Experienced business mentor and angel investor Mark Lyttleton is the founder of Prana Partners, an organisation that provides constructive advice to founders, setting them on course for success and helping them to capture opportunities while avoiding potential pitfalls. Rather than actually running their companies for them, Prana Partners advises business leaders, offering the benefit of more than 25 years of business analysis and a wealth of experience across many industry sectors.
Prana Partners recognises that different companies have different missions. While some businesses were created with the simple mission of generating a large profit, others may be more lifestyle-based or launched with the intension of driving far-reaching positive change throughout society or the environment. Some companies are a combination of all three. Prana Partners works closely with companies to understand their vision, helping them to map out a path to achieve their strategic goals.
Support can range from working with entrepreneurs to develop a business plan for a venture that is still just a concept, all the way through to optimising existing business strategies – or pivoting to gain traction and capitalise on new market opportunities. Prana Partners gathers information about each company it works with through detailed conversations and careful analysis of the business and its operating metrics, helping business leaders to identify the steps necessary to achieve their long-term goals.
Recognising and respecting that each client’s business belongs to them rather than attempting to run the company for them, Prana Partners takes a collaborative approach, helping founders to successfully steer their company – as well as themselves – through the journey of start-up and growth.
For a founder, establishing their business can be a difficult and lonely process, with the burden of expectation – both from themselves and from others – weighing heavily on their shoulders. Prana Partners shares the weight of that burden, providing entrepreneurs with a listening ear and sounding board, as well as offering the assurance of having someone fighting their corner.
Business mentoring is an involved, time-consuming process. Prana Partners can therefore only work with a limited number of founders, helping them to maximise their inherent skills in running their business and achieve a healthy work/life balance. The company operates with a special focus on founders and companies that set out to bring about positive societal or planetary change, solving real-world problems and making the world a better, more inclusive and sustainable place.
Financial structuring is integral to the success of any business. Many founders find themselves so caught up in the complexities of day-to-day operations that they overlook the need for robust financials. Nevertheless, optimal financials should be a top priority for all entrepreneurs. Once put in place, financial structuring frees up founders to focus on strategic activities, as well as providing them with more headspace to concentrate on their business’s products and customers.
The right mix of equity, cash, debt and other instruments allows greater flexibility. Prana Partners can arrange for R&D tax credits to be reclaimed within the space of just four to six weeks, as well as helping businesses to apply for international and government grants by working with a specialist grant application company in a focussed fashion, enhancing the applicant’s probability of success.
Many founders embark on a career in entrepreneurship with the aim of finding and delighting customers with innovative offerings, often relegating the less glamorous business of managing money down the to-do list. The danger of this approach is that financials can suddenly become an urgent priority simply to fulfil an order or just to keep the lights on. Prana Partners works with companies to financially prepare them to weather the storm of operational and market fluctuations as much as possible, setting the business on a firm footing for success.