Case Study – Raising Finance to Help a Dream turn into a Reality

The Story of a New Business Start Up and Raising Finance

By recommendation, CMC was approached to help a qualified lawyer turn his business idea into reality. This entrepreneur highlighted a niche business to help unsigned musicians and bands get recognized through exposing their music to fans, with the use of contests, voting and social media.


The Challenge:

To produce a compelling business plan

  • To raise finance
  • Recruit a team
  • Provide guidance with key decision

The Outcomes:

  • Secured external finance of £750,000
  • A skilled team including operations manager, finance director and marketing manager was successfully recruited
  • The business started operating within a month of receiving the finance
  • CMC’s advice gave the business a great start and the company is still going strong

CMC

Raising finance can be a challenge…

Download the full story to find out how CMC used their network of contacts and conducted research to identify potential investors…

 

Case Study – Successful Business Sale and Secure Retirement

Successful Business Sale to Provide Secure Retirement for the Directors – Graefe Ltd

CMC provided expertise, experience and guidance to the capable directors in successfully selling their business for a price beyond expectations.


The Challenge: 

  • To sell the business
  • Achieve sufficient capital gain, allowing comfortable retirement for the directors
  • Complete the sale within 2-3 years time frame
  • Little disruption to the operation of the business

The Benefits: 

  • Increased business value, allowing directors to retire comfortably
  • Exit/sales process completed within 2 and half years
  • Quick and efficient transfer of business ownership

When selling a business, finding someone with the knowledge is important but finding someone you can trust is paramount. We trusted CMC and we knew they were on our side. It was not a process they applied to us, but a journey that we took together. Brian Baker – Former Managing Director of Graefe Ltd

Download the full story….

 

How to improve your businesses worth

Your business worth is not all about historic profitability, but its ‘attractiveness’ to a potential buyer – the future of your business. You need to take time to understand your potential buyer, their requirements and then set to work to shape and improve your business performance in ways that will enhance its attractiveness. Below is a health checklist that will help you to focus on the important issues.

Basic Business Health Checklist:

  • Maximise trading profits and if possible show a rising trend over 3 years
  • Improve recurring revenue – purchasers regard contracted business as more secure
  • Reduce undue reliance on a small range of customers, suppliers and employees
  • Establish clear processes and management responsibilities – demonstrate that the business can function without you
  • Demonstrate that decisions are based on sound information and management accounts
  • If necessary, initiate an annual business planning process. If it exists, make it a core part of on-going management
  • Ensure that there is clear ownership of any critical intellectual property
  • Sell any non-relevant assets, such as property
  • Ensure any industry/supplier accreditations are in order and up to date
  • Ensure HR practices are fully compliant with current regulations
  • Make sure you are compliant legally with contracts and company law

This list may seem a little daunting but done in a methodical way and over time, it will be manageable. The important thing is to plan ahead and start now. You may feel you don’t have the time or possibly the experience to make this happen, but you are not alone and this is where we can help. CMC Partners have real experience of working with business owners to improve businesses value.

We would also help you to:

  • Optimise profitability
  • Create buyer awareness
  • Clean up your Balance Sheet
  • Secure trading relationships with customers, suppliers and third parties
  • Advice on settling disputes to avoid discounts
  • Improve your market position
  • Clearly define your USPs
  • Brand and marketing advice
  • Review management information to ensure up to date and accurate
  • Check terms & conditions are up to date

Improve your businesses worth

Let us help you increase the value of your business. We can offer a one to one confidential meeting with no charge. Your local business partner will talk with you to understand your objectives, discuss the options and propose the next steps. This meeting gives you the opportunity to see if you like what we say and how the partnership could work. ​

Call Pauline today on 01491 829181 to arrange for a free appointment with your local CMC Partner.

Sales

Case Study – Firefly Lighting Design Case Study – Growing Globally

Going Global with support of CMC Partners

CMC provided skills, experience and mentoring to the enthusiastic, highly creative directors in achieving their ambition of expanding their services globally.


 The Challenge:

  • Directors had no experience of growing a business, sales & marketing or building a network
  • Little management experience and no experience of directing a company

The Benefits:

  • Increased revenues from £120K to £500K in 5 years
  • Expanded globally, increased market penetration
  • Increased profile of clients and margin generated
  • Confident directors with the required business knowledge
  • Built business infrastructure for the growth
  • Exciting future for the business with turnover projections to double in next 5 years

CMC ensure all our efforts are directed to where we want to go with no u-turns, or dead-ends. Without CMC we would not be where we are today John Lau and Peter Veale – Managing Directors of Firefly Design Lighting Limited

Download the full story…

 

Case Study – Prosperous Sale Positioning with Proper Planning and Preparation

Industry: Professional Services

Issue/Objectives: Company exit with early due diligence preparation

Our CMC partner was intrigued in late 2010 to be introduced via a network contact to a company whose owners had heard of CMC’s bespoke approach to providing tailored exit plans.

After a relatively short meeting it was clear that the owners wished to sell and retire, but were not impressed by the “sausage machine” approach of some of the SME sectors big names. They wanted a more hands on approach from an experienced business professional backed up with superb support team. Needless to say CMC was retained.

Quite often business brokers prepare an Information Memorandum, market the company and then re-engage at a deeper level for the final transaction. This is all well and good but it can easily produce discounts to the company value when it is too late to remedy them; after due diligence. This is where the CMC approach pioneered by our CMC Partner has served to differentiate the practice and add exit value to new clients.

This approach is based on CMC’s skill at project managing an exit and all the key professionals (lawyers, tax advisors, IFA’s etc.) involved in the process. At the same time CMC prides itself on working directly with clients to improve the business before any final price is agreed. If the owners do just two things the CMC process more than pays for itself.

The first thing is to work the business as hard as possible and leave the exit project to the retained and trusted CMC partner. Nobody, no matter what their skills, can both run and sell a business at the same time. That means CMC as the experienced project manager removes this burden from owner managers and allowing the owner to work even harder within the business to maximise the exit vale.

The second and equally important thing is to minimise the discounts beloved of buyers who often agree one price at heads of terms stage and then chisel away to the final minute of the final day by citing disasters in the due diligence they have conducted with their legal team.

Proper planning and preparation with CMC avoids pitfalls

CMC has worked with the client cited above and conducted a tender for legal services across the deal, which includes a “buyer due diligence” exercise at the outset.

This gives the legal team time to understand the business, but far more importantly it allows CMC and the owners to take that early stage report and take corrective action during the marketing phase to remove or at the very least mitigate those dreadful discounts. In the current exercise CMC has been able to help the owners redraft all its employee contracts, engage a specialist Intellectual Property lawyer with a style and commitment that appealed to the owner, help with refining client terms and conditions and make certain that all the statutory records will be in pristine condition for the buyer. This well planned and executed exercise didn’t turn up any skeletons hiding in closets but proved an invaluable exercise that will ensure the client receives a fair price and a bigger retirement fund for the owners.

At CMC we encourage businesses to start their due diligence preparation as soon as possible. If the business needs points for improvement, the legal due diligence will soon discover them.

If you want to learn more about how CMC can help businesses maximise exit value through diligent planning, project management and advice during all stages please contact us on 01491 829181.

Why have an exit strategy?

As an owner manger, if you are thinking of selling your business it is essential to give some thought to your exit strategy and how you plan the get the most from your business when you come to sell it. This planning and preparation work can take a number of years – this is the best way to ensure that the business sells for the maximum amount. You only sell a business once.

BUT…. even if you have no immediate desire to sell your business, then thinking through an exit strategy is a great idea. Having an exit strategy in a sense forces business owners to stand back from their business and take a long hard look from the view point of a potential buyer. Too often, most entrepreneurs spend all of their time with the normal day to day fire fighting, but just occasionally they need to step back and see the bigger picture. The sort of questions they should ask themselves are:

Is all of the businesses value actually in the owners own head? Could the business function without the owner’s constant intervention?
Are they building long term, sustainable value into their business…. is there value in the company brand?
Do customers return to them again and again? – recurring revenues are highly valued
Are there enough processes to show that the business is well managed?

All of these are key questions when a business sale is imminent, but are also very relevant when a sale may be some way off. Owner managers have no problems working “in” the business, but they also need time to work “on” the business – in order to build it’s value.

Having a thought exit strategy also guards against the unexpected. If the owner is ill (or worse!) and unable to continue in the business, then how will the business survive? Or, what happens if someone comes in, completely unsolicited, and offers to buy the business?

So, to answer the opening question…. every business needs an exit strategy!

Video – “Good Governance” – Why Good Governance is Important for Small Businesses

 

Good governance is not just for big corporations – it is just as important for small businesses as well.

Governance is about having in place a set of procedures and structures to ensure the decision-making processes of the company delivers the shareholders objectives, recognises and seeks to mitigate reasonable risks, and ensures the business complies with all current, applicable legislation.  Bob Brown explains more.

To find out more call 01491 829 181 or contact us via the form below.

Case Study – Tripled Turnover with Organic Growth

CMC starting working with a marketing communication agency three years ago and has helped triple turnover from £1m to £3m by guiding them through organic growth. The company’s ultimate objective for growth was to ensure their businesses sustainability over time is assured, helping to support their family and lifestyle with less dependence on the two owners.

During the initial meetings we took the time to get to know our new client and help understand their goals and ambitions, personally and for the business. After our evaluation it was clear that the company were ready for the growth phase and we guided them through 5 key areas:

Strategy

  • Organic growth through increasing sales with existing clients (top 10 and rising stars) with their existing strong service specific in specific industry sectors.
  • Structure Change – a second tier management structure was needed to take full responsibility for elements of the business. This took the pressure off the two owners and allowed them to focus on strategic direction and leadership of the company.
  • Premises – Essential refurbishment of existing premises and purchase of new IT systems.
  • Management model developed with the use of profit centres to assign clear accountability.
  • Implemented performance measures and budgets, indicators and sales forecasts and targets.
  • Suitable exisiting financial controller and one of the owners took this role as finance director.
  • Ensured bank loan facility should it be needed to support second stage of growth.

Sales and Marketing

  • A focused client development strategy was needed to develop their 10 top clients, helping to increase profits. This would include employing account directors and managers to develop the client’s relationships and help increase revenue and profits.
  • Sales targets were installed to help measure, monitor, mentor and reward the account directors and mangers.
  • Marketing strategy and plans were developed with the part time marketing manager including positioning, messaging and communication.
  • A new website was developed to support new digital marketing, introduction of quarterly e newsletter, PR, advertising, case studies, sales collaterals and database cleansing.

People

  • Identified key people in company, and evaluated staffs strengths and weaknesses.
  • Increased workforce from 10 staff to 30 staff to support the growth and bring in updated practices and innovative ideas. New positions included account directors , account managers, account executives, designers and digital designers.
  • Training – Identified training requirements for key staff. This included the two directors developing their delegation skills.
  • Development – Appraisal systems put into place to maintain staff satisfaction with key performance indicators.
  • Recruitment – Presented ideas for job description roles and competencies.
  • Culture Change – To support growth a change culture from creative delivery to commercial sales was created.
  • Share options offered to selected employees.
  • Introduced to one of CMC Professional Partners – Access2 HR are experts in managing people, employment law and employment tribunals. They worked alongside CMC on recruitment, training, staff handbook, health and safety to help develop and look after the team.

Processes

  • New processes were implemented to support the new sales culture such as monthly sales meetings highlighting future business by value.
  • Timesheets were introduced to identify efficiency improvements.

Over these three years our CMC partner has formed close relationships with the owners and the team. Continuous advice and mentoring through regular monthly meetings and ongoing telephone support has helped the company remain focussed on the ultimate objectives and enabled them to flourish. This company is still a client of CMC’s with a very healthy future in front of them.

Contact us on 01491829181 to arrange a free and confidential discussion.