BusinessMobiles.com was set up by Charmaine de Souza and Richard Rothschild in 1999 to supply mobile telephone solutions to SMEs and medium-sized businesses.
A cash generative business, with healthy margins, BusinessMobiles.com has built up a reputation for having great customer service.
De Souza explains: “From our inception, we knew that we had to be incredibly competitive on both price and service. We regularly score highly with the Mobile Network Operators. For example, we are currently top of the league with EE for the number of connections. More importantly, our customers obviously think we have risen to meet these challenges given our 9.6 Trustpilot rating. It might sound like a cliché but we take a lot of pride in hiring salespeople who genuinely care.”
BusinessMobiles.com has been one of the innovators in the market and capitalised early in a burgeoning mobile marketplace. It recognised the move toward ‘mobility’ where ‘apps’ have now prevailed over traditional browser-based services. De Souza continues: “We put a great deal of focus on helping our customers run their businesses better through understanding and implementing ‘best of breed’ mobile practices, apps and methodologies. We help them to get improved business benefits by optimising their company’s use of ‘the mobile’.”
Despite being a successful company, BusinessMobiles.com was still relatively small in comparison to some of its competitors and felt some of the constrictions of operating in the ‘mobile-only’ space. It was highly dependent on the major networks and the impact of any significant procedural changes within these organisations was keenly felt. For example, in 2014, all four network operators mandated that their distributors carry 50% for the credit risk of all transactions, laying them open to numerous financial penalties should the consumers default.
Additionally, the company was in a highly competitive market space where margins were continually being eroded and, additionally, the business needed to consider its service offering. BusinessMobiles.com was highly focussed on growth but needed to implement a plan to enable it.
De Souza said: “After we were approached by a potential acquirer, and the deal stalled, we realised that we needed a business advisor that knew the market and could increase the value of our business. We perceived we had hit the ceiling and needed some heavyweight expertise to help us move forward. After an approach by Evolution Capital and an exploratory initial meeting we decided to change advisors.”
Advice, planning and preparation:
Evolution Capital initially conducted an in-depth review of BusinessMobiles.com looking at all elements of the business, including financial and operational performance. The exercise took place over several months before Evolution Capital presented a detailed document of findings and recommendations to the owners.
De Souza continues: “We were very impressed from the outset by the meticulous preparation, investigation and delivery from the Evolution team. By the time we had digested the findings of the strategic review, we were in no doubt of what was needed to both grow the business and increase its value. This was only the start of our partnership with them and they have maintained the same high standards throughout.”
The headline deliverables of the review were:
1) A growth and acquisition strategy by which BusinessMobiles.com could achieve their desired goals.
2) All the potential sale considerations including a list of likely acquirers.
3) An indicative current valuation of the business and adjusted valuation when the recommendations were implemented.
4) The options open to the business going forward.
Maximising the value through business change:
A number of changes and recommendations were made to the business through the strategic review and these have been gradually implemented over a period of time. The benefits to the business have incrementally been realised namely:
- An increased valuation multiple of between 2-3 times on an adjusted EBITDA
- Ongoing support to the business owners
- The creation and delivery of a plan of on-going activities to support the growth plans
- Increased stability and direction for the company
A successful outcome:
BusinessMobiles.com is now fully focussed on expanding its product portfolio, increasing its operational capabilities and putting down solid foundations for the next stage of its growth.
De Souza added: “Having Evolution as a partner has been like having another member of the board. The team has delivered everything they promised. I receive support and advice on a regular basis which I find incredibly valuable.”