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Entrepreneurs Panel

Jennie Johnson
Brian Hay
Julie Meyer
Michael Oliver
Richard O'Sullivan
Steve Purdham
Laura Tenison
Debbie Pierce
Jeremy Roberts
Tony Caldeira
David Pollock
Charlie Mullins

Sharing the spoils

David Pollock

Set up Chess in 1993 to take advantage of the deregulation of the utilities market by re selling water, gas and electricity. In 1996 the business began to specialise in telecoms – reselling telecoms services to businesses throughout the UK - and since his first acquisition in 2004 has completed at least 24 more (many of which involved purchases of client bases and assets rather than entire businesses). Highly-focused on his staff, Pollock places the Chess “culture” at the heart of his ambitious expansion plans.

Question: 

A couple of longstanding members of my management team are grumbling that they would like an equity stake in the business. I value them and their contribution but I’m not sure about diluting my current 100 per cent shareholding. What’s your advice?

Answer: 

Isn’t greed one of the seven deadly sins? I think it is important to share the spoils of your business success with your key people – great for motivation, commitment and loyalty.

Equally they must stay the course and be with you when you capitalise on your hard work. With that in mind ask your lawyer to insert wording for good leaver/bad leaver and share valuation formulae within your company articles of association to deal with people who do leave along the journey. It’s important to be fair to your colleagues and remember you can’t grow a business single handed.

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