Growthink Blog

Growthink Client LeapFish.com Featured in Entrepreneur Magazine


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We were thrilled to see our client LeapFish.com featured in the Web+Department section in the March 2009 edition of Entrepreneur Magazine.

Launched in November 2008, LeapFish is a search engine that uses proprietary hyper-threading to deliver more results in a single search. 

What makes LeapFish unique and so fun to use is its "click-free" search functionality.  As you type, the screen refreshes with new results -- give it a try!

 

 

Entrepreneur selected LeapFish along with a handful of other innovators in search.

The other featured startups included 123people.com, Cuil, EcoSmartSearch.com, RushmoreDrive.com, and Spock.com.


Key Man Insurance: Why It Is So Important To Your Business


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Did you know that venture capital firms nearly always require the companies they fund to get key man insurance (KMI)?

Well, understanding the rationale behind this fact should give you insight into improving your business operations and structure.

To begin, Key Man Insurance or KMI is a life insurance policy covering a business owner, president or a key employee. The business is the beneficiary under the policy.

The fact that most venture capital firms require KMI explicitly shows that venture capital firms provide funding to PEOPLE, not firms or ideas. It is the people who are able to execute on the ideas. Remember that a good person with a mediocre idea is often much more successful than a poor person with a great idea.

What this does NOT mean is that you should rush out to purchase key man insurance if you are seeking venture capital. What it does mean is that you need to make sure that you have a management team that is worthy of KMI. A team that is so capable of achieving success that investors are actually frightened that their investment would be in jeopardy if something happened to them.

What it also means, and this applies even if you are not seeking venture capital, is that you should create systems to minimize the business risk of something happening to a key employee.

These systems can include:

  • Training manuals that document key tasks performed by key personnel, so that someone else could take over their job requirements in the event that they were out of the office temporarily or long-term

  • A hiring plan that allows you to efficiently recruit and train new personnel

  • Constantly networking and telling people the exciting aspects of your business so that there is a pent-up demand to work at your company

You and your management team are the lifeblood of your business. You always need to be thinking about how to improve, protect and grow your team, as this will have the greatest impact on the long-term success, or lack thereof, of your business.

I love Kiva


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I love Kiva.  For those not familiar, Kiva is a person-to-person micro-lending site – allowing individuals, primarily from developed countries, to lend directly to entrepreneurs in the developing world.  The borrowers are in places like Cambodia, Bolivia, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Peru, and Tanzania – and primarily borrow to allow their very small businesses to expand and hire.

Let Entrepreneurial America Breathe Again - Please


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The old adage about the definition of insanity -- "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" -- has never been more applicable than it is right now with the crisis in our financial markets and our government's response thereto.  The daily, depressing drama of the federal government's frenetic, "bailout flavor of the day" response mechanism would be comical if it wasn't so tragic, frustrating, and anger-inducing.

Sometimes I feel I went to bed one night in the United States of America and woke up in the U.S.S.R. in the midst of a "5-year plan." It is long-overdue time for Main Street America, for Small Business America, for Scientist's and Engineer's America, for Junior Achievement America, for Paper Route America, for Immigrant America, for eBay America, for Mary Kay America, for Franchise America, for Venture Capital America, for Startup America, for Entrepreneurial America to stand up and shout ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Because they built this country.  Because they represent and embody its best and most admirable and most idealistic qualities.  And because if the Washington bureaucrats would just let them be and get out of their way they can and will dig this country out of its current hole far quicker, cheaper, and more fairly than via the banana republic cronyism that masquerades as policy in Washington these days.

The funny thing is, Entrepreneurial America has never been more vibrant, more creative, more productivity-building, more value-creating, than it is right now.  With the collapse of the "Blue Chips," the playing field has never been more level, the competitive arena never more wide open, the cost of key business inputs (labor, rents, technology) never less than it is right now for entrepreneurs.

What these firms need to succeed is not government handouts or "stimulus," but simply good old-fashioned growth capital.  And for this capital, these companies -- in such dynamic growth arenas as alternative & green energy, healthcare & biotechnology, digital media, and software -- are priced at  "end-of-the-world" levels.  In other words, as long as the world does not end, they will make themselves and their investors money.

So my suggestion to all of those in Entrepreneurial America: make yourself heard.  Call and write your congressperson and senator.  Email essays like this to your family, friends, and colleagues.  Support your local small business.  If you see a website of a business you like, write the company and tell them to keep on keeping on.   Blog.  Twitter.  Post on YouTube.  Shout out on Facebook.  Because this is a fight for private enterprise and economic freedom and one that Entrepreneurial America, and the world for that matter, cannot afford to lose.

Read Jay's second article in this series - Entrepreneurial America, Part 2.

Webinar: Keys to Successful Private Company Investing

Please join me on a live, interactive web conference where I will share with you my keys to successful private company investing including:

- How to utilize the Internet to source and research opportunities
- How to conduct data-driven risk analysis on private company deals
- How to exploit the "pricing inefficiency gap" endemic to private equity
- The importance of technology bias (and which technologies to bias) when selecting deals
- How to properly apply "black swan," or "randomness" thinking to private company investing strategy

To register, click here: http://www.growthink.com/livedeals


Do You Make These Internet Marketing Mistakes?


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For many businesses, internet marketing is the “low hanging fruit” -- the most-cost effective method for gaining and sustaining a competitive advantage. 

However, most websites are poorly optimized for search engines and are not effectively designed to generate leads or produce sales. 

That’s why we’re developing a new webinar that identifies common mistakes as well as proven strategies and tactics to accelerate your website’s growth and profitability.

In this upcoming webinar, Growthink co-founder and President Dave Lavinsky will reveal:
  • Why achieving "top rankings" or "driving traffic" is less than half of the battle
  • Which segments of internet marketing are growing, and where you need to invest today to remain competitive
  • How to create an inbound "pull" strategy to have customers knocking down your door
  • How to effectively convert website traffic to prospects, buyers, and lifetime customers
  • Why a holistic, integrated approach consistently delivers superior ROI

Reserve your spot in our upcoming internet marketing webinar.

Learn more about Growthink’s internet marketing services.

Why Entrepreneurial Capitalism Now


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It is absolutely astounding how quickly the discussion around the appropriate government response to the economic crisis has morphed -- from one around whether it even makes sense, or is the proper thing to do, for government to bail out ailing financial and manufacturing firms -- to one simply around "how much," "how fast," and "how many."


Yellow and the Investor Pysche


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What does the girl who rejected me at a dance when I was thirteen years old have to do with your ability to raise capital for your business?  Well, it all has to do with psychology, human nature, and how you can leverage the two to attract capital. Watch the 4-minute video below to learn more:


The DogBall - The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly


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Yesterday, I received an interesting package in the mail. I opened it up and inside was a shoebox. And inside the shoebox was "The Dogball." The Dogball, as I found out, is a new toy for dogs, and the founder, based in France, was trying to get me to distribute it here in the United States.

There are actually several important lessons from The Dogball as it relates to your business plan and raising capital. So, I documented them in a video since I had to make sure each of you could actually see exactly what the Dogball is:


Is There VC Money Out There?


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Sometimes it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. This is how I felt a few years ago when I was helping one of my clients raise VC (venture capital) funding. The client was an early-stage, Southern California-based networking company…

I started by creating what I felt was an awesome VC prospect list with 455 prospective investors.

The list looked like this (number of prospects in parentheses):

  • Priority A: Strategic/Corporate Investors (24)
  • Priority B: Most Active Southern California Investors (24)
  • Priority C: Active Southern California Investors (25)
  • Priority D: Most Active Networking Investors CA-based (72)
  • Priority E: Active Networking Investors CA-based (88)
  • Priority F: Most Active Networking Investors U.S.-based (46)
  • Priority G: Active Networking Investors U.S.-based (176)

The list itself took me days (and a proprietary database) to compile. As any direct marketer knows (and raising capital is direct marketing), the quality of the list is everything. For example, if you’re trying to sell a franchise opportunity to folks at a nursing home, you’re not getting any buyers no matter how good the opportunity is!

Armed with my list and my teaser email (teaser email = solicits interest without giving away the farm), I started calling and emailing investors.

And I had lots of early success.

We had about 20 first meetings with strategic and venture capital investors. And the result... nothing.

We only got about 5 investors who explicitly said “no” but the others weren’t quite ready to write us a check.

So, naturally I started getting discouraged. As you can imagine, I had already invested over one hundred hours on this project and had no multi-million check to show for it.

But fortunately I remained persistent, and eventually one investor referred me to another investor (which, believe it or not, was not on my list of the top 455 prospective investors!!!!) who wrote us a $3 million check.

I bring up this story since I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether or not there is VC funding out there right now.

The answer is an emphatic YES. It is out there. And like always, it takes great knowledge and persistence to get it (and probably now more than ever).

Here are the facts. According to the National Venture Capital Association, 3,808 ventures raised VC funding in 2008 totaling $28.3 billion. And, according to the Center for Venture Research, 70,000 ventures were funded by angel investors last year totaling $37.2 billion.

So lots of companies continue to receive funding from venture capitalists and angel investors.

It’s mostly a matter of REALLY wanting to receive capital for your business and making the investment to do it (i.e., the time/money to learn how to, and the time needed to execute on, a capital-raising campaign).

So, capital IS still out there, and YES, you can raise it!

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Blog Authors

Jay Turo

Dave Lavinsky