If life gives you lemons, add gin
Life’s a Banquet is the unofficial but essential ‘guide book’ to negotiating your way through life – through education, family life and business, to relationships, marriage, failure and rejection.
Aged 21, Robin Bennett was set to become a cavalry officer and aged 21 and a half, he found himself working as an assistant grave digger in South London – wondering where it had all gone wrong.
Determined to succeed, he went on and founded The Bennett Group, aged 23, and since then has gone on to start and run over a dozen successful businesses in a variety of areas from dog-sitting to cigars, translation to home tuition. In 2003, Robin was recognised in Who’s Who as one of the UK’s most successful business initiators. Catapulting readers through his colourful life and career, Robin Bennett’s memoir is an inspiring tale.
Why was your heart set on becoming a cavalry officer? What attracted you the most?
Actually it wasn’t really: there’s no family history in any cavalry regiment, I ride very badly and it’s doubtful I should be allowed to drive a car, let alone a tank (mode of transport for the cavalry in this day and age). The truth is, I had my heart set of the Ghurkas who my father served with but did not get in.
Which was the first business you started and why did you pick this area?
London Tutors (home tuition). I had always wanted to own a school and this seemed like a good first step.
Which of your companies you started was the most fun to do?
I’ve enjoyed all of them, really. However, Comp Farm Kennels was a joy from day one. Because I love dogs.
Are you considering creating more business and which area would you have in mind?
Just the one. See below.
If you would start over again, would you change anything?
Honestly, no. Not because I haven’t had tough times or made terrible mistakes. However, it’s the journey to get there that has been 80% of what is vital and interesting and I would change that for the world.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone who wants to start a company?
If you are convinced it HAS to succeed, it will.
Can you describe one of your working days in a nutshell?
I live quite quietly. These days I get ‘wheeled in’ when things go very well … or very badly – so in between the quiet periods it’s still a bit of a rollercoaster at times.
Where can we find you when you want to relax?
Walking the dog somewhere in the Pyrenees.
Which kind of books can we find in your bookcase?
Everything, or almost everything, I hope. I had to read a couple of books a week at university for the best part of four years (French lit, mainly) and I promised myself I’d read what I felt like when I finished. I’m into biographies right now, before that it was history (my Achilles heel), children’s books, cloak and dagger. I struggle with horror – not because I don’t like it, it scares me. Not in a good way.
Is there something you really really still like to do/achieve?
A school, I still want to start a school. Then I’m done.
Thank you, Robin Bennett and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Robin Bennett lives in Henley on Thames, Oxon. He is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children and books on the swashbuckling world of business. His documentary, Fantastic Britain, about the British obsession with magic and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.
Robin says, “When the world seems to be precarious and cruel, remember that the game is to never give up – there’s everything to play for, and it will all be OK.”