A new kind of politics

29 Sep 2015

Jeremy Corbyn, eh? Labour's new leader is something of a mystery. Somehow he's managed to flummox the right-wing press by not being a foaming-at-the-mouth Trotskyite when he's made rare media appearances. And far from scandalising business, many of his ideas have recieved a positive welcome from various industrial bodies. (It's true that some businesspeople and some bodies already loathe him. But…

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Cash (but not cashflow)

21 Jul 2015

Finance execs at growth companies are exhorted to follow the cash. It's good advice: whether or not you're servicing debt, generating cashflow frees up funds for investment and instills a discipline in the business that both current backers and future acquirers will value (often with enhanced multiples). But what happens when you generate cash and you're not growing? What if there…

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Cross pollenation

2 Jul 2015

There are some subjects that keep coming back into management fashion, no matter how often they've been reheated or how long ago they emerged. That's not to be overly critical: the world turns, pendulums swing this way, then that - and often, each new iteration of a well-worn cliche brings something new. So it is with "breaking down silos". It's been a constant…

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Thinking the worst (and doing their best)

19 Feb 2015

We’re an unforgiving bunch. People seem ever-ready to ascribe the worst possible motives to other people’s actions, while pretty much always having perfectly good excuses for their own human failings. This is particularly true in the business world. It’s perfectly possible to criticise the goings-on at Tesco, for example, without singling out any individual as the heartless beast determined to drive suppliers…

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Embracing the unpredictable

12 Jan 2015

Twitter really can bring out the worst in people. No, not in the sense of encouraging them to say horrible things, or start “trolling” people. I mean displaying to the world their limitations - and sharing things that, perhaps, require a little more nuance than 140 characters allows. Example: there’s a “community of leaders” called CriticalEye. I’m sure it acts as a…

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Great time last week at the BVCA Annual Gala Dinner

15 Dec 2014

We all had a great time last week at the BVCA Annual Gala Dinner which we sponsored. As a team we are all now officially members of the Clare Balding fan club! She was a fantastic after dinner speaker and truly inspiring  individual.  

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Finance: the sexy department

16 Oct 2014

A lot of people sneer at accountants. Without wanting to rehearse the tired clichés, words like boring, grey and conservative tend to spring to most people’s minds. (Even when the profession is being targeted for its involvement in history's greatest atrocities.) And we say: those people are stupid. The news over the past few weeks should be ample demonstration that far from…

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In the spotlight

16 Sep 2014

Two big advantages of running a private equity (PE) backed business have traditionally been privacy (mending companies is hard when you have the public spotlight on you); and expertise (smart, engaged investors are better than public shareholders or even family members and ensuring the business was heading in the right direction). They’re both worth seeking out, of course, but are they…

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Canary in a gilded cage. (In a coal mine)

21 Jul 2014

Summer: a time to take stock; to recharge; to reflect on the year to date. And this year, it feels like we’re in a period of calm before the storm - both literally and metaphorically if you live in the UK. At the macroeconomic level, things ought to be rosy. Growth has returned to many major economies - not least the UK.…

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Buddy, can you spare a dime?

5 Jun 2014

Finance execs in private equity backed businesses usually have a positive take on debt. First, they say, it’s a great simplifier: the required return is right there in the coupon or interest rate. There’s no family member to grouch about dividends or head-scratching about whether to re-invest - that interest is out the door. Second, they say, it focuses the mind. It makes…

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