Financial Times Guides – Business Start-up


Authored by Sara Williams, this comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs, is full of useful information, advice along with  a barrage of onwards asking questions that tend to get overlooked. 


Covering topics in the book such as how to hire the best suited staff, the marketing and branding, identifying your target market, performing self assessments to define whether or not starting a business is a logical step to raising funding and insurance, the book offers an extensive range of valuable material. For us it has become a sort of reference or business dictionary.

Although the book does cast a wide net in terms of content, this does come with a few shortcomings. Due to the amount of information there is 418 pages to read, not too bad? There are definitely books out there with more pages however, due to the lay-out of information we found the book to be a struggle to read through. Of course, not to repeat ourselves there IS a great amount of content in this book, well worth the money, but the text-book/bullet point layout makes the reading very intense which we found to create reading fatigue.

This being said some of our favorite chapters of the book were: 


Chapter 1 – You and your ideas. 


We thought this chapter was great because we feel that there really aren’t that many business and entrepreneurship books that we have come across that touches on the subject of whether or not entrepreneurship is a pursuit that fits your needs, wants and of course personality. Touching on subjects like who you are; outlining of course that one of the best determining factors of a business’ success is the founders personality and skills. As well as What starting a business is like, defining what your skills are and reasons you could succeed and fail.


Chapter 11 – Names and Brands.


This was an interesting chapter to read as it points out the importance of establishing a strong brand image and how this can affect the consumers of your market. This chapter helps you to understand that consumers buy things based on a mixture of emotions and rational conclusions they make of your brand or one of your products. We thought this was a good way of simplifying your focus during the creative phase of product creation; which could increase your odds of consistently cheating great products. 


Chapter 26 – Not waving but drowning.


Again we thought this was an important chapter that doesn’t really get touched on too much in other books. Many business and entrepreneurship books are geared towards achieving success and how to increase your chances of that happening. However it is just as important to explain what the warning signs are of failure and how you can possibly avoid these. Some warning signs could be that your boss or even yourself is prone to neglecting any advice given to you, not having a strong financial person on the team and no budget, cash flow plan or costing system in place, to name a few. The chapter also tries to touch on the topic of knowing when to give up or when “enough is enough”. As a business owner working hard to achieve success, it’s not hard to understand after all the long hours, stress and sleepless nights that you find yourself emotionally attached to your business. This unfortunately can lead to you ignoring the signs of failure. It may feel like giving up however sometimes pushing beyond this point can end up putting yourself in a more difficult position. One of the main indicators of this is when your liabilities out-weigh your assets; also known as becoming insolvent. A common way this occurs is through slow payers, debtors who pay late or even not at all in some cases. 



All in all, we think this is a great book, getting the best use as material we can refer back to in the future. There is an updated version of this book again authored by Sara Williams we will link here or a link to the 2019/2020 edition we are reviewing in this article here. If you enjoy reading and you are very attentive, give it a try!

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