By Leandro Margulis, director of Impulsa Business Accelerator
In this special interview, Leandro offers his tips, insights and best practices regarding how to achieve accelerated and sustained business growth.
MO: What is the difference between a Business Incubator and a Business Accelerator?
Leandro: A Business Incubator is focusing on getting a company off the ground, typically from idea to “Something”, from zero revenues to the first couple millions in annual revenue. A Business Accelerator takes over where the incubator left off, helping the company get to the next level through a business acceleration program. While a Business incubator helps with office space, mentorship and connections, a Business Accelerator helps a ‘started-up’, or established mid-size company with professional services, management consulting, developing a strategic focus for the company and working with the executives at a company on a daily basis to execute on that strategy and achieve accelerated and sustained growth.
MO: What are some ways that you help small- and medium-sized companies achieve a significant and sustainable impact that translates into higher profitability, sustained growth and social impact?
Leandro: The way we help them is through a structured approach. Since 2004, we have helped over 400 companies in industries as diverse as agriculture and nanotechnology to achieve, on average, a 30% revenue increase the first year after acceleration. We do this through a 5 months acceleration program, in which we do an assessment of the company against best practices and help them in terms of strategic focus, business processes, talent and finances. For example, we helped a tech company which had reached a revenue plateau switch their strategic focus to become a customer service company and grow exponentially.
MO: What are some ways that you help your clients’ develop and strengthen the relationships with which the companies partner ?
Leandro: Once we have accelerated a company we know them well enough to know their core competencies, so we can introduce them to either other clients we are accelerating where we see there could be some synergies, as well as with large corporations in our eco-system for a potential joint venture in a new market for to develop a new product line, as well as for an eventual investment or acquisition.
MO: What advice would you give to a small company considering expanding into international markets?
Leandro: I would suggest for them not to “go it alone”. There is a better and faster chance of success for them if they partner with the right person, institution or organization that knows the playing field in the new markets and how business is done there, as well as access to the local suppliers and distribution channels. Building that from scratch is possible, but it takes much more time and resources than to partner with someone.
MO: Can you provide some tips to our readers when it comes to looking for investments?
Leandro: It is much easier to get funded if you know exactly what the money will be used over the next two to five years. No one has a crystal ball, but having reasonable assumptions on the table with help your credibility when presenting to investors. I would also recommend looking for “smart money” and not just money. What I mean by this is that the investor needs to bring more than just money, but also great contacts in either the markets you are trying to get into, or the suppliers you need to get in touch with.
MO: Can you talk a bit about your ambitious plans of opening 5-7 new offices around the world in the next 6 months? How much have you had to tailor the strategy and approach of each office to fit in with the specific business culture there?
Leandro: Very good question. We strongly believe in the value of the Impulsa network and we are starting to see the benefits of this. We currently have offices in the US, Mexico, Peru and South Africa. A lot of our clients in emerging markets are coming to us to help them create a presence in the United States, either by soft-landing here, relocating or finding the right organization for them to partner with. Similarly, some of the companies we are accelerating in the US want to have either a production or commercial presence in the emerging markets we have a presence on, so we are helping them with those activities. The more offices we have around the world, the more valuable that network becomes and the more value we can bring to our customers in terms of cross-border trading and strategic partnerships.
Prior to joining Impulsa, Leandro started TrazeTag, a durable RFID tags company to track high value assets outdoors and in harsh environments. Before that, he worked as senior consultant at Deloitte Consulting in Strategy & Operations, responsible for M&A due diligence and post-merger integration in the United States and emerging markets. Leandro has an MBA from the Yale School of Management, and a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Florida International University.
Impulsa Business Accelerator helps small- and medium-sized companies grow to become the next generation of market leaders. Their Business Acceleration Program enables accelerated and sustained growth for small and medium-sized companies seeking to reach that second level of growth.
This interview was previously published on Mo.com.