4 things to look for in a business growth partner

Momentum has pushed your business beyond startup-phase and you want to capitalise on a growing customer-base, but you’re not sure how to get to the next level – or how to pay for it. Do you boost sales & marketing activity? Do you buy another business? Do you merge with another business? Or do you find a strategic buyer?

Sound familiar?

Any of these phases, as well as many others in your company’s life cycle, will require help from the outside; whether it be in the form of financial backing, leadership to help manage the day-to-day, or a strategic partner to walk alongside you keeping you focused on growth, while delivering tactical results to get you there.

We share our top 4 qualities to look for in a business growth partner if you are ready to take on help to move your business forward.

1. Connectivity
Think about it for a second. You’ve asked for help because you need to break into a new phase of your business life cycle. That may look like a new market development exercise, or an increase in stock production, or an increase in workforce, or building a new territory strategy. And you’ve realised that you cannot do it on your own. So, you recognise that it’s time to ask for help. But just as you would in almost any other scenario, you look to someone who will be able to catapult you (and your business) to where you want it to be. You want them to connect you with opportunity, access, people, places – the things you couldn’t reach just by working by yourself, or rather, the things that would have taken much longer to access than if you were to work with people who already had a foot in that world.

Competition is fierce. In 2017, UK tech scale-ups attracted investment at an all time high of £2.99bn. Sounds wonderful. But it’s not quite what it seems. While 2017 saw more total funding, the number of deals made actually declined from previous years. In fact, 2017 saw a total of 745 deals while 2016 recorded 904 deals – with 990 made in 2015. So although the pot may look big, competition to access that pot is becoming tougher – all the more reason why you need to be working with the right partner to get you as close to that pot as possible.

2. Demonstrable know-how
You wouldn’t ask a baker to build your garden wall, or a butcher to tailor your brand new suit? Just the same, when looking for a partner to help build your business growth, you want to find someone who has demonstrable evidence that they understand your business, your industry, and where you want to be end up. They need to not only understand, but have experience of working in, for and with a business and industry like yours.

Although very often there are cross-over activities that are completely transferable from industry to industry, working with someone that has intrinsic knowledge of the challenges specific to your business, is already a step ahead of someone who would need to take the time to explore that first. Find a partner who understands what it means to start and grow a business themselves.

3. Transparency
There’s not a lot of time in this world. There’s not time to pretend to be something we’re not or do something we don’t know how to do. There’s no time to waste on things that don’t build towards a bigger vision – and there’s certainly no time to waste that costs us money and restricts us from realising the true growth potential of our business.

Which is why you need to find a partner who is open and honest enough to get you to where you need to be, while keeping your interests at the forefront of their strategic objective.

  • You shouldn’t pay for that which you don’t get – so why select a business partner that adds in unnecessary overhead that only costs you money.
  • You shouldn’t work with a partner who not prepared to get stuck into the tactical detail and removing inefficiency and under-productivity from your business.
  • You shouldn’t work with a partner who talks in circles, and pretends to understand your industry, your environment, your vision.
  • Instead, you need to work with a business partner who will help you grow through delivering a transparent, no-nonsense approach to growth, where you pay for what you get – not what you don’t get, and at an affordable cost that supports your business growth.

Find a partner that works on industries they know and have personal experience in.

4. Contrast
We’ve spoken about compatibility – and the importance of finding a partner who understands your world, and has, preferably, personal experience in growing their own business in your world. But what we haven’t spoken about is the importance that contrast plays in a working relationship.

A mentor or growth partner helps you to step outside of your comfort zone. They are meant to challenge you and question your strategic objective with an intention to access risk and ensure it’s fool-proof. You want to choose a business partner who is not identical to you, but brings an understanding of who you are, with the right amount of objectivity to compliment your business goals. You don’t want a best friend, you want a partner that is going to test and assess, gauge and engage. Don’t shy away from a potential partner just because they’re based somewhere different to you, or don’t have the same amount of ‘cool-factor’ as your corporate culture dictates, rather – find someone who compliments your business growth plan and can demonstrate success and strategy to get you to where you need to be. Find a partner who is naturally curious – about you, your industry, your growth plans – and has a good balance of empathy, honesty and practiced communication skills & lateral thinking coupled to extensive skill and experience that can forge a new growth-path for your business.

CFPro works with your business to deliver the best tactical and strategic financial and accounting business support, helping businesses grow faster and further. CFPro offers access to an extensive and diverse collective of skills, expertise and business insight that is woven into a solution. We bring a mix of skills and experience tailored to each business from scale up companies through to listed international groups.

CFPro scales with you with cross-sector and functional expertise ranging from Oil & Gas, Tech and Media through to FMCG, Healthcare, Retail and more. Every director and team member have a vast amount of experience, ranging from being CFO of AIM listed Groups, FD of VC backed high growth companies and Group FC of multinationals resulting in depth and diversity of support.

Interested in finding out more? Contact us today.

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