I thought I’d never want any external investment, but recently my business, ramarketing, received just that. So, did I just fancy a few quid? Was it all about the money? Not quite.
When I set ramarketing up in 2009, it was purely to support a client in my spare time and generate some additional income so that my wife and I could travel more. That was my start-up strategy. Nothing complicated.
But as the years have passed, my part-time side project has become, well, a proper business. We have never been one of these fashionable start-up companies with a ‘let’s grow quickly and sell in a few years’ mindset. I never set out to have an agency, never mind take investment and then sell anything. It’s all been organic. Maybe that’s why we’ve grown. We have never focused on the money.
We’ve been fortunate in that we’ve not needed investment, so never looked for it. And let me tell you, it’s a strange situation when the opportunity arises. It’s incredibly flattering in fact. When someone wants a piece of this thing you’ve created. It’s validation that you’re on to something. And that’s pretty cool. Nevertheless, I could have said no like I’ve done before. So why go back on my word and give away a chunk of my business? And why now?
In a word… help. And help from the right person.
Running a fast-growing company comes with all kinds of headaches and heartaches that match the good times. It’s been a really challenging year where at times I’ve wished I was a 9-5 employee that could just switch off. When you go from the little leagues and start playing with the big boys, a few home truths come to roost. Growing pains apparently. Character-building they say. More like hair-thinning I’d say!
There’s a famous saying among business founders: it’s lonely at the top. And even though we are a small, growing team, for eight years, I’ve been at the top. But at this point, I need help. And I’m not at all afraid to say it. And therein lies the fundamental driver that led to the investment. You’re the one everyone looks to and you don’t always have an answer. Let alone the right one. There’s plenty of play books for running a growing business (I’ve read most) but the reality of actually doing it is different.
As we embark on the latest and no doubt greatest era of our growth at ramarketing, what I needed for my team and I was expertise and experience. Someone who has been there and done that. Enjoyed the good times and battled through the bad ones. Someone to just guide us into waters we’ve never been in before. And given I’m not a great swimmer, I needed that from someone that I trust too. And when the right person comes along and you agree the investment deal over a cup of tea in the afternoon sunshine, that’s a good sign too I believe.
As I say to my team and anyone I meet in business, never be afraid to ask for help. No one achieves anything in business without the support of others. So, I’m just following my own advice really.
We play in a global market, so for my team and I, the world is very much our oyster. But now I have an experienced captain beside me to help keep us on course. And ensure our boat is sturdy enough to ride the waves that will no doubt greet us on our exhilarating journey onwards and upwards.