Sheffield City Region businesses on the up

From its inception in 2008 the purpose of our Rapid Growth Survey has been to highlight those businesses within the Sheffield City Region whose vision, energy and determination has generated substantial growth. It is therefore particularly noteworthy that this year’s survey has seen the highest ever levels of growth.

The average two year sales growth within the 2015 Top 30 was a very impressive 99%. This compares to 73% in 2014 and a low point of 39% in 2011. Undoubtedly this is a reflection of the improved economic environment generating increased business and consumer confidence.

Whilst doubling turnover in two years is without question a fantastic achievement, our experience of working with rapid growth companies highlights that this level of growth generates its own challenges.

Chief amongst these is access to finance. A growing business will typically be increasing its stockholding levels, employing additional staff, investing in plant and machinery and potentially opening new operations. All these activities consume cash and it is therefore vital to ensure that funding lines are in place to support growth.

Fortunately there are a wide variety of options open to growing companies. Indeed, it could be argued that our region’s businesses have never had it so good when it comes to the choice of funders. In the downturn and its immediate aftermath, the high street banks came under fire for not lending. Our current experience is however that for properly considered business plans, the banks are indeed “open for business”. Overlay on top of this the continued presence in the market of alternative funders born out of the credit crunch and the choice is wide and varied. As ever, it’s horses for courses and the key is choosing the right funder for the specific situation.

In last year’s survey I sounded a note of caution about risks to the continued recovery and in particular global political uncertainty. These are still present and in recent weeks have been joined by further concerns over China. What our Top 30 has shown, however, is that in general the conditions for growth have remained positive. With continued access to “growth capital” to help fuel business plans, I am hopeful that next year’s results will tell a similarly positive story about our region’s fastest growing companies.

BHP’s Rapid Growth Survey was published in The Star 9 September 2015 – take a look here:


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