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Taking Aim but missing the point

Success on Aim can depend on having the right culture as well as having good growth prospects. That means a willingness to accept change and be ready for outside scrutiny from an expanded base of stakeholders.

In some instances, businesses are just not at the right stage of their development or have insufficient management skills for life as a publicly quoted company.

With the fixed cost of a typical Aim float being about 300,000, shareholders and managers need to fully understand the implications in order to maximise their chances of success. A change of mind part of the way through the process can prove financially, not to mention emotionally, costly.

Grooming a business and the flotation process itself takes time. If the owners are also managers whose entrepreneurial flair made the business successful, they should be prepared to bring in objective independent help at the earliest opportunity.

We see many business cases where venture capital, debt funding or a flotation on Ofex is a more suitable route at that time.

Ultimately, the best options are determined by a thorough assessment of the circumstances of the owners, the managers and their business plan.

The message needs to be: Aim high but take sound independent advice before you do.

Mark Dowding

Partner, Vantis

London, EC1

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