Life in the fast lane
A roadmap for scaling up your medium sized business
Crucially, scale-up leaders were quick to point out that fast growth does not always entail high profitability. The mantra of “cash is king" remains essential for scale-up business and companies should ensure they have a clear plan for managing cash flow.
Core advice from directors focused on making sure the senior leadership have a bird's eye view of the cash profile of the business, regularly assessing payment performance of customers and understanding the different working capital finance options available to the business such as invoice financing.
While the constraints of the credit crunch have rescinded, the finance landscape has changed significantly for fast growing businesses. From traditional bank debt, to alternative finance and increasing equity options – there are a diversity of choices for ambitious medium sized businesses.
"Angel investment enabled us to scale at a rate that matched our ambition. Prior to investment, the relationship with our angel was cultivated over many years – demonstrating the power of maintaining a great network."
Toby Austin, CEO and Co-Founder, Beauhurst
For longer term capital, scale-up teams emphasise the importance of being investment ready. When applying for finance, from bank lending to venture capital, there are a few factors businesses should keep in mind. A convincing strategy for growing the business is the most important step, while concrete risk management plans and verified financial accounts can be crucial differentiating factors. 
"We took the initiative to have fully audited accounts before it was legally necessary. This decision gave investors' confidence in our financial results and helped pave the way for further growth."
Greg Kirkman, Managing Director, Ensafe Consultants
Identify the need for the capital well ahead of the crunch point
"Love Home Swap formalised a new category of business – the home swap/rent. Raising money in a nascent sector was difficult – but grit, clear goals for the capital and raising it ahead of time proved successful."
Debbie Wosskow, CEO and Founder, Love Home Swap
Set clear goals for the use of the capital
Scope the market so that the capital is on terms suitable to the senior leadership
"We met with 10 different private equity investors before making a deal. The time investment was worth it as the new equity structure has unlocked the ability for senior managers to invest in the future of the business."
Martin Tucker, CEO, GatenbySanderson
Make sure any external investor is able to bring additional assets into the business, for instance knowledge of the sector or additional contacts
 CBI, 7 Smart Things Growing Companies Do, 2015