Stepping Out NOW            October 2013
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Are you ready…

... Soon, many spin-outs will hit a moment of truth: the day when that first 'starter contract' comes to an end.
For many it will be champagne and tears as the competition is successfully batted back.  This will reflect three years of hard-yards: growing new business, driving down legacy costs, creating a new culture, delivering better, cheaper services than possible inside the public sector.

For others, there will only be tears as a contract is lost and the enterprise is left with very little.  By and large, these organisations will be those that have sat back, not really changed that much and certainly not grown much beyond their starter contracts. 

The two vital factors here are business improvement and business growth.  It is the latter that we are focusing on at 'Serious About Growth' on 8th November at Nesta.

This event will draw learning not only from the phenomenal growth stories of the social sector but also the private sector too.  If you seek to grow your business this is the place to be. 

Serious About Growth will also be the name of our new publication about how to grow a spin-out business for which a free copy will be given to all delegates.

We have a small handful of places left. So if you are serious about growth, do join us by contacting Rosie West at
On the sofa…

...our monthly showcase of the members of the Stepping Out Network.
John Shaw, Managing Director or Chiltern Rangers CIC, talks trees and dreams of more>>

Ask the Expert

This month we provide the answer to... “ICRF: What does ‘contract readiness’ actually mean?”

In short – making sure your organisation is in a position to bid for, win and then deliver new contracts. Behind this is a recognition that most spin-out businesses have limited or no experience of competing for contracts in open procurement exercises.  You may be a successful provider in your core service area and geography, but how strong a contender are you when bidding for something new? 

Contract Readiness might involve you developing a number of internal capabilities:
  • Having all the information to demonstrate your cost-effectiveness, your value for money, your impact or added value to commissioners
  • Being confident that you understand the payment terms within a contract, if they will be profitable, or if you are taking on a risk to your cashflow
  • Having the capacity and skill to submit excellent bid responses that not only get you through the technical requirements of a Pre-Qualifying Questionnaire (PQQ) but also set you apart against the wily business development teams of the long-established providers
  • Having the ability to deliver the contract if you win
  • Having a strategy to integrate a new service, including potentially the transfer of new staff, into your business without destabilising your operation  
If you cannot cover all of these points, then you may need to undertake some work to address these areas in order to feel confident about winning new business. 

E-mail for more information. 


RSA & Collaborate Roundtable: ‘Competition and Collaboration: The future of public service delivery? 

A great resource to get you thinking about finance:

Good reads:

Supporting the Brave

Beyond Hospital Walls

Spiral health CIC reaches finals of two healthcare awards

Intrapreneurs; why social enterprises need them

Co-operative brand; Collaboration just got complicated

One new co-operative business every day of the working week

All change for Cameron's social capital market revolution

Impact investing; From margin to mainstream
Support and investment to grow your business
Stepping Out is an approved provider for the Investment and Contract Readiness Fund. If you are looking for support to grow your social business contact us 07887 414042 or

Join Our Team!
We're recruiting - we're looking for senior consultants and consultants. See: for more details on these roles, or to register an interest in future opportunities, please send a CV to
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