Category: Business, Entrepreneurship
Publication date: July 30, 2020
Extent: 140 pages

Start. Scale. Sell.

75 lessons for business success

Nick Suckley


Whatever you’re going through with your business, and whatever stage you’re at, this book can help. Entrepreneur Nick Suckley has built four start-ups and managed three exits over the last 20 years, through good and bad economic times and all the ups and downs, the challenges and joys, of being your own boss.

He’s distilled his many years’ experience – good and bad – into these 75 life-lessons for starting, growing and selling companies.

Start. Scale. Sell.will help you navigate your journey as a business owner.

· the importance of acting like an entrepreneur – even before you take the plunge;

· the simple Golden Rule for maximising profits

· why investing in yourself and your own learning is so crucial

· how to hustle and when to pivot

· the secrets to building a strong brand

and much more.

These bite-sized lessons offer accessible, no-nonsense advice for even the most time-poor entrepreneur. It’s a blueprint for business success from an author who has been there, done it and has several T-shirts to prove it.

Nick Suckley is a successful serial entrepreneur with the battle scars to prove it. Now you can take advantage of the lessons he learnt the hard way.


Engaging and well structured story. I have learned some interesting tips to apply. Overall this is a very good guide for those building a business and potential putfalls. Thanks to the author!


Nick puts out a great and easy to read book. Some great useful tips/tricks as you read the 75 quick hits…


Very much enjoyed turning the pages on this one – a succinct and (very!) honest dose of reality for those who with plans to build, or be part of building, a business. The book cites 75 lessons, but you’re left feeling like you’ve taken that little bit extra away too – the way the author humanises the journey through anecdotes is relatable, and leaves you thinking that you’ve been on the journey too. A particularly engaging writing style.
A must read, and I hope that there will be another release soon (?)!

Great insight from someone who’s launched, scaled and sold businesses. Simple and practical steps built out as lessons from a mentor. Enjoyed it and inspired by it…

As a business owner looking to scale, I really appreciated the practical step by step guide this book provides, with each key lesson clearly broken down and explained. It’s made me think about my leadership and mindset and I’ll certainly be putting many of the tips and key takeouts into practice.

Building a business is hard work. Nicks experience and clear walk through of how to do that successfully is worth this books weight in gold!

Fantastic book. Lots of great suggestions. Very easy to read. I have a start up and there was lots of head-nodding in the first few sections and interesting perspectives that I’ll try out with my business in the latter part of the book. I also liked how it’s short bite-sized suggestions, perfect for a commute (if anyone still does that) or to pick up at other parts of the day. Excellent stuff, I also bought a copy for my business partner.

This is such a readable book that I surprised myself by reading the whole thing in a few sessions. There are some great tips and interesting insights. I found the stuff on Scaling is particularly useful. Would recommend.

Very practical tips from a serial entrepreneur who has been through the journey and converted his experience to short, useful and relevant tips which one can utilize in their own entrepreneurial journey. The book can be used as a blueprint through which we can navigate the startup setup starting from the basic ideation, sales target setting, funding and much more. With 75 practical lessons this book is high on information and advice and the style of writing on a one to one basis makes it an easy book to digest in a 1-2 straight sitting. Highly recommended both as a guide and a practical book on entreprenuership.




Part 1 Lessons on how to get started

Lesson 1: The Founder’s Mindset. Treat yourself as self-employed even if you have a job.

Lesson 2: It’s all about spotting the opportunity. Is there a market for what you are doing?

Lesson 3: Don’t underestimate how long it will take. Use the time from idea to execution wisely.

Lesson 4: Take time with your business plan. You won’t think of everything but it will help.

Lesson 5: The Six-Month effect. Hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Lesson 6: Banks – beware

Lesson 7: Look after your business by looking after yourself

Lesson 8: How hard do I need to work? Have I earned my money today?

Lesson 9: Push versus pull factors in getting started

Lesson 10: Get real about where your sales will come from

Lesson 11: Having little to lose in the early days means you can be ballsy. Don’t underestimate the power of offering an outside view.

Lesson 12: Making money while you sleep

Lesson 13: Raising external investment: beware the pitfalls

Lesson 14: Company valuations: getting to your first £1 million – and beyond

Part 2. Lessons for the growth phase

Lesson 15: Sweat equity: you can only sell shares in your company once, so be smart about how much you trade, and for what

Lesson 16: Just do it

Lesson 17: Walk the walk #1: establish your company values

Lesson 18: Walk the walk #2: decide what will you stand for

Lesson 19: Get your shareholdings right and adjust them if need be. It will avoid more serious problems down the line.

Lesson 20: Understand how you make money. Get your finances in order

Lesson 21: Why productivity matters

Lesson 22: Manage your cash as if your life depends on it

Lesson 23: Why every company needs a war chest

Lesson 24: Hustling for growth. Why you should ask for business…but you can’t hustle for ever

Lesson 25: Don’t be afraid to pivot. Especially if it is better for your customers

Lesson 26: It’s not all glory scaling a business. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves

Lesson 27: How to build successful joint ventures

Lesson 28: Growth phase: building a money-making machine


Part 3: Lessons for Scaling Up: The Coming of Age phase

Lesson 29: Perception is reality #1: how an office move can re-invigorate growth

Lesson 30: Perception is reality #2: your brand is far more important than you realise

Lesson 31: Do you really need a non-executive board? Or should you be looking elsewhere?

Lesson 32: Everyone needs an elevator pitch. Here’s how to write one.

Lesson 33: Insight can be an effective way to engage with potential customers

Lesson 34: Get the right management information and use it to inform your decision making

Lesson 35: How building a coaching culture can help you avoid problems before they become critical

Lesson: 36: Red Team can help you make better decisions

Lesson 37: Remove the temptation for fraud wherever you can

Lesson 38: The resource trap: how to ensure you have the right resource in the right places.

Lesson 39: Diversification: take care when launching or investing in other businesses

Lesson 40: Pick your battles: when to let a legal challenge go

Lesson 41: The downside of a successful JV

Lesson 42: Building technology? Understand what you’re getting into, and the skills you’ll need

Lesson 43: Opportunistic approaches versus a planned exit. When should you start thinking (seriously) about an exit?

Part 4: Lessons for Scaling Up: Surviving tough times

Lesson 44: Showtime

Lesson 45: Be brutally realistic about how much business is on the horizon

Lesson 46: Bite the bullet – sometimes redundancies are better than endless uncertainty

Lesson 47: Never make a loss. It means you will never lose control

Lesson 48: Use the Power of Three to maintain focus and direction

Lesson 49: Every downturn is different. Sometimes you just need to sit it out

Lesson 50: The Importance of investing in yourself. Why lifelong learning is important

Lesson 51: Don’t agonise over rates of staff turnover. Employees are more mobile than ever and people are going to leave

Lesson 52: Stronger marketing will bring more sales and help you survive a downturn.

Lesson 53: How to identify and avoid poor performing sales people

Lesson 54: Hire slow and fire fast

Part 5: Lessons for Scaling Up: Building Scale for Sale

Lesson 55: Your role as CEO

Lesson 56: The importance of scale: getting to £1m profit

Lesson 57: Why founder-shareholder alignment is critical

Lesson 58: Boosting profitability: use the right tools

Lesson 59: Ramping up marketing and sales: have clear product pitches and marketing messages – and use them

Lesson 60: Build a high-performance team – and be ready to give them the autonomy they need to make a difference

Lesson 61: Getting sale ready – plan ahead and give yourself 12 to 18 months.


Part 6: Lessons for Selling Up

Lesson 62: Don’t allow a well meaning buyer distract you from the job you need to do post sale .

Lesson 63: Timing and the economic cycle; the impact on deal structure

Lesson 64: Don’t let your emotions get in the way of the right deal – focus on the bigger picture and don’t fixate on small details.

Lesson 65: The right advisor can help you reach the widest audience of potential buyers. Beware doing it yourself.

Lesson 66: Your Investor Memorandum is your shop window. Spend time getting it right; you can only sell your company once.

Lesson 67: Meet as wide a range of suitors as you can. Demand can come from interesting places you hadn’t previously considered.

Lesson 68: Think beyond the deal. Do not ignore the fact that you will be living with what comes after the transaction

Lesson 69: Don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal – even if it is from an appealing buyer

Lesson 70: Don’t be afraid to pause the whole process if need be. It’s emotionally tough but the right deal will come along eventually

Lesson 71: Deal structures and securing a premium

Lesson 72: The deal that is right for the company may not be right for all the individuals concerned

Lesson 73: Anticipate due diligence – and prepare for it to be a full-time job when the time comes

Lesson 74: Keep lawyers in their place. They can easily derail a deal

Lesson 75: Think about what happens post-sale



Paperback / 9781788601832 / July 30, 2020 / £12.99

Ebook / 9781788601856 / July 30, 2020 / £7.99

Paperback and eBook Bundle / £14.99


Nick Suckley

Nick Suckley is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs in digital media.

Over a 20-year period, Nick has launched four digital specialist businesses and sold three of them, most recently his multi-award-winning digital media consultancy, Agenda21, to Be Heard Group Plc for £12m.

Early on, he launched Media21 as one of the UK’s first digital media agencies and sold it to Grey London at the height of the dot-com boom just 18 months after its formation.

He was a founding investor in digital creative hot shop Glue London (which sold to Aegis Group in 2005 for £14m) and he launched and incubated DataShaka, an analytics software business where he was instrumental in securing several rounds of VC funding from Seedcloud Ventures.

Nowadays, Nick is a much sought-after consultant for media and technology entrepreneurs and C-level executives, advising them on opportunistic corporate build strategies and how to avoid the costly mistakes frequently associated with rapid growth and a changing marketplace.