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Start-Up Smart?How to start and build a successful business on a budget

Start-Up Smart ? How to start and build a successful business on a budget – Robin Bennett – Harriman House – ISBN 978-1906659837

Reviewed by Valerie Dwyer – Serial Entrepreneur, Coach, Mentor, Inspirational Speaker, founder of My Wonderful Life Coach?, Everything is Possible?, and other enterprises.


?Entrepreneurship is, for the most part, a thoroughly enjoyable activity?.you can have as many separate businesses as you like?.read the book for the rest of this quote, but as a confirmed ?serial entrepreneur? that I have to say I?m delighted! AT LAST! Someone is saying to start-ups that it?s OK to begin more than one business, that it has fun moments and Robin is also showing how it can be done on a low budget. People know that I?ve been saying it for years but in print it?s still a breakthrough!

The brief background on Robin?s entrepreneurial career (which has many similarities to mine, including we both have over 20 years entrepreneurial experience and shadowed millionaire entrepreneurs in the early days, which provided exceptional learning opportunities for us!) makes a fascinating read before pitching straight into the logical process peppered with useful streetwise advice ? and keep reading because there are more pleasant surprises to come – if you?re serious about having a go at business for yourself.

Robin?s aim is to keep you on the right path (legally and otherwise), so the humorous angle running through is appreciated. Serious and sometimes tough topics include negotiating; keeping costs down (which in itself can ?grow your profits?); taking on staff. He touches on homeworking/home-based business (surprisingly does not mention Enterprise Nation that fabulous online resource for these business types).

Growing sensibly ? yes that?s the key! Getting the infrastructure right ? vital! Culture ? yes every business has it – intentional or not, like it or not! Vitally, Robin mentions the age old adage ?never have one client worth more than 20% of your total business? ? a sticky wicket out of which I?ve been head-hunted to help more than one business survive over time by quickly broadening their customer base! It still amazes me how many entrepreneurs, business founders, directors have not thought out their ?exit strategy?.

There is a saying about business owners, SME?s in particular, wearing several hats but I like Robin?s thought about three hats being ?creationists?, ?expansionist? and ?caretaker?. This is a different and useful way to think. There?s an emphasis here on grow small and slow, protect your steady, profitable income/generator(s) plus notes on expansion and/or going international. Going international? Easier than you may think. There?s a whole host of support out there. I was amazed in the 90?s at how much, and how quickly, interest in a new (but traditional) English teatime food product that I launched took off in Japan!

My only issue in the whole brilliant book is for novices to beware thinking that the bottom line in cashflows is always profit. It is not for a sole trader, at least where taking out ?drawings?, this affects cashflow but does not lower profit ? it?s a balance sheet item! However this is corrected in a later explanation. I have found cashflow forecasts to be incredibly motivational towards attaining business growth and success ? targets to be met. So, cashflow is exactly what it says on the tin ? the projected flow of actual money (cash) in and out of the business at specific predicted or planned dates. I would recommend also keeping tabs on your level of creditors (what your business owes to suppliers). Understanding your finances is fundamental. If more is owed out than you own and/or are owed, you may be in deep trouble!

YOUR COMPANY ON A PLATE! The great ending to Start-Up Smart is Robin?s basic outline example of a model start up company to earn you £50,000 year 1 and £100,000 year 2, complete with cashflow and balance sheet forecasts plus blank Business Plan pages to write your own. You can adapt these in any way you desire. If Robin can do the serial entrepreneur bit, so can you. What?s more he wants to help you too and has set up The Start-Up Smart Competition for under £5,000 business start-up ideas from 18-30 year olds in the UK. Winners announced November 2010. Find out more at

So what?s stopping you? If you?ve read the book – go there right now! If not, buy Start-Up Smart now!

Added value insight to the serial entrepreneur mind & how you too can do it!

Highly Recommended

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