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on 27 December 2012
Deborah Meaden writes directly and honestly about her experiences in business. It's an easy read and well worth spending a few hours digesting and thinking about what Deborah has to say about running your own business before setting forth on your own.

I read this book after leaping in to set up a (very) part-time IT home support business whilst working full-time - I had done some paid work for a couple of friends and so registered online with HMRC (there's a fine if you don't register for business taxes) and so my "business" was born, by default really, so I didn't come a cropper with HMRC. Anyway, after popping a few cards in shop windows in a half hearted attempt to get more customers, I found I wasn't attracting new business, and frankly, found that I did not want to give up the security of my full time job!

The lessons I learned from Deborah include:
1) Commitment is key - she mentions the pitfalls, including working part-time on a business idea (!) - and reading behind the lines, you REALLY need to be doing something you enjoy and are passionate about
2) You need to be motivated, and have particular characteristics to be successful in business - these characteristics include actively dealing with issues on the fly, fearlessness, honest and integrity, people management skills, desire to succeed, make money, solve problems, mold teams
3) You need to be interested in making businesses work, the processes and engine room stuff really is important - the comparison she makes of a new business to a baby is really thought provoking
4) You need to do your preparation, plan and know your customer - you need to be the sort of person who will go out there and sell your business (in a nice way!)

As a result of reading Common Sense Rules, I reflected on Deborah's comments and discovered a lot about myself - I don't share Deborah's passion about nurturing a business and I don't have the kind of personality, drive and energy that is required to run a business. My skills lie in other areas, and this realisation has allowed me to be more realistic and honest about myself and my future.

Read the book, and think deeply about what Deborah describes, the skills and personality you need to successfully run your own business. It could save you at the very least the hastle of filling out tax forms, and at the most a lot of money if your business idea requires loans to get it started. Still, I'm really glad I dabbled in setting up a business and have learned a lot from the whole experience (really!).

You may have a terrible boss, and dream of escape - there's a lot of pressure put on people these days to be financially "successful" and hugely rich (does that matter? no pockets in the shroud etc. etc. - another debate!) - but do you really want to work 24/7 on an idea which has a 20% chance of "success" (defined as not failing)? Me, I'm happy to let those with the skills and inclination do that stuff and reap the rewards, while I make my honest contribution as an employee earning a reasonable wage and enjoy my life and hobbies.

Update: 07/2015 I have read back my review and I will add a couple of things
1) Setting up a business is also about self-confidence - the skills and attitude I thought I didnt have a couple of years ago, I have developed by attending free business workshops offered locally and through widening my life experience, working with all sorts of people
2) Most initial business ideas aren't successful - the key is to persist with dreams and ideas

So, again, I would definitely recommend Deborah's book, but give yourself space to grow into the ideas put forward, don't write yourself off after reading it
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on 6 October 2014
The title reflects content. When your starting off in business and have so many things to do the obvious can be easily overlooked. Nice book to have when you've suddenly hit a wall and don't have a team around you.
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on 3 February 2013
There is absolutely nothing in this book that you could not find on a top ten business set up list from Google. Furthermore it is dry, dull and shamelessly self promoting.
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on 4 May 2013
This is a super book no nonsense straightforward advice that not only applies to business , but can actually help with aspects of every day life too, written in nice easy to read paragraphs and sections good old fashioned common sense the only complaint with this book is that it isn't autobiographical as such I have to admit from dragons den I much prefer Hilary devey ,s book bold as brass ! anyway still worth a read and for that reason ... I will be nice and give it 3 stars ..
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on 8 February 2017
Boring.... sorry
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VINE VOICEon 4 August 2015
I learnt more from the author of this book on business than I have learnt about business from other authors. The book is written in an informal style and it shows why Deborah is top of the business world. It is not a 'step one... do this...' etc - but reading how Deborah approached events is more than enough to enhance your knowledge of business
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on 7 April 2011


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on 13 April 2014
Deborah is so straight about everything that on one hand this is to the point and effective. On the other I'd have liked a bit more depth to apply it to wider situations. Maybe there isn't any needed. I got more from Karren Brady's books, perhaps I prefer warmer styles of writing.
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on 26 April 2016
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on 7 November 2015
hard work
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