The Sunday Times Hundred

Henry Whorwood,
 21 March 2024

Turning a profit is hard. And for high-growth businesses, making a profit can be very hard. In an inflationary environment, it’s even harder. But as external equity funding becomes a less viable option and debt funding more expensive to service, a weather-eye to profit is more important than ever.

Out of the 4.97m active businesses in the UK, 137k disclose their turnover in their annual accounts. 86.5k of those are making an operating profit. 45.6k companies grew their turnover by more than the rate of inflation last year, and only 32.8k of those made an operating profit – effectively, less than one in four of the companies with data available were growing and profitable.

The difficulty of making a profit whilst growing steadily is one of the reasons the Sunday Times 100 list is so dynamic. Only 28% of last year’s list had been on the list the year previously. As Richard Tyler wrote last year, “Past success in business is no guarantee of future success, especially given persistent inflation, high interest rates and the threat of recession. […] The bar to achieve recognition on the Sunday Times 100 [was] higher than ever [last] year, with the company ranked at number 100, the fashion brand Manière de Voir, founded by the former Manchester City footballer Reece Wabara, recording sales growth of 49.9 percent a year to £34.7 million — seven percentage points higher than the minimum required to achieve a place on our 2022 table.” That kind of growth isn’t easy and deserves to be celebrated.

So if you run or work with a fast-growth company that’s got good growth and is also showing a profit, I’d encourage you to apply (or get them to apply) for the 2024 Sunday Times Hundred ranking. The winners are celebrated with dinner at the British Museum, and appearing on the list can be an effective way to get in front of investors, acquirers, and even customers.

You can see more about the criteria and make an application here.

Behind The Sunday Times Hundred 2023

Discover how our data powered The Sunday Times Hundred 2023. Find out how we partner with The Sunday Times to create this exclusive high-growth business list. 

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