Growing a small business can be challenging and, at times, overwhelming. In "The Grown-Up Business", Shirley provides a series of insightful chapters which will help you effective handle (or even pre-empt) the most common growing pains business owners face.
Each chapter focuses on a key principles or disciplines that successful ventures tend to share including effective problem solving, establishing and maintaining high standards, selection and monitoring of the right KPIs and choosing the right advisors. I can't recall another book which offers such succinct, no nonsense advise where every section has suggestions you can action straight away. Even experienced entrepreneurs will be reminded of "basics" which have been forgotten or new ways of looking at familiar issues.
It doesn't claim to be a blueprint for a successful business - you'll need to apply the principles to your own situation, of course - but I've found this book to be a reassuring resource which I'm sure I'll refer back to again and again.
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
There was a surprising amount to learn here – I read quite a lot of business books, but most of them focus on marketing and communications rather than on day-to-day operations. In this book, though, Shirley Mansfield provides an illuminating explanation for how businesses age and develop, through to a stage of maturity that many companies never attain.
And while she explains and illustrates each of these stages throughout the book, you can dip in and out to locate your own company’s persona if you’re in a hurry. That said, the book is packed with great advice from cover to cover, and so I highly recommend that you do that instead. Mansfield has plenty of experience when it comes to both running a business and acting as a consultant, and she augments her knowledge with plenty of case studies to show you a real-life example of how the principles have been put in to practice, with great effect.
I’m not exactly the target audience here, because the book is best read if you’re the owner of a small business, and so bear that in mind if you buy a copy. That said, a lot of the ideas can be applied even if you’re a manager or a team leader, and so don’t dismiss it right away. You might even learn something!
I'm not a great reader so accepted this gift not so gratefully (and I did assume I'd heard it all before). This book was different though - I had heard some of it before but not like this - or rather I'd heard it and done nothing with it.
This is bite size stuff, by which I mean it is easy to read and you can actually implement what it talks about without feeling like a failure because you can't implement all of it right now. It's far easier to read than anything similar (that I've come across) and is great at actually getting you to do some of the things you knew you should be doing.
It's a bit like having a literary kick up the a**e!
Someone once said that 'genius is common sense dressed in its working clothes.' The Grown-Up Business' is just that -- straight-talking, consistently practical -- and substantiated all the way through with 'how to' illustrations and real-world case studies. For example, take the 'Two Golden Rules Of Any Business' on P30: 'The product must work' and 'People must want it' -- deceptively simple and right on the money. It's like this all the way through... or -- Chapter 4 'Time To Get Some Help': clear and simple rationale about where to look for help and why -- or -- Chapter 9 'Solve Problems, Permanently' -- it's like having the best manager you ever worked for standing right next to you --- the book is worth buying for this chapter alone. I read it slowly from cover to cover -- smiling occasionally and nodding a lot. I thoroughly recommend it.
I've read quite a few business books - and the ones that work for me give clear and practical advice in bitsize chunks. They make it interesting, by providing real-life stories. And they don't try to impress with long words and ridiculous theory.
The Grown Up Business has got all of these angles covered. Based on an analogy with the human journey from birth to adulthood, it demonstrates how to transition an organisation through early years learning and the insecurities that come with the painful teenage years into a successful, profitable and downright impressive grown up (business).
It’s packed full of incisive, informative and downright straight talking advice – all of which speak directly to SMEs. Everything in this book is relevant and, unlike most business books which offer a handful of takeaways, this one has them by the bucket load.
Another factor that sets this book apart for me is that it’s 100% focused on UK SMEs. It understands the landscape: the challenges, the barriers and the opportunities. And the many case studies demonstrate how businesses have put the advice into action and improved their results as a direct consequence. That's quite an incentive for me to do things differently/better.
It's definitely a book that I'll be returning to and one that I might well buy for a couple of other business pals too.
This is the clearest, no nonsense book about improving a business that I have read so far. It breaks every area down into its simplest terms with clear direction and unfailing logic. It inspires the reader to act decisively but cultivates a sense of balance and fairness in our business behaviour. More than anything, the author recognises that the reader is neither a genius nor a fool but a business owner who has a genuine desire to improve his/her company's performance for the benefit of all those who come into contact with it, from the clients to the suppliers and from the staff to the leadership team. The advice is easy to understand and easy to follow which is not to say that you won't be tempted to read it over and over again to embed the strong messages that it contains.
I read The Grown-Up Business over a period of a few months, taking on board Shirley Mansfield's guidance in a piecemeal fashion. However, I haven't put it on the shelf with my other read material; The Grown-Up Business stays close to hand as a reference tool. The book is brilliantly punctuated by case studies that put Shirley's theories into real life examples that the reader can relate to. The Grown-Up Business is easy to read and the messages are accessible, yet Shirley constantly challenges the reader to be better in life and in business. It is an educating, enlightening, bruising, challenging, motivating read, with Shirley taking you through a range of emotions sometimes in the space of a single page as she applauds your progress then demands improvement. Anyone starting a business, growing a business or even thinking of selling a business should read The Grown-Up Business.
As the owner of 3 SME's I have found this book an invaluable benefit. The different sections relate to different times in each of my company's maturity levels and I find myself dipping in to get my head in the right place, when I have one of 'those' moments, much more than I thought I would. You know the moments I mean....when you know what needs doing but can't really crystallise it or see the wood for the trees. This book has managed to direct my enthusiasm in the right way or made me stop for a while and not go full steam ahead in the wrong direction. It is great to feel that an author really understands your challenges and Shirley really seems to know what you are feeling. Following reading this book I signed up to her master class program and it is not just the course that I loved, it's the support and bond you form with the others on the course that, for me, has continued after the course has been completed. In short.....you need a Shirley Mansfield in your business life so start with the book and see where it takes you :)
In my experience, sometimes emotions run high when running a business and employing people who really matter to you. It can also be difficult to accept advice when you think you know your business best. Shirley's book made me realize that this is only natural and demonstrates a supreme understanding of the real mindset of a business owner. The book really helped me to focus on the important questions I should be asking myself and my team, not just in challenging times but all the time. Each chapter helped me focus on a different area of my business and my personal approach to management. I don't keep this book on a bookshelf - it's on my desk to help me focus when I need it. Thank you for such a refreshing guide to business and management.