ideas are worth pursuing. It is the result of a joint effort between entrepreneurs and academics, and every recommendation in the book has been tested in the trenches by executives around the world.But Gear Up is also a valuable resource for undergraduate and graduate students. The academic roots of the Gear Up model can be found in Harvard University and Stanford University, and the book is already in use at Stanford and in the Stockholm School of Economics MBA program.

First there is confusion.

Tackling a fresh business opportunity and starting a new venture have something in common: confusion. You don’t know where you’re going, the risk seems enormous, and the idea might not even work. You want to test it, but you’re not sure if you have the guts and patience to try, and there are no short cuts.

Then there is structure.

But that’s the nature of the beast. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” In fact, many entrepreneurs believe that the first heady rush of plunging into a new venture is the best part of the whole process. So, take heart! Gear Up will guide the development of your business opportunity by helping you create a customer acquisition–centric strategy. As you begin to follow the program, you’ll discover that there is indeed a supporting structure amidst the confusion, and your path to success will emerge.

Structure Your thinking.

So what are the gears that you’re supposed to “gear up” with, anyway? There are nine of them, and they represent the most critical components for launching a high-potential company. They are customers, delight, customer acquisition, business model, partners, competitors, go global, team, and reality check. You don’t have to go through the gears in any particular order, but you do have to go through all of them and make sure that they are in sync. If you have done that, and you find that you still have the passion to cure your customers’ pain, then you will know that your business opportunity is worth pursuing.

Then there is structure.

Here’s how it works: You need customers — usually a lot of them! — and the ones you want to attract are those with a particular “pain” that your product or service can get rid of. For that you need a unique delight, which is some wonderful thing about your product that distinguishes it from your competitors’ offerings. But that is not enough! You also need a method of customer acquisition and a sustainable business model. The three gears of delight, customer acquisition, and business model together make up your sales formula.

As your business begins to grow, you will most likely need to find the right partners. And since you are not launching your venture in a vacuum, you will have to handle competitors who are perhaps tougher, more experienced, and better funded than you are. If your business really takes off, you will go global and take care of customers with pains all over the world. Last —but certainly not least!— is your team, which is the linchpin for innovating, delivering, and challenging other companies in all the gears.

People with exceptional talent and the ability to deliver will become the heart of your business, and you won’t get anywhere without them. Just make sure you do a reality check once in a while to stay on track.

Global Gear Up Blackbelts

Do you want to be part of the growing community of Global Gear Up Blackbelts? Please, register at Gear Up Education to learn more.

Here is a 30 minute presentation about some thoughts behind the book

About the Authors


Tom Kosnik is a Professor at Stanford University. Tom started his teaching journey at Harvard. This is where he laid the foundation for this book by initiating the work with the DDART framework – Diagnose, Decision, Analysis and Reality Test. DDART was developed after many years of research with the goal to support students, entrepreneurs, and businesses to decipher new and existing business opportunities.

Lena Ramfelt holds a PhD from Stockholm University. She joined forces with Tom at Stanford and the two of them have been teaching together for the past 15 years. During their years together, they saw Silicon Valley grow and outperform the rest of the world in building new, large and successful companies. Together they interviewed, explored, and captured information on these growing companies. The new-found insight was mixed with existing knowledge and taught to students together with what the most successful entrepreneurs Silicon Valley had to offer. One company Lena studied was Skype, which was how Tom and Lena met Jonas.

Jonas Kjellberg, a serial entrepreneur, was a member of the Skype leadership team when he met Tom and Lena. Jonas had started a handful of companies and invested in even more. Jonas started to lecture in Tom’s and Lena’s marketing classes about the real life of building companies, the challenges and the gains, and what kind of thinking it took to build Skype. Jonas and Lena started to compare notes on what kind of innovative thinking was needed for success, but more importantly why some good ideas and companies made it while others didn’t.

Jonas had a vision to take lessons learned from hyper-growth companies, include that with what was taught at world-class universities, and revamp it to create a user-friendly mix and make it accessible to entrepreneurs around the world. Tom, Lena, and Jonas became a great team. Their combination of academic knowledge and real-life experience is the foundation for the book.

With Tom as a mentor, Jonas and Lena set out on a journey to write Gear Up Your Best Business Idea Ever. The challenge was to get
it academically correct, base it on real life entrepreneurship, get the job done, and still make it accessible for everyone interested in the subject.

Want to buy our book?

Ramfelt Gear Up 9780857085627Ramsfelt_Gear_Up

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Presentation of the book

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Laura Cooksley
Corporate Account Manager, Wiley

Gear Up Education!

For the Educator

You can access courses based on the Gear Up framework. Currently there are two courses available for educators to review. A one-day workshop named “Gear Up! A Day as an Entrepreneur” and another more extensive course called “Gear Up! Bring Business Opportunities to Life”.

Feel free to adopt the whole courses or pick and chose the parts of interest to you. We would love to get your feedback on how you used them, your suggestions for further development of Gear Up Education.

Our ambition with Gear Up Education is to offer education solutions that are: plug-and-play, i.e., easy to implement, scalable, and adaptable.

We offer the material for free for the courses that are using the books, but we require a registration. If you have registered and received a confirmation from us, please login.

For the Student

Many of the courses use this website as a tool to collaborate. By registering and logging in, everybody gets access to a presentation about the first chapter of the book.

After viewing the presentation, you can answer three important questions.

If you are currently attending a course that is hosted on this website, you will get access to this course by logging in.

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If you do not have registered, please do by clicking here

After registration, an e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address you specify, that needs to be verified, before you can log in

Global Gear Up Centers

Gear Up is setting up Centers across the globe to help anyone who wants to create a new market, disrupt an existing market, or wants to grow their business. All Gear Up Centers belong to a community of mutual benefit to all the Centers of sharing different resources and using local expertise to bring business opportunities from one place to another.

The possibilities to enhance the growth of an opportunity and/or a company will be endless by having access to a Global network of Gear Up Centers, with different knowledge, experiences, and resources.

Click on the dots to read more about our centers.