Case study: How BML Digital evolved and succeeded with Sonovate
BML Digital, under the leadership of its Founder and CEO, Ben Johnson, has undergone a remarkable evolution, transforming from a traditional consultancy into a multifaceted business.
The company’s story began with its core offering, BML Digital, which specialised in digital transformation, technical architecture, digital strategy, and program management. Over time, it gained recognition for its exceptional ability to build high-performing teams and find the right individuals to drive success in their client projects.
BML’s evolution was sparked by a moment of insight – perhaps a slightly unconventional one. Ben Johnson found himself pondering new possibilities while on vacation. It was during this holiday that he realized his business possessed a unique talent – the ability to build high-performing teams and identify exceptional talent.
This realisation led to the birth of BML.work, a recruitment company with a difference. Unlike traditional recruiters, Johnson’s’ team boasted technical backgrounds, not recruitment pedigrees. This distinction became a hallmark of their approach, setting them apart in the competitive recruitment landscape. BML.work became a trusted partner for clients who were seeking a genuine understanding of their technical needs and the ability to identify the right talent to deliver it.
Simultaneously, BML found itself involved in numerous private equity deals, collaborating with a number of private equity companies. These experiences revealed a gap in the market. Private equity firms often focused on financial aspects, and needed the expertise required for thorough due diligence on the technical side. As a solution, BML launched BML.ventures, providing bespoke support, from pre-deal due diligence to post-acquisition IT management.
Those three arms, offering complementary services, now operate under one umbrella based on a unified strategy for growth and using a network of associates and consultants.
Challenge: Cash flow management in consulting
However, the expansion brought its own set of challenges. Working with specialist talent to deliver its growing number of projects, BML had to rely on significant investments upfront, which were particularly challenging when project timelines shifted.
Before discovering Sonovate, BML was self-funded and bootstrapping its operations. In the competitive consulting industry, they encountered a common hurdle – the management of cash flow. The challenge was exacerbated when dealing with delayed client payments. BML’s commitment to paying associates promptly, typically within seven days of invoicing, posed difficulties when clients did not adhere to similar timelines and represented a risk for the business’ financial sustainability.
A flexible financing solution
BML’s journey with Sonovate began when they sought a solution to their cash flow management challenges. While exploring various financing options, Sonovate emerged as the best fit for their unique requirements. The flexibility, responsiveness, and tailored solutions provided by Sonovate set them apart from other finance providers. The Sonovate platform offered an innovative approach to funding, shielding BML from the unpredictable payment processes of their clients. This flexibility was a game-changer, enabling them to maintain competitive payment rates for their associates while ensuring consistent cash flow. Oscar can we add anything here with particular details around the solution we delivered to them?
Following the setup and initial cash flow injection from Sonovate, BML’s experience was overwhelmingly positive.
“Working with Sonovate has been excellent,” says Ben Johnson, “The team has been responsive and accommodating. We’ve had mature discussions about rates and fees, and Sonovate’s flexibility has allowed us to tailor our funding arrangements to our specific needs. It’s been everything we’d hope for in a client service relationship.”
Collaborating with Sonovate allowed BML to operate on a fixed cost model for resource acquisition. This flexibility mitigated concerns about cash flow, enabling them to scale their teams up or down as project requirements evolved.
“Sonovate has been a real game-changer for us,” continues Johnson, “It’s meant that we can take on more business without having to worry about the cash flow side of things, which anyone who’s run a business knows is a real issue. But the other thing is, if a project slips, it doesn’t really matter, because as far as we’re concerned, our cost base has slipped as well. Whereas with traditional funders, if a project slips, we’ve still got all the cost implications associated with that.”
Scaling with fund available on demand
BML initially engaged Sonovate for its Digital division but quickly recognized the benefits of consolidating services with a single provider for its three business arms. Expanding the partnership across all areas of the business brought consistency, delivering funding as and when needed, and streamlining operations, which reinforced BML’s growth trajectory and helped it to scale.
This relationship with Sonovate blossomed over time. Having a dedicated account manager from Sonovate ensured a single point of contact, fostering a robust partnership that, in addition to much needed funding, provided peace of mind.
Benefits and Outcomes:
- Financial flexibility: Sonovate’s funding model alleviated the burden of cash flow management, enabling BML to pursue more business opportunities.
- Operational agility: BML’s is now able to scale teams up or down without financial penalties, even if projects were delayed, ensured operational flexibility.
- Consistent Support: Sonovate’s dedicated account manager provides personalised, reliable support.
Today, BML envisions continued growth, aiming to expand geographically, explore new business sectors, and establish more client relationships. It is also able to look at bigger projects, including government frameworks, knowing that they can get the funding they need to keep their working capital optimised and continue to scale their business at pace.
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