During the last year the Trustees of St Josephs School decided that we too needed to plan our future more robustly in the light of the current economic climate. Tom Mawhood was engaged to help us do that and, with the availability of clear budgets, and absolute clarity regarding the margin of each of the various income streams – Junior School, Nursery, and Holiday Clubs – we are better able to plan for our immediate future and manage our relationship with our bank with detailed cash flow projections and forward revenue projections, and perhaps more importantly, to plan a strategy beyond just the current academic year.
We have been exploring ways of taking our business forward and initially contacted Turning Point regarding the possibility of investment. After an initial meeting it became clear that there was a lot of work to do both in the establishment of our forward strategy, and the detailed business planning so we invited Tom Mawhood to visit again on a Consultancy basis.
This visit proved hugely useful and excellent value – through a structured and methodical work through our current position, we were able to address key issues requiring resolution as a platform for our strategy to achieve the growth we aspire to.
We initially contacted Turning Point early 2009 in the midst of ongoing cash flow problems to explore the possibility of some Third Party investment. From the off Tom and I got on well, and he was able to steer us to a point where we could structure a clear strategic plan forward and then structured the financial projections to support this such that we could review the various financing options available to us including third party private equity investment.
As well as helping achieve an urgent overdraft extension at the end of March, he arranged for us to meet the Turning Point Investments LLP team and after a series of meetings we secured the offer of investment and investor help – although in the end, for personal reasons, we eventually decided not to proceed. Tom’s input overall was invaluable – he went the extra mile to make sure that we understood our options, and arranged a series of contacts to help galvanise them.
We became aware of TP through local press coverage and one of our existing shareholders, and we approached Tom Mawhood with a view to meeting the TP investors.
The Investment Committee – their form of a Dragons Den – was a focussed meeting attended by the investors and ourselves where we outlined the opportunities of an equity investment in to Hello. We were subjected to a very detailed scrutiny but at the end of it we were delighted that the individuals decided that they would support us at what is a very exciting time of prospective growth.
Although it is 12 months since Tom Mawhood left us, FHP City Living still reaps the benefit of his input. As well as implementing a series of much needed systems to enable the business to operate more efficiently, more importantly he re-structured the way the partners viewed and analysed the income streams enabling us to re-organise the management and organisation.
These changes, together with a focussed and dedicated effort from our hardworking staff, have enabled the business to move from a loss making position to profit during 2009 in the depths of the credit crunch.
We were introduced to Turning Point Investments through our lawyers as potential investors. The investment process was very thorough and Tom Mawhood visited the company and went through in full detail prior to confirming our suitability to meet their Investment Committee.
The Investment Committee was something along the lines of Dragons Den but we were impressed by the quality of the individuals, their questioning, and their commercial approach.
TP were quick to respond as they promised they would be and thankfully for us this culminated in an initial offer, which, after a couple of really useful meetings, we were able to agree the detail and progress to lawyers.
The Due Diligence process was thorough, professional, and conducted from a commercial perspective. In addition to the standard disclosures this also involved Tom Mawhood spending a couple of days on site and working through our systems and procedures against which a report was prepared for discussion with both the investors and ourselves.
We finally completed our investment on 31 July and would have no hesitation in recommending businesses looking for financial investment to Turning Point and we are now looking forward to a successful future with our new partners.
Thanks Tom – it was good to meet a professional that knew what they were talking about – quite the opposite to the guardians of the UK banks and many so called financial advisors that crossed our paths – Best Regards – Ted