Go Do is one of those business books written by an entrepreneur. The author Jeremy Harbour is a serial entrepreneur who writes the book from his own experience. This is not a book based on research or academic study. Rather its based on insight gained from serial entrepreneurial exploits. According to Jeremy he wrote the book for those who talk about starting a business but never get round to doing it. The book is a mix of personal experiences and business principles.
To be sure there is nothing new in this book, but what you are reading is Jeremy’s perspective about business. That is not to say you won’t learn anything new if you are used to reading similar start up business books. You definitely will and Jeremy shares some insights which I found to be very valuable. The book has 197 pages of reading content covering 11 chapters. Let me give you a brief headline review of what you can expect to learn from each chapter.
1. Chapter 1 – Go Me: This is all about Jeremy. A bit about his childhood days, family, struggle with formal education and his business exploits as a child. Jeremy didn’t follow the common route of education and then land a job. He started right out in business after secondary school and after a while built a multi-million pound business. His stories are inspiring.
2. Chapter 2 – Risk: As the chapter suggests, the subject of this chapter is risk, particularly why people fail to live up to their dreams of starting s business. Jeremy discusses the issue of failure and why it is important to try something rather than regret later in life for not trying. He also discusses the reasons why people may want to start a business such as, money, recognition, celebrity, lifestyle, self satisfaction and better family life. Failure as a learning experience is also highlighted.
3. Chapter 3 – Go You: Here Jeremy is challenging us to do away with the belief that we can’t start a business. He touches on self-limiting beliefs and offers some ways to over come them.
4. Chapter 4 – The worst five excuses: This is my favourite chapter in the book as it covers the top five excuses people who don’t start their business give. Jeremy explores the validity of each of these excuses in detail. The excuses are:
a. I need a lot of money to start a business
b. I cannot afford to leave work
c. I heard 80% of new businesses go bust in the first three years
d. I need to gain more experience in my chosen field before making the leap
e. I don’t know about business tax or accountancy
5. Chapter 5 – The invention myth: Another interesting chapter, the main premise is that you don’t need a new invention to start a successful business. In other words you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Jeremy puts it this way: …you should be looking towards innovative evolution instead of pure innovation. He uses some of his own personal experiences to explain why building a business based on new inventions can be difficult. He suggests launching in markets where you are not first, but make sure you have a differentiator.
6. Chapter 6 – Taking responsibility: This chapter deals with a number of crucial points in relation to business, such as taking responsibility for your actions and not blaming others, working on your character and not your ego, and doing things for the right reasons and not to satisfy a misplaced ego. Jeremy believes businesses sometimes go wrong when people at the helm of the business are deluded to the point of exalting a business to be something it isn’t. They have wrong motivations which ultimately kills the business.
7. Chapter 7 – The four stages of enterprise: Jeremy starts this chapter by stating that, the next chapters of this book are all about action. The action described in this chapter focuses on the four stages of a business. But before that Jeremy gives some good advice, which is to start small, learn and build a good foundation which will allow you to scale your business up when necessary. The four stages Jeremy discussed are:
a. Starting by yourself
b. Small team – partners or employees
c. Extended team – small enterprise
d. Multiple teams
8. Chapter 8 – Planning: Jeremy admits that he is not a big planner. Rather he likes to act and then adapt based on feedback. He does admit though that there is a place for planning and here he describes some activities we can do to help us plan for business which are:
a. Identifying personal weaknesses
b. Making time
c. Making a list of all the things you need to do to get going
d. Define your product and your market
e. Getting your prices and dealing with numbers
f. List all the possible sales channels that work for your product or service
g. Complete a SWOT Analysis or Ben Franklin balance sheet
9. Chapter 9 – Marketing: Jeremy’s advice at the onset of this chapter is, don’t start a business start a marketing campaign. What does he mean? In any business maximum energy must be focused on marketing as it is how you connect to potential customers. Jeremy does discuss some crucial aspects of marketing here. He writes about the key components of a marketing campaign and the importance of discovering whether there is a market for your product or service. He also discusses why competitors are good, where to learn how to write an advert, competitor research and testing the market. He then goes into starting your business under which he deals with direct response marketing, price and positioning, and a lot more marketing concepts.
10. Chapter 10 – A compelling offer: This chapter deals with sales, starting out with how to create a compelling offer or good sales pitch. Jeremy lists the ingredients of a good sales pitch as, hook/headline/elevator pitch, lease in, feature and benefits, testimonials, scarcity, risk reversal, call to action and summary. Each of these is explained in some detail. The remainder of the chapter discusses some techniques which belong to the world of sales. All these are discussed in short snippets.
11. Chapter 12 – Go do: This is the final chapter and it’s not a short one. It’s almost as if Jeremy still has a lot to say so he squeezes tons of information into this one chapter. The key focus of this chapter is about actually launching the business. Here are the elements of launching discussed:
a. Create a launch timeline
b. Launch milestones divided into weeks and months and what you need to get done
This a book challenging us to stop talking and get started. There are lots of information available in the book to help us do that. For me the value of this book lies in the entrepreneurial experience of Jeremy which he uses to illustrate the points he discusses in the book. I didn’t enjoy the bits on marketing and sales as I felt that at times they were a bit too technical and difficult to follow, but overall this is a good book to read if you are thinking of starting a business.
Start Something Small Lesson
Two key lessons stood out for me in the book which were the aspect that described the five excuses why people don’t start and the activities we can do to help us plan for business. These two sections can give you opportunity to think how you will overcome any barriers you have to starting up in business.