Fast growth companies programme stage 2 – Early stage

Where are you now?

You have a viable product or service with real potential and have secured sufficient funding to support product development and kick start your growth. You are focused on market research and refining your product for success in the market place. Your investors have made their decision to invest in the viability of the project based on the strength of your ideas, capabilities, skills and your past history of success. Positioning yourself for the next level of growth and cultivating your network of contacts to take your ideas to market is important.

What are your challenges?

Now that you have received buy in from external investors, you face a new set of challenges with your business. Investors will expect you to deliver on your ideas and you need to demonstrate your ability to bring a product to market. They will require you to provide them with financial reporting and visibility on cash flow. Building a robust financial framework and developing an internal control framework is something that you will need to consider. This will be crucial in managing your growth and ensuring you can deliver appropriate accountability to your new investors.

Many of the companies that are experiencing rapid growth at this stage are on their way to further funding, possibly venture capital. To ensure that you are ready for this, accurate cash flow forecasting and business plans are critical. This is likely to be the key challenge you face as you focus on the market opportunities and meeting potential customers and business partners.

How we can help

For companies in this phase we typically provide focused tax support to ensure that benefits, e.g. UK research and development tax credits, which can deliver an annual cash benefit to businesses, are maximised.

We also continue to mentor such companies and can advise on business planning strategies, developing robust internal reporting and controls and forecasting/budgeting models.

What's on the mind of potential investors in my business

There is no formula to successfully securing funding. Investors look for a range of things when exploring investment opportunities and our research has identified five key areas which companies need to get right or require focus in order to be taken seriously:

  1. Strength of the idea – can you articulate it well, has someone else already thought about it and is doing it better and how will you position yourself in the market as you grow
  2. Business model – have you challenged your own business model assumptions, do they stack up and is the data based on realistic estimates that can be externally benchmarked
  3. Scalability – can scale be achieved and can it be done quickly and on a cross-border basis? If you’re already growing your business, how will you maintain momentum
  4. Management team skill – have you got the right mix of expertise to grow the idea into a commercial operation and importantly, have you got a plan for how that will evolve as the business grows?
  5. Exit strategy – Is this well defined from the outset and is it clear to investors how payback will be achieved?

For further information and help visit: Tech Strategy Board