Over the past few weeks I have been asked on many occasions why did our business leave PLUS, the honest answer is because it was a win – lose relationship – us being the losers. The hassle that goes with a public quoted company and the associated paper pushing turned out to be an absolute nightmare. I would seriously suggest to any entrepreneur to seriously look at all options before they go down this route. In my own opinion it’s just a gravy train for the professional services sector that in my own experience add very little value.
If you are going to go down the AIM/PLUS route check out what the appetite is for your type of business amongst investors before you part with any cash, research throughly advisers, negotiate fees, research the investment community – ask for some guarantees. Before you know it you will be being charged £300 an hour. The reality also is that whilst some of the professional service companies say they are interested in SME’s – they are not – you suddenly become fee fodder and a fee filler for over paid FCA types. Maybe I am too trusting – however if someone says they can achieve something then I have no reason to think otherwise.
I should have realised it was the wrong move when one of the senior partners of a so-called adviser spent the whole of a meeting on his mobile – totally disconnected from what was going on , disinterested and disengaged. I think he felt that it was a privilege for me to be in his company. Is that the way to treat a small business owner with a mortgage and three kids ! Well £200K later I have finally told the story! What the process did deliver was a better understanding of who the good guys are in the corporate finance and accounting world – I am happy to share the names of these people with anyone interested.
So what is my message and rant – SME’s be careful of sharp talking professional advisers – who will fleece you! My message to professional advisers – show some humility – be professional and give some advice