• Case study: Blake Mill

    Supporting the Ambitious Entrepreneur

Case study:

How BDO is helping UK online retailer Blake Mill scale revenue growth & expand geographically

08 October 2021

 

 

About Blake Mill

Blake Mill is a men’s fashion ecommerce brand based in Manchester. Primarily focused on designing unique and high-quality men’s dress shirts, the business is operated by a small team of talented people and is led by two experienced entrepreneurs.


The business challenge

Blake Mill’s core customers have historically comprised men between the ages of 45 to 65 – looking for high quality business wear or a boldly designed shirt for a night out. The company had targeted revenue growth of 250% in the last fiscal year replicating the previous year’s growth rate. Given the closure of offices and the hospitality industry during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020/21, growing revenues was intensely challenging. The company did however manage to maintain the previous year’s sales level due largely to its dedicated existing customer base.

Looking forward to 2022 and beyond, Blake Mill is now focusing on how to optimise a rapid growth plan taking into account changes in the market resulting from COVID-19, Brexit and a multitude of other inter-related market factors. A key contributor to developing and executing such a plan is a highly capable finance and accounting partner. 

Having switched to BDO’s team from a local accounting firm in 2018, Blake Mill saw first-hand the value associated in working with a multi-faceted, international accounting company. Over the past few years BDO has made massive improvements to Blake Mill’s internal and external reporting. BDO has also been engaged to assist with VAT reconciliations, importing/exporting tax issues, fund raising and international market assessments. 

With all the basics now being properly and professionally managed, Blake Mill’s next challenge is rapid growth. BDO’s Business Services & Outsourcing team is perfectly positioned to help support this objective.

Our Focus

The next 12 months will prove to be critical for Blake Mill, as it has set its sights on achieving the following growth-focused goals:

  • Expanding its product range
  • Establishing a presence in the US and/or Europe (and navigating through all the Brexit red tape)
  • Achieving annual revenue growth of 250%
  • Raising funds to support the company's ambitious growth plans

Blake Mill needs to secure enough funding from the right investor(s) to achieve these goals and overcome the operational business challenges it faces. BDO will support this by providing access to its extensive network of investors and leveraging its experience of helping other small businesses like Blake Mill to find the right funding.  

BDO has been tasked with guiding the company through the process of raising funds – from analysing its business performance data and translating it into a compelling story to vetting investors to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship and advising on how and where to allocate funding within the business. 

Blake Mill are also keen to expand geographically into the US and/or Europe, a plan that had previously been delayed. The company is relying on BDO’s knowledge of tax legislation and impact of trade deals and is confident as a result of the ongoing guidance and direction on all matters related to this expansion. 

Why Blake Mill chose BDO

For many ambitious, entrepreneurial businesses, hiring (and spending money on) an advisory firm can be daunting. Budgets are limited and must be spent wisely. Blake Mill had reached a critical point in its growth trajectory – relying on various consultants or trying to figure it out themselves was simply not a viable option if they wanted to grow their revenue by upwards of 250% year-over-year. The time had come to make the investment in the advice, knowledge and support of experts. 

Once Blake Mill decided they needed help from a more established, trusted advisory firm, they chose BDO for the following reasons:

  • BDO shows a genuine interest and passion for helping ambitious, entrepreneurial businesses achieve strong growth
  • BDO has significant experience in the key area of helping scaleups secure funding for growth plans
  • BDO is a widely recognized and trusted brand which lends credibility to Blake Mill – a vital issue when fund raising

"Our industry is filled with many ambitious, entrepreneurial businesses like ours. It's common for small businesses to use a small, local and cheap accounting firm such as the one we engaged before working with BDO. However, this can severely limit your growth potential.

BDO has been instrumental in getting our finance and accounting house in order over the past several years. They offer a multitude of services and a great deal of specialised expertise that will continue to support our ambitious expansion plans. We feel we are getting excellent value for our money with BDO."

- Ken Price, CEO and Co-Owner, Blake Mill


The Results

Result 1 Result 2 Result 3
Strategic insight into business performance Less errors & greater financial efficiencies Planned geographical expansion

 

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For a fresh perspective on the barriers to growth impacting ambitious, entrepreneurial businesses – and insights into how best to overcome them - download our 'Ambitious Entrepreneur: tackling your barriers to growth' report here.