About This Book

Every business owner wonders from time to time ‘what makes businesses truly great’, ‘what do the guys who build businesses worth multiple million know that I don’t?!’

It’s frustrating that many books examine what has driven the great global corporate success stories, the CEOs of which have become the business gurus of our times.  Yet very few books look at what creates success on a more modest and achievable scale. Few books examine the formula that creates the kind of business that most of us really want to own.

In this fascinating book John Rosling, serial entrepreneur, author and lecturer, reveals for the first time, step by step, the tried and tested methodology for business success. This framework for success is brought to life through the fascinating and startlingly honest true stories of some inspiring entrepreneurs who have created highly successful businesses that are extraordinarily wealth generative whilst being easy to run and a joy to own.

There is nothing exceptional about the sectors these businesses are operating in and they have no inventions that have changed the world. In fact there is nothing remarkable in their stories other than the brilliance with which they have built the assets in their businesses. That is their alchemy.  This book is the story of these asset journeys. It is a distillation of the wisdom and experience of these seven business alchemists that will help and inspire CEOs and business owners on their own path to building their asset-rich, wealth and freedom creative business. Whether that is to a value of £10m or £100m.

You can read an extract from the book here.

What People Are Saying…

The Secrets of the Seven Alchemists is a genuinely brilliant business book and one that should be on every business leader’s reading list.  What’s great is not so much the business theory – although that is compelling – but the anecdotes and advice that fill the book. This isn’t a theoretical lecture – the author lets the successful entrepreneurial ‘Alchemists’ who are the heroes of the piece tell their own stories and simply extracts from these the lessons we can all adopt in our own businesses straight away

This book is a blueprint to building not just a good business but a great one; one that creates serious wealth, fulfillment and freedom. The central idea is how to focus less on the profit and more on the ‘multiple’. This is what drives the true value (business and personal) of a business; what the author calls its ‘assets’. This formula can be defined and therefore systematically built in any business. Chapter by chapter the book builds this pyramid of ‘assets’ to include culture, talent, systems, product, innovation, channel and brand. At each stage, the points are illustrated and brought to life with honest and in-depth interviews with the business ‘Alchemists’. These interviews are at times amusing, occasionally moving and always fascinating.

For anyone seriously interested in building a great business that will deliver them wealth, freedom and personal satisfaction, this book is an absolute must read. For me, the surprising secret behind the title of the book is that what drives great business is entirely predictable and therefore entity replicable. And that is incredibly valuable knowledge.

Rick Ankers, CEO, 21SIX Ltd

The Author

John Rosling is a serial entrepreneur with an itch. Ever since he setup an e-greeting card business in almost the same month as Moonpig and saw that business boom into a £120m success story whilst his own ended in ignominious insolvency, he has been itching to understand exactly what it is that sets some entrepreneurial businesses on a path to greatness whilst most stay merely good. Over a twenty-year entrepreneurial career as business owner, CEO, mentor, lecturer and author he finally thinks he has the answer.

John started his career with Unilever in the UK and Japan before moving to Diageo. Since leaving the corporate world he has established and run numerous small businesses, most recently as CEO of international business performance company Shirlaws. John speaks widely on business and entrepreneurial subjects and lectures on entrepreneurship at leading business schools. He was runner up 2012 IoD Director of the Year and is author of the popular guide for CEOs “More Money, More Time, Less Stress”. He lives a semi-aquatic life in Hampshire with his wife and three children.


Shirlaws Coach Conference, The Grove, Hertfordshire

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The Seven Alchemists

Keith Abel started a business selling potatoes door-to-door in Catford after failing his Bar exams, and 25 years later, Abel & Cole turns over £65million and delivers organic Veg Boxes to 75,000 customers. 
Ajaz Ahmed founded innovation agency AKQA aged just 21, which today has grown to be worth over half a billion dollars and boasts clients such as Nike, Google, Audi and Red Bull.


Frank Bastow an inspirational perfectionist, he has successfully built five businesses in different fields, but all based on his understanding of his core asset of making things easier. These include Tremayne Ltd., Bastows, Azure, Hindsight and Treacle Tiger.
Nick Jenkins a commodities trader who revolutionised the greetings card industry when he set up Moonpig.com – a company which he sold in 2011 for £120million.



Rupert Lee-Brown, founder of Caxton FX, who has grown Caxton FX from a company he set up with just £25k of savings to an international payment platform turning over £600 million.
Roger Philby founded The Chemistry Group to revolutionise the recruitment and talent consulting market, and deliver rapid top-line growth and behavioural change within large organisations.


Russell Stinson, one of the founders of ACT Clean, a business that provides outsourced services to London’s five-star hospitality sector, developing systems and processes to provide some 1300 cleaners and front-of-house staff.