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"I buy businesses and teach others to buy businesses, because I want everyone to enjoy their lives doing what they love, with whom they love, whenever they choose. 
It's that simple"

"I buy businesses and teach others to buy businesses, because I want everyone to enjoy their lives doing what they love, with whom they love, whenever they choose.
It's that simple"

I'm Guy Bartlett, an entrepreneur, dad, mountain guide and a soldier, and I love everything about buying, owning and selling businesses. It's my number one passion (or perhaps a close second after skiing!) and I love nothing more than passing on my knowledge and experience to others. 

It's important to explain how I came to be here and what qualifies me to guide others through the process of buying businesses. 

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 with large, big brand clients.

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.
 
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.
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.

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!
  • Acquired 10 companies with revenues totalling over £40m. Negotiating on £46m right now.
  • Guided my members through deals now totalling over £100 Million
I've also featured on Jason Manford's 'Money Pit'
So how is this relevant to 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, as you may be.

Because there are more than a few pitfalls in the business acquisition journey, and it's crucially important to have an experienced and supportive team of advisors and experts around you. 

If you're considering going down the same route, choose your guide wisely. 

Business buying has a tainted image due to a handful of less scrupulous individuals who give the whole process a bad name. You've no doubt heard about £1 deals, asset stripping and  businesses left in tatters after the champagne's stopped flowing. 

This is not how I operate. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I've guided our Club members through the process many times and it's not how they operate either. 

So I'd like you to feel reassured that The Business Buyers Club is a community of like-minded, committed business people driven by the simple goal I mentioned at the start - to enjoy life and do what they love. 

I hope this brief biography gives you enough background to understand why I buy businesses and teach others how to grow through acquisition too. 

Here are some of the people I've coached. 

Paul Pearse, Investor and Business Acquirer

If you take for instance, the Glazer family, an American family who purchased Manchester United. I'd heard they hadn't actually incurred any personal risk while doing that and I thought, my God, that's impossible. This is well over a decade ago, and then I came across The Business Buyers Club, where they actually teach you how they did it, and how I could do it.
There’s so much that I get out of the Club: access to legal help, accountancy help, insight into the pitfalls, what to look out for, what is profitable, what isn't profitable, etcetera. And Guy’s a genuine man. He gets a thrill, I think, from what he's doing, and in helping others to do it too.  He's building a very, very impressive network. It's really growing, and I'm happy to be part of it. 

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.”

Carl Doherty, Business Buyer

“Support. That's the biggest thing. I think when you're buying a business or looking to purchase a business, it is a process which is very learnable, but like most things, once you start getting involved with it, there's a lot of nuances there. I wanted that touch point, someone at the end of the phone that I could speak to and just guide me.
For anyone who's contemplating buying and selling businesses, this can take you from zero, to actually purchasing your first company. For sure.
I think Guy is tremendous, he's very humble, very supportive and very professional. He's a friend. I think that the relationship develops very, very quickly and he's there to help and he's genuine."

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."

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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