Revelations from London Tech Week showed that the ‘UK tech sector has produced one unicorn each month over the past year’. With the UK creating more $1 billion dollar valued firms than any other country – except the US and China. This is brilliant and reassuring that the UK is right place to be for a growing business. Now, this is just one of the many good news stories that have been circulating over the last few months. However, with the positive news about the abundance of investment– it’s even more important for business owners to differentiate themselves, to make sure that you attract the right outcome for your business and secure your own ‘good news’ story.
How can I stand out?
1. What’s your strategy?
Firstly, you need to have a defined strategy, while still allowing for flexibility. What do you want for your business? Do you want to grow fast, or do you want slow and steady growth? There are no wrong answers here, but you need to know what your goals are. Once you know your strategy and goals, write in down in a short document and keep it at the forefront of all your decision making. Having a clear strategy will make it a lot easier for advisors to guide you on the best route to take to achieve your goal - whether it be a merger, acquisition, fundraising or disposal.
2. Have clear and transparent financial records of your business
We understand and so will potential investors that a lot of start-up and scaling businesses do not have fully formed finance teams. However, having credible data on the financials of your business is really important.
You need to be able to prove the value of your business, through showing solid revenue streams, good profits, KPIs and positive forecasting. If you don’t have this yet, it’s not too late to start on this now.
3. Make sure your leadership is strong
Ultimately, investment is a people business. People will pick businesses to work with where they can see the strong leadership and right skillset. First impressions last, so if you’re out and about meeting with potential investors and those that can help you achieve your goals, you need to be the best ambassador for your business. This means being ready to effectively communicate the purpose of your business, the value of your offering and the potential. Are you currently able to fill investors with confidence that your business is a gem, with lots of future potential? If you’re not sure the best way to do this, start with planning. Have your strategy, goals, KPIs and forecasting all in one place.
4. Be prepared to review your strategy and adapt it
Having a strategy is key but it needs to be flexible and responsive to what’s going on in the market or it could lead to the downfall of your business. If we look at the retail industry many businesses have collapsed and the near recent fall of the Arcadia Empire, has shown that traditional high street retailers can be slow to adapt to the changing pace of the high street and the impact of technology on consumer behaviour. How often do you look at the market and review your strategy?
5. Network and research
As well as having your business in order, another great way to differentiate yourself is to be ahead of the game. So how do you do this? Network and research! Meet with other scaling and ‘unicorn’ business leaders, learn about their experiences; what’s went well and what hasn’t gone to plan.
Also, go where the people you need to connect with go and find out how you can engage with them. Lastly, do your research. There are tons of good news stories in the press and also stories about failures; research into the reasons behind why different businesses have succeeded and failed – this will help you learn from the mistakes of others and be ahead of the game.
These are just some initial pointers for you to think about to begin your journey of reaching your next goal. As always, Buzzacott are here to help you if you have any questions about investment and the next move for your business. If you’d like a free initial consultation please get in touch with myself, below.
More on this topic:
• Top 10 tips for setting up a successful business
• How can I better position my business for the next step?
• Knowing your worth: A mergers and acquisitions guide
• Successfully scaling: The art of growing successfully.