Learning from our former clients
Earlier this year, clever colleagues from the BCMS Research department launched the ‘Lunch & Learn’ programme at our Newbury HQ. As the title suggests, these informal hour-long sessions offer a chance for cross-departmental colleagues to share insights, best practice and knowledge over a sandwich (and maybe a flapjack, if you’re lucky).
Typically, these sessions find BCMS staff presenting to BCMS staff on a wide range of topics, but this week the tables were turned. We were joined by four former clients – all members of our unique post-sale BCMS Fellows programme – for an open Q&A session. Andrew Sesemann of Cox Agri, Rob and Alisa Miller of PCM Healthcare and Simon Tremlett of Wireless Innovation all lifted the lid on what it feels like to sell a business. I think it’s fair to say that most of the 50-odd staff in the room had never heard clients talk so openly and emotionally about the sale process. The phrase “we were trapped by our business” was used more than once, and as Andrew said: “The sale of my business meant freedom.”
The format was broadly similar to the expert panel events we run at locations up and down the country, such as Business Sale Live! This time, though, the focus was not on advice for business owners, but for us, as business sale advisors. Our four Fellows gave colleagues from across BCMS departments – including finance, research, communications, IT and operations – some unmissable advice. In a nutshell: a business sale is about people. All four former clients appreciated the time we took to understand their companies – to listen to them, as business owners, as successful entrepreneurs, but also as human beings. In a challenging business sale, the hand-holding is crucial. As Alisa said: “At BCMS, you sell businesses every day. We were only ever going to do this once!”
Years after selling, these Fellows were still a little taken aback by the scale and reach of the BCMS Research process in identifying buyers, and genuinely excited about which acquirers we enticed to the deal table. “I remember thinking ‘why on earth have BCMS picked them… they’ll never sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA),’” recalled Simon. “And then, they signed an NDA…”
And before you ask, we did put them on the spot and we asked them what we could improve on as an M&A advisor. To get your own answer to that question, you’ll have to chat to a BCMS Fellow at one of our forthcoming events or join us for our 30th birthday charity fundraiser next week!