10 Fast Growth Businesses

There are smaller companies in the UK which are increasing sales and improving margins. SmallBusiness.co.uk finds out how they're making it happen.

A well-run business will nearly always prioritise profitability above basic sales growth. Of course, a company that harbours the seeds of greatness will manage to grow both sales and profits. That’s not been an easy task over the past 18-months, but SmallBusiness.uk has spoken to the CEOs of a number of companies which, through bold sales and marketing strategies, have shown admirable focus and robustness amid the wider concerns about the British economy.

All About Weight

Turnover: £3m (+15%)
Pre-tax profits: £1.1m (+97%)
Sector: Consumer
Based: Cheshire

Before founding All About Weight in 2007, Alison Wetton spent ‘a good two or three years’ studying every weight loss method and company in the UK. This involved joining a few of them as a client and attending group sessions, which she says was a real eye-opener. ‘Food was a forbidden topic. Everyone was supposed to be surviving on a diet of soup and smoothies, consuming just 500 calories a day, but everyone was cheating and no-one was talking about it.’

All About Weight does things differently, allowing customers one proper meal a day in addition to the meal pack provided. Fending off attacks from established competitors, the company has grown quickly and has already been approached by two private equity firms. It was too soon to sell, but Wetton is planning an exit in around three years.

London FoodService

Turnover: £4.1m (+63%)
Pre-tax profits: £124,000 (+9%)
Sector: Food
Based: London

London FoodService distributes ethnic and halal foods to the fast food sector including its own franchise restaurant chain, Roosters Piri Piri. MD Khalid Mirza describes Roosters as an express version of Nando’s. It has 12 branches across the South East, a number Mirza plans to double in the coming year.


Turnover: £4.3m (+29%)
Pre-tax profits: £630,000 (+17%)
Sector: Business Services
Based: London

Risk management group red24 provides security consulting and staff training to companies including HSBC and Chartis. Over the past year CEO Maldwyn Worsley-Tonks says the company’s greatest growth has been in the insurance market, particularly following the its decision to increase its specialisation in the kidnap and ransom market.

RC Town & Country

Turnover: £6m (+73%)
Pre-tax profits: £463,000 (+265%)
Sector: Construction
Based: London

Rupert Cordle attributes the growth of his building firm to clients looking to increase the value of their homes before a sale. ‘The market around Chelsea and Knightsbridge hasn’t been affected that much by the recession, though it gets mentioned at dinner parties,’ says Cordle.


Turnover: £6.4m (+22%)
Pre-tax profits: £750,000 (+126%)
Sector: Media
Based: London

Creative agency Crayon was started in 1999 by its three partners, who had been working for a large US agency. The company’s first big contract wins were Diageo and Camelot and it now has over 130 staff. In the past two years the company has made two acquisitions and senior partner Mark Runacus says it is on a strong growth path.


Turnover: £7.1m (+16%)
Pre-tax profits: £648,000 (+67%)
Sector: IT
Based: Scotland

Founded 15 years ago as a father and son venture, Lumison is an IT services provider to SMEs and larger private and public sector organisations. ‘We’re an old fashioned, bootstrapped organic growth business,’ says CEO Aydin Kurt-Elli. With an office in Scotland and London and 55 employees, Kurt-Elli notes that ‘every penny we’ve made goes back into growing the company.’


Turnover: £7.4m (+72%)
Pre-tax profits: £696,000 (+32%)
Sector: IT
Based: Derbyshire

Launched in 2003 as a specialist in internet telephony, it wasn’t until 2007 that Node4 really took off, when it fitted out half of a building as a data centre in order to lease server space to its customers. ‘In the first year, it went absolutely crazy – we sold the space at a rate of knots,’ says MD Andy Gilbert. Node4 opened a second data centre in May 2009 and a third is due to open in January. Sales are expected to hit £11 million this year.

Control Circle

Turnover: £9.1m (+36%)
Pre-tax profits: £159,000 (+55%)
Sector: IT
Based: London

Scottish Equity Partners has backed Control Circle to the tune of £6 million and chief executive Damian Milkins is already setting up offices in the US, Europe and Asia. His scheme is to build a titan in the highly competitive IT support sector.


Turnover: £11.8m (+27%)
Pre-tax profits: £1.7m (+21%)
Sector: Media
Based: London

BrainJuicer is a market research company with a mission: to delve deep into the psyche of consumers. Says CEO John Kearon, ‘We’ve studied sociology and psychology to understand the human condition.’ Organic growth is the way forward, Kearon adds: ‘There’s no point in buying other agencies because we’d have to re-educate them.

The Stewart Company

Turnover: £13.5m (+8%)
Pre-tax profits: £2m (+18%)
Sector: Manufacturing Based: London

Set up in 1945 by an ex-RAF fighter pilot from Poland, Stewart makes plant pots, garden accessories and catering products. Formerly VC-backed, the business had debts of £13 million and was making annual losses of £1.2 million before current MD Lee Mowle led a turnaround.

This article is an extract from a longer piece of independent research conducted annually by SmallBusiness.co.uk’s sister website, GrowthBusiness.co.uk.

To read the full article, click here

Related Topics


Leave a comment