March 15, 2017
Set your corporate values: A rewarding experience for every business
A former client of mine, Julia Langkraehr, is a recognised and highly successful entrepreneur. I had the pleasure of advising her on the sale of her business almost fifteen years ago and was aware that she had launched a very successful post-exit career advising management teams of SMEs. Julia helped us, some months back set our Corporate Values. It was part of a more extensive work programme that she was working with us on.
Julia had, for some while, been telling me about the importance of establishing Corporate Values. Being honest, it was something I had always seen as ‘American MBA speak’. I had certainly dismissed the value that any such exercise would add to our team here at Bluebox and as part of the preparatory work I did no more than Google the corporate values of John Lewis, PwC and McKinsey to see what their strategy people were saying. I, in my capacity as CEO, would impress the team with some good suggestions … or so I thought.
Our ‘value setting’ session had been planned and I thought that about an hour should do the trick. 30 minutes to agree the values and 30 minutes to document them. I was wrong. Very wrong.
I shan’t say how we did it, but four hours after the session started, our senior team was still deliberating the appropriate Corporate Values for Bluebox. The way we went about selecting our Values was rigorous, but it ensured that the ultimate Values we chose reflected the sincere thoughts of those at the heart of our team.
Our Values say how we want to serve our clients and how we want to recruit staff. How we differentiate ourselves and how what practices we want to avoid. It is amazing that the Values we have set permeate almost every aspect of the way we run the business from both an internal and an external perspective. Setting Corporate Values was a rewarding experience that I would highly recommend to others.
As a final part of the exercise, in my capacity as CEO, I had to deliver the ‘Values Speech’. A speech lasting no more than 2 minutes that says to partners, the team, our clients and any other stakeholders who care to listen, what we are about as a business. My Values Speech is set out below and I hope that it brings inspiration to others to do the same:
Bluebox Corporate Finance – Our Corporate Values
Value 1: Look Smart, Work Smart, Advise Smart.
Smart means many things, but our first value is applied in three different contexts.
Working smart, or, in other words ‘efficiently’, is critical to both our personal and business performance. We aim not to become busy fools, instead focusing on the things that matter.
Looking smart does what it says on the tin. We operate in a people business. We understand that first impressions count and being ‘turned out’ properly for both our clients and our colleagues sets the right standard.
Advising smart is, of course, at the heart of our business. We offer the highest possible level of professional advice that sets us apart in the market from others that may, and often do, speak before they think.
Value 2: Honest and Reliable
Honesty is a prerequisite for our business. We need to be straight with both clients and colleagues at all times and not be afraid of saying certain things, within reason, that they may not wish to hear. Using emotional intelligence as to how to share difficult thoughts is key.
Reliability is a given. We are reliable for both internal and external facing situations and ensure that we do everything we can not to let our clients or colleagues down in this regard.
Value 3: Personable, team players and fun
We operate in a service industry and we need be personable. We are easy to engage with as people, ensuring that no one is left feeling left out. Social skills are a must.
Team play is a key ingredient to our success. We all have different yet complimentary skills and harnessing the potential of our team is far more valuable than using the skills of any one player. We make use of team resource and skills and have fun doing it.
Value 4: Ambitious with the Will to Win
Ambition is at the heart our business and the people that operate within it. We have an ambition to serve our clients and gain recognition for their successes. There will be ups and downs, but ambition is a constant throughout.
A will to win is critical. We do not want to finish second. Individually, and as a business, we aim to win and win big in all the tasks, big or small, that we undertake.
Setting Corporate Values has been a valuable exercise. I would encourage others to do the same at a time where holding a steady ship, with Brexit negotiations and other challenges around the corner, is likely to be critical to business success.
“We were delighted with the services that Bluebox offered us. Bluebox’s attention to detail through their Diamond Programme ensured that we were well prepared for when the business was taken to market and that the sale process itself was managed expertly.
We challenged Bluebox with finding the right strategic buyer and thereafter negotiating a deal that met our requirements. In helping initially to identify and to secure the deal with Mountville Mills they accomplished just that. Communication throughout was excellent and professional, managing each stage of the process. I would have no hesitation in recommending Bluebox to any corporate shareholder or private business owner looking to divest their business.”
Richard Millward, Former Client
“We were delighted with the services that Bluebox offered us. Bluebox were challenged with finding us the right strategic investor and, thereafter, negotiating a deal that met our complex requirements. In identifying and securing the deal with LGC they have done exactly that. The process itself was efficient and smooth, largely due to the excellent communication from the Bluebox team, who also demonstrated excellent experience at managing a very engaging auction process. I would be delighted to recommend Bluebox to any corporate shareholder or private business owner looking to divest a business.”
Helen Dickinson, Former Client
It has been a real privilege working with the team at Bluebox over this last year or so. Bluebox’s attention to detail ensured that we were well prepared for when the business was taken to market and the sale process itself was managed expertly. Starting the process, I had no idea exactly what this would entail and the volume of work that has been produced by everyone and the result reached today is nothing short of brilliant.
Hugh Morris, Former Client
We are delighted with the services that Bluebox was able to offer. They showed an intimate knowledge of a deal cycle, managed a tight auction process and were highly communicative from the start. I would happily recommend Paul and his team to business owners contemplating a sale of their business in the next 24 months. Experience is key and this has paid off for us.
Laurence Seward, Former Client
Aligning ourselves early with Bluebox, and entrusting the team to guide us through their process proved to be a highly rewarding investment from all viewpoints. Bluebox’s support significantly enhanced both the value of our business and its ‘saleability’. I would highly recommend Bluebox to business owners contemplating an exit in the next two years. The earlier the engagement the better so far as I am concerned.
Mike Minett, Former Client
We began working with Bluebox in early 2015 through their Blue Diamond Programme, as we were contemplating an exit. We found that the process focussed our minds on the key areas of growth in the business, and prepared us well for the inevitable rigours of due diligence. During the sale process itself, the advice offered by the Bluebox team was invaluable. We found them to be helpful, straightforward and honest.
David Stokes, Former Client
When selecting our adviser, it was extremely important that they had access to international buyers and were experienced in cross-border M&A. The team at Bluebox proved to be invaluable by identifying a strategic acquirer from America who was not known to us and by negotiating an excellent deal for all parties. I was also impressed with the process management from Bluebox, which ensured that the deal was closed in a timely fashion.
Jeff Weinstein, Former Client
When I first engaged with Bluebox, I was hesitant as to the benefits of using an advisor to firstly, find a buyer for my business and secondly, to get a deal over the line. However, now that the deal has completed with KPM, I can honestly say that the finer negotiation points handled by Bluebox and their overall management of this process has been nothing short of first class. I would be delighted to recommend Bluebox’s services to any entrepreneur contemplating the sale of their business.
Bill Ballard, Former Client
Bluebox worked closely with us over the following six months and helped us to implement some key initiatives which made InferMed a more attractive acquisition target. Once we decided to sell the business, the Bluebox team were very diligent in ensuring that no stone was left unturned. They negotiated expertly on our behalf to ensure we got the best deal possible.
Alan Montgomery, Former Client
The pre-sale planning programme that we signed up for with Bluebox made us develop our strategies and focus on the bigger picture. It proved to be a very rewarding investment from all viewpoints and significantly enhanced both the value of our business and its ‘saleability’. I would highly recommend Bluebox to business owners contemplating an exit in the next two years.
Nigel Parsons, Former Client
I have experienced first hand the value that can be created through highly structured pre-sale planning. It amazes me that it is not something that everyone does. It is so disappointing to see around 90% of transactions collapse before they complete and pre-sale planning will not only enhance your price, but also significantly enhance your chance of a closed deal.
James Caan, Investor
We worked incredibly closely with our advisers who provided expert knowledge of the sale process with which we were not familiar. We were truly delighted with the results.
Marten Nielson, Former Client
We appointed advisers to manage the sales process after we had received a number of unsolicited approaches for the business. I was incredibly impressed by the immense value that could be created by expertly negotiating with a group of already interested parties.
Paul Duckworth, Former Client
I was delighted with the service that the team offered and their real attention to detail. The deal was not without its complexities and it was reassuring to have such experienced advisers assisting me throughout the negotiations.
Peter Bennett, Former Client
Truly delighted with the way my sale process was managed. The fact that the team I worked with achieved such a great multiple is testament to their experience and their ability to create some true competitive tension.
James Averdieck, Gü, Former Client
The team at Bluebox provided invaluable support in negotiating this complex transaction. Their access to international purchasers, and exceptional knowledge of cross border M&A ensured that the deal was concluded efficiently, achieving a highly successful outcome for us all.
Jon Parslow, Former Client
“We selected Bluebox after a fairly long round of evaluating potential advisors because of their scientific, yet challenging approach to maximising value. During our initial meetings they showed us how far short of “ready” we were and consequently we completed more preparation in the early stages which meant we were equipped for what was to come. We were delighted with our choice of Corporate Finance partner. I do not hesitate in recommending Bluebox for any SME to consider.”
Simon English, Former Client
Bluebox provided invaluable advice in managing the negotiations with incoming investors. Their skills in handling these discussions were evident from the outset and the vital interface that they provided between the incumbent team and the incoming investors was truly beneficial.
Henry Braham, Former Client
Bluebox have a professional, dynamic and experienced team that is greatly assisting me with my focus on my exit within the next 24 months. Their structured approach is very refreshing and their ‘Blue Diamond’ programme is adding immense value.
Matt Evans, Former Client
The team at Bluebox provided me with a seamless service from the start of the engagement until our deal was completed. Attention to detail was commendable and their understanding of corporate M&A very impressive. I could not recommend them highly enough.
Victor Lewis, Former client
Having tried to sell my business previously – and failed – I was only too aware of the importance of pre-sale planning. This is a talented team offering a service that most people find out about, but too late.
Simon Hulme, Former Client
Bluebox are a quality outfit. Their access to International acquirers and relationships with the highest quality domestic investors was impressive. My shareholders and I received excellent service from start to finish and it was refreshing to be dealing with a senior team throughout the sale exercise.
Michael Clapper, Former Client
I cannot recommend the team at Bluebox highly enough. Their expert guidance throughout the entire sale exercise resulted in my shareholders securing an excellent deal with which the entire team was delighted.
Mark Rodol, Former Client
I’m really pleased with the service Bluebox provided. The team demonstrated excellent knowledge of the process to follow and led negotiations for the hospital in a way that allowed us to ensure we received appropriate value whilst focusing on reputational risk. Communication and service were of a very high standard.
Steven Davies, Former Client
With Bluebox’s expert advice we were able to find the right buyer that will benefit our business strategically. We’re delighted with the outcome and look forward to starting our new chapter
Clive Hillier, Former Client
The advice offered by the Bluebox team throughout the process was invaluable to the shareholders. We strongly believe that participating in Bluebox’s pre-sale planning programme was a significant driver behind the success of the deal. Their project management and negotiation skills throughout the sale process itself resulted in an exceptional deal being delivered to all parties involved.
Harpal Singh, Former Client