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February 14, 2018
By Michael Cantwell, head of Corporate Finance at RMT Accountants & Business Advisors
The end of one year and start of a new one often provides company management teams with a small window of opportunity to step back from the day-to-day commercial whirl and survey how the land lies.
For some, it may be a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but for others, 2017 could be the year where they decide to make a step change in their firm’s operations, whether through investing in new equipment, enhancing the range of products or services that they supply or targeting new markets at home and/or overseas.
The likelihood is that any such evolution is going to require a significant cash investment, and unless the company is lucky enough to either have the money in the bank or some major backers already on board, it is going to have to seek this money from elsewhere.
Growing North East businesses are in a better position than many of their peers around the UK when it comes to accessing investment capital, thanks to the Finance For Business North East Programme.
Over the last six years, around £160m has been available through a suite of different funds to help regional businesses create new jobs and wealth – and with the second round of the programme set to offer another very substantial amount of money when it launches in the first quarter of 2017, there’s a continuing opportunity for North East firms to access invaluable development capital.
So if you’re thinking about taking your business down this road, what do you need to get it ‘investment ready’ and to make yourself as attractive an investment proposition as possible?
The people that make your business are often the first things to be considered, which means both the management team that will be driving the implementation of the business plan in which you’re looking for an investment, as well as the workforce that will deliver it on a day-to-day basis.
Do they have the collective credibility, knowledge, skills and determination to turn what’s on paper into something more tangible, exactly how will they be doing this, how will venture capital involvement make success more likely and are there any gaps that you should be looking to fill?
A management team’s track record also plays a big part in weighing up the likelihood of success. Can you show that your people and/or your business have achieved their commercial objectives in the past, that this experience is going to be used to make similar success more likely in your next venture and that you’re in the right shape to make this realistic?
The strength and extent of the competition you’re facing also makes a big difference – if you’re going up against a well-established or highly-regarded rival, for example, how you are going to compete successfully with them, and what makes you stand out from the rest?
Of course, you can do all the preparation in the world and still get things wrong on the day, as the many companies that have gone away empty-handed from the Dragons’ Den that have then gone on to do well regardless clearly show.
However, experience tells us that the more detailed planning, preparation and research you do, and the more expert support you have in developing, refining and delivering your investment case, the more likely you are to succeed.
It seems clear to me that, even accounting for the economic uncertainties that surround us, with the range of funding solutions available, the present remains a good time for North East businesses to secure outside investment.
RMT provides the full range of financial and business advisory services through its accountancy, corporate finance, specialist tax, healthcare, information technology and recovery & insolvency teams, and works with firms of all sizes both within and outside the North East.