Guy Tolhurst, managing director of Intelligent Partnership, reveals the components needed to scale a business
You know what you need to do to grow your business successfully. Well, at least that’s what you believe when you’re mapping out your ambitions. But we all know that in reality what looks like a smooth road to success is full of twists and turns.
When you’re on track, you believe you’ve got all the jigsaw pieces in place. Your emotional strength is intact. Just then, you turn the corner and face the steepest hill you’ve ever come across. We naturally like to celebrate all of the success stories – great innovative companies that have scaled to heady heights. They inspire and motivate us all to follow in their tracks. But operating in our own worlds, what we don’t always realise is that nothing is as rosy as it seems.
When it comes to support for businesses scaling up, The Scaleup Institute’s Annual Scaleup Review 2017 found that half of those businesses believe they don’t have the right public and private sector support to help their growth plans. About one-third of scaling companies say they lack the right funding to achieve their growth plans. This needs to be addressed. As business owners, we endeavour to build skilled and diverse teams, however, we often can’t compete with large corporates’ buying power.
The Octopus High Growth Small Business Report 2018 reveals that 60% of these companies believe that skills shortage constrains their growth. As many small businesses have to multi-task, nearly nine in 10 of them say they have a skills shortage, compared to the 17% average for UK companies. To address this, 84% of high-growth small businesses in the Octopus research have funded or arranged training for at least one of their team, dwarfing the UK average.
At Intelligent Partnership we talk to high-potential, fastgrowing business founders and leaders every day as part of our research into promoting positive outcomes in the UK’s SME ecosystem. Founders agree that the driving force in their business is human capital – the motivated, driven teams that make their businesses thrive. Skills are a key part of the human capital equation, but perhaps more important are shared values and cultural alignment. As entrepreneurs, our challenge is to surround ourselves with talented, diverse people who share our vision and desire to make things happen. We can have the best ideas, technology and equal measures of will and determination, but without the support of a great team, your business won’t be able to make it up
and over those steep hills.
Of course, there are many successful businesses that are cash flow funded. Many more need the right type of financial capital, at the optimum stage of their growth, and from investors or financiers
who are truly aligned with their goals, bringing so much more than just money. The UK needs to do more to help businesses gain valuable access to finance and tap into the scarce veins of available
patient capital. We know that well-capitalised and well-supported businesses are more likely to power on to success.
If you’re a business founder who wants to tell your story and in doing so create a better environment for more SMEs to scale, please visit 100stories.co.uk to take part.
This article was originally featured in The Informer. To read the full magazine, please click here.