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Big Ideas for Small Businesses by John Lamerton
Date: Apr 28, 2022
This book is a collection of the lessons, failures and successes that John Lamerton now uses to coach and mentor hundreds of small business owners, teaching them to think bigger, work less, and design their business around the lifestyle they want.
He used to work used to work 100+ hours a week, as he strived to become the next Alan Sugar or Richard Branson. Then he had kids, and everything changed - he now works part time, 20 to 25 hours per week as a self-styled "lazy entrepreneur"
For me there were too many repeated stories throughout the book, although relevant to each scenario, it detracted away from the points being made.
There are some great ideas but in my personal opinion you need to be careful what you take and how you use the information suggested in your own business. Like many books, you will take away those elements that resonate with you however there are in some chapters, so much to consider that it can almost become too much as a reader to know where you would start if you applied the suggestions.
If, as a business owner, you are currently in a place of uncertainty and feeling overwhelmed then I do not believe this is the best book for you to read (at the moment) as there is so much to consider that it could build on these feelings.
You need a state of clarity on your own business direction to be certain that you only take what you need and that it is relevant for your business rather than trying to adopt everything.
The main area, from my perspective as a Chartered Accountant, which needs to be absorbed very carefully is the one on understanding your business finances. It starts out really well and logical and I was totally agreeing with the author’s suggestions but then the explanations simplified things too far. I believe that it could start to add confusion as to what your sales and expenses, profit and loss account and balance sheet really mean.
Every business owner should absolutely understand their business finances, but you should take the time to understand the terminology correctly. The simplification approach could result in confusion and if followed, in my personal view, could lead a business owner in the wrong direction when making business decisions.
Instead, I would recommend investing in taking time out of the business to really understand the finances and if you do not understand them then ask someone who can help – like us.
There are some great sections to the book especially the chapters on the “magic ingredients” for a business owner and their business, with these being: Goals, Desire. Knowledge, Environment and Action.
The goal section focusses on 90-day plans and how they can really help your business. If you had three goals for the 90 days that would change your business, you can then take these three overall goals and put smaller goals or actions relating to each, in each of the 3 months, and then break this down further into weeks. This gives you a plan on how to achieve the three main goals to move your business forward and as there are weekly goals you are always working on your business but still being able to run the business at the same time.
It is a great approach and I believe every business could benefit from using this method to really bring focus on what you want to achieve in to the present and a manageable time frame. It is amazing what can change in a short space of time when focus is given to particular goals.
I like how the author gets you to think about what you really want from your business and if that is a lifestyle business then that is okay. Lifestyle businesses can get put down and treated as if they are not a real business because your ultimate aim isn’t to make millions and get into lots of debt to do so but instead to live the life you want to lead.
John is not saying that your business is not successful, but you make it as successful as you need it to be. As he suggests, why do you need to own the yacht and have all the costs associated with the ownership when if you have the funds, you can just hire the yacht when you need it!
There is also a lot of focus on work-life balance and how you can achieve it, which is great as a lot of business owners say they want this, but do you want this now or in ten years’ time?
His view is that the business route doesn’t have to be “launch business, business grows, get funding, owe money, give away some of your equity, grow the business further, get more funding, work 80-100 hours a week, continually report to the shareholders and investors” and then sell it all in ten years, for example. Why not live the life you want in ten years now but just adjusting what you own to what you hire and use as you need it?
It comes down to personal choice on the direction you want to take your business in and the lifestyle you want to live if the business can provide that for you.
Have a read, take the bits that work for your business, and use them to see if they can help you and your business move forward towards the aims and goals you set