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Providing You With the
 Support, Resources & Toolkit
 to Buy Profitable, Owner
Managed Businesses in the UK 

Hello. My name’s Guy Bartlett.

In a minute I’m going to explain you how you can take more holidays, spend more time with your family and enjoy a happy, secure future by acquiring multimillion pound businesses.

Perhaps you know a little bit about me, perhaps you don’t. I’ll fill you in on the important stuff and you can make your own decision as to whether you want to keep reading.

I started out in marketing services, and ended up building up the Charles Parry Group from the mid 90's to 2003, specialising in retail and mail order direct marketing.  A top 10 agency group.
Big clients, bigger numbers.

I felt like I was breaking my back running that business, so much so that by the time I exited the Group in 2003, I was knackered.

Then I actually broke my back.

Out of action for quite a while, I thought "what is the Universe telling me?".  I was forced to think about what I wanted lying in a hospital bed and I got a little perspective while I recovered. I realised that a business career shouldn’t be back-breaking, and I started to think about how to pin down a secure, happy future for my family, without having to slave away all the hours under the sun.
Buying businesses was the obvious answer

But I thought I’d need money to do it. I was torn, I wanted to acquire but needed to pay the bills.  So I created a start up (well two actually), after all, I knew how to do that. I developed a building services group to pay the bills and was offered £3.2m from Venture Capitalists for the other one. Despite my best intentions, the familiar old stresses of running a business came back.

I was tired of striving and struggling to get my business to the next level. So I set about figuring out how to acquire other owner-managed businesses.
So I went back into what I had learned about the acquisition process, spending more time around people in that arena and, crucially, figured out how to fund them with no big pot of money to draw on.  My first deal completed in January 2006 and within just 6 months the second had gone through too.  Together, I’d bought £2.7 million of business and been able to pay myself a substantial income too.

It was the year my life changed, and that was more than 15 years ago now. Since then, my knowledge, experience and team has grown exponentially.  I’ve developed a fantastic team of colleagues and a panel of investors and funders to acquire owner-managed UK businesses turning over £1m - £20m a year using processes that I continue to refine today.

During the intervening years, I’ve worked on more than 150 different deals, and acquired more than 10 more companies of my own, with revenues totalling more than £30m. All while also starting up and organically growing another three 7-figure businesses.
I’m enjoying myself in the business sphere; talking to people who are in the position I once found myself, chatting business on podcasts and radio, and even showing my face on TV from time to time. Sure, it’s nice. But it’s not as nice as the freedom I have to do what I want, when I want, with people of my choosing. I genuinely never dreamed it was possible to have so many regular holidays and secure the future for my family. 

But why am I telling you this? What does my success have anything to do with where you are now?

Well, the truth is that there were more than a few times when I had to make seriously tough decisions. When I stressed and wondered if I’d really done the right thing, getting into this line of work.

Because there are more than a few pitfalls in the business acquisition journey, let me tell you. And if you’re thinking about getting into this business without knowing about them, think again…
  • My first big mistake: neglecting to build rapport with the seller - Strong relationships don’t just mean deals go through, they mean they endure after completion too. Without a good relationship with your seller, you’ll struggle to resolve the inevitable problems that can crop up at any point. 
  • Mistake #2: being too clever- Bad prior experiences have led plenty of sellers to think buyers are only out to rip them off. Only with patient negotiation and sound, ethical principles can you show them what  you’re really about. 
  • Mistake #3: letting emotions take you over- When you put so much time and effort into a deal it’s easy to let the emotions catch you up if things go wrong. I’ve found it’s crucial to remember there are plenty more fish in the sea.  
  • Mistake #4: fudging your numbers- It goes without saying, there’s no space for schoolboy errors in this business. You need thorough financial modelling to ensure you prepare properly.  
  • Mistake #5: outsourcing due diligence- You’re the one who needs to know what’s under your target’s bonnet, so you need to be the one doing due diligence, with a strong team to support you. Asking the right questions before the deal will save heaps of money and stress!

They might sound like simple mistakes, but their effects can be far-reaching and extremely damaging. 

Now, I have made all of these mistakes myself, and plenty of others along the way. They don’t just cause massive problems but tons of stress too.

But the thing is, as the years have gone by, my mistakes and my stresses have dwindled beyond all measure. Do I still make mistakes?  Of course but my worst day is better than most people's best day, and I’m now in a position to share what I’ve learnt, understanding completely where you’re probably at right now.

So, in summary, this is my journey to here:

  • Sold and bought my first company in 1998 (for someone else!).
  • Set up my first Group of companies in 2000, generating £6m of sales in 6 years.
  • Became a Fellow of The Institute of Direct Marketing 2003.
  • Completed my first two deals worth £2.7m in 2006 to prove the concept.
  • Raised new venture cash of £3.2m with Venture Capitalists in 2005.
  • Have started and grown 3 separate 7 figure businesses - I get the "organic" route!
  • Worked on over 150 deals in the last 5 years alone.
  • Acquired 10 companies with revenues totalling over £30m.  Negotiating on £46m right now.

I genuinely love teaching people to do what I do. It would be great to have you with me on the next part of the journey. 

Guy Bartlett has also featured on Jason Manford's 'Money Pit'

These people chose to do something different - by learning how to buy businesses

Andy Gosling, Web Developer

“I’d never really considered buying a business before. What triggered it was getting an email from an ecommerce site I order from saying, “We’re shutting up shop”. It’s in an area I’m into, and the business owner uses technology that I’ve used for many years, so I asked if he’d thought about selling the business.

There was a lot of back and forth, but once the conversations between the seller and me started to get serious I thought I’d better find out how to go about buying a business. I talked to my accountant, looked around a bit and came across Guy. I did some research and decided to book onto Guy’s one-day seminar in London.

Looking back, I got a lot out of it, and that single day helped me to purchase the ecommerce business. It gave me lots of pointers towards things I should look at, and a clear explanation of how to structure a deal. I really warmed to Guy, and I like his approach of looking at profitable businesses rather than buying a basket case business for £1 and turning it round. That has its place, but Guy’s approach is a less risky proposition.
I’ve since gone on to do the Intensive course and I’m now in talks with two different vendors. It’s early days but I’m building up my pipeline and I have a definite plan I’m working towards.”

Mark Jackson, Property Investor

For me it's not just about content, it’s about the integrity of the individuals. I saw and felt that Guy was speaking from the heart and talking about things he really understood, and was talking about a whole new world of business which was so exciting."

Matthew Taylor, Purple Property Group

If you're cut out for it, it's not an easy thing to buy a business by any stretch of imagination. But it's like anything, if you want to do it, and you've got that drive, you will give or Guy will give you everything you need.
Guy is great, he puts in a lot of effort, a lot of time, and his knowledge is unbelievable. Very recently he's helped me out with some stuff that was well beyond my capabilities and my non-exec chairman's capabilities, so Guy stepped in and worked with it. Can't praise him enough.

Lee Smith, Property Investor

“If you want to improve your life and learn how to buy companies, this is the best place in the UK I’ve found. Guy is really good and comes from a place of integrity.”

Steve Abel, Marketing and Business Coach

Being in a group you're able to share ideas with each other, pitfalls and advantages. And Guy's been absolutely tremendous, the content, he obviously knows his stuff. He's done it, he's not just a teacher teaching it, he's walked the walk already. So it's given us the confidence to go out and actually purchase a business ourselves.

Joe Wilson, Property Investor now buying supporting businesses

“I came across Guy when he was speaking at an event and he shared some really interesting tools. The BBC presented an opportunity for me to open up a whole new asset class. The whole thing has been wonderful. I’d recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone.

Guy is fantastic. Inspirational. His knowledge is incredibly deep and incredibly broad and he is incredibly free with it all. He gives it out with no thought to commercial gain.”

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