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Selling Your Business? – Some advice from someone who’s been there … by David Noble

I sold my insurance broking business in 2009 when my partner decided it was time to exit. Having no previous experience and very little knowledge in this area I was grateful to the Academy for Chief Executives (ACE) for the support and advice I received throughout the process.

From my own experience these are my top tips on selling:-

David Noble

David Noble - MD - Hospitality & Travel

  1. Devil is in the detail – make sure you understand every word of the contract. Don’t be embarrassed to question anything that you don’t understand. It will save you money.
  2. Your team – my business was relatively small (25 staff) and the sale process took over 12 months. Towards the end I was working on due diligence 24/7 and had no time to work in the business. I benefited from a strong management team behind me who effectively ran the business in my absence. I got their buy in, involved them from the start of the process and rewarded them with bonuses at the end.
  3. Find the right suitor – I appreciate that this always isn’t possible but it is important to find the right company to sell to. I had the choice of three and didn’t choose the one with the deepest pockets but the one that represented the nearest cultural fit to my company. This made the integration easier and helped retain key staff.

Almost two years on I’m now a share holder of the new company and have been made a main board director. All key staff remain with the firm and many have been promoted to senior positions. If I could have painted a picture at the start it would have looked something like this.

The success of the project was undoubtedly down to the team assembled (staff, ACE, professional advisors) and I will continue investing heavily in this area for the remainder of my career.


Managing Director of Hospitality & Travel

David started his insurance career in 1989 at Landau Manson and progressed through the ranks eventually becoming Managing Director in 2006. He has extensive knowledge of the hospitality sector and was integral in the purchase of the Gauntlet brand from Groupama in 2001. This now insures over 750 hotels and is considered the market leader in this area. David is also a champion of risk management and helped Landau Manson set up its own division in 2007

In 2008 David sought investment to enable Landau Manson to continue on its rapid path of growth and was delighted to complete a merger with James Hallam in July 2009.

David now heads up the hospitality and travel division of James Hallam where he also has responsibility for the specialist travel broker Arnold Fisher. He remains committed to risk management and is a director of the group’s specialist service company in this area, 4Sight.

An important part of David’s development has been his involvement with the Academy of Chief Executives. He joined in 2006 and hasn’t looked back since. The Academy encourages inspirational leadership and people development.

David lives in Hertfordshire and is married with two boys and two dogs. He has a passion for art and is a keen sports fan.

The Academy for Chief Executives is a leading organisation, focused specifically on developing CEO’s and MD’s by helping them to expand their businesses whilst also supporting their individual growth as leaders.  Find out more at

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