Castle Corporate Finance on judging great scale-up businesses

30 March 2020

The Castle Corporate Finance Scale-up Business of the Year Award recognises UK business that have demonstrated spectacular growth over the last
few years, posting results that defy expectations

We spoke to Stuart Stepney, Managing Director at award sponsors Castle Corporate Finance to find out what kind of businesses he expects to see enter this year’s awards, and what makes the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards so important.

Why should organisations enter this category?

This category has an excellent track record of attracting a high-quality field, so it presents an exceptional opportunity for companies to benchmark their businesses against some of the best in class.

The well-attended networking events also enable organisations that are willing to take the plunge to participate in lively discussions with fellow finalists and judges alike, as well as make new contacts at senior level.

For anyone seeking a national platform on which to showcase themselves and their business achievements, the Lloyds National Business Awards is the preeminent event not only to meet new people and learn from peers, but also to promote their business in ways that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

What kind of organisations would you like to see enter this category?

We are excited to see organisations that are actively engaging with the world around them, pushing the boundaries of opportunity beyond the typical corporate remit and being conscious of their socio-political as well as economic landscape. It’s incredibly important for businesses to be aware of the impact they may have on people and the market, as well as to identify challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We like businesses that can take a holistic view towards growth yet bring something unique to the party, that sets them firmly ahead of the nearest rivals.

Another point that encourages me is a business’s focus on team empowerment. We are firm believers that businesses flourish when there is a personal approach to management, and that involves the creation of innovative employee engagement methods to promote a “can do” culture that is more than just the result of financial incentives.

What do you think makes a successful entry?

Adaptability is one of the best traits of a successful business, without a doubt. Responsiveness to change is integral to navigating fluctuating market conditions and driving your business forward. Success is not a constant curve, so demonstrating resilience in the face of growing pains is a positive thing.

A successful entry will demonstrate the business’s desire never to be satisfied or content with the status quo; they will adjust, improve and innovate ahead of the curve to take the organisation to the next level. Candidates must also take note of the very precise judging criteria set out in the entry form as you’ll be surprised how many we see that don’t!

What will you be looking for when judging entrants?

There’s more to business than just acumen and financial performance. Our clients come to us from all walks of life, with emotional drivers as well as financial ones. After all, we’re human beings too, so we look for strong yet rounded management teams and leaders to present with honesty, integrity and passion.

We are looking for entrants that aren’t afraid to challenge themselves again and again without losing vision. Those that strive to innovate at every opportunity have a relentless passion that sets them apart from the rest. So far, these businesses have worked tirelessly on building their foundations for financial growth. Now, they need to demonstrate they are strongly positioned for sustainable growth and can present a robust strategy to support that.

Why do you think awards like this are important for UK businesses?

We find ourselves in a climate offering exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs, owners, and managers in the UK to impact and shape the national business landscape with their innovative ideas and ambitious outlooks. These awards offer a nationwide platform to bring together like-minded business people to celebrate the immense efforts put in day in day out, to commend them on their courageousness and to also publicly showcase their impressive successes and promote their businesses to a new audience of potential advocates, customers and supporters.

The support network and relationship these awards provide has been impressive from what we’ve seen to date, and a really credible networking event to inspire business leaders to strive to the next level and build productive connections.

How do you identify potential for growth and scaling up sustainably?

It is important for candidates to demonstrate how they have successfully overcome early hurdles to become an established business in their chosen field. The best growth plans project off a strong core platform and are those where the demand can be clearly evidenced, but also where the leadership culture and infrastructure of the company are such that financial growth can be successfully achieved without compromising the human and environment aspects also.

To put your business to the test and see what Stuart Stepney and the rest of the judging panel think of your organisation’s incredible achievements, enter the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards today.