What you can learn from the UK's high-growth businesses

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What the Trailblazers do differently

Our latest round of research shows what puts the UK’s fastest-growing businesses in the lead. Over 1,000 businesses took part in our survey, and we found the difference in mindset was one of the factors that divided higher-growth and lower-growth businesses.


February 2020 findings

This third edition of our Trailblazers research once again shines a light on the characteristics that set high-growth businesses apart and further explores one of the key challenges facing UK businesses today: managing through uncertainty.

Uncertainty breeds opportunity

Where others might see volatility and uncertainty as a hindrance, Trailblazers see opportunities.

Two-thirds of the high-growth companies we spoke to are confident they’ll emerge from the current period of uncertainty that’s been affecting business confidence in even better shape than before.

Download the February 2020 report for all the insights.

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What it means to be a Trailblazer

Ready for growth

By focusing on their goals and moving their business forward, Trailblazers make their own luck and ensure they’re not blown off course by any short-term uncertainties.
This self-belief and confidence allows them to seize initiatives while also concentrating on their long-term strategic visions. 

The Trailblazers research reveals that 74% of high-growth companies already trade internationally or plan to do so in the coming 12 months,...


84% of Trailblazers are confident of growth over the next 12 months, compared to 38% of all businesses surveyed.


47% of high-growth companies believe the key to their future success will depend on implementing the correct growth strategy. Only 38% of lower-growth businesses agree.

Fit for business

Trailblazing businesses are professionally led and efficiently managed, with a clear and articulated vision for success. They also often have a more entrepreneurial style of thinking and are open to taking calculated risks to grow their business.

High-growth companies understand the power of strong leadership. They are led by management teams which have a clear vision for success and a...


79% of Trailblazers rate their ability to formulate a strategic vision as good or very good, against 61% of lower-growth businesses.


74% of Trailblazers rate their performance as good or very good in terms of their willingness to take risks, compared to 49% of lower-growth companies.

Investing for tomorrow

Part of the vision for Trailblazers is making sure they’ve invested in their business’ future.
Ensuring their people, systems and technology are ready for the coming challenges allows them to look at future plans, knowing the foundations of their business are solid.

A strong, ongoing commitment to investment in technological innovation as well as research and development is a crucial factor that clearly sets...

Britain’s high-growth companies display a clear understanding of the value their people can add to their businesses. As a result, they are far...


64% of high-growth businesses have increased their R&D investment over the last 3 years, nearly double the  33% invested by lower-growth businesses.


60% of Trailblazers plan to increase their spending on staff training and development in the next 3 years, while only 31% of lower-growth companies are doing the same.

Exploring new ventures

Embracing opportunities, both in the UK and internationally, helps Trailblazers fuel their growth.
They know that by being ambitious and working in partnership with suppliers, customers and business rivals, opens up more doors.

Some 56% of the Trailblazers expect their sales to grow by at least 20% over the next 12 months (a further 23% predict growth of 10...


70% of Trailblazers have formed some kind of alliance with other businesses in the last 3 years, compared to 52% of lower-growth companies.


69% of high-growth companies intent to collaborate like this in the future, while only 46% of lower-growth businesses say the same.

About the Trailblazers

About the Trailblazers

Our research is based on a survey of senior leaders at more than 1,000 businesses conducted by YouGov from November to December of 2019.
From this sample, we identified a group representing 18% of the total cohort: high-growth companies that have grown their revenues by at least 20% over the past 12 months and/or which expect to do so over the coming year. We compared the views of these Trailblazers to those of lower-growth businesses, defined as those currently growing at a rate of less than 10% a year - these companies made up 59% of respondents.

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