How Lightfoot Balanced Sustainability with Relentless Growth in 2018
Even with a revolutionary product and proposition, a fantastic team behind you and an innovative, disruptive approach to doing business, it’s a tough old world out there for entrepreneurs.
There’s certainly no shortage of businesses in the South West with the all right ingredients for success, but they need a decent recipe if they want to make any sort of name for themselves.
We spoke to the team at Lightfoot to understand how they have achieved such an impressive string of successes over the last year. After all, what better way is there to learn and improve than looking for an example of someone that has clearly been doing something right!
And the Lightfoot team have surely done plenty right. They’ve been growing exponentially in terms of staff count for the past two years (from 30 to 60 in the last year alone), with this trend set to continue into 2019. Their move to a state of the art, bespoke office facility just outside Chudleigh on the A38 won them the title of ‘Exeter’s Best Workspace’ in the Space Awards 2018.
At the same time, Martin McCourt (the former CEO of Dyson) joined the Lightfoot board along with Ned Dorbin of the Business Growth Fund, whose company also invested £3.2m into Lightfoot. This investment from BGF put further weight behind Lightfoot’s global aspirations and UK consumer proposition, which was launched to private motorists in September last year.
Then, in January, just three months after Lightfoot first dipped its toe into the consumer world, the team were in Las Vegas, exhibiting at CES (the world’s largest consumer electronics show). Quite the step change, for sure!
Mark Roberts, CEO of Lightfoot, gave us some insight into how he’s managed a year full of so many triumphs:
“2018 was quite an adventure: we doubled in size; we designed, built and moved office; we raised money, we spent money, we made money; we developed and launched a new product into new markets.”
“When I think about what it is that makes this all possible, I realise that it is all thanks to the fact that people care about what we are doing, whether that is customers who care about the reducing the financial and environmental costs of motoring, or staff who care about building a great & sustainable business, or the local Exeter community who care about the cause we are championing and about supporting the success of a business like ours in their community. I am deeply grateful for all those who care enough to help us along the way.”
With their incredible growth in mind, the Lightfoot team thought they’d share a few tips on how to move your business forward in a meaningful and sustainable way.
1) Grow intelligently
One of our first moves of 2018 was hiring Milly Harding, HR Manager. This meant we could install a formalised hiring process that streamlined recruitment and ensured we filled vacancies with the highest quality candidates.
But there’s a far less tangible focus for Milly that has undoubtedly been a key factor in our achievements over the past year. She makes sure every single new recruit fits the business. They care, they buy into what we’re doing, and they are all passionate, remarkable individuals.
2) Don’t lose your personality
Growing so quickly runs the risk of losing sight of history. The passion, drive and character that got you to the point of blowing up will keep on serving you – but you now need to put work into making sure you retain it, both as an individual and as a business.
Don’t take it as a given – work hard to maintain the culture that got you to where you are.
3) Find the right investor/s
Take time to find the right investor for you. The allure of some extra cash to splash is hard to ignore, but if you go for the wrong investor, you run the risk of losing control of your own business. Due diligence is key for both sides. Trust your instincts, make sure you’re both on the same page in terms of what you’re trying to achieve, and ensure that they plan to help you steer in your planned direction, rather than pulling you off course.
We suggest meeting as many people as you can, so you have a better idea of who the kind of investor you’re looking for is.
4) Continue to innovate
Innovation and a constant drive to improve enables agility and helps you get ahead of your competitors. The world is moving faster than ever and you can’t afford to be complacent – push for the next idea, execute it well and the world is your oyster.
5) Keep taking risks
If you know your product works and it works well, push it into new markets. Don’t pigeonhole yourself and stick with what you know. Launching Lightfoot to the consumer market was stressful, intense and complicated, but hugely rewarding. Push yourself. Be brave. Be confident in the team you have built and trust them to deliver.
6) Take pride in your achievements
Aggressively chase success and shout about it from the rooftops when you get it. If your product and business is doing well, you should let people know. Be proud of the hard work you have put in and don’t be afraid to tell the world about it. Success breeds success and positivity attracts positivity.
To find out more about Lightfoot and their journey, call 01392 340419
to speak with one of their amazing team or visit www.lightfoot.co.uk