Jeremy Middleton


By Jeremy Middleton, of Middleton Enterprises
Growth and development of businesses, particularly smaller ones, is being stifled by a lack of availability of funding from banks.
Therefore, in the current climate, entrepreneurs are having to look at alternative sources of finance to support their business targets and goals.
One avenue which owners of SMEs can consider is to seek out “Business Angel” investment.
This can prove an ideal solution for ambitious companies looking to grow their operations.
Another benefit of going down the Business Angel route is that the company also secures the experience and expertise of a seasoned investor, who may also have knowledge of running a business themselves.
There are generally two types of Business Angel – those who want to invest, watch their financial stake grow, then sell and make a profit as quickly as possible.
Or there are others, like me, for whom the reasons go beyond pure monetary return. This type of angel investor wants to invest in businesses for the long haul and have the satisfaction of seeing them develop and become larger sustainable businesses.
A hands-on strategic approach by a Business Angel can pay dividends for a company.
For example, I invested in D-Line, a company that makes decorative trunking. It became apparent that the company was struggling due to confusion over which market to sell into.
We realised that selling exclusively to trade through trade outlets was the wrong strategy. Therefore, it was decided to target DIY outlets. We managed to get it into B&Q and we made it profitable. Now D-line turns over £2 million and is expanding into Europe and the US.
The personalities of those running a business may also play a part in a business angel deciding to invest.
A company allying itself with Business Angel can lead to the creation of jobs and substantial growth.
However, as with most financial transactions there is a risk attached. A Business Angel who chooses wisely can make money and help a business prosper and thrive, but there are occasions when, in spite of how hard both parties work, that the proposition can fail due to unexpected market forces or even sheer bad luck.
There are different ways that businesses owners can find a Business Angel:
• Through their networking system – which is why it is crucial that business owners forge links with trade and business organisations and attend trade fairs and other business events.
• Being referred by someone who has already worked with the Business Angel, such as accountants, lawyers or business associates.
• Surfing the web. Some Business Angels registered their details on sites that can also match a business up to a potential investor.
• Or you can join a Business Angel network, of which there are many around the country.

Making contact is just the starting point. It is then up to both parties to do the necessary due diligence checks to ensure that a relationship between that particular company and that particular investor has the substance and ability to work.

CONTACT: Helen Logan on 01325 363436

Notes to Editors:
Middleton Enterprises Ltd is a private investment company that has made a substantial contribution to the North East’s economy by investing in and providing business advice to entrepreneurial businesses.
During recent years, it has supported seven North East businesses, generally from start-up, usually taking a minority stake and offering strategic advice to support growth.
Jeremy Middleton was one of the founders of HomeServe plc in 1990, which represents the company’s core investment. A FTSE200 support services company, HomeServe has a market capitalisation in excess of £1.5bn.



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