Business Book Review: Confessions of an Entrepreneur by Chris Robson

Confessions of an Entrepreneur (Chris Robson)

Business Book Review by Anne Murphy, Business Advisor

This one is an oldie, I first read it back in 2011 when I’d started a business and I recently reread it in the haze of my new role as a Business Advisor at Ards Business Hub. I like the honest nature of it, the realism and the passion that bounces off the page.


I’ll admit that I don’t love business books that are how-to’s. I have many of them but I couldn’t read them cover to cover, they’re more like reference books. I enjoy an autobiography (sports, music, politics, business-there are business lessons in them all), I like the first person storytelling and the anecdotes so this is a good crossover of both and I did read it cover to cover!


The business leaders anecdotes really add weight to Chris Robsons observations and experiences and are interesting and reassuring that even these millionaires have had many of the challenges we have as start ups and as people with families and bills to pay.


The business stories still hold water more than ten years after I first read it but there are some things that would be big no no’s today. Like when hiring people “test the uncertainty by asking them to do something for free. See if it’s any good.” That might work for suppliers but in today’s candidate led market I don’t see it ending well when trying to hire staff.


There is lots of practical advice and stories of success and failure. Here are some takeaways from the chapter “In the red or in the black” where he talks openly about mistakes he made and lessons he learned about money!

  1. Economise from day one, assume you will run out of money
  2. Leverage the incredible free resources for entrepreneurs online (everything from accounting software to training seminars)
  3. Work on the key financial success metrics from day one
  4. Fix a sum that you are prepared to spend then add 30% contingency. Then aim to spend no more than half of that. Then you have a significant buffer.
  5. Focus on sales from day one. Try to get an early revenue


That’s good advice for any start up!


I will finish with one final quote that resonated with me “Turnover is vanity, margin is sanity.”


Good luck with your business venture, you’ve got this!

Share this article: