Home » Blog » February 2020 Book of the month ‘The Beermat Entrepreneur’

By Mike Southon and Chris West

I would estimate that around 90% of the thousands of entrepreneurs I have met (both of start-ups and established businesses) are NOT effective at the fundamentals spelled out in this book (and most probably have not read it), the 10% that are aware of these fundamentals usually have the most successful businesses.

The name of this book comes from the story of a few friends meeting up in a pub for a drink having a great business idea which they sketch out on a few beermats. A few years later from this humble start they have created a business employing hundreds of people that goes public and they sell for so many millions that they never need to work again.

This story is, of course, is based on Mike Southon’s real-life entrepreneurial story! Fortunately, Mike did work again, thank goodness, as he is one of those extremely rare breeds of successful entrepreneurs who is equally as gifted at teaching. Mike’s teaching style is not theoretical, it is concise and grounded in practical reality whilst also being humorous and engaging.

Holding my signed copy of The Beermat Entrepreneur’

I am blessed to have known Mike personally for many years, in fact, I met him for coffee only 2 weeks ago, so I know he walks his talk with everything that is covered in this book. 

Whilst the book has sold over 100,000 copies since the first publication, Mike is not one to rest on his laurels and he and Chris West have updated all the content in this recent third edition.
In my experience, whether you are a start-up or a more mature business entrepreneur if you execute the basics set out in this book you will transform the potential of your business.

Let’s consider just one example of the important fundamentals of business entrepreneurship found in this book. Illustrated on the front cover of the book:
1. Elevator Pitch (How good is yours?)
2. First Customer (If you are a start-up)
3. Mentor (Do you have one?)

If you are a start-up business NOT doing these 3 fundamentals, you will struggle to get off the ground.

Even if you have an established business if you ‘do not have a clear compelling elevator pitch’ AND ‘you are not using an appropriate mentor’ to provide you with invaluable wisdom, you are certainly not maximizing your own potential and the potential of your business.

If we were just to consider the example of ‘Your elevator pitch’. Do you have a clear compelling elevator pitch for your business (a short version and a longer version)?

Does your elevator pitch clearly and compellingly communicate:

  1. Does your elevator pitch clearly and compellingly communicate:
  2. What pain / problem your product / service solves and for who?
  3. What is the premise of your offering?
  4. What is the proof that your offering does what you say?

There are many other fundamentals covered by the book, one of my favorites is ‘How to quickly and painlessly test ideas out?’ another huge failing I have encountered in numerous start-ups as well as some more mature businesses.

The authors have created one of the most fun to read, practical books for anyone interested in entrepreneurship. I believe it is a must-read!


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