Editor's View

What makes a great business?

Apr 08 issue

A common theme linking successful companies is often the simplicity and directness of the business proposition. Indeed, the world of business is probably the harshest environment for punishing those who become too clever for their own good.

An investor in early stage companies recently told me that, for him, a prospect has to meet a need in the marketplace and show itself to be scalable: ‘I recently looked at a start-up that aimed to lower telecommunications costs. Now I think there is an enormous potential to do that, but can you really get the attention of the customer? To some, it will appear to be a relatively small item of expenditure.’ He walked away from the investment.

For Christina Domecq, the driven CEO of voicemail to text message specialist Spinvox
(see page 18), if you can’t explain what your company does in a 30 second elevator pitch, you need to think again.

Then there are people. For companies up to the £20 million mark, it’s often possible for the sheer verve of an entrepreneur to single-handedly drive a business. Go beyond £20 million and it’s vital to get that blend of individuals who understand the company, its values, and know how to drive it onwards and upwards. That’s the hard part. Many an entrepreneur has seen his/her company lose its way in a bid to put that layer of middle management in place.

Cream of the crop

The past two winners of the Business XL Company of the Year Awards, Innocent, famed for its smoothies and online fashion retail phenomenon ASOS, both demonstrate a basic sense of purpose that anyone can relate to. But they also possess that extra something, be it a brilliant brand or excellent service, that creates star quality.

Business XL is currently accepting nominations for 2008’s Company of the Year Awards. We’re looking for profitable companies with minimum sales of £10 million in the following categories: Acquirer of the Year, Growth Business of the Year, Emerging Markets Award, Green Business of the Year, Brand of the Year. For three categories: Best Innovation in Technology, Family Business of the Year, and Rising Star – we will accept companies with lower turnover which show a huge amount of promise. So if think your company has that star quality, go to the Company of the Year Awards website to see the various categories and nomination criteria, and get nominating!

If you have any questions about the awards, feel free to get in touch.