I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon yesterday (Thursday March 15th 2012) with Jeremy Harbour at a seminar he ran on how to acquire and turn around distressed businesses.
Jeremy started selling on a market stall when he was 14 and had gone through his own first company failiure by the time he was 19. In his view, failing early has taught him valuable lessons and he has learned from these mistakes. He is now a successful serial entrepreneur who also helps other business owners buy companies.
Through the Harbour Club (http://www.jeremyharbour.com/Harbour-Club/index.php) Jeremy has trained partners in his distressed company acquisition methods and works with them to acquire and turnaround distressed companies in the UK. The Seminar was an insightful four hours into his approach. Using case studies he illustrated some of the methods and pitfalls in the process. Judging by the number of attendees to the two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, there was a high degree of interest from ambitious entrepreneurs seeking to take advantage of the difficult market conditions in the UK at present.
I found some of his pithy quips both amusing and very to the point and I thought I would share some of them with you here.
He stressed the importance of finding motivated sellers. Often he comes across company owners seeking “second round funding because they had F*****d up their first round funding”.
He observed that “Giving money to business owners without changing their behaviour is like giving drugs to children; a very bad idea and they keep coming back for more”
“Find a business and then work out what you have to take away to make it work. If you have to rely on adding something (more sales for instance), you are going to have a problem”
“Make the business focus on cash. Remember you go bust when you run out of cash and not when you make losses”
“Everything you measure in a business will improve – so measure the right things”
“Remember that cash and time are inextricably linked”
“You don’t make money running businesses, you make money when you sell them”
“Understand the difference between income and capital, one enables you to live, the other gives you the freedom to control how you live”
“The best time to sell a business is right Now!”
“Running a business involves three things; blood, sweat and years”
“Goodwill in a business is the thing that makes the phone ring”
“Beware investors seeking capital to fill a balance sheet with a big hole but not seeking enough capital to fill the whole”
“Avoid Deal Heat; don’t do deals where your gut feel tells you you should not be doing the deal”
“Always make sure you get paid on the way out”
If you think that Jeremy might be able to help your business, then why not go to his website and register http://www.jeremyharbour.com/Harbour-Club/index.php
Full disclosure: I have no financial arrangements with Jeremy, these views are my own and I will receive no compensation from Jeremy if you visit his site and engage with him.
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