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Why I chose funding from BGF – Mark Joyner, RDS
In April 2022, BGF invested £5 million in specialist tax consultancy RDS, which helps small businesses access tax relief for research and development. The funding is being used to invest in technology and talent, expand headcount and enhance the management team. Mark Joyner, co-founder and director, explains why he chose BGF as his funding partner.
Why did you choose to receive investment from BGF?
Our business philosophy is about helping clients. Immediately, we knew that BGF was focused on supporting us, rather than trying to take the reins. It had a real partnership feel from the outset – a relationship that had all the hallmarks of being collaborative and complementary. The team, who were really straightforward and approachable, had an obvious desire to see us succeed, bringing a lot to the table to help us get there through open and honest conversations. From the very beginning, it felt like a perfect fit.
When did you decide to seek investment?
Like many businesses, we only knew what we knew. But when we hit a period of rapid growth, we understood that things had to change. By going through the investment process, by having conversations with BGF, we realised the potential of what somebody else could bring to the table. The lightbulb moment was when we talked collectively about what the business could become. The team at BGF said, ‘If you do X, Y, and Z, you could triple the size of the business.’ That perspective was vital.
Who do you credit for your company’s success to date?
Without doubt, our team. They are passionate professionals who are focused on helping our clients achieve success. In our industry, a lot of businesses turn into call centre-type operations, whereas at RDS, we try do as much as possible face to face, and create a personal approach to account management. I like to think we’re like the old style bank managers – really hands-on, very approachable, and eager to integrate into our clients’ businesses.
What has BGF’s funding allowed you to do?
Eighteen months before BGF invested in the business, we were a team of four. Now we’re 22-strong and growing. Our team has pretty much doubled since BGF came into the fold, including highly experienced senior people with real pedigree. The calibre of our people is phenomenal and all parts of the puzzle have perfectly slotted into place.
What are your growth plans for the business?
In the next three years, our aim is to triple the size of the business. The only way we’re going to achieve that is by helping other companies to do the same. If we help another thousand-plus businesses to benefit from HMRC tax reliefs, we will reach our targets. In my eyes, we are intrinsically linked to the success of others.
There’s no doubt that it’s been a difficult few years for UK businesses, but there’s a real opportunity to grow and flourish during these times. If we can focus on helping companies realise their ambitions, then that will have a natural knock-on effect for us.
What advice would you give to other business owners seeking funding?
It’s about not having an ego. You have to be open to suggestions about how to improve your business. Without doubt, there were holes in our management structure – gaps that a professional partner like BGF could quickly come in and repair, strengthening our business and our offering. If we’d been resistant to change, we would never have moved forward.
In terms of lessons learned, the key is being extremely organised and ready to go through the process. There’s an awful lot of information that’s required and a lot of due diligence needed as part of the funding journey. You need to have everything to hand and a structure that makes it easy to present the business in a clear and transparent way. Fortunately, we already had a ‘data room’ set up, so the process was relatively straightforward. If that wasn’t the case, we could have spent six months trying to pull all of that information together, rather than being focused on the business at a crucial stage in our growth journey.
Do you have any reflections on the funding process?
When we set up the business, we didn’t consider selling all or part of the company to an investor. But it’s all about being open-minded when something comes to the table. Thankfully, for us, it felt like a very comfortable process, and since then, having a member of BGF on our board has hugely benefited our business. It’s been a very positive experience, more like a partnership. As a group, we’re extremely excited about what lies ahead.
Our expertise and growth capital supports more than 50 businesses in the business services sector including consultants, lawyers, property technology specialists and more.
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