Dale Robinson of Lion Track hire, a Fast Track 100 company , says his company was driven by “gut instinct and belief “ and had a clear vision from the outset that the wanted to use their experience to design and deliver the best product on the market .Both directors have invested personally , and in total £45m has been invested in stock. They have been able to recruit and invest in staff, many of whom were unskilled and unemployed previously.
Another common thread in successful companies is their ability to tap into changing customer behaviour, and so insulate themselves in a niche market. For example Metcalfes Food Company offer healthy alternative snacks, and pride themselves on being first to market with new products, with a diversified range. Their MD says that although good fortune may be a factor, calculated risk taking is also a factor.
He explains that the company only invest in a new product when they have trialled every aspect of it, but when they are convinced the product is a game changer, then they invest to roll it out.
So what can we learn from these successful Fast Track 100 companies?
There are several points we can take from these companies and their success stories.
Richard Branson says that a great business person has an ability to see an opportunity where others see problems, and they have the ability to creatively solve problems and buck trends, which takes great team spirit and builds camaraderie. They enjoy a challenge and are flexible enough to adapt and develop their business strategy to the circumstances around them.
Stephen Welton notes that there are many benefits achieved by using growth capital, such as funding purchases for expansion, attracting top people, taking away the financial pressure on the management.
Stuart Lisle of BDO notes the importance of investment in enabling start-up companies to think and act like a large business, investing in software and systems that will accommodate expansion.
Richard Phelps notes that the Fast Track 100 companies tend to;-
- Have management experience
- Offer a broad range of products
- Have access to finance.
- Show a strong balance sheet,
- Have support from shareholders
- Have a good relationship with their bank
He also notes that;-
- Just over half have expanded overseas.
- A quarter are manufacturing companies.
- Half of the companies operate in the service sector
- A third have grown after receiving funding
So one of the key factors appears to be a scalable model and the ability to achieve high growth. Companies also need to be free to achieve their potential, and have a catalyst for growth such as outside advice or investment. Strategy is clearly important
Luck plays a part, but so does calculated risk taking. If you are fortunate enough to be in the right time at the right place, and dealt a good hand, you still must play your hand carefully or you will lose the game.