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Tim Levey | Business Adviser

For the last 15 years, Kreston Reeves have been sponsors of the annual Kent MegaGrowth 50 survey and awards which seek to identify, rank and celebrate the 50 fastest growing, privately owned businesses in the region. We currently support the awards alongside asb law, Lloyds Bank and KM group as media partner. Three years ago the sponsors also spearheaded a similar format in Sussex with The Argus as media partner, known as the Sussex Super Growth Awards. Having been involved over that lengthy period of time, there are some things that have become clear about our regions fastest growing businesses and some of them are quite surprising.

For the Kent MegaGrowth 50 Awards - it’s my task each year to pull the numbers from a Companies House database and do the initial ranking. Along with fellow sponsors, we then check the list to make sure that we get a list that properly fits the criteria. This list is supplemented by an application process so that companies and Limited Liability Partnerships who do not file full accounts at Companies House, can still have a chance of being featured. For a business that has filed its December 2016 accounts which show a profit before tax (not a loss), we will compare the turnover to the December 2013 accounts. In the 2017 list that was published by the KM group in November, a growth of more than 55% would have got you featured in the list and invited to the celebration breakfast.

Seven secrets:

1) SuperMegaGrowth is possible no matter how big you are. Many will comment that it’s easier to grow from £1m to £5m, than it is to grow from £10m to £50m. The list shows this isn’t necessarily the case. But most £10m businesses have developed a solid infrastructure, systems and funding which make exponential growth possible. This puts them at an advantage over the £1m businesses who can get caught in a growth spurt that they are unprepared for and can’t sustain. Getting the foundations in place is always wise.

2) Most SuperMegaGrowth are really happy to be there. This applies particularly to the smaller companies who apply but also to the larger businesses who are otherwise too busy to go through an awards application process. It’s always good to see the credit being given to the team behind them.

3) And some SuperMegaGrowth businesses are shy. As companies who file full accounts aren’t applying to be part of the survey, occasionally we get requests to remove them. There are a variety of reasons – mainly we stick with what the facts tell us.

4) SuperMegaGrowth businesses can come from nowhere. For the last few years, the Number 1 in the list hasn’t featured previously, which can mean that they are more surprised than anyone.

5) It’s tough to sustain SuperMegaGrowth. Most companies reach a level and then plateau, so dropping out of the list. In particular the businesses that hit the top spot tend to look forward to a gentle slide afterwards, while still growing quicker than the competition.

6) SuperMegaGrowth businesses are not bullet proof. The majority of them are, but every so often we need to pull a name from the list at the last minute as administrators have been appointed, or we later watch as a recently featured business suffers the same fate. This proves that it is possible to grow too fast for your own good and then collapse in a heap.

7) And the real secret… comes from seeing how many owners hang around after the photo call at the end. Almost all of them disappear to carry on the hard work that got them into the list in the first place!

To sum this up, it’s fair to say that SuperMegaGrowth have Ambition, Bravery and Confidence.

If you don’t currently feature in the Kent or Sussex lists and think that you might be eligible, then do contact me for more details.

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