Book Review: Business for Punks
I recently found myself stuck in a train station waiting for the next train. With some time to kill, I wandered into one of the book stores near the platforms. As I was casually scanning the different books on the shelves, one book in particular jumped out at me - it was simply titled Business for Punks.
It is a book written by the co-founder of Brewdog, James Watt, which goes into great detail about the success of their business and the lessons they learnt along the way. If you haven't heard of Brewdog before, it is a multinational brewery that is based in Scotland. Before you ask what makes them special, you should listen to some of their impressive results. Brewdog is currently one of the world's fastest growing drinks brands and the 10th fastest growing company in the UK. Their business which started with only £30K, now has a turnover in excess of £50 million and has been profitable every single year since inception. Best of all, it all started with craft beer.
From the moment you pick this book up, you know it's going to be different to your average business book. The title of each chapter springs out at you in the table of contents with titles such as "Starting a business for vagabond vigilantes", "Building a team for aspiring pirate captains", and "Inside the head of a business punk". I have to admit I found myself laughing out loud at certain points whilst reading this book. The language used is extremely creative and is definitely in your face.
The book goes into great detail about some of the marketing antics that the founders got up to in order to promote the brand. They decided to package 55% beer into roadkill squirrels, parachute taxidermic cats from a helicopter over London, and even projected images of themselves 150 feet high on to the Houses of Parliament. Whilst some of the marketing tactics may seem a little extreme, it has helped create the revolutionary brand that is known as Brewdog.
It isn't all about their marketing antics though, once you get beneath the surface of the book you'll quickly discover that it goes into the finer detail about running a business. It includes topics such as finances for small business, building teams and general small business acumen. For me, some of the most interesting parts of the book were around the building of teams. Much of what I wrote about in Building Great Startup Teams is echoed in this section and it's great to see this in another book!
I don't say this often, but I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in small businesses. It's also a refreshing change from your average business book and definitely worth a read. For my own reference and as a very unofficial rating system - I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars!