16:12 – Friday 08 May 2015
What was your best investment?
I bought a personalised number plate about 20 years ago. Not only has its value risen nicely, it also means that I am never tempted to buy a new car just for the new registration!
Are wise investors born or made?
Definitely made. I think good investment decisions stem from experience and trial and error.
Do you believe it’s become harder for entrepreneurs to make prudent investments since the crash of 2008?
The way that businesses raise cash has changed massively in the last 10 years. No longer is the bank the major source of capital. This has created new ways for entrepreneurs to invest in, and seek investment from, a wide range of sources. There is information that entrepreneurs can use to inform their thinking but often it comes down to luck.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are looking to make a major investment?
The world is speeding up and everything happens faster, so make sure that the major investment doesn’t make you vulnerable. Will it tie you down and make it difficult for you to react to unforeseen events or new opportunities? All investment decisions are inherently risky and the important thing is to do your homework. But the key factor is ensuring that you have an exit route so you can realise your investment and (hopefully) the profit it has generated.
What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?
I invested in, and ran, a textiles business in my twenties. It needed too much investment, in a mature and struggling industry, and wasn’t able to innovate quickly enough. Needless to say, I lost my investment.
What lessons did you learn from your worst investment?
Avoid getting involved in enterprises which need heavy capital investment and do not provide new or innovative products or services.