Former Dragon, Richard Farleigh, reckons that now is a crucial time to be doing deals, because so many promising ventures are short of cash.
Speaking at the opening of the new London City shopping complex, One New Change, the entrepreneur said “At times like this, you have to be investing, rescuing things and doing good deals.” He added, “There are a lot of businesses out there that can’t get funding and they are relatively low risk.”
Farleigh’s preference is to invest in business models that are disruptive and where he can have a direct influence in the company strategy. He likes new and innovative product ideas, which don’t have competitive pricing issues and can have a lion share of a new or niche market.
Jeremy Harbour, an entrepreneur who has bought and sold around thirty businesses over the last ten years, likes to structure acquisition deals in such a way as to require little upfront capital. Half of Harbour’s acquisitions have focused on distressed or insolvent businesses, and this is an area he clearly feels comfortable with. One of his ventures, The Harbour Club, teaches business owners how to buy and sell businesses.
Many entrepreneurs are buying businesses in a bid to jump out of the dull trading conditions that have stymied turnover over the past few years. There are many entrepreneurs that realise that they are best able to achieve the excitement, stimulation and wealth expectations they have set themselves by purchasing other companies rather than treading the long road of organic growth.
Another entrepreneur recently featured in the Financial Times, William Sibley, has picked up two companies in the last two months and is now negotiating a third for his facilities management business. His combined business turnover will reach £7.5 million this year, but planned acquisitions are expected to double this figure next year. Sibley looks for acquisitions to increase his geographic reach and also to quickly bring in staff that have skill-sets that he doesn’t already have in place.
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