Podcast: Episode 4 - Growing pains and how to avoid them

In this month's podcast, we look at Growing Pains - growing your business and especially moving on from a small tech start up to a much larger business.

Speakers:

 

Speaker: ​Tom Hoskin – Partner & Co Founder of Growth Builders

Focusing on building collaboration between scale-ups and corporates. A qualified accountant, combined with time in management consulting and corporate innovation, Tom has worked internationally to support over 450 scale-ups and many big brands.


Speaker: Phil Guest – CEO and Founder of Revcelerate

I'm Phil Guest. I work with start-up and scale-up businesses that are committed to building structured sales organisations. I do this by deploying a robust framework -- my Revcelerate-POD system -- that I adapt to your specific market and business needs.

Speaker: Matthew Gilmour – Mergers and Acquisitions Manager at BDO

Matt is currently part of BDO's Growth Advisory team, and is experienced in supporting high growth businesses in the technology and media space across Assurance, M&A and Transaction Services. Before setting-up and leading BDO's Growth Programmes, Matt qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC and led their commercial scaling programme in the South East region.


Summary

How does Growth Builders guide venture capital backed tech startups to that next level?

We're looking at companies who are actually selling to corporates, so we're talking about b2b space. And the main aim of the game is to scale that business up. So scale operations, scale sales, partnerships, get access, to see more opportunities, and there's a whole host of things that flow through from actually getting those new opportunities in, to actually delivering them. Normally, those companies will have some private funding  in order to make them grow quicker. But ultimately, the main way to grow is to get new clients and generate new revenue opportunities.

Matthew, companies presumably have to bring in outside help at some point to make this happen. I mean, we all know of people who were brilliant scientists who came up with a concept or a product and not necessarily the best person to grow a business or run or run an HR department or whatever do the accounts. So what do they have to do?

Okay, it's a process about recognising what their needs are. And they can do this through speaking to other businesses, and then network and finding out what they do too. And programmes are a great way to facilitate that, when you've got cohorts of other businesses, which you can bounce ideas off on. And secondly, being able to speak to advisors, and being able to get advice off them around how best to approach those needs, is really helpful.  Because while there's technologists who are great at Technology, they're not necessarily the best people to be scaling and growing the business side and so up to have the right people on board to support that is really key.

Phil, how does your How does your company help these people?

A lot of early stage companies. If you look at the attrition rate for startups, it's very high, particularly in the software space. And one of the challenges that they have is they're often built by engineers and product or subject matter experts and not by salespeople. And as the great Steve Blank has often said, startups don't fail because they've got a product, they fail because they don't have customers or a profitable business model. And really, what we're focused on is how do we improve the chances of success by bringing in a degree of understanding and knowledge about what it takes to get to the next level of taking this brilliant idea and this brilliant product that you've built into something that actually the world is ready to pay fo.r. And that's, that's the tipping point.

So we're typically involved with businesses when they reach about a million pounds of analysed revenue. And they're looking to push on to the next level. And at that point, it's about how do you transition from what is probably quite a flat sales structure or a founder led sales structure to putting in place the first of your structured sales organisations? And who do you need to do that? And then how do you go to market? And how do you find these customers? And that's the work that we do, we increase the chance of success by commercially transforming these businesses, by bringing the knowledge ,the structure and the process. And typically, you wouldn't find people with our experience coming to do that, because it's too high risk, at this point, finding the people that understand how startups grow, and are willing to get their hands dirty and doing it. Very, very hard to get right. But we we like that work. And as you'll tell by some of my previous jobs, getting your hands dirty, get stuck into it. It's an important part of what we do.



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