From a $50m listed entity to $10m and going bust

Nic Haralambous
2 min readMar 15, 2022

Shawn Johal worked in his wife’s growing family business until the tides turned and the listed company went bust. His father-in-law brought together many different businesses under a single group entity and listed the collection of businesses but struggled to find efficiencies required to make a group of this kind profitable.

Generally speaking, when you are building a group of companies you want to create profitable entities that can stand alone or an efficient central entity that can support the smaller group companies through head-office efficiencies. Centralised accounting, hr and other resources mean that the group can support the small collection of businesses and provide the operators of these entities with affordable resources to improve margins and profits.

Shawn and his family were running their lighting business and growing it through acquisitions but a series of events that turned from sunny to cloudy led to the business taking strain and coming under cash flow pressure. A recession, unfortunate timing of a Home Depot order mistake and other variables led to this listed lighting business going under.

Shawn and his brother-in-law decided to buy some of the more promising businesses and relaunch under a new name and with a new zest for profit. This move was not without complexity and struggle as Shawn had to take out loans from a factoring institution (kind of like a loan shark but legal and reputable) at 10–12% interest to help you get out of a hole to get a bank loan.

Shortly after growing, gaining ground, taking out loans and fighting for survival, his ex-employees launched a copy of his business. In this gripping episode of It’s Not Over Shawn talks about his mental health, working with his family, learning from his father-in-law and rebuilding a better business after failure.

This intense story of highs, lows, family responsibility, leadership and resilience kept me hanging on every word as Shawn and I discussed his successful launch and defence of a new entity after an old one died.

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Nic Haralambous

Entrepreneur Coach → 20+ yrs as an entrepreneur → 3x Startup Exits