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Wake Up and Sell the Coffee!: The story of Coffee Nation and how to start, build and sell a high-growth business [Paperback]

Martyn Dawes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Jan 2014
A high-growth success story Martyn Dawes set out to build a high-growth business with a simple idea and the will to do whatever was required to make it a success. Twelve years later he sold this business - Coffee Nation - for £23m. Along the way, among many highs and lows, there was the thrill of seeing an idea come to life, costly failed trials and false starts, countless business plans, learning how and when to raise funding, the personal journey of surviving when success seemed so distant and securing contracts with some of the biggest retailers in the world. This is the story of how a great British business was built - from a blank sheet of paper - and how it came to be one of the nation's favourite consumer brands. It's also a guide to help any aspiring entrepreneur put their business on the path to high growth. Through the course of an exciting narrative, Martyn shares his experiences of growing a business and his knowledge of what you should and shouldn't do. Mistakes to avoid are revealed just as honestly as the good decisions, making this is an unusually frank and valuable account for anyone looking to build their own business. All areas from start-up to exit are covered, including: - How to come up with an idea and know if it's any good - Researching and testing your business model - When you should not write a business plan and why not - The process of pitching to investors and raising funding - Negotiating contracts and controlling your finances - A special final chapter on how to set up a business for high-growth from the outset Coffee Nation was based on the reliable principles of a simple idea, a compelling vision, a high-quality product and relentless enterprise. If you have the desire and vision to build your own high-growth business - or you want to read a fascinating story of how it has been done - look no further. It's time to wake up and sell the coffee.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Harriman House (6 Jan 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857192507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857192509
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 402,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Martyn Dawes is a successful entrepreneur. He founded his first business, MDA (Martyn Dawes Associates) in the recession of 1991. That business continues to trade successfully to this day (now called Dawes Ryan Consulting). His idea for Coffee Nation came from a combination of seeing how many cups of coffee were being sold in convenience stores in New York and reading about the business model of a photocopier company. Four years later, after proving the concept, he raised £4 million in development capital from a London-based private equity firm. Coffee Nation grew fast and secured long-term contracts with major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury, Esso, Moto, Welcome Break and Somerfield. In 2008 the company was sold for £23m, returning investors four times their money and was sold again finally to Whitbread/Costa in 2011 for almost £60m. Martyn and Coffee Nation have won numerous awards, including: -- Sunday Times/Virgin Atlantic Fast Track Awards 2006: Winner of the Innovation Award -- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2005, South Region, Consumer Products & Services -- Coffee Nation featured in Real Business Hot 100 Index of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in the UK, 2005 and 2006 -- Sunday Times/Virgin Atlantic Index of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in the UK, December 2005, ranked no. 13 -- Sage Business Awards 2003, Best Business Leader (to 25 employees category) -- Orange Small is Beautiful Award 2003; Best Demonstration of Entrepreneurial Passion

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare, honest, hard hitting good read 27 Feb 2014
By L. Hunt
Format:Kindle Edition
This is not the usual entrepremeur's ego trip, but a frank and open account of the ups and downs of building a real, successful business. Well written and entertaining
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book may just change your life 22 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you are running your own business this book is a must read. The learning points throughout are extremely relevant and insightful, irrespective of the type of business you run (e.g high growth start up or established SME). I honestly believe this book will have a significant impact on me and my company. And apart from anything else it's a great story of overcoming challenges and the power of determination and self belief. Well done Mr Dawes and thank you for sharing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read before you start your business 9 Feb 2014
By RodR
Format:Paperback
A tell all, the trials and tribulations, of going from nothing to a substantial business. It's tough enough to emulate this success -use the book to increase your success probability. The author takes you through all his learnings in a format that makes the lessons real and applicable to any budding entrepreneur. I came away with an understanding of the commitment, perseverance and focus required to launch a business - a good filter to apply before deciding to pursue a similar route. The introspection post exit was an eye-opener - the entrepreneurial spirit isn't satiated on a sale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice blend 4 Feb 2014
By LJT
Format:Paperback
A lively read and a really good blend between the telling of the journey storey and the lessons to be drawn from the experiences along the way. Far better than the purely "this is what I did" story or an attempt to give a "text book of entrepreneurship"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good guys do win! 24 Jan 2014
By mando
Format:Paperback
I was given this book by a friend, knowing little about Coffee Nation, being not from the UK. I found it to be a wonderfully gripping tale of a sometimes bumpy road to success and I found my self rivetted and gunning for Martyn Dawes every step of the way!

This book is a refreshingly honest telling of quite a journey. Valuable lessons learned are distilled and presented as key points at the end of each chapter and one would do well to take note if planning to follow a similar path. The insights provided are quite special as not many people who have found success would share the rocky road travelled, they just promote the highs. Even better, coffee AND love win out in the end. Bravo.

If you ask future entrepreneurs if they could have their time over would they do it all again, I would assume the answer would be, "Yes.... but only with this bible at my side".

Wake Up and Sell the Coffee is a great read. The Hobbit is not the only journey worth following this year!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Was given a copy of this by a friend as I run my own business, and have to say was very refreshing.

Read so many "entrepreneurs" books which end up being either attempts to re-write history as self-aggrandising nonsense or a bunch of half-baked models, rules and checklists which just don't work in the real world.

Dawes instead gives us a warts and all, blood and guts, start to finish account of starting, growing and selling a successful business. No pretence that the obstacles, dead ends and cock-ups were "all part of the plan" here... Only supplier going bust a few days after signing your biggest contract to date? Pitching for funding with little more than a cardboard cut-out coffee machine and a not-quite-finished business plan? This is the real world of business - a normal bloke with a good idea, his wits and a couple million quid of someone else's money...

It's a ripping good story first and foremost, but one with a wealth of useful stuff for anyone who runs their own business. Dawes is clearly a smart cookie and so many of his approaches were unconventional, smart, ballsy or all of these: parachuting his own management team into his failing supplier, walking away from a major "name" in the coffee business when he realised their coffee wasn't good enough, relentlessly re-assessing his market again, and again and again, being unashamedly obsessive about the numbers and the detail... Each chapter ends with a review of what he felt he learned at each stage, about what worked, what didn't and what he'd do differently if he had to do it all over again: The honesty of this self-critique is telling - and perhaps the clearest hint as to why Dawes (eventually!) found such success.

It's also great to hear the full story, end to end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
A really enjoyable and well-written read. Too many business books fail to engage me with their turgid self-congratulations and weak anecdotes. Dawes writes from the heart and with an honesty and humour that's accessible and compelling: as well as offering great tips to entrepreneurs its a good read and worthy insight into a fascinating man with a fascinating story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, open & highly recommended 18 July 2014
Format:Paperback
A great combination of a compelling and highly engaging business story (that was certainly far far from easy with so many pitfalls along the way that the final success story obviously overshadows) with some very clear and well grounded learnings & advice for any aspiring entrepreneur to thoroughly digest. Read it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlike so many business books, I read this one cover to cover
Even though you know the ending before you start, "Wake up and Sell the Coffee" is an easy to read and compelling story that keeps you engaged throughout. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chris Wigglesworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Great book full of interesting stories and useful advice. Easy to read, practical, honest and none of the "look how great I am" non-sense.

Highly recommended!
Published 2 months ago by Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Hitting & Inspirational!
As the CEO of a growing company myself, I found this book very informative, educational and inspiring. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Asghar Ali
5.0 out of 5 stars Unvarnished truth
Firstly I should declare that I worked for a supplier to Coffee Nation from the early days until its eventual sale. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Paul Anthony Marks
5.0 out of 5 stars Feelings, figures and failures - and success
This is a much-needed entrepreneurial story which is full of feelings, figures and failures - and success - which I'll wholeheartedly recommend to any of my career advice clients... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Douglas B.
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to learn the essential ingredients to achieving, growth...
As a coffee lover and hence a follower of the Coffee Nation story, I couldn't wait to read this book! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Michael Sharkey
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any entrepreneur
This is a must read for any entrepreneur - whether starting out or already successful. A fascinating journey told with energy and insight. It's a really good read! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robin Kermode
5.0 out of 5 stars A honest business book - brilliantly written.
Great book. Real honest and easy to read.
Written by someone who has really done it!
I would say it is a must read for anyone wanting to grow their business.
Published 4 months ago by TR
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