Ixis were approached by Insider Media in the North West to take part in a feature for their magazine. The Verdict is a regular feature that brings experts to a company dealing with a specific business problem or issue.
As a fast growing company with big ambitions to grow rapidly, Ixis recently acquired a fellow North West based Drupal agency, Leafish, and are keen to explore routes to growth and best practise models for expansion.
We were delighted to have the opportunity to take part and let some of the brightest business minds in the North West examine our business model and plans for growth. The panel was drawn from technology businesses and growth and investment houses.
As Drupal has grown in popularity, demand for open source services has soared and we are going from strength to strength were keen to expand our market share in the provision of Drupal web development hosting and support.
We consider ourselves to be the best at what we do, but there is always room for improvement. We appreciate that to grow and develop, we need the right team of people with the best skills to take us all the way to the top. Ixis posed the question, To buy or not to buy? - are mergers and acquisition the best route to growth.
How it Worked
We were joined by: Cliff Maylor, Chief Executive, North West Fund – Chris Byrd, Technical Director, M247 – Dave Hazelhurst, Director, PH Creative – Iain Wolstenholme, Partner, Gresham Private Equity House.
The panel was chaired by Insider Editor Chris Maguire who spent time exploring and questioning the Ixis directors on the business model and plans for the future. They were keen to pin down our USP and our core strengths for future growth.
After much debate, the panel were asked to feedback their Verdict, to buy or not to buy.
What's the Goal?
Ask yourselves what do you want to achieve and where do you want to be? Work back from that end goal. Based on this, you need to put skills in place that will secure the business and its position.
Know your weaknesses
Recognise the areas you might need to plug such as HR or strategic development. This can be done through the acquisition of mentors or non-executive directors or just putting the right skills in place that will support the business. Also, by building on your expert profile in the market, this will help to attract the right staff as well as the clients.
Review how you can best tweak your structure and use the skills of your employees to their best strengths. Often, you have internal skill sets that can be developed to create new and exciting career paths for staff.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
With around 50% of acquisitions failing, it is best to grow the internal team to create a strong critical mass in the first instance. Purchasing new businesses can create a heap of work and as a strong business, its important to consider the timings as well as finding the businesses that will compliment core services.
Overall, the advice was to strengthen what we have, develop systems and skill sets to cement the offering and spend time considering the end goal and work hard to build organically with the right people.