The one-sentence summary

If you want to get something done, first work out if you are the best person to do it.

Can’t be bothered to read it? Listen to the 5-minute summary.


  • Most small businesses don’t work, and here’s what to do about it.
  • There are two big myths about people who start their own businesses:

1. Most are entrepreneurs (they probably aren’t)

2. An individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work (this assumption is usually wrong and can be fatal)

  • The Fatal Assumption: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.
  • In fact, those running businesses need to be part entrepreneur, part manager, part technician. If they can’t, then they need others to perform these roles. The first thinks ahead and dreams, the second controls and restrains, the third gets the work done.
  • Businesses move from infancy (the technician’s phase), to adolescence (getting some help), beyond the comfort zone to maturity.


  • The turn-key revolution is a way of looking at your business that makes you behave like McDonalds from the very start. You have to record every little element that makes your business different and turn these into a virtue that is worth paying for.
  • “Contrary to popular belief, my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.”
  • The idea of an Entrepreneurial Seizure is a good one. One day you suddenly ask why am I doing this? and start imagining your own business.
  • The dilemma for many small business owners is that they don’t own a business, they own a job, which essentially has no value
  • “The difference between creativity and innovation is the difference between thinking about getting things done in the world and getting things done.”


  • This is all about small businesses, not the generalities of big business