Coutts asks Livingstone’s Jeremy Furniss for his thoughts on serial entrepreneurs

We have previously contributed to Coutts’ reports on entrepreneurship and raising equity capital, and they recently asked Jeremy Furniss, Partner at Livingstone London, for his insights on serial entrepreneurs, on advising them on their exits, and on his own experiences building Livingstone into the leading international mid-market M&A and Debt Advisory firm.

Highlights include:

  • Wealth is not a dominant motivation for entrepreneurs. Motivations such as business growth, people and contributing to society are seen as more important.
  • Putting aside definitions, there is something inherently valuable about a group of ambitious individuals that, driven by the desire to build successful companies, create the economic growth, jobs and overall prosperity that are the lifeblood of any healthy economy. After all, countless studies have shown that high-growth SMEs are the primary source of new jobs in the UK;
  • Serial entrepreneurs were asked to share with the factors most instrumental to their success, and their answers simultaneously matched and belied expectations.The most cited factors were:
    –  Perseverance (92%);
    –  My own skills and knowledge (85%); and
    –  The capabilities of my teams (78%).
  • As entrepreneurs set up more businesses, they appear to become simultaneously both more and less risk averse. On the one hand, serial entrepreneurs place greater importance on planning for the unexpected – hedging their bets. On the other hand, they also feel more capable of converting risks into opportunities, and are more prone to describe themselves as financial risk takers; and;
  • Perhaps because serial entrepreneurs become accustomed to efficiently scaling and selling businesses, they are more interested in exiting their businesses in the short to medium term. Of those who have founded more than one business, 53% plan to exit within five years, compared to 32% of one-time founders.

The Man with Two Hats
Jeremy wears multiple hats: beyond his role advising entrepreneurs, he also bought out Livingstone from its original founder and expanded it internationally, giving him the entrepreneurial nous to help him better understand his clients.


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