The Fellows – a post-transaction support network for BCMS clients
Who are the Fellows?
- An informal network of ~200 former business owners
- All are former BCMS clients
- Drawn from all sectors, from media to manufacturing
- Meet and mentor other entrepreneurs
- Build professional connections
BCMS’ commitment to supporting shareholders doesn’t end once a transaction completes. It’s the reason we have developed The Fellows Group, a unique post-transaction network of our former clients, all of whom have successfully sold all or part of their companies. As a Fellow, members can build their professional networks, meet and mentor other entrepreneurs considering their exit plans, and access new business and personal development opportunities, including speaking at events and Non-Executive Director (NED) roles.
A resource for entrepreneurs
The idea behind The Fellows is simple: a members’ group for entrepreneurs to share ideas, advice and build personal and professional contacts for the next chapter of their lives. As Andrew Sesemann – who has sold two businesses with BCMS – explains: “Only other entrepreneurs completely understand the issues involved in running and selling your own business.” Andrew was one of our first former clients to come on board with the group. Within three years of its initial establishment in 2017, The Fellows had grown to a network of nearly 200 entrepreneurs. It is now, we believe, the largest organisation of its type anywhere in the world.
The Fellows can really add value when it comes to guiding other entrepreneurs considering their succession planning or exit strategies. With many hundreds of BCMS-led completed transactions, it is quite likely there is a BCMS Fellow with experience of a similar sector to your business, or with similar business model or motivations. If you are interested in meeting our former clients, BCMS can connect you with an appropriate Fellow.
Andrew Sesemann, who has sold two companies with BCMS
Mentoring, guidance and advice
BCMS Sales & Marketing Director Liz Jackson has been instrumental in building the programme. As she explains: “Some people have a very clear idea why they are selling their business and what they want to do next. Many more have not been able to comprehend life after the sale. Selling a business and planning life after a transaction can be a lonely experience. Not anymore.”
BCMS Fellow Mike Bailey, who sold his aerospace engineering business through BCMS, offers his perspective: “Being a BCMS Fellow is rewarding as you are able to share the lessons you have learned throughout your business journey with other business owners. You also meet some very interesting people. And because the BCMS team are so lovely, it is just plain fun!”
For many of The Fellows, the experience of selling is still fresh in the mind, so the advice they have to offer is invaluable. Julian Chamberlain and Janet Westwood sold their company Retail Active with BCMS in 2014, and Janet recalls the post-sale period vividly: “We’d had support from BCMS right up until the day of the sale. We said goodbye on the day we’d signed the papers, and suddenly we felt we were a bit on our own. It was quite an emotional journey and we weren’t really sure what to expect from that point.”
For Janet and Julian, The Fellows is an important resource for business leaders considering succession or exit strategies: “Since then, BCMS has set up The Fellows programme, and we’re involved in helping and supporting other people who are considering selling their business.” As Julian adds: “We’re really proud to be associated with The Fellows. I think it’s going to be a much better way of working moving forward with BCMS. I wish we’d had it when we were selling!”
Sharing lessons learned: Mike Bailey, BCMS Fellow
Janet Westwood and Julian Chamberlain, BCMS Fellows
Being a BCMS Fellow is rewarding as you are able to share the lessons you have learned throughout your business journey with other entrepreneurs…
An entrepreneurial community
“We consider the Fellows as extension of the BCMS family,” says Liz Jackson. “It’s not something we set out to do, but it’s something unique to our culture as a business. The Fellows is something no other M&A advisor has attempted, to our knowledge. We doubt many of our competitors would be able to maintain such relationships with their clients post sale.”
Above all, the Fellows is not just about networking, it is about building a community of people that all contribute in a different way, to create something larger than themselves. As Liz says: “The Fellows are growing it in the direction they want: this isn’t something BCMS owns, this is their network now.”
Dr Liz Jackson MBE oversees the Fellows programme at BCMS
Video case studies: Watch BCMS Fellows tell their M&A stories
Watch: BCMS Fellows answer your FAQs
Read about BCMS and our commitment to philanthropy