'The only way to beat austerity is grow your way out of it'
These words were spoken by a delegate from one of over 50 spin-out business who attended our 'Serious About Growth' conference held at Nesta and sponsored by Bridges Ventures.
Delegates heard from Jerome Mayhew, Managing Director of Go-Ape Ltd, David Royce, the founder of Crime Reduction Initiatives and Brett Wigdortz of Teach First about how they had grown small acorns into mighty oaks.
The key messages from all the speakers were:
The importance of an inspiring, motivating vision and clear organisational values
The vital role of a business plan that is regularly updated
The development of a brilliant top team to augment the early leadership of the business.
The development of a 'make it happen', 'can do' culture among staff
The importance of really good financial management and planning.
To help emerging spin-outs, Stepping Out have just published a new guide called 'Serious About Growth' and you can download it for free here.
We also want to congratulate our first ever client Provide (formerly Central Essex Community Services) for their success this year in the National Business Awards, the Social Enterprise UK Awards and the Baxendale Awards. We are so proud of you and the inspiration you offer.
Have a great Christmas and New Year!
On the sofaâ€¦
This month the hills are alive with the sound of Jo Douglas at Allied Health Professionals, Suffolk! Read more>>
Ask the Expert Do social investors see spin out businesses as a genuinely backable opportunity?
There are some real attractions for social investors in investing in public sector spin out businesses. These are businesses that manage to achieve some scale immediately â€“ having an initial contract in place means they have an established revenue stream. What also often stands out is that they have motivated management teams in place who have displayed some commercial discipline (in making the case to spin out) and have a real focus on the social impact they are trying to achieve.
The difference between investing in a mutual â€“ compared to other types of business â€“ is the involvement of the employees. Thatâ€™s an important structural difference that can be attractive to investors because you have a level of commitment to the business running through the frontline staff team as well as the management team. That has the potential to make it a lower risk investment opportunity.
Investors do see risks in investing in spinouts when there is only a single contract in place. Whilst it is good to have a customer, itâ€™s not good to have just one customer. The challenge is working out how to diversify from the initial core contract over a period of time so that if the initial customer disappears the business will remain sustainable.
There is also a cultural shift required amongst the management team who will need to develop more commercial awareness and focus. If genuinely open to learning and challenge,it can be quite easy to address those weaknesses by bringing non-executives onto the Board with relevant skills and experience.
Daniel Brewer, Founder & Managing Director, Resonance Good reads:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org