Saturday 25 November 2017

Chapter and verse on how to set up a business

Start it Up: Why Running Your Own Business is Easier Than You Think

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Developers try to make sure that their respective sites are ultimately publishing stories that will make a certain cut and make viewers want for more
Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

THIS is the seventh book by serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson. Johnson will be known to some readers on this side of the Irish Sea as the chairman of Channel 4 as well as the part-owner of Pizza Express and other restaurant chains.

'Start it Up' is a really refreshing guide by somebody who has made a fair amount of money following his own advice. 'A How-to Book by Someone Who Has', as it says on the bright yellow cover.

This reviewer took many fresh ideas on this old theme from the book but perhaps the most interesting nugget was Johnson's insistence that would-be business people should think about buying companies rather than setting them up.

Advice

In early 21st Century Ireland, this seems like excellent advice. Once Nama and the liquidators begin selling assets at their real value, we should see literally thousands of sound companies come up for sale.

As Johnson writes, the world is in love with the romance of start-ups but all things being equal it can often be better to buy a company.

"If you buy a going concern you will usually inherit existing customers, staff, contracts, premises, suppliers, products, brands and goodwill."

Johnson is equally good on practical issues such as the importance of choosing a partner, why franchises never work and even what Johnson calls "the sense of dread that ails opinion makers" -- a chapter where he argues that the media is unnecessarily gloomy because the entire newspaper sector is under threat from the internet.

None of this is particularly new but it is pleasing to find all this breezy advice in one book and presented clearly by a man who has owned literally dozens of companies in sectors as diverse as software and pizzas.

Johnson is also very good on why it makes sense to start a business in a recession and in middle age as well as old age.

This would be an excellent book to give somebody who is on the cusp of setting up a business, somebody who has a good idea but no experience or somebody who has lost their job and will soon have to set up a business. Highly recommended.

Start it Up is available to purchase on www.independentbooks.ie with free P&P or by calling 01 405 9100

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