Yorkshire Post (YP) Q&A with Simon Pollard (SP), which featured in the “My Investments” section, published on 12 June 2015
My investments: Simon Pollard, the CEO of Intouch Advance, the business telecoms provider based in Saltaire West Yorkshire
YP: Are wise investors born or made?
SP: You can learn many of the intricacies of investing throughout your life, but I believe investors are born with a level of natural acumen. What is important is to use that innate acumen and learn from your mistakes in order to make you a better and more rounded investor.
YP: Do you believe it’s become harder for entrepreneurs to make prudent investments since the crash of 2008?
No, I don’t think so at all. Sure, the crash has created a lot of uncertainties for many people, but the ones who have moved forward are the ones who have continued to invest – a deal is a deal, you can still make good investments during recessions. The people who follow their hearts and have the courage to press on continue to succeed.
YP: What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are looking to make a major investment?
SP: Follow your heart. If you have money to invest and have the appetite to set up a business without major investors involved, do it. Just think differently. If you rely on other people’s money, you’ll have a watered down investment. Steer away from VC investment if you can. They will start to control the decisions you make and ‘your’ business will start to be led by them, rather than by you.
YP: What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?
SP: Getting involved in a £5m property development project in York by investing about £700k and allowing a third party to manage my portfolio, so I was one step removed from what was going on. It was my biggest financial mistake as I had no control of my money once it was in the system.
Apart from that, just don’t get me started on cars!
YP: What lessons did you learn from your worst investment?
SP: The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence and becoming involved in something which you don’t really know much about is not always a good thing. Above all, don’t let your own core business suffer by being distracted.
YP: Which sectors are most likely to offer handsome returns for business investors?
SP: Firstly, stick with the sectors you know. If there’s something you’ve already created that’s a success, re-invest in that self-same business and use it to good effect. Also, the telecoms sector is almost recession-proof. It’s technology-driven and will always be evolving and impacting peoples’ everyday lives. There’s no ceiling to this sector. Housing is also a great place to invest. Bricks and mortar is a cyclical sector and proven to continue that way for many years.
YP: Are there any sectors you feel should be avoided?
SP: The equity market is something I’d be a bit nervous of right now; it’s cyclical and since 2008 it has crashed, but it’s now risen back to a level where we could see further problems depending on who gets into government.
YP: What was the best piece of investment advice you’ve received?
SP: My late dad always said that making money is easy but keeping hold of it is the most difficult thing.
When you’re winning you have to be careful and selective of the risks you take.