Working with Gazelles

Working with Gazelles

The term "Gazelle Company" has been around for more than 30 years. These businesses, marked out by their rapid, sustained growth in revenue and jobs, have never been more important than now.

Gazelles come in all shapes and sizes, in every market and sector and can be any age. If your company fits the description, or is about to, then our law firm wants to work with you.

Our Purpose
The success of a gazelle company depends upon the entrepreneur behind it. In other words – you.

Running a gazelle company can be enormously exhilarating. But it can also be a lonely and stressful task (not to mention extremely hard work) to maintain 20% growth year on year. To maintain momentum it is important to take support from a team of external, professional experts. A key player in that team is your business solicitor.

We are a gazelle company. For the third year running we increased our annual turnover. To the year ended 30 April 2013 we achieved growth of 39%. This year we are on target for at least 30% growth. We understand the ambitions of a gazelle company but know the pain and challenges.

Gazelle History
Back in the mid-80s a US economist, David Birch, divided corporate America into three basic categories. At one end of the scale he placed family firms, local shops and other "Main Street" businesses. These he called "mice".

At the other end of the scale he placed the corporations that make up the Fortune 500 which he called "elephants" because of their sheer size and power.

Somewhere between these extremes, Birch identified a group of companies that showed very rapid growth in their revenues and, as a result, the number of people they were hiring. He called them "gazelles" – animals that run very fast and jump very high!

Birch defined a gazelle as a company with annual revenues of at least $100,000 (about £60,000) that consistently increases those revenues by at least 20% a year – in other words a company that doubles its money in 4 years or less.

Gazelle FAQs

Are all gazelles start-ups and young businesses?
No. In fact, it seems there's no 'typical' age for a gazelle. Some start-ups grow at incredible speeds right from the word go. However, Birch's research found that gazelles generally follow a pattern of gradual development followed by "robust" though not "explosive" growth. About a fifth of gazelles have been in operation for 25 years or so.
Are all gazelles small businesses?
Not necessarily, although recent research suggests that a startling 94% of gazelles have fewer than 20 employees – and on average they employ just 3 people. In fact, most gazelles could be easily mistaken for "mice" at first. That's not to say that much larger organisations can't also be gazelles.
All gazelles are high-tech businesses, right?
No; gazelles can crop up in any industry or market. With the success of Google, Facebook and the like, it's easy to assume that only high-tech businesses can achieve gazelle like performance, but again, research suggests otherwise. One report reckoned that 30% of gazelles are in wholesale and retail trades, with another 30% in service industries. So it doesn't matter that you’re in Hampshire, not Silicon Valley – you still have a better than even chance of finding gazelles within our own local economy.
Surely you can only achieve 20% growth through huge investment?
Another common assumption is that gazelles achieve their spectacular growth with big dollops of other people's money, notably venture capital. Genuine gazelles, however, achieve their growth organically, not by major third party investment or acquisitions.