Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor who has been active for over 20 years. In this time, he has gathered a lot of experience and wisdom which he frequently shares through his social media accounts and published books. In this interview, Mr. Laing talks about entrepreneurship, investing, and writing.
As succinctly as you can put it, who is Callum Laing and what is he all about?
Callum Laing is a passionate entrepreneur and investor who serves as the CEO of MBH, which is a publicly listed company. While I started out as an investor some 10 years ago, I have been an active entrepreneur for 20+ years. In recent years, specifically, 5 years ago, I started helping firms go public in the stock market.
My career as an entrepreneur and investor has seen me serve several corporate entities in various capacities most notably and currently, as an ambassador for Deal Gateway, and World Business Angel Investment Forum’s High Commissioner.
In order to share what I have learned, I started writing books: the first was published in 2016 and the third will be released in February this year (2020).
You mentioned a new book hitting the market next month. What’s this book about?
Yes. My newest title, Entrepreneurial Investing: Connecting Sophisticated Capital with Talented Small Business is a book on investing. It is an attempt to solve a huge problem in the world’s economy particularly in the field of investing.
I found it surprising that though small business accounts for at least half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in developed nations, investors aren’t enthusiastic about putting their money in these businesses. Wall Street/ London City Financiers and institutional investors (referred to as “sophisticated capital” in my book) believe these companies do not qualify. Small businesses are generally considered too risky too and too illiquid.
This fear that money put in these small businesses might be trapped there for a long time or lost forever, has resulted in a huge problem: a gulf between the financial markets and no less than 50% of the world’s economy. It is this problem that this book, and our company, tries to solve.
What is the meaning of “talented small business” as used in your book’s title?
Businesses that are up and running profitably, and have an established client base can be considered “talented”. The media loves to focus on tech startup and the promise of amazing growth and disruption, however, my team and I like to focus on unsexy small businesses that are debt-free, profitable and well run.
What was the one thing that inspired you to write this book?
Having written two books earlier, I knew that a book is one of the simplest and most effective tools I could use to talk to investors directly and share with them the true size of this opportunity. The more investors get involved in this, the more small businesses we can support and jobs we can create. That seemed like a good enough reason to write the book.
You mentioned that this book on entrepreneurial investing is your third book. Does this mean that you are looking at pursuing a career in writing?
No. I am an entrepreneur and an investor that has authored a couple of books. I use writing as a tool of impact, it’s not the end in of itself.
So who should read this book?
Investors, retail or institutions, looking to get ahead in the markets will benefit greatly from this book. It will help them in their quest to beat the market. Most investors can be divided into Growth or Value. The solution I present should appeal to both.
And how would readers get your book?
The book will be available in both text and audio format on Amazon, Kindle, Audible and more.
What was the most challenging part about writing this book?
When what you are writing about is as important and exciting as this topic, it is tempting to want to share everything you know and everything you have learned along the way. The challenge was to step back and drill down into what is the most important thing the reader needs to understand. Summarily, it was challenging to keep things as succinct as possible without underselling the huge opportunity the book reveals.
Having been an entrepreneur for two decades and an investor for about half that time, I assume that you have already figured out how to handle the challenges of the aforementioned domains. On being an author, how did you deal with writer’s block especially while writing this book?
What I found most challenging while writing my last book was structuring it in a way that makes the most sense to my readers. There wasn’t much of writer’s block as I found that by sharing what I knew and was looking for as an investor, the book seamlessly took shape. I’d advise that writers stick to the main reason why they wanted to write a book and focus on delivering as much value as possible.
What do you love the most about being an author who writes about business?
The positive feedback I get. It’s great hearing about people that have benefited from my ideas. This both motivates me to share more and opens the door of more business opportunities for all of us.
I’m certain some readers might want to check you out or follow you. Where can you be reached or followed online?
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