The room seethes with jealousy as Regus boss Mark Dixon announces "We had our most profitable year to date last year. And we have £250m cash in the bank. That’s ours and we’re not spending it. No debts either. That’s how we’re entering this recession."
Dixon is a serial entrepreneur deluxe. He’s experienced booms, busts, AIM listings, acquisitions and consolidations. He believes that its these experiences that make him an entrepreneur.
"My son is studying Chinese," he tells the audience. "I was fascinated to find out that that money, in Chinese, comprises two characters: the first, on its own, means ‘opportunity’, the second means ‘danger’. Those two things combined mean ‘money’."
Fairly apt, wouldn’t you agree?
"As an entrepreneur you have to be prepared for the unexpected all the time," he says. "i’ve ben flying high at £4 per share and dropped to 4p within 6 months. One of my investors lost about £1bn on paper. Not a great experience. But we rolled up our sleeves and sorted it out. Value on paper is not important, value in cash is."
The 2009 Real Business Entrepreneurs’ Summit was held in association with Investec Private Bank.
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