Insights with our Advisors: Steve Curtis, Chairman of Chem-Dry

Good financial advice is essential to running a successful business and Chem-Dry works in close partnership with Surrey accountancy firm, RJP LLP.

RJP’s Audit Partner Simon Paterson recently interviewed Steve Curtis, Chem-Dry’s Chairman, to get his views on sources of inspiration and what he thinks are the most important aspects of financial management. Here’s what they discussed

Where do you get your business inspiration?

Steve: I have worked with many thousands of different people during my career. I’ve always taken from the people I work with - and observed how not to operate from others I don’t admire.

I get a big kick every time I take a business that is in poor shape and turn it around. It is truly inspiring to watch something that has been under performing start to work really well. For me, it is all about watching something grow and adding value.

What are your ambitions?

Steve: I want to continue finding opportunities to fix and build businesses. My ambition is to carry on creating value and jobs, by finding turnaround opportunities and generating financial returns for all stakeholders.

If you had to give a business owner three nuggets of advice for running their business, what would they be?

Ensure you have good financial management

Steve: The most important part of running a business is managing the cash situation. A lot of the businesses I become involved with are potentially very sound but have run out of cash, which leads them into all kinds of difficulties. Whenever I go into a new business, the first thing I do is to recruit a good quality CFO, to ensure we carefully manage the cash situation.

Be disciplined on compliance

Steve: I’ve worked in many regulated environments and my rule of thumb is very simple. Compliance is binary – you either do it or you don’t. There is no option but to comply and the best approach is to embrace it. By falling foul of compliance or legal regulations, a business can collapse. Devote an appropriate amount of time to it or face the consequences.

Invest in tax advice

Steve: A good tax adviser can save you time, money and stress; and suggest a range of tax relief opportunities. I always implement some sort of share option scheme in my businesses, such as EMI, as they are both tax efficient and an excellent way to build loyalty with the management team. Find out more about tax efficient share schemes.

A highly experienced Chairman and CEO in private equity, Steve Curtis has a proven track record in building and developing teams to restructure, grow and subsequently exit businesses. In his current role as Chairman of Chem-Dry, Steve has worked with the company’s management from day one, to implement a restructuring and accelerated growth programme. His past business transformation experience includes, Tie Rack, Rolling Luggage, Summit Media, Hotelcare, Independent Group and Morses Club.

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