Managing high growth: Top tips from successful business leaders
09 December 2021
Over the past two years we have been talking to business leaders from across the country and from a wide range of sectors to bring you advice and insights that will support your business’ growth objectives.
Below we have collected some of our favourite pieces of advice from tackling the skills shortage, adjusting your business strategy in times of crises, and building a loyal, hardworking team to support your vision.
Skills and people
- “In terms of recruitment, this is where the real value of building a culture within the business comes in. For younger people, I don’t think it’s about how much they will be paid. It’s more, what’s the package? What’s the lifestyle? What’s the culture? They are looking for so much more than just money. As clichéd as it sounds, our culture is so family orientated in regards the. That’s part of what people are looking for – it’s a fulfilment feeling, rather than just getting paid.” Dan Marsden, Lounge Underwear
- “I try not to focus too much on what someone has done before, their education, etc. I use personality testing to find people who are the right fit for Moneypenny. I look for people who are forward-thinking and happy to take risks.
Data is a great tool, so use science and profiling to get a diverse pot of candidates who you know are all brilliant in their own right. It’s so helpful to be able to predict how someone will act in a certain scenario so you can see how they will fit into your organisation.” Joanna Swash, Moneypenny
- “Believe in your people. Empower your people to make decisions and then support them and help them learn if they make the wrong ones. We run all our sites autonomously. The teams on site make the decisions. They determine their own supply chain and the programmes, and they monitor quality. We trust our people. They are fully empowered and that runs through our business.” Eddie McGillycuddy, Glencar Construction
- “It doesn’t matter to me if someone has a degree or not or comes from a different field. I am happy to give them an opportunity and teach them the right skills. I will move people between roles to help them find their passion. Good people are hard to find. If someone good comes along, you keep hold of them.” Jigna Varu, Home-Fresh
- “It’s not just about the job. Employees like to know that the work they’re doing matters, not only to themselves, but also to the greater society at large. We have a strong mission here at Transcend. We’re trying, in our own way, to make the world a better place. We hope our employees buy into that mission as well. We hope that makes it easier to recruit people and retain them. And we’re creating a strong culture of accountability, performance and teamwork within our business.” Justin Bailes, Transcend Packaging
Advice for other business leaders
- “Work hard and don’t stop. Be persistent and consistent and work harder than everyone else. There’s no golden key for how you’re going to crack it. There is something about having an old-school work ethic. And about authenticity – sticking to the values of the business you are trying to build and not getting distracted.” Dan and Melanie Marsden, Lounge Underwear
- “Problems or challenges are never as bad as they seem. There may be someone in your network who has faced those challenges. I have three types of network: my team in the business, my friends and family, and my professional network. Sometimes you need that hard business advice you can only get from someone in your professional network.” Jigna Varu, Home-Fresh
- “The important thing is to believe in your vision. That’s the number one priority. To ask why your business exists. What is the purpose or what is the value of your business? Will our values sustain us as we go through these uncertain periods? It’s about believing in your vision and your value.” Julie Chen, Cheeky Panda
- “When choosing an investor, I would say you need to be able to look them in the eye and know that you trust them. If you don’t have that feeling from the start, you certainly won’t have it in two years’ time.
To companies looking to scale up into M&A, I’d suggest forming a business change team. This team is basically a spare bench of people who are so knowledgeable about the business that you can point them in any direction you want.” Joanna Swash, Moneypenny
- “It’s important as a management team that you find a private equity fund that is aligned with your growth plans for the business, that backs your type of strategy and understands what you’re going through. Otherwise, you’ll have a difficult relationship. The due diligence process should be a two-way street. Who they are? What do their portfolio companies say about them? What have been the challenges in the relationship? What have been the positives?
Lastly, remember that private equity firms need you more than you need them. These firms need the entrepreneur of the medium-sized business, because their job is to put money to work. There’s a tremendous amount of dry powder in the private equity world today. So as an entrepreneur you should shop around. If you have a good company and a good growth story, you will have several firms interested in you. Use that to your advantage to get the best deal. Justin Bailes, Transcend Packaging