The Book Club – The Eternal Business – Chris Budd

The Book Club – specially for the ambitious, the curious and the fast-growing, where leaders come to learn from each other.

There was universal praise for The Book Club when we gathered on the 15th January at The Kensington Arms for the first meeting of a new decade.

For the business owner that has spent time and money building up their business and nurturing their employees, the challenge of how to exit is real and often intimidating. The Eternal Business by Chris Budd is a handbook, based on his personal experience, of how to release value, preserve the legacy, and pass control without employees having to raise the finance to do so, by selling the business to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

‘Inspirational conversation,’ said Matt Tipping, owner and founder of Double, who will be exiting via EOT in 2020. ‘A business changing opportunity to share.’

Helen Moloney, Managing Director of All Things Web, described her first Book Club as a ‘Very informative session, timely subject, lots of practical advice.’

Although invented by John Lewis, EOTs in their current form only passed into law in 2014, and there are still fewer than 300 businesses who have passed into employee ownership in this way.

For Chris Budd, attending an Employee Ownership Association meeting was a defining moment in his search for an exit from his business that aligned with his purpose (‘flag’) and values.

He is not alone in seeing the damage being done by capitalism in the way it has evolved since Milton Friedman defined a business’ purpose as maximising returns for the shareholders.

For many business owners, this simply doesn’t feel right anymore.

As Chris asks in his book, ‘Imagine a world where all businesses are employee-owned. How would this affect the economy? How would this affect the planet?...Employee-owned businesses are not like other businesses; they are exciting places to work.’

Employee owned businesses are ‘eternal’ because there is no possibility for the business to be sold to a third party that doesn’t understand it’s values or purpose. Because employees have a say in the running of the business, they are provided with a fulfilling future and the chance of financial security. Rather than a small number of people accumulating value and wealth through the sale of shares and businesses, employees keep the business going and share in ongoing profits.

Rachael Wheatley of BlueGreen Learning said she ‘Really enjoyed it – great discussion, good questions, very thought provoking,’ whilst Paul Netto of Haines Watts thought it was an ‘Informative discussion with a professional outlook in an inclusive environment.’ Andrew Redman of Realise Design said it was a ‘Fantastic book’. Jon Waring of 3Sixty agreed, and added it was great to meet the author.

If you’d like to be part of the conversation at Book Club, go to our Events page to find out what we’re reading next, and click on the link to register.

If you are considering exit through and EOT, get in touch and let us help you come to your decision and plan what you need to do to preserve your legacy and create an ‘eternal business’.

hgkc was born from the realisation that together our combined practical experience and knowledge can offer our clients a broader, deeper and richer experience that will deliver better results faster.