In our latest CEO interview, we talk to Arun Mehra, the founder of Samera Business Advisors on setting up his business and expanding out from the healthcare sector into general business finance solutions.
Why did you decide to set up Samera, and what’s been the best part so far?
I started Samera from my dad’s dining table back in 2002. Initially, we started as a firm of Chartered Accountants for the Healthcare sector. Since those early days we have evolved significantly, now offering a full raising finance solution for clients too.
The journey has been extremely enjoyable allowing us as a privately-owned business to implement new ideas rapidly and successfully without any intervention from third parties whilst building a loyal team and following in the sectors we work across.
How about the most challenging?
People make and break a business. The only way you learn this is via taking a risk and hiring people.
Sometimes they are the right one’s other times they are certainly not. Finding the right people that buy into the business vision and support you for the long term has certainly been the biggest challenge and I imagine this will continue to be an issue as we grow.
What’s been the most common mistakes you have seen businesses make over the years? And, what do you think they should be doing to avoid this?
People appear to be in a rush, but patience is key in building a business. Growth comes at the expense of rapidly growing overheads and quite often the growth does not appear despite having high overheads. This is when businesses get into trouble.
Therefore, it’s so important to be prudent and always have a rainy-day fund if things don’t work out as planned – which is more than likely, so knowing the numbers and having sufficient cash flow is so important when the tides turn.
In addition, risk management is such an important thing in business. Having all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea, diversified income streams personally or business wise is so important to ensure you don’t lose your shirt if the environment changes.
Why do you think businesses should consider finance brokers rather than going straight to providers for loans?
Over the last few years banks have reduced their team sizes so in order to raise finance easily, at competitive rates, has become even more difficult for businesses.
A business finance broker can help to give you an overview of the lenders offering business borrowing and highlight features which may be important to your business. Getting the best possible deal on business borrowing is important for any business of any size so getting an overview of the lenders and the rates they offer makes sense.
Through their established relationships with banks they can on behalf of the borrower usually obtain much better terms than going direct to a bank plus offer a whole range of solutions from a variety of lenders.
As banks change, the need for finance brokers will only rise as they help businesses find the best financial solution for them.
What’s your favourite business book? Can you think of any other resources online or otherwise that you think can help businesses manage their money better?
I have enjoyed reading business books since I started out in business. There are many that have influenced my thinking, but one that stands out is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill written all the way back in 1937! It still stands true today. Other books I would recommend are on the Samera website.
Sometimes the best available advice is free, you just have to know where to find it. I am an avid daily reader of Yahoo Finance (Yes Yahoo still exists) and also Google Finance. You can literally find everything you need to know through these sites!