Ben Smith, Founder, PRmoment.com
Welcome to this week’s PRmoment Podcast.
On the show this week we’ve gone back to our roots and, honestly these are my favourite shows, we’re going back to our life stories theme.
On the show is Martin Bostock, co-founder of Nelson Bostock and later Fever PR.
Martin retired from PR in 2015 but I’ve always wanted to get him on the show because his is such an interesting story, which I’ve no doubt will resonate with many of our listeners today.
Martin co-founded Nelson Bostock in 1987 with Roger Nelson and sold it in 2003 to Creston for £6.2 million when the turnover was around £5 million.
Martin left Nelson Bostock in 2015 when the turnover was £11.3m. So he stayed long beyond his three and a half year earn-out.
And today we’re going to talk through that cycle of growth, the sale and the earn-out stage, alongside, no doubt, a bunch of other tangents that Martin will take us down!
Before we start we’ve got some amazingly insightful webinars coming up. Do check out the homepage of PRmoment.com for the following sessions:
And thanks so much to the PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.
Here’s a summary of what Martin and PRmoment founder Ben Smith discussed:
2.30 mins Martin and Ben agree that life gets serious at 30!
3.30 mins Martin tells us why he and his bandmates turned down a record deal - and ended up regretting it!
6 mins Martin tells us how he first met Roger Nelson at a bar on Fleet Street.
7 mins In his youth, Martin describes himself as a “left-wing firebrand socialist.” Has that changed?
9.30 mins Martin describes how Nelson Bostock started as “a bit of a punt.”
11 mins Martin describes how Roger and Martin both put their houses on the line when launching Nelson Bostock - a decision he describes as “insane.”
13 mins Martin talks us through the growth phase of Nelson Bostock pre-sale.
14 mins Why winning Toshiba as a client was transformational for Nelson Bostock.
15 mins “You need a bit of luck in life.”
16 mins Martin talks us through how he and Roger sold Nelson Bostock.
19 mins Martin says: “We never dreamed that we’d have anything anyone wanted to buy. For us, it felt miraculous…we never thought it would happen.”
20 mins Martin reveals what it was that made Nelson Bostock attractive to the big PR groups who, at the time, were “years behind.”
22 mins Why do PR firms come out of tough financial times pretty well?
23 mins Martin tells us how one morning when he first received a letter from the chief exec of Creston asking if he’d like to sell Nelson Bostock, he threw the letter in the bin! Only to get it out of the bin that lunchtime!
24 mins Why Martin and Roger turned down Creston’s first offer.
25 mins Why Martin and Roger gave away over 30% of the business to key employees, before they sold it to Creston.
30 mins Most founders leave at the end of their earn-out but Martin stayed for the best part of a decade, despite the fact that he’d made decent money from the sale. Why?
33 mins Martin on leaving Nelson Bostock: “It’s difficult to let go of something that’s been part of your life for so long...For me, it would have been awful if I had left one Friday night and never gone back.”
36 mins Martin tells us why he’s now become a magistrate!
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