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Wake Up and Sell the Coffee!

The story of Coffee Nation and how to start, build and sell a high-growth business

By Martyn Dawes

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eBook £12.99 / $15.99
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Wake Up and Sell the Coffee!

The story of Coffee Nation and how to start, build and sell a high-growth business

By Martyn Dawes

Jacket text

A high-growth success story

Martyn Dawes set out to build a high-growth business with a simple idea and the will to do whatever was required to make it a success. Twelve years later he sold this business – Coffee Nation – for £23m.

Along the way, among many highs and lows, there was the thrill of seeing an idea come to life, costly failed trials and false starts, countless business plans, learning how and when to raise funding, the personal journey of surviving when success seemed so distant and securing contracts with some of the biggest retailers in the world. This is the story of how a great British business was built – from a blank sheet of paper – and how it came to be one of the nation’s favourite consumer brands. It’s also a guide to help any aspiring entrepreneur put their business on the path to high growth.

Through the course of an exciting narrative, Martyn shares his experiences of growing a business and his knowledge of what you should and shouldn’t do. Mistakes to avoid are revealed just as honestly as the good decisions, making this is an unusually frank and valuable account for anyone looking to build their own business.

All areas from start-up to exit are covered, including:

– How to come up with an idea and know if it’s any good
– Researching and testing your business model
– When you should not write a business plan and why not
– The process of pitching to investors and raising funding
– Negotiating contracts and controlling your finances
– A special final chapter on how to set up a business for high-growth from the outset

Coffee Nation was based on the reliable principles of a simple idea, a compelling vision, a high-quality product and relentless enterprise. If you have the desire and vision to build your own high-growth business – or you want to read a fascinating story of how it has been done – look no further. It’s time to wake up and sell the coffee.

About the author

Martyn Dawes is a successful entrepreneur. He founded his first business, MDA (Martyn Dawes Associates) in the recession of 1991. That business continues to trade successfully to this day (now called Dawes Ryan Consulting).

His idea for Coffee Nation came from a combination of seeing how many cups of coffee were being sold in convenience stores in New York and reading about the business model of a photocopier company. Four years later, after proving the concept, he raised £4 million in development capital from a London-based private equity firm.

Coffee Nation grew fast and secured long-term contracts with major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury, Esso, Moto, Welcome Break and Somerfield.

In 2008 the company was sold for £23m, returning investors four times their money and was sold again finally to Whitbread/Costa in 2011 for almost £60m.

Martyn and Coffee Nation have won numerous awards, including:
-- Sunday Times/Virgin Atlantic Fast Track Awards 2006: Winner of the Innovation Award
-- Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2005, South Region, Consumer Products & Services
-- Coffee Nation featured in Real Business Hot 100 Index of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in the UK, 2005 and 2006
-- Sunday Times/Virgin Atlantic Index of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies in the UK, December 2005, ranked no. 13
-- Sage Business Awards 2003, Best Business Leader (to 25 employees category)
-- Orange Small is Beautiful Award 2003; Best Demonstration of Entrepreneurial Passion


“One of the most fascinating books about the coffee business.”

– Boughton’s Coffee House

“Offers today’s start-ups invaluable guidance”

– Flybe

“Martyn Dawes’s book can only help an increasing amount of start-up companies survive and go on to become high growth companies.”

– UK Business News

“Wake Up and Sell the Coffee is set to help more of Britain’s entrepreneurs dream big and achieve big. It’s refreshingly frank and an invaluable resource for anyone with genuine ambitions to build their own business.”

– Franchiseek

Media coverage

From Quality World :

I imagine some Quality World readers wouldn?t pick up this book because they?d expect it to be lacking in quality management news. However, the truth is they?ll be missing out. Martyn Dawes, founder of Coffee Nation, transformed our daily lives with his takeaway gourmet coffee business. His story is fascinating, giving a unique perspective on… Read more »

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From Flybe Uncovered:

In Wake Up and Sell the Coffee, Martyn Dawes, founder of Coffee Nation, aims to help ambitious entrepreneurs to think big and become tomorrow’s high-growth success. While Britain has a strong enterprise culture, and the number of new businesses started in the UK continues to grow year by year, the odds of survival, let alone… Read more »

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From Fresh Business Thinking:

When I started Coffee Nation I thought I had found an idea that was good to run with – simple to operate takeaway coffee dispensers installed in newsagents and convenience stores across the UK. A similar offer already existed in the US and what works there usually comes here. Also, coffee shops were just starting… Read more »

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Why is it some entrepreneurs find it so hard to ask for help? Entrepreneur Martyn Dawes shares how mentors played an integral part in his success The idea of a coach or mentor may seem at odds with what it is supposed to mean to start your own business. There has to be a sense… Read more »

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From The Irish Times:

Here, Dawes charts the story of how he built Coffee Nation from an initial £50,000 personal investment into a business that he sold for £23 million 12 years later. The story starts with him pounding the pavements of south London to get independent retailers to buy into his vision of convenience coffee. Dawes clearly had… Read more »

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From Boughton's Coffee House:

One of the most fascinating books about the coffee business has appeared ? it is the story of Coffee Nation, the pioneer of self-serve real-coffee machines in service areas and other high-footfall spots. This concept went from a couple of corner shops to a business which was sold for £23 million… and then sold on… Read more »

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From Real Business:

Real Business catches up with Martyn Dawes to discuss how he built Coffee Nation before selling it for £23m in less than 10 years. Martyn Dawes admits that when he founded Coffee Nation he wasn?t quite on the right track. Having identified a gap in the market between instant coffee out of a jar and… Read more »

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From Management Today:

This was on my holiday reading list as I headed to South Africa, along with the latest William Boyd novel. A real case of Yin and Yang. Wake Up and Sell the Coffee! is the story of Coffee Nation, the self-service coffee company that grew up serving decent coffee in petrol forecourts. It is better… Read more »

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From UK Business News :

Not to be mistaken with Ann Landers? ?Wake Up and Smell the Coffee? or ?Wake Up and Smell the Profit?, a guide to making more money in your coffee business ? Wake Up And Sell The Coffee is the new book by an extraordinary entrepreneur who set out to build a high-growth business with a… Read more »

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About the author

My Early Life
1996 - My Big Idea
1997 - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
1998 - Breakthrough Year
Coffee Like It's 1999
2000 - Raising A Million
2001 - A Year for Learning
2002 - Making Lives Better
2003 - Enter a Competitor
2004 - AIM in Mind
2005 - Ganz Kaffee, Ganz Schnell
2006 - Trials, Negotiations and Cuts
2007-2008 - Coming Full Circle
Transition: Life after Exit
Serial Entrepreneurship
Designing A High Growth Business: What you should do before you start â?? and at each stage â?? when designing your business for high growth

Published: 06/01/2014
Edition: 1st
Pages: 256
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857192509
ebook - ISBN 9780857193605
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