Will Marr is a vfdnet Associate FC. He’s been an associate since 2019 and recently started mentoring under James Shand’s wing to learn ‘real-life’ about options for business exits with a focus to date on Employee Ownership Trusts.
vfdnet are seeing a real interest in EOTs alongside MBOs and where a trade sale isn’t the desired outcome by the business owner.
Will, what fuelled your desire to learn about EOTs?
I have varied experience as Head of Finance for my clients but not deal experience. This was something that professionally and personally I was keen to gain. I could see this being of value to the clients I work with and would enable me to advise them and have meaningful conversations when talking about their options for exiting the business.
How did you learn about EOTs?
Through mentoring, shadowing, workshops and vfdnet associate briefings I have gained invaluable knowledge and first-hand experience of Employee Ownership Trusts.
I was delighted to take James up on his offer of mentoring (as part of my associate membership) because he has a brilliant reputation of managing EOTs and has worked on exit deals for over 30 years. EOTs are growing in popularity. Typically, business owners know about trade sales but not so much about Management Buy Outs and definitely not about Employee Ownership Trusts (sale to employees). I see this adding an important string to my portfolio FD bow.
James has experience of all three exit options (EOTs, MBOs and trade sales) and vfdnet are finding EOTs or a hybrid approach (mix of EOT and MBO) of greater interest to business owners when they start planning their strategy, five years or more ahead of their exit.
vfdnet FDs role within an EOT transaction take on three key roles:
2. The Grand Bargain
3. Project Management
Will, what format did your mentoring take with James?
Through the regular 1-2-1 mentoring with James Shand, shadowing in meetings with clients going through the EOT process and associate guest speakers. Plus, I attended workshops including one around business valuations which is key, often the first step in an EOT or any business exit deal for that matter. I have had the opportunity to go through the process including The Grand Bargain. I’ve realised The Grand Bargain is not simply a case of completing a template and off you go, it involves relationships, individual conversations with all stakeholders to ensure that everyone is represented in the final deal and get a slice of the cake.
Will, what would you say to someone with corporate FD experience?
If you’re working as a CFO, Head of Finance, Finance Director and considering a portfolio career (fractional FD as it’s being known) I would thoroughly recommend you speak to James Shand. He has chalked up years of experience in the range of business exits but he is also generous with his knowledge and desire to extend the expertise he’s gained of EOTS within vfdnet membership.
I’ve been honoured to lead on many trade sales, acquisitions, management buyouts and since 2015 business sales to EOTs. EOTs are growing in popularity but are still relatively new and therefore understanding how best to project manage the sale to employees is in demand. I am sharing this experience through mentoring vfdnet associates so they can lead their own sale to employees through an EOT.
If you’re interested in mentoring with vfdnet to enhance your existing finance skills, to add to your bedrock and learn something new, please book a slot in my diary for a chat. You’ve heard from Will and here’s your opportunity to explore vfdnet and how we work. Even if it’s simply an option you’re considering but not ready to make the move from your full-time job. I’m happy to have a chat.
Together we can explore your queries and concerns and I can tell you more about what being a vfdnet associate would mean to you.