My investments: Melanie Hird, Seneca Investments

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What was your best investment?

Personally – purchasing property in 2001, renovating and selling it. Work wise, acquiring two businesses, carrying out a restructure into one business, investing a lump of capital, turning the business around and selling three years later. We invested in the middle of the recession and saw it through the difficult times.

Do you believe it’s become harder for entrepreneurs to make prudent investments since the crash of 2008?

It depends on the nature of your investments. Certain sectors became difficult – with little movement overall on the property market. A good entrepreneur is able to invest in a booming climate or in recession. It is all about finding the right deal.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are looking to make a major investment?

Do your homework on the opportunity and ask if you can add value or influence in any way. Go with your gut feeling, be comfortable with the risk profile and take into account your overall circumstance. Can you afford to lose the capital you are risking? Be sensible with your approach.

What’s the worst investment you’ve ever made?

Giving a chap £15,000 of my money to invest in spread betting and not doing my research on him.

What lessons did you learn from your worst investment?

Never become complacent even when you think you can afford to take that risk with the money. Do not do things under pressure without first doing your homework.

Which sectors are most likely to offer handsome returns for business investors?

Sectors where you can make a difference or understand enough to make the investment work.

What was the best piece of investment advice you’ve received?

Thoroughly research the opportunity.