The List Group is a family-owned engineering business that proves you’re never too old to diversify and grow. Terry List started the business in 1971 when, as a draughtsman, he decided he could earn more money working for himself. The business chugged along for the next 15 years until things took off when it bought a larger competitor. “We nearly went bust in the process because we didn’t have the finances to do it,” List says. “That’s when I learned about cash management!” More acquisitions followed and The List Group now comprises three divisions: design, recruitment and technical documentation. “We decided to diversify because we’d saturated the design market,” List says. The divisions each contribute a third of the group’s overall turnover although recruitment has been the shining light in terms of growth in recent years. Sales jumped a whopping 373 per cent from 207,000 in 2005 to £21.9m in 2008 – making it the fastest growing private company in the country by a long shot. The recession will temper the company’s meteoric growth over the next few years – but List is circumspect about the future. While he acknowledges sales will likely plateau this year, he notes: “We’re always looking for acquisitions. Chances are there’ll be some good deals out there.” www.listgroup.co.uk
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