Beautiful Print use Futrli forecasting to win £350k funding
Beautiful Print has experienced exponential growth in recent years. Their team of just six staff are producing an impressive amount of work. Owner Michael Tyrell needed to secure funding to invest in new machinery and cope with the demand for orders. The company needed a plan for the coming five years, which could show them how many customers they’d need to win to make their investment sound. As they also wanted to continue growing, it was important to find software that could help them visualise their progress and success in real-time.
Signing up with Futrli, and making use of our in-house management accountants, Michael was able to gain insight into where the business stood. Adding forecasting to the mix allowed the whole team see where they needed to be in a specific timeframe. With the whole company working together towards the same goals, the prospect of funding became more achievable.
The level of insight achieved by Futrli has enabled the team to win £350k of funding. Michael ran different scenarios through Futrli’s scenario planner, which allowed him to calculate what was needed before spending their funding. The investment in new machinery has meant Beautiful Print has maintained their position as market-leaders, going on to win bigger clients and keep building on their successes.
Interview in full
How did the business evolve to where is it today?
We worked from home for two years, which was an office in our lounge. Then we got our first unit at the beginning of this year. We got some grants and small business loans, and we bought our first large format printer then. Up until that point, we were outsourcing a lot of our work. We produced about 80% of our print work but we wanted to invest in new equipment too.
As for our business plan, we Googled it! We found some free templates to see what needed to go into it. The first one was easy – it sort of just happened. But this recent one needed a bit more depth, as we needed more money.
Because the business is just over 4 years old, we’ve got a relative turnover for the size of the company, though that wouldn’t have been enough on its own help us grow. We looked at different ways of doing the business plan and I have a business coach I use. He recommended I spoke to someone that could help with making the business plans. We then obviously needed the financial data to back that up, which is where Futrli came in.
We were looking at cash flow forecasting tools – we tried to do it in spreadsheets, but it didn’t really work. I’m a bit fan of Xero and its Apps Marketplace, that’s where I found Futrli. The best bit was that when I got going I realised I didn’t have the time for it and I need more support. Your management accountants were brilliant and setting everything up for me and helping me forecast the future confidently, heavily relying on their expertise from working with other businesses like mine.
Your funding was very successful with £350k secured. How was the experience for you?
It wouldn’t have been successful if we did it on our own! We did it ourselves before we found Futrli but they didn’t like the way it had been created. It wasn’t solid enough, or explanatory enough. Futrli to the rescue! When we shared it with them they absolutely loved it! I was able to share the forecast with them and they were able to review it, we were able to make changes very quickly and explore Scenarios. It worked perfectly and we were all really, really pleased.
Were you in the driving seat with all the assumptions you were making? How did it work?
Yes, we tried to work out the different ways in which we were going pay for these machines. Also how it was going to pay for itself. So, we looked at different scenarios of incomes. We narrowed it down to the efficiency it would bring, and the increased profit it would make from our current clientele. We made a small marketing plan to see how many new customers we would need to get per year, then also be channelling larger suppliers – larger agencies – which would provide us with different types of work.
How did you find exploring the what-if scenarios?
We broke it down in the end into three scenarios. We were able to drill right down and look at the profits it was creating over our 5-year plan, and the effect it would have on the bank balance as well. It’s very clever and the dashboard made it so easy to understand – the impact each scenario would have on my business was so clear.
What’s the vision long-term?
The idea is to stay at a high-end part of the market. We a lot of do exhibition graphics, where it’s quite high pressure, last minute and needs to be high end, no mistakes! We do want to focus on agency work; higher level agencies. Of course, we wouldn’t say no to trade-style graphic and corporate signage. Point of sale, retail… it opens up a lot of markets for us…so there are always scenarios to explore and our Forecast keeps us on track. We’re only a team of 6 at the moment, but we’re looking to take on another 3 next year. We think this is possible because of the uptake of work, thanks to the new machines which Futrli made possible.
Do you have any advice for prospective Futrli users?
It’s very valuable, very easy to use, the entire team were incredibly helpful and knew exactly what they were doing. They asked all the right questions so they got it right first time and really saved me time.