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“Signing a 25-year office lease almost made me bust”

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The year was 1987. Wood’s plan was to sell the lease on at a profit. But his timing couldn’t have been worse. “As the economic climate rapidly deteriorated, the lease became impossible to assign – and I realised I’d made a massive error of judgement.”

“The Scottish author Samuel Smiles once said: ‘It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much oftener succeed through failures.’ I’ve certainly found this to be true in my own career!”

Signing a 25-year office lease wasn’t the only balls up. In 2001, ICM Communications made its first acquisition. The integration process should have been seamless. Instead, it was a nightmare. “There were rifts, upsets and unhappiness and I spent endless, exhausting days trying to align the right people with the right roles," says Woods.

“Looking back, I should have invested sufficient time and resources to make sure the culture and ethos of the acquired company was aligned with our own. I learned that a good ‘fit’ is far more important than a company’s clients and profitability.

“Acquisitions are similar to a marriage,” continues Wood. “They require a fusing of heart, mind and soul. Today I head a team of 16 people and, as we near the £1m turnover mark, we’re once again on the acquisition trail. This time, we’ll make sure it’s the right match for our business.”

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