At Roxburgh Milkins, we're very pleased to be sponsoring the South West Business Insider '42 under 42' again. Recently, we had the first roundtable for this year’s new 42 under 42s. It was an excellent group of young leaders, and all these businesses have great potential.
Although a positive discussion, we focused on the problems they are facing, namely funding being harder to get and people being harder to hire. With changing messages from funders, some of these leaders were questioning if they were doing things right.
Older heads in the room reassured them that they are just experiencing a changing cycle. Their businesses have been started and raised their first funding during a period of cheap money. That has now changed and instead of being told to burn money and go for growth, they’re being told to tighten the reins and go for profitability.
It’s a painful pivot but, on the plus side, it does build good discipline within your business. Cutting costs, raising non-equity funding (such as grants or debt), and turning a profit, will ultimately make you more investible. This won’t be easy, but know you have a good support network of local professionals who want to see your business thrive – it’s mutually beneficial – so ask for help.
On the people side, whilst it was acknowledged that it’s still a difficult hiring market, there were great stories about companies training up their own staff. If this is an option, it’s worth exploring.
As a final, positive note, if you can ride out a more negative cycle, you will be stronger for it. Our business did that following the credit crunch and whilst it was painful at the time, the lessons learnt were extremely valuable.
Director (IT & Commercial)
Originally published in South West Business Insider.