Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Wednesday, July 30, 2008
As individuals and businesses alike struggle to deal with a wayward economy, one of the first things we can do is look outward for tools and techniques to help weather the worst of the storm. Fast Company founder Bill Taylor recently examined three companies that seem impervious to market fluctuations and the economic turmoil faced by their respective competitors, and the lessons we can draw from their successes.
Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Wednesday, July 23, 2008
For the growing business, the implementation of carefully targeted, high-quality marketing initiatives can make all the difference. The world of marketing, however, consists of a broad amalgamation of techniques and sub-disciplines that should, ideally, work harmoniously to convey what people need to know about your business. How does a company ensure that they’ve maximized the variety of options that marketing can provide?
Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Imagine you are at a job interview. Right before the interviewer offers you a position he states, "Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the details of our project. You will have the opportunity to make mistakes and struggle, but eventually we may do something that we'll remember the rest of our lives." Would you eagerly jump at this project or would you stand up and walk out?
Written by Growthink on Wednesday, July 9, 2008
In addition to our work with Twiistup on July 17, we are also promoting Mashable's US Summer Tour 2008.
Mashable.com is the leading social networking and social media blog, and has spotted important trends in digital media over the past several years. To get your web startup reviewed favorably in Mashable is to have arrived as a digital media entrepreneur.
The purpose of Mashable's tour is to engage and unite the Social Media community of Founders, Developers, Bloggers, Influencers, Journalists, Venture Capitalists and Social Networking Users themselves.
Each event will have approximately 500 to 900 attendees, and will include networking, “Drink Tickets”, music, light appetizers, and Pete Cashmore himself. Needless to say, we are very excited to be involved.
The "SummerMash" events will be held in 7 cities: New York, Boston, Austin, LA, Seattle, SF and Miami.
Seattle: Saturday, July 12th
Buy Tickets Here
San Fransisco: Tuesday, July 15th
Buy Tickets Here
Los Angeles: Friday, JUly 18th
Buy Tickets Here
Austin, TX: Wednesday, July 30th
Buy Tickets Here
Miami: Saturday, August 2nd
Buy Tickets Here
Boston: Tuesday, August 5th
Buy Tickets Here
New York City: Thursday, August 7th
Buy Tickets Here
You can read more about the Summer Tour here.
Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Before the ink has dried on newspapers reporting the impending close of 600 Starbucks locations nationwide, news has surfaced that clothing retailer Steve & Barry's is preparing to file for bankruptcy. For many years, both the coffee giant and the clothing chain have been two of the most-discussed, high-growth companies. So what has gone wrong?
Written by Growthink on Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Growthink is very excited to announce our
sponsorship of Twiistup 4, a networking conference that will take place on July
17th at the Viceroy in Santa Monica, CA.
Twiistup 4, which sold out immediately, will feature presentations from 11 exciting startups, 7 of whom are Southern California locals, plus 4 "crashers" from Texas, Vancouver and the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more about the "Show Offs" here.
For more information, visit the Twiistup site here.
Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Most entrepreneurs have a strong aversion to the word random. The word, which is defined as “without definite aim, purpose, method, or adherence to a prior arrangement,” is the antithesis of what is typically perceived as good business practice. Oddly enough, one author believes randomness, and how we deal with it, can be the greatest indicator of whether enterprises will succeed or fail.
In his book The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, Leonard Miodinow discusses in great detail how the laws of randomness are a driving factor in our successes, and how this is counter to the widely-held belief that success is directly derivative of talent or intelligence. Research from the last decade suggests there might be some merit to this line of thinking, and supports the idea that “the ability to persist in the face of obstacles is at least as important a factor in success as talent.” When faced with miscellaneous setbacks, it is the persistent one, rather than the genius, who will prevail.
For entrepreneurs, persistence is a must. At the end of the day, it isn’t just the philosophical prowess needed to envision the perfect solutions to problems, but the resolution and doggedness to actually get in there and solve them.
When it comes to your business, are you relying on your brains to get you through, or are you rolling up your sleeves and using some old-fashioned elbow grease to get you to the next level?
Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The Today Show recently featured a segment on entrepreneurship -- specifically, how many individuals are beginning to start businesses in response to a fragile economy and job market. As unemployment rises (currently up to 5.5%), many driven individuals find themselves without jobs and are forced to find creative solutions to their economic pressures.
Presented in the clip below is the
story of Tracy Huges, founder of The Rum Cake Fairy Dessert Company.
The segment provides much highly useful information to new entrepreneurs, including the importance of having a good credit history, building trusting relationships with potential investors and creditors, and most importantly, carefully constructing a formal business plan. Business plans are a crucial step in the funding process, and are required documentation before pursuing capital from an SBA affiliate or micro lending institutions. While the segment places less focus on angel investors or venture capitalists, it’s important to note that such documentation is also a prerequisite for seeking equity funding as well.
Special attention is given to the personal loan management company Virgin Money (www.virginmoneyus.com). Such companies allow their users to formally structure loans between friends and family, which can be a fantastic way to manage early stage debt.
Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Imagine reaching all of the goals you’ve set out to achieve within the confines of a four-day work week. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? Now imagine hiring significantly fewer employees than your competitors and developing products that are dramatically scaled back in comparison to what those same competitors are building down the street….and then watching your venture reach milestone after promising milestone! That’s a reality for Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the entrepreneurs behind the company 37Signals.
With an iconoclastic view of what is needed to succeed in the fast-paced, whiz-bang world of web-based product development, 37Signals takes the old mantra “less is more” to a new level. In a recent interview with Bill Taylor, the founders shared their view that “less is less- because more is not better!” Their approach, which focuses on solving only the problem at hand by avoiding superfluous add-ons and unnecessary tweaks has not only resonated with their customers, but has created a large number of 37Signals evangelists.
Jason and David, while they are best known for their project-management software Basecamp and contact-management software Highrise, have also authored a book on the subject of success through simplicity, titled Getting Real. Inside, they tell entrepreneurs to add only the ingredients of the utmost importance when it comes to staffing, operations, and product development. They also passionately implore business owners to resist the urge to scale up, just because the opportunity to do so presents itself.
Though 37Signals is known for its frugality and prowess in the world of programming, there are strategic lessons for businesses of all types here; whether it’s scaling back the development of unessential functionality for your Web 2.0 company or modifying the operations at your coffee shop so that you don’t need to hire that extra barista. What can you do to simplify your business?
Written by Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, June 11, 2008
As every entrepreneur knows, a great business plan is essential for effectively launching a business. As the business grows, an effective strategic plan is required to successfully reach the business’s full potential.
But what about planning your exit strategy?
Far too many business owners do not realize that careful strategic planning to sell your business is just as important as planning to launch and grow your business.
In addition to an independent lifestyle and personal fulfillment, a successful exit is the primary motivator for business ownership and entrepreneurship.
(Not to mention that a successful exit tends to improve one’s lifestyle and personal fulfillment...)
Because acquisition is the most common exit for an entrepreneur / business owner, here are some tips to better prepare you to sell your business.
Many business owners wait until the last minute to try and sell their business. They wait until the business is stagnating, or they are exhausted with running the business. In fact, the best time to sell is when business is booming.
If you are in too much of a hurry to sell, you will probably leave a lot of money on the table. Buyers – especially sophisticated larger corporations – will likely sense your urgency and will take advantage of it in the negotiation period.
It’s a good idea to begin preparing 2-4 years BEFORE the sale. It’s much more expensive and time-consuming to rush and prepare all of the necessary financial and other information in a few months than it is to consistently record and compile records over a period of years. This record-keeping is also important for your business’s growth, since it provides more perspective on your company’s performance.
Make sure that you have been keeping accurate financial records and that your assets are ready for sale. This includes both tangible assets such as equipment and inventory, as well as intangible assets such as contracts, leases, patents, trademarks, etc. Make sure that everything is assignable to the buyer and be prepared for extensive due diligence.
A buyer’s motivations are often different than the typical business owner’s. While the entrepreneurial business owner may get excited about innovation and creative strategies, the buyer cares much more about the potential for stable revenue streams and growth potential. Take time to understand your potential buyer’s point of view, interests, and motivations.
The buyer wants to buy a business – not you or your job. From the buyer’s perspective, it’s better if the current owner is not important to the success of the business. Therefore, in planning for the sale of your business, you should begin training your management team to take over critical business functions. If all of the key decisions revolve around you (the owner), then the value of the company will be limited without the owner – and therefore, the business is less attractive to a buyer.
When starting the sales process, you must keep a laser-sharp focus on your business’s operations. It’s important that you do not get too wrapped up in either the sales process or in the romance of any particular sale offer. As difficult as this is, it’s best to act as if any deal can fall through, even if you are in the final negotiation period, because any deal can come unraveled at the last moment. Keep your focus on growing your business until the check has cleared and is in the bank.
In addition, you should do your best to keep the sales process confidential so that you do not endanger relationships with any key clients, employees, or partners whose departure could threaten a transaction or the operations of your business.
If you are a business owner seeking to sell your business, you can benefit from outside advice and assistance. As the old saying goes, “The attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client.” The same applies for a business owner selling without an advisor. Your advisor will provide you with guidance regarding valuation, due diligence, and the marketing of your business opportunity. Without a competent advisor, you decrease your chances of selling your business at its maximum price.
If you have invested a lot of time and energy into the search, negotiation, and due diligence phases, you may be reluctant to reject any deal that comes across the table. However, just because you have a deal in front of you, you do not have to take it. If the price is not attractive or if the deal is not right for another reason – and it cannot be mended – you may be wise to walk away and consider the next opportunity.
Sometimes, during the process of preparing their business for sale, business owners will find themselves at the helm of a much more profitable, attractive business. If you have a profitable business, keep in mind that you have other options at your disposable. In addition to selling your business, you can continue to grow organically, raise growth capital, and/or explore strategic partnerships.
It’s important to continually evaluate your options throughout all phases of business growth to ensure that you are making the best decisions for the long term.
Founded in 1999, Growthink is a leading middle market investment bank. Our professional investment bankers have assisted clients in raising more than $1 billion in growth financing, as well as advising on mergers and acquisitions transactions.
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