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3.9 out of 5 stars56
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 16 September 2012
Oh come on... £80,000 as a start-up. If you are looking for tips on how to get started as a small business WITHOUT huge capital outlay, this book is not for you. The layout is far too chaotic, most of the advice is common sense and there are better business books out there.
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on 13 June 2013
I was disappointed with this book. I am trying to get my own business started and I have bought a lot of books to research before I take the plunge.

NOTHS is a beautiful, slick website with lovely original handmade gifts so I expected a high calibre of accessible relevant advice for wannabe web entrepreneurs like me.

This little book - and it's worth saying I always read books cover to cover - reads like an extended and overindulgent magazine biopic. Holly and Sophie describe their juggernaut journey through setting up in business and allow us more than a glimpse at their resulting domestic angst. I am sorry but - yawn. In terms of the nitty gritty of how to get that embryonic idea off the kitchen table as the title page promises there was very little. My burning question in fact, looking at a photo in the book of the NOTHS team in 2008, is - what did all those people do back in the day? If anything scares me about the viability of my little web idea it's the fact that I might need to pay a dozen people just to help me get it online.

Sorry girls, not my cup of tea.
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on 6 July 2012
When I first heard about this book, I had high hopes about what it could teach me. Spent yesterday reading it cover to cover and it's even better than I expected! Not just the things you learn about the nitty gritty necessities (marketing, fundraising, finance, business plans etc etc) but the other stuff too - what it's REALLY like to start a business when you've got a family at home and an honest account of the big highs and big lows the authors experienced themselves. The information (it showed me all the things I could apply to my own business model, rather than just listing facts and figures) and gives just the right amount of detail you need, and most importantly is written in plain English not business jargon. I just wish it had been out sooner so I could have saved money on the other books I forked out for that weren't nearly as comprehensive and accessible. All in all, I think it's an invaluable toolkit for anyone who wants to start their own company (and I think I've answered the reviewer below's question!) and I know my copy is going to be well thumbed before too long.
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on 27 February 2013
I was really hopeful when I chose this book as our business is in a similar line - online retail (and I love notonthehighstreet as a customer). However, all I really learnt was how to build a successful business if you can raise a large amount of capital and have a couple of founder members with a very strong background in PR/Marketing and with it a very wide range of just the right contacts. With regard to juggling a family with running a business, the approach taken seemed to be to not see your children for days at a time and leave them with a nanny (nice if you can afford it!). I think they have done fantastically well to set up their business as they have but I didn't warm to the writers as I felt they hugely underestimated the particular advantages that they had, for example, responding to comments that their substantial marketing background, working for some very high profile women's magazines etc.) gave them an advantage, they said that you "make your own luck". It reminded me of the book I read about Rachel Elnaugh who set up Red Letter Days and who just happened to have a husband who could invest a large amount in the business, a flatmate who happened to work for one of the top advertising agencies in London etc. I think there are better books available for startups.
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on 27 July 2012
I was excited by the books title build a business from your kitchen table which suggests a rags to riches formula but the authors make it clear early on this is not the intention of the book and admit they needed to raise £80,000 to launch their business at which point i lost touch with the book , £80,000 is beyond my wildest dreams although the story of not on the high street is full of intriuge and i can see that the journey , the story , the advice is perhaps capable of inspiring people who may wish to start or are already running a business , The book is crammed with useful advice but i found the layout a little bit busy and distracting personally like it takes too much information to make the point quickly and found myself having to read it over to understand the point but maybe thats just me lost in translation . I ordered this book along with another business book at the same time i found both books contained sound advice but i found the other book more practical in the setting up of a buiness but build a business from your kitchen table more valuable once you hit the ground running and coping with the day to day running and all the problems associated with running a business .
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on 28 March 2015
Thankfully I didn't buy this book, I have it on loan from my local library and I will be handing it straight back to them!

I am in the process of setting up a company but instead of inspiring me to forge ahead it actually knocked my confidence right from the start.

They explain about a box that they put people's names into if they have rejected their plan and call it the you'll be sorry box. That's a fun idea but then I read the list of questions that decide if your business is viable. The first question is 'does it make money?' This is a question that can never fully be answered even with all the best research. If you could answer that question with a yes you would not be reading the book. Some of the people that rejected them will have answered no in relation to their business plan but did they let it put them off? NO. It's very easy to write that list of 'down and dirty' questions in relation to NOTHS now they know it's a success. It's not so inspiring to a fledgling business because the answers are rarely a definite yes or no.

It seems like it is one big pat on the back for the authors from each other. I would never describe the authors as your ordinary woman. They have achieved great things but I found that their advice was hard to identify with in any way. They were already very successful and well connected before NOTHS was created. I wish I could go to a member of my family for free legal advice or accountancy.

There isn't much actual advice for the general person setting up a business, it might be useful if you come from a similar starting point (i.e. marketing background, healthy budget) but as I kept reading I started to feel demoralised at my lack of family help and the fact my previous career has not provided a whole team of staff for me to poach.

I decided to stop reading at the half way point and try to forget I ever read any of it. Once I've done that I will go back to my business plan. I love their website and they have both worked very hard to make it a success by cleverly spotting a gap in the web but I don't think the book should have the title 'build a business from your kitchen table' it's more like a mini biography of the two founders.
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on 9 July 2012
I received my copy of this a few days ago and I've been reading it every spare moment. I'm a small business selling on notonthehighstreet and I've got to say that this book does reflect them and their values. Joining them was a great business decision and I'm so glad they've brought this book out. It's practical, useful and realistic.I've already recommended to several people I know will get a lot from it. If you harbour dreams of setting up a business- get this book,it can only help!
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on 9 July 2012
I am a small business owner and wish I would have had a guide like this book when I first started my venture. The book provides a great insight of details many small start up-businesses can learn from and asks the right questions whether the initial idea is good enough to take it to the next level. The book is honest and witty, you won't regret buying it.
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on 31 August 2012
Even if you've been running a business for years, this book is a useful guide with current day tips, references and information. It was interesting to know a bit of background about the authors - people like me with families to raise and bills to pay. I loved their "you'll be sorry" box - a great motivator if you're competitively inclined (which you have to be to build a business!). Even if you don't reach the heights that the Not on The High Street crew have/will hit, it's still an excellent guidebook on what is important to keep an eye on as a business owner. And if you're just starting up, it's an invaluable companion. As I keep giving them to friends who are thinking of starting up, I am on my third copy and hoping to hold onto this one!
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on 1 January 2015
Good book but more suitable for those with 200k capital and lots of existing contacts. You definitely admire their tenacity and there are some good pointers in there so still worth a read but not a five star read.
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