Thanks to Dragons’ Den, Duncan Bannatyne is one of the best known multi-millionaire entrepreneurs and in this book, Wake Up And Change Your Life, he provides the inspiration for you to move from thinking about starting your own business or talking about it to actually making the commitment to literally change your life.
Wake Up And Change Your Life is a no nonsense guide to getting your idea developed and your business started.
The Author – Duncan Bannatyne
There’s no doubt that Duncan Bannatyne has had an interesting life and done remarkably well from it and while this isn’t an autobiography, he does share some of his own story.
You’ll see that he wasn’t born with the normal advantages which you may think you need to be a hugely successful entrepreneur. His family wasn’t rich, he left school without any qualifications, was dishonourably discharged from the Royal Navy and bummed around for ten years before he showed any entrepreneurial flair.
The message is that if he can do it, then so can you.
Wake Up And Change Your Life Review
Chapter 1 focuses on Removing the Barriers
I think they’re worth repeating so you can see if any of these stand between you and starting your own business.
- I don’t have the time
- I don’t have any money
- I can’t afford a drop in salary
- It’s not just the loss of income, I can’t risk throwing away my career
- My partner doesn’t support me
- I don’t have the experience
- I don’t have the qualifications
If your big idea runs to ground on any of those factors but in your heart, you want to start your own business, you need to read Wake Up And Change Your Life.
Chapter 2 is about The Idea for your business and how you can find it and analyse it to check that it’s a good one. Duncan Bannatyne also lists the ten reasons why some new businesses fail and the seven myths about starting a new business.
Chapter 3 looks at You to make sure that you’re made of the right stuff to be a business owner. Some people are, some people aren”t. I agree completely with the two rules:
- Take responsibility
- Work hard
Both may seem obvious but if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you need to be one of those people who makes things happen rather than waiting around hoping things will happen. There’s a huge difference in attitude and in results.
Duncan Bannatyne then lists the five key attributes for an entrepreneur and then there’s a short personality test to see how you measure up. It’s well worth doing. The chapter then encourages you to identify your skills, your relationships, your environment and your team.
Chapter 4 looks at your business plan. I’ve already written that I agree with Duncan that you must do your own business plan (see Why You Shouldn’t Get Someone Else To Write Your Business Plan).
It’s good practical advice on the contents of your business plan. I do have some quibbles about his comments which seem to confuse the cashflow forecast with the profit and loss account forecast. Cash is normally the critical one which includes allowing for timing delays between making the sale and getting paid and vice versa. My advice is to use specialist business planning software to help you to handle the numbers and then get someone financially astute to review your forecasts.
Chapter 5 on Raising Finance is excellent. It starts with finding the funds needed from your own resources, moves on to bank finance, other sources of funds and then to business angels and finally venture capitalists. Duncan Bannatyne is very experienced as a business angel from his time with Dragons’ Den and he writes a very balanced view with both the entrepreneur’s and angel’s interests clear. Interestingly he seems much less keen on venture capitalists.
Chapter 6 is Running Your Business which is a wide ranging chapter covering the business name, branding, the legal form of the business (sole trader, partnership or limited company), premises, hiring staff and VAT. There are some useful tips here but the book starts to feel a little superficial.
Chapter 7 is Growing Your Business which is about marketing and building your team. Again there are some interesting tips but it’s a brief summary of huge topics.
Chapter 8 is called Millionaire and looks at how your turn your successful business into big money by selling it, floating it on the stock market or stepping back and retaining ownership but passing the management over to someone else.
Overall Assessment Of Wake Up And Change Your Life
The strength of Wake Up And Change Your Life is in the first five chapters which make it an ideal primer for anyone thinking about starting a business. While it’s an interesting read, it is much less relevant for business owners who already have their businesses up and running and want to improve performance.
There are much better books that deal with an established business and making it work better for you as the owner (e.g. Getting Everything You Can From Everything You’ve Got by Jay Abraham or The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber).
Wake Up And Change Your Life is recommended for anybody who is thinking about starting a business and especially for those who love the Dragons Den TV programme.
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Have You Read Wake Up And Change Your Life
Have you been inspired by Duncan Bannatyne and his ideas about entrepreneurship?
If you’ve read the book, I’d like to know what you think. Do you agree that it starts better than it finishes?
Would you recommend Wake Up And Change Your Life to a friend who was thinking about starting a business?
Paul Simister is a business coach who helps small business owners to profit from differentiating their businesses, by being distinctive in the eyes of their customers and standing out in a crowded marketplace…. in other words, by building a business to be proud of.