Written by Dave Lavinsky on Monday, January 12, 2009
Just for a moment, consider the following press release headlines:
"Company X Receives Top Marks in Bloomberg Article..."
"Company X Ranked #1 Global Provider...Second Year Running"
"Company X Acquires Leading Provider of..."
"Company X Launches Philippines Operations"
"Company X Names Industry Veteran as Vice President..."
Now imagine what it would feel like to be the founder of Company X. For one Growthink client, Liam Brown, this isn't a dream - it's a reality.
A few years ago, Liam had the vision to come to Growthink for assistance with a business plan for his vision - a company named Integreon. Liam, with a solid business plan, turned his vision into a business, raised capital, and attracted a highly motivated work force. Today, Integreon is a leading business process outsourcing (BPO) service firm that employs over 2000 people, with offices ranging from Mumbai to Fargo and New Delhi to midtown Manhattan.
Even with an amazing business plan, heights and milestones like the ones listed above cannot be achieved without vision. Simply put, you must have a vision of where you want your business to be in the future. You must be able to communicate your vision in an exciting manner to employees and investors, so that they too share your vision and are motivated to help you achieve it.
Unlike your business plan, your vision doesn't provide a specific roadmap for your business. Rather, your vision paints a picture of what the your business strives to become in the future. A leader with a strong vision motivates his or her team to achieve this picture, regardless of the action plan that will be employed.
Vision provides motivation to both the leader and employees. It gives employees something that they can believe in and rally around. While it doesn't tell the employees exactly what to do to achieve it, having vision instilled in them helps positively mold their decision-making when problems must be solved that don't have clear answers.
A strong vision combined with a strong business plan is critical to the success of a growing venture. The vision motivates everyone to achieve success, while the plan guides them to where they need to go. In addition, the plan is significant in that it documents the vision. By "cementing" the vision on paper, the team gains more confidence that the vision will not be easily changed and that the organization is truly committed to achieving it.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Friday, January 9, 2009
In my previous post, I explained how getting an outside perspective improves your chances of raising capital.
Related post: How Business Plan Writers Help You Raise Capital
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Thursday, January 8, 2009
Yesterday I was looking at an online forum that deals with all aspects of entrepreneurship. I quickly found the capital-raising section and started reading a post from someone who was considering outsourcing the development of their business plan to an outside firm.
Written by Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, January 7, 2009
10) Keep Launching, Innovating and Growing
2008 was a tumultuous year, and most observers agree that we're now in one of the worst recessions in decades.For more thoughts on launching a business during a recession, read entrepreneur and investor Andy Liu's excellent entry The Secret to Starting a Successful Company.
While the economy may be in for a bumpy ride, make sure you keep it in perspective. Don't let all the negative news stop you from moving forward with your entrepreneurial initiatives.
History has shown that a downturn can be a great time to start a new venture. General Electric traces its roots to the Panic of 1873. William Hewlett and David Packard founded HP during the Great Depression. Microsoft launched during the recession of the early 1980s. Disney, Oracle, and Cisco, and countless others took the leap during difficult economic times, and reaped tremendous rewards for their efforts.
One reason that recessions provide opportunities for entrepreneurial companies is because established firms decide to cut back on innovation and growth plans. Don't make that mistake! The key is to be running and growing your business successfully before the market comes back -- so that when it does, you have gained market share and are poised for explosive growth. As we've said before, persistence and optimism are critical for entrepreneurial success.
9) Maximize Your Time and Resources
That's it! I hope you found this list to be helpful for growing your business. Here's wishing you a prosperous 2009!
What is your New Year's resolution?
Written by Growthink on Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Happy Holidays! In celebration of the season, and the entrepreneurial spirit, Growthink has created a video holiday card which you can view below:
Written by Christiana Moffa on Friday, December 19, 2008
Sounds like a lot of territory to cover in such a short amount of time, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, it wasn’t. I managed to do it all… within one square mile or less.
The wonder of being in LA and having clients all over the world is that there’s one particular destination to which everyone is drawn. In addition, it’s fairly central to travelers doing business in the western half of the U.S.
No, it’s not Fresno.
Las Vegas is a desert Mecca of entertainment, gambling, and business. The latter is conducted everywhere from conference centers and meeting rooms, to poker tables, bars, restaurants, music halls, and nightclubs. Low and behold, I found myself in precisely such a scenario last week, accompanied by two Growthink colleagues and a handful of Brazilian clients. I knew, immediately, that this trip would be ripe for a sitcom episode.
My associate, Tristan, and I must have been dreaming when we thought we could fly in and out of Vegas for a day-long meeting. “We’ll have a productive day,” we thought, “and then we’ll just have a cocktail or two and head to the airport.”
Cut to 8p.m., when the entire gang of us could be found at Red Square – the infamous Russian destination in Mandalay Bay that features a plethora of caviar and spirits. Flights of sample wheat and potato, flavored and un-flavored vodkas were delivered to our table; and we relished in tasting each and every one, discussing the bouquet and the lingering effect of the smooth liquor on our palettes. In the midst of an amplified discussion, Tristan and I announced our impending departure and were immediately harangued into calling Southwest to arrange morning flights.
How can one argue with a handful of handsome Latin American men? Well, that was my excuse, at least – I can’t speak for Tristan!
After securing two seats on the 10:45a.m. flight to LA, we settled back in at the table and proceeded to talk about everything: politics, music, travel, the state of the economy… no subject was left untouched, and no better time was had. A singer by training, I was urged to perform for the group – which I did, right in the middle of the restaurant! Only in Vegas would no one give a second thought or a glance to a gal belting out an impromptu showtune.
Carrying on with the cabaret vibe, I suggested we continue the party at Forty Deuce – a burlesque club reminiscent of old Berlin: bawdy but glamorous; fishnets and feather boas; red leather seats and bottle service. Having worked for the owner prior to joining Growthink (I led corporate development initiatives for the parent company), I was able to secure the best VIP seats adjacent to the stage. The next two hours found us smiling, dancing, watching the show, and having an all-around amazing time that would not have happened if we weren’t in a place like Vegas. It inspired a camaraderie, which already existed from prior meetings but was enhanced by an environment of slightly daring opportunity. I mean, how many times does a one-day business trip turn into a 36-hour excursion?
When we finally shut our eyes that night, able to find last-minute rooms thanks to the down-season hotel occupancy rates, we knew we had solidified a long-term client relationship. More than that: we had developed friendships.
The next morning we gathered for coffee in the lobby before heading to board our plane. Bleary-eyed and tired, but anxious to proceed with our combined business-planning project, we all laughed, shook hands, and bade each other farewell until the next meeting in 2009.
The best part? That one’s in Brazil.
Stay tuned for a blog about Carnival!
Written by Growthink on Thursday, December 11, 2008
Growthink's Co-Founder Dave Lavinsky had the opportunity to speak with entrepreneurship guru Guy Kawasaki last week. Guy is the Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures. His blog, "How To Change the World," is ranked among the world's top 100 blogs, and he is a successful author. In 2004, his book "The Art of the Start" was a BusinessWeek bestseller.
You can click here to listen to the entire interview or download the transcript: http://www.growthinkuniversity.com/public/226.cfm
In the interview, Guy spoke openly about the things to keep in mind when seeking venture capital, the words to avoid using in any conversation with a VC, and his new book, "Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition." For those seeking capital, there’s also an interesting eHarmony.com vs. HotOrNot.com comparison to listen for.
Also, we encourage entrepreneurs to visit Guy's site Alltop.com, specifically these three sub-categories:
* Venture Capital
To listen to the interview or view the transcript, visit this link:
Written by Growthink on Monday, December 8, 2008
Far too many businesses fail to raise capital because they lack the proper documentation, or because their marketing and offering materials (business plans, private placement memorandum, investor presentations) are unprofessional, unpersuasive, inadequate or incomplete.
If you are seeking professional assistance with your PPM, Growthink offers professional private placement memorandum writing and consulting services.
Or, if you're writing your PPM yourself, you can use our Sample Private Placement Memorandum Template to finish your PPM quickly and easily, so that you spend less time "preparing," and more time speaking with investors.
Written by Growthink on Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Just yesterday, America's 3 largest automakers -- Ford, GM, and Chrysler -- all submitted business plans to congress.
Here are the original copies of the plans:
Key components of the business plans
The potential repercussions...
What others have to say
Written by Christiana Moffa on Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Recently, we at Growthink have received a flood of inquiries from entrepreneurs and business owners, asking for advice on how to proceed in these turbulent times.
The fact of the matter is that it is hard to reassure anyone, in light of recent economic circumstances, that there is an upside for business owners who are revising short/intermediate goals or looking for capital. Small, medium, and large companies alike are hesitant to put themselves out there in an unstable, cash-constrained environment.
Yet amidst the seeming cynicism, we at Growthink are still seeing extremely positive movement amongst funds – especially around our headquarters here in California – that have not only the moneys to invest, but also the eagerness for new, niche deals.
Historical patterns indicate that downturns, such as the one in which we presently find ourselves, result in some of the highest levels of new company formation.
What this proves is that entrepreneurs – no matter the ebb or flow of Wall Street and Main Street – are consistently creative people, who seize upon circumstances and leverage them to start and/or grow their businesses. They reflect the American Dream so often referred to in the latest Presidential campaign.
Growthink's mission and vision, as founded by such entrepreneurs, is to help aspiring peers build and set forth strategic plans to gain momentum in their marketplace; and to hopefully attract investment dollars from the right people at the right time.
With all of that said, it comes down to a few key characteristics of good deal-making: confidence, relationships, and perseverance. Just because the opportunities are out there, doesn't mean they are easy to find, qualify, negotiate, or transact.
Our expertise, in working with investors on a daily basis, renders us the ability to quickly identify an outreach strategy, to get to a "yes" or a "no"; and to conduct diligence with interested parties, speeding the time to a closed deal. What this enables our clients to do, rather than expending 100% of their efforts on raising capital, is to focus on the day-to-day operations of their businesses. Ultimately, this is where potential investors want to see busy executives utilizing their skills and capabilities.
At Growthink, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you about our investment banking and consulting services. Should you be interested in scheduling a call, please contact us with the best day, time, and way to reach you, and we will happily accommodate.
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