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on 11 May 2003
In my opinion, this book is suited for a particular type of entrepeneur. It is ideal for someone who wants to SHARE their idea, their vision, their dream and definitely NOT for the go-it-alone types. This second type of person would never get past the first couple of chapters and would certainly never understand anything he read after this anyway.
This book is for turning good ideas into good businesses using a simple formula of building the business and sharing the workload (and the profits) along the way. If you are planning this type of business, definitely read this book at some point.
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on 16 February 2006
Read This Book if you are thinking about turning one of those ideas into something more than an idea! Mike and Chris have written a book that is very readable. Well written and contains great ideas such as how to structure your company, whom to involve, where to network, how to network. What Foundation Stones or 'cornerstones' as Mike refers to them are required.
The Key Learning Point for me was to getting a Finance Cornerstone and Sales Cornerstone involved. Why is this Key? Because without 'sales' your dead in the water. And without 'Cashflow' and 'Cashflow' management your Dead in the Water too! Debt is not good!
Enjoy this book, and join us at a BeerMat Monthly Event in UK and who knows maybe into Europe and the wider world soon.
Take Care,
Ian
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on 9 February 2006
Best thing I liked about this book was that it is so easy to read and it did not bore me as it lacked the repetition that many other books of this ilk suffer from. I dipped in and out of it over a period of 4 weeks and each time found new ideas that inspired me. The book covers all aspects of what to do when you have a great business idea and what to look for in a mentor, the team, pitching for sales, pricing, what to do when you become a larger organisation and finally an established mighty oak. It was basically a great read and very easy to relate too in all aspects.
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on 15 June 2002
After living in and doing management research in Silicon Valley for the past 20 years, my first reaction to this book was: How can Americans possibly learn anything about entrepreneurship from authors based in the United Kingdom? I was wrong. This is the most concise, complete, and engaging book you can read about how to grow a company. It is also might be the only charming book on entrepreneurship ever written. The Beermat Entrepreneur trumps the competition. Southon and West dispense with the annoying hype that fills so many management books. Instead, they give sound and useable advice about what every founder can and should do to build a great company. Not only that, this concise book is a joy to read. I teach management and entrepreneurship at Stanford University, and if I were to advise an aspiring company founder in any part of the world to read just one book, this would be it.
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on 9 September 2005
This is an excellent book, written in a flowing, easy to read and digest style. It's very good at getting its message across and I found it hard to put down. In fact I liked it so much I've just bought Mike Southon and Chris Wests's latest book Sales on a Beermat.
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on 2 August 2005
This is a very helpful book if you want to grow your company to several million pound turnover. It will help you visualise what its like to run a business that grows to that size. This in turn will help you decide if you want to go that route.
He helps you understand why you need a start-up team of five heavyweights if you want to be big. Without that team, your business will stay small. But that's not necessarily the end of the world. If you find it impossible to give up control, or if your business idea is not big enough to support 20+ employees, or finding five heavyweights seems like too much of a commitment before you know if the business works - then stay content with a micro business.
That's what I'm doing. So on the theory espoused in the book, my new businesses won't be multi-million pound turnover. But that still means they can have a turnover of several hundred thousand pounds, and that'll do. I'm very glad I read the book, because it helped me make that decision.
Plus it was a great read. The most enjoyable aspect of the book is it has the authentic voice of experience. That means some of the tips are unexpected, which could throw you out of a rut and make you rethink your approach. For example, he advises employing friends, rather than trying to evaluate strangers (however you must accept that your friendship will suffer!). He also emphasises the importance of getting a sale very early on to establish that your idea is a runner. It seems obvious but I don't remember another business book putting the same emphasis on that.
The Beermat Entrepreneur has stuff you won't find elsewhere. You should read it even if you decide not to go for this approach.
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on 2 August 2005
This is a very helpful book if you want to grow your company to several million pound turnover. It will help you visualise what its like to run a business that grows to that size. This in turn will help you decide if you want to go that route.
He helps you understand why you need a start-up team of five heavyweights if you want to be big. Without that team, your business will stay small. But that's not necessarily the end of the world. If you find it impossible to give up control, or if your business idea is not big enough to support 20+ employees, or finding five heavyweights seems like too much of a commitment before you know if the business works - then stay content with a micro business.
That's what I'm doing. So on the theory espoused in the book, my new businesses will only ever grow to maybe 6 - 9 staff. But a business of that size will keep me happy. I'm still very glad I read the book, because it helped me make that decision.
Plus it was a great read. The most enjoyable aspect of the book is it has the authentic voice of experience. That means some of the tips are unexpected, which could throw you out of a rut and make you rethink your approach. For example, he advises employing friends, rather than trying to evaluate strangers (however you must accept that your friendship will suffer!). He also emphasises the importance of getting a sale very early on to establish that your idea is a runner. It seems obvious but I don't remember another business book putting the same emphasis on that.
The Beermat Entrepreneur has stuff you won't find elsewhere. You should read it even if you decide not to go for this approach.
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on 29 June 2004
This is a great book for anyone seriously interested in running their own business. I read it 2 years ago, got really inspired by the common sense practicality (and fun!) of it, but didn't quite have the guts to leave my well-paid oh-so-dull job (then my job left me so that was that!).
This is a superb book for the price - the information is worth way more than the cost of the book.
One area where you'll have to do some soul-searching, is that the core advice says you will need to create a 3-5 person team to succeed in business. If you're as independent as me, you may be reluctant to do this. However, very very few people have the full range of skills necessary to launch and manage a new business - Product Development, IT, Marketing, Sales, Finance, People Management, Admin etc etc etc. Even self-motivation can be difficult at times.
I am currently 18 months down the line of establishing my own business, and I think he's right. My successes are coming from working with others, not where I'm doing stuff on my own. So, if you want to go it alone, try and go it alone with a bunch of others you like working with! It makes life a lot easier and you a lot more successful. And if you're not sure whether you want to quit your job, just do it. Being independent is SO much more rewarding even when you're struggling.
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on 5 June 2007
It is often found that those with entrepreneural desires are more 'hands-on' types, who cannot resist being 'all-over' while starting an enterprise. This book is a good read for such individuals. It tells you the best ways to survive during the seedling and sapling stages before you get to the mighty oak stage. It emphasises how important it is to have a good mentor in the initial stages of the enterprise and how you must have the four cornerstones to ensure you do not end up being a jack of all trades!

Currently I work for a company but the day I decide to start something of my own, I will surely re-read this book before I take the first step.
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on 26 March 2002
A great, no-nonsense guide to what you really need to know to launch your own business. Full of the right stuff - customers, sales, people and planning - and gloriously free of the wrong stuff - venture capitalists, big loans, complex strategies and lemming-like rushes to flotation.
Inspiring information for those who want to build a real business with real people.
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