The owner of the client is a brilliant technical engineer, but with relatively little commercial experience. He founded a distributor of electronic components a few years ago, using a very sophisticated online engine that he designed.
The company started trading in the UK, selling to end users and had four employees in the UK, with a further 12 in Lithuania.
The owner met EFM at an Informed Funding event, and because it quickly became apparent that what he needed was not so much funding, but a business mentor with the right business experience in a fast-moving distribution environment.
The owner wanted to scale the business up, both in the UK and internationally.
EFM introduced the owner to one of its more experienced mentors, Nick Harding, who had founded and built the largest IT distributor in the country in the 1980s and 1990s. He realised that Nick could prove a useful sounding board for his ideas and could help with practical ways in which the problems of fast growth could be overcome; in particular this involved developing systems for financial control, and management information, and developing a management team.
With very little input from Nick – typically a half day every few months – the business has evolved a strategy to expand its product range and start selling both in the EU and North America. In the sessions the focus has been on developing the strategy, improving stock control, reviewing financial performance, assessing risks and quarterly re-forecasting.
The company is now actively selling through Amazon and 7 European VAT jurisdictions and is about to launch in the US. More than 50% of sales are already generated outside the UK. The Company should easily double revenues and profitability this year.
The owner is very clear that setting aside a small part of his month to discuss the growth of the business with Nick has forced him to focus on developing longer term, and he is now satisfied that the company is on a very fast growth path. Nick will continue to meet the owner once a quarter to discuss performance, to introduce new ideas, and generally to challenge the business.