Day 1. Meet new colleagues. Bring them cake. Learn about all of the different products and services that Smarta offer. Go home and take long bath, brain is suitably fried (in a great way). Day 2. Travel down to Bristol with the team where Smarta was hosting the ‘how to start a fast growth business’ event to promote the Breakthrough 50, the new awards which honours the fastest growing businesses in the UK. Spend at least ten pounds on crisps from the train’s food cart.
I’ve had experience myself as a small business owner so a chance to hear what the ‘big guns’ had to say about running multi-million pound companies was one I didn’t want to miss. Would they encounter the same problems that I’d had in the past? Would they feel the same way about business underneath it all? I grabbed a seat and opened up Evernote to listen to panelists James White, of InTouch CRM, Andrew Mulvenna of Brightpearl and Richard Godfrey of Rocketmakers had to say about running their own fast growth companies based around the Bristol area.
The panel talked about scale and the important values to a fast growth business. Andrew Mulvenna talked about finding an area that has a big market. ‘The bigger the market, the easier to scale.’ Pretty self explanatory you may think, but all so often overlooked by us entrepreneurs with big ideas that we want to convince ourselves will work. He then talked about having a passion for the product or service you are offering. ‘The most important thing our company needed to grow was focus’ he said. This was a sentiment echoed by both James and Richard. James talked about his own focus, ‘being relentless in trying to be the best service we can be at any time. If you do that then the rest will follow.’ Richard agreed that focus was important but perhaps after the initial innovation stages of trial and error, which are so vital to a new co2mpany working out their market.
After more nuggets of brilliant advice (lots of which were shared using the twitter hashtag #sb50, check them out and be inspired), attendees had some time to network and chat about the panel we had just experienced. A real mix of both established business and startups (including a new e-cigarette brand, peer to peer accountability group and a zombie expert, true story, more on that another time), everyone seemed to have at least one great piece of advice or moment of inspiration generated from listening to the panel.
I guess my real take-away from the event was that no matter how fast your company grows or how much your turnover, we all have the same values driving us forward. Passion and focus for running great businesses that service those who need it most, and well!
Birmingham based? How about you grab yourself a free ticket to the next Breakthrough 50 event on the 18th March featuring panelists Neil Westwood of Magic Whiteboard Limited, Hannah Wolsey of Urban Coffee Company and Simon Morton of Eyeful Presentations. Follow Bristol’s panelists: