Episode 244: From £1 to £1 Million: Navigating Business Deals with Jonathan Jay

Season #1

Jonathan Jay's first foray into business transactions dates back to 1999, when he sold a business, and later in 2006, he made his first acquisition. Five years ago, he began imparting his wisdom to others, teaching them the intricacies of business buying.

His outstanding achievement of buying a group of companies from a private equity fund for just £1, only to sell them 11 months later for a staggering £1m+, sparked a surge of interest from aspiring dealmakers. Jonathan decided to answer their call and thus, dealmakers.co.uk was born. Today, it stands as one of the world's premier training companies, dedicated to teaching people how to acquire small businesses without cash or risk.


Jonathan's approach to teaching is commendable - he believes in providing access to quality education for everyone, offering 80% of his educational resources for free through his podcast, YouTube channel, and books.




As we navigate an economic recession brought on by the pandemic, there are ample opportunities for buying businesses as many owners accelerate retirement plans due to economic uncertainty. If you're thinking about buying a business, the current climate might offer you numerous motivated sellers and great deals.


Jonathan has identified key challenges that people often encounter when buying businesses. Understanding these potential pitfalls can significantly enhance your business acquisition success.


  • Don't Skip the Process
    First, it's essential to understand that buying a business is a systematic process - it isn't something you should make up as you go along. Jonathan has a complete business buying system that consists of 21 steps. The common mistake he notices is when people choose not to follow this system, leading to longer transaction times and higher costs. In his words, "The people who don't follow the system always seem to... take longer, cost them more money."

  • Don't Use Your Own Money
    The second mistake that Jonathan sees people make is spending their own money to buy a business. He argues that your "skin in the game" should be the effort and skill you bring to the deal, rather than your hard-earned money or family's money. In his opinion, you should aim to buy a business where you don't risk any of your own cash.

  • Don't Buy a Job
    The third pitfall is buying businesses that are too small - buying yourself a job rather than a business. The argument is that buying a million-dollar business, even as your first one, has its advantages. It will likely have better financials and management and be more stable. Furthermore, a million-dollar business making a 20% profit offers $200,000 per year, which can significantly transform your financial situation.

  • Have Clarity and Focus
    The final point revolves around the importance of having clarity and focus. Jonathan stresses that successful dealmakers know where they're going, what they want to achieve, how they're going to achieve it, and then take big leaps rather than small hops.


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Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator, and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author, and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast. 

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal-Ready Assessment today!