25 April 2019

Lawrence Jones Mind Your Own Business podcast - building a brand,choosing an investor, business adviceThere are some things in life that are incredibly simple. And, of course, there are others that are absolutely not. Finding the right business partner or investor invariably falls into the second category.

Choosing who you go into business with, or who you let into your business, has the power to hugely accelerate or completely destroy your business.

You only have to look at the number of businesses hitting the headlines lately who’ve fallen foul of challenges with investors and finding themselves either thrown out of their own boardroom, or with a business heading into liquidation.

So where do you even start? How do you ensure that the people you choose to team up with are those who will accelerate a business rather than running it or you into the ground?

For me, part of that decision comes down to culture. Do you get on with that person, do you share values with the investor? When we met with Inflexion last year, I knew that they were the right people to choose as investors because we shared our values. Some of the investors that we met with didn’t have the same values as us, and it was so noticeable. When someone is kind and courteous to Gail and I, but rude to the Front of House team on reception, I know that’s a red flag that our values are not aligned.

Invariably, when I choose to invest in a business or person, the same applies. When I first met Sean Brown, I knew immediately that I would go into business with him one day. Sean runs an ecommerce business called Mercarto, which I’m really proud to support.

More to invest

The first time I met Sean, I had gone to meet another business for which he was working at the time. Out of everyone around the table, he stood out. His passion for digital was clear, as was that innate innovative streak. As Gail and I left the room, I said that I would go into business with him. I didn’t know when or where, but I knew it would happen.

As fate would have it, not long later, Sean and I discussed his business idea and our relationship grew from there. For Sean, having my investment into his business brings more than just financial backing, it’s a mentorship too. As well as culture, there has to be more than money behind any investment – either your investors or you can offer more in the form of mentoring, relationships, advice and specific skillsets. Whatever it is you need to take your business to the next level.

I go into much more detail in the latest episode of the Mind Your Own Business podcast, which you can subscribe to on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

Have a listen and let me know what you think. I’m always here as a soundboard too. If you ever need a bit of advice, drop me a message on social media.

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