I was delighted to take part in a radio show on Sound Art Radio recently, to share music I love, and to talk about my life; from the beginning, through to living in Devon, and currently, the owner of BusinessXchange, along with a few things in between. Here’s a little insight into the interview…
I’m lucky enough to live in Torbay, a short walk from the beach, even though today is a cold and windy November one, yet I rarely make it down there, although the intention is definitely there. However, this is a long way from where I began with lots of stop offs on the way.
Those that know me are aware that I am the owner of BusinessXchange, and I sell businesses. However, if you step back in time with me, I was born in Dunstable and have lived all over the UK and abroad. My first job was a paper round and a few Saturday jobs during my teens.
My first “proper job” was in a timber yard in the office with the other girls back in the 70’s, where I did all things admin, before moving to a job with a start-up Double Glazing company, and I grew with them; I learnt how to expand a business. As this was back in the 70s, it was a pen and paper business and grew by actually talking to people, you got to wear lots of hats and do a bit of everything and I stayed with them for several years.
From there I went travelling and lived in Spain, working in Gibraltar for a haulage company before coming back to the UK. After a spell living in Derby, I moved to Weston-Super-Mare and it was here that my daughter was born. A while later and I moved back to East Anglia and joined a corporate estate agency company, starting my time in property sales which I loved – In fact when I moved down to Devon in 2006 I was a Branch partner and I was given a branch in Plymouth to run and develop the business.
However, in 2008, the housing market crashed and it became a rather depressing sector to work within. Now living in Devon, I left estate agency and opened my own lettings company from nothing; within a couple of years I was managing around 80 properties for various landlords. Thanks to positive word of mouth referrals and recommendations, my business grew and went from strength to strength.
Initially, timing was good as people needed to rent out their properties because they weren’t selling and some people became landlords by default, because they needed to rent out their house, for a variety of reasons, maybe whilst working away. Over the years it became less so and there were more business landlords, who were fairly objective about their properties & the tenants.
How did I do that? How did I leave a secure job and start out on my own? You have to believe in yourself. Sometimes I’d sit in Costa Coffee and just talk to people. There was not much networking back then, though I did join the BNI, but business was about talking to everyone, because everyone knew someone. It’s a huge leap of faith; a lot of people will choose to stay in a job for a steady pay cheque. However, the older I got the more I realised that I had been working for many companies and made them good money, good profits and I could do that for myself. So that is what I did. The lettings agency was my foray into self-employment, business ownership and perhaps entrepreneurship.
I went on to buy a guest house in Torquay and ran it for a few seasons, and in fact selling my lettings agency during this period. The guest house was great, although it wasn’t my passion. It did give me a great insight into this type of business but it wasn’t where my calling lay.
Now with BusinessXchange, I deal with people wanting to sell owner operated businesses or ones with a few staff, often because they are looking to retire. I meet the owners, find out about their businesses, the accounts, and discuss a valuation for the business. We advertise the business nationally, through a variety of portals; Daltons, Buisnessesforsale, Zoopla commercial and my own website www.businessexchange.uk
There are many commercial agents out there but I believe that I am different because I don’t have staff or hundreds of businesses on my books; I simply want to work with a few businesses where I can help them and make a real difference to those business owners. I have worked with and sold several B&B’S; because I have lived that life and worked in that sector, I can be completely honest with the owners and I know the type of buyers that are looking to buy, what their situation is and what business they are looking for.
BusinessXchange is different because I offer a personal touch – it’s on a one to one basis, I know what my client is looking for and their needs. There is no dilution. I deal with the sellers, the communication with buyers, the viewings and, the bit I love the best, the negotiation process. I represent the seller and act for them but do have a duty of care to the buyer.
Clients want the best they can get for their business and rightly so – it is what I want as well, but everything does have a market price. There are lots of people out there and matching the right seller to the right buyer is my job.
I’m lucky to have a bank of associates and business partners I can call on if buyers need funding for the purchase or the sellers need an energy report compiled. Maybe either party needs a commercial solicitor. Having been in the business for some time I know people whom I can trust and working with them makes the overall process easier on everyone.
Thankfully I also work with a fabulous Virtual Assistant who runs many of my administration tasks and marketing – there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do every task. Ally is amazing as she runs the website www.businessxchange.uk and takes care of any changes, posting blogs etc. In fact I have recently started working with another Virtual assistant who takes care of the book-keeping.
The first business I sold was a lovely Hat Shop in Newton Abbot – the people who had been running it wanted to retire and we found a super buyer, who learnt a lot from the previous owners, and took over the business, are still running it now. The previous owners also recommended me to my second client, a Bridal shop in Exeter, and it went on from there. My business has been built on word of mouth and recommendation – a testimonial from a customer can make or break a business and fortunately for mine they have made it.
These business owners have devoted themselves to their businesses and invested so much of their time and energy; they have also made an emotional investment and I want to help them through the selling process. On paper maybe it is just a business transaction, but when you’re dealing with people it is so much more.
This interview on Sound Art Radio was a great experience and is now available in their podcast. If you missed it or you’d like to listen here are the links for Apple and Android:
If you’re considering selling or buying a business do get in contact, I’d love to have a chat, please call Lyn on 0330 043 4351, or email on firstname.lastname@example.org – It will, of course, be in the strictest confidence.
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