Wake up and Sell the Coffee
Martin Dawes, Harriman House, €19.99
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 a fair measure of good luck and timing on his side but he cannot be faulted on his hard work and clever execution. However, he also sailed close to the wind on occasions. In one instance, he was 48 hours from being listed in the London Gazette for an unpaid bill of £8,000 that could have ended his dreams before friends came to the rescue.
He has lots of good advice on issues such as proving a business concept on a small scale first, spending time listening to people who buy your product as well as those who don’t, not being afraid to ask potential investors to commit or not at a certain point and not being afraid to ask for help from suppliers. Don’t try to build a business by putting costs first, is his advice. Sales growth ignites new business success. You want people talking about your offer so sales always comes first.