Cash, crashes and cash flow

For any venture, cash is king.

Run out of cash one day and the venture is dead the next day unless the founders are willing to max out credit cards, fire everyone or (not recommended) trade illegally. Yet many now successful founders have at one time or another run out of cash and still live to tell the tale. It can happen fast (when a customer pulls the plug on you) or slowly (as cash dribbles away awaiting an injection) but it’s horrible when it happens and always traumatic.

I was invited to talk to the London Business School on behalf of the Company of Entrepreneurs about how I managed under-funded start-ups, turned around bankrupt businesses and abseiled cash precipices. The stories I tell are sobering yet essential listening to founders everywhere – to mitigate cash crunches if you can and survive them when they happen. The event includes input from LBS alumnus-founded businesses – Nasi Rwigema MBA2020, Founder of Umwuga, and Dave Smallwood MBA2017, Co-Founder of Roleshare.  Here’s the video of the talk

The event was facilitated by Rick Lowe, Immediate Past Master of the Company of Entrepreneurs, and a significant businessman in his own right. This event was organised by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School together with The Company of Entrepreneurs.

About Rick Lowe: Rick is an accomplished entrepreneur and was Master of the Company of Entrepreneurs in 2020 and director of its Charitable Trust. Founder of several businesses within the licensed fashion and merchandising space, Rick’s companies work with global entertainment properties such as Disney and Warner Bros supplying into high street retail and online worldwide. The latest venture is a tech solution for licensed products to capture the exploding market for personalisation. Rick is currently publishing his first book ‘The Maverick Entrepreneur’ which tells his unique story on his way to business success, whilst sharing all the key learnings along the journey.

About Jeff Skinner: Jeff is Executive Director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at LBS. He teaches on several entrepreneurship courses at the School and leads many of the co-curricular activities supported by the Institute. Prior to joining the School, Jeff was commercial director at University College London (UCL), where he built its Technology Transfer division. Working alongside senior academics, he co-founded more than 30 technology-based spin outs that collectively raised more than £30 million in first round capital.

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