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Privately held businesses take many forms – some are run by families for generations, others by serial entrepreneurs who know they will exit within three years. These are the firms who provide the multitude of professional services every business needs, from architects to accountants, and the private equity houses who have been responsible for identifying and then driving some of the most innovative businesses in the world today.
At Grant Thornton, we recognise that while these businesses may seem very different, they share some common characteristics. Almost without exception they are run by energetic ambitious owners who take a passionate, hands-on approach to the running of their business. At the same time, some of those owners may lack the commercial experience of venturing into foreign markets, of securing external funding or sensing the right time for change within the business. And although privately held businesses can make their decisions away from the glare of scrutiny that listed companies must suffer, they can also be constrained by internal disputes over business strategies and conflicts over succession planning.
The range of services we provide will meet privately held companies’ requirements from audit and tax to corporate finance and succession planning, but we are just as interested in providing services that don’t appear on any list. We believe the sign of a trusted advisor is when we are asked ‘What do you think?’ about every major strategic decision a business makes, when we work alongside management helping them to decide what competitive advantage really looks like, and when we stay advisors to the same business from one generation to the next, as many of our partners do.