InterviewsFast growth

The Webinar Vet CEO Kathryn Bell and Mark Sykes of BDO shared their top tips for growth in a dedicated masterclass at FUEL Liverpool this week.

The event, supported by Growth Platform and Clockwise, saw almost 100 people attend a public breakfast panel event before more than 20 scaleup and startup businesses gained direct access to experts in a series of behind-closed-doors masterclass pods focused on specific challenges they may face.

Bell has helped Liverpool-based The Webinar Vet grow from three staff to nearly 30 since joining in 2012 and seen turnover grow from £250,000 to more than £2 million.

“Focus on your customers and what they need from you – it’s probably changing fast,” was her growth advice to businesses. “Have a strategy which is clearly documented and broken down into actions for your team to deliver… we do this quarterly.

“Trust your team fully and promote a positive and inclusive company culture that motivates everybody to be their best selves. Know your numbers and KPIs and monitor them weekly, if not more.”

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Bell spent nine years as chief operating officer before becoming the chief executive in 2021. She was included in Management Today’s 35 under 35 list in 2022.

Asked how to plan for growth, she answered: “Invest in your scalability – for us it was technical debt slowing us down, so we chose to rebuild our platform to enable us to grow more quickly moving forward.

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“Look at your products and services and what else you could do – we recognised we get huge amounts of traffic to our site, yet we were only monetising the content not the advertising slots, so we launched banners, pre-rolls etc.

“If you want to go global, conduct your market research and have a plan with actions, timelines and owners. Think it and ink it!”

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Sykes is a partner and head of entrepreneurial business at accountancy and business advice firm BDO.

“Don’t confuse the product with the business: the product is what you sell, the business is what people invest in – both are critical and too many businesses fail to get the difference,” he said.

“My second bit of advice: get ambitious for what you could achieve and make the steps to achieve this. If you don’t get enthusiastic for what could be, then why should others?”

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