Growthink Blog

The U.S. Hispanic Market: Untapped Opportunity for Los Angeles Business


Categories:

The U.S. Hispanic market, combined with the number of successful small businesses in Los Angeles, means that regardless of the fluctuations of the stock exchanges, opportunities continue to germinate on our doorstep.

Companies that create products and services for the U.S. Hispanic Consumers will continue to enjoy impressive growth, increasing revenues and expanding markets.

Our optimism on the potential of U.S. Hispanic consumers to be promising partners to enterprises astute enough to provide a range of solutions—from credit cards to Internet connectivity—which embrace the needs and aspirations of U.S. Hispanics, is based on three powerful trends which have transformed 44.3 million U.S. Hispanics from a group long ignored by the majority of American businesses into an empowered and emerging market.


1. The U.S. Hispanic Economy – An Emerging Market Right Here At Home

Together, 44.3 million U.S. Hispanics constitute their own sizeable, secure and financially empowered domestic emerging market that the 245,000 businesses based in greater Los Angeles businesses should be serving today. U.S. Hispanic consumers possess several important advantages typically seen in consumers in foreign emerging markets: rapidly rising incomes, which are fueling a surge in demand for consumer goods and services.

The average age of U.S. Hispanics is a young 27.4 years, giving this group the advantage of time to build wealth—and for companies to develop lifelong loyal customer bases – loyalty being a hallmark of the Hispanic consumer. In 2007, Hispanic consumers will spend $800 billion dollars, a figure that is on track to reach $1.5 trillion by 2012.

And this particular emerging market enjoys an additional asset that consumers in foreign emerging markets can as of now, only dream about: U.S. Hispanics are creating economic opportunity in a nation where laws governing employment, financial transactions, private and intellectual property are strongly enforced. These advantages provide entrepreneurs with a level of security crucial to making investment decisions, which develop new products, expand capacity and provide high levels of services to their customers.

Clearly all companies—here in Los Angeles and throughout the U.S—must develop strategies and services appealing to a group, which is moving en masse, from aspiration to affluence.


2. Capital: The Cornerstone of Success

Providing entrepreneurs who are leading early and middle stage companies with access to the appropriate types of investment capital – especially in the $2 million to $5 million range – and the advice critical to building successful businesses — rather than a slowdown in consumer spending—presents the greatest challenge to growth.

Even those beginning stage companies with deep and proven knowledge of their markets have difficulty raising the investment capital needed for establishing a strong consumer presence and market share. Growthink’s expertise in providing capital and counsel to early and expansion stage companies has been vital to the success of Los Angeles-based, early stage enterprises such as Authenticlick, a developer of fraud detection software and Xcom Wireless, a creator of wireless routing technologies.

Growthink’s involvement with both companies was comprehensive. First we helped each enterprise identify a profitable but unrecognized opportunity to serve their target markets. Then, working with their leadership teams, we developed a business structure adaptable to potential changes in the target market and a range of capital solutions, which transformed Authenticlick and Xcom from promising ideas into thriving, venture-backed enterprises.


3. Plan and Prosper Now

Between 2005 and 2006, fifty-percent of the people added to the U.S. population were of Hispanic origin. Today 13.1 million Hispanics call California home. By 2050 Hispanics will make up twenty-four percent of America’s population.

Can you name one business that succeeded by ignoring one-quarter of its potential customers? Neither can we.

For Los Angeles businesses, Hispanic consumers present a rich opportunity for growth—and a vital shelter from the possibility of recession we’re seeing in the statistics and signals coming from Washington and Wall Street. Business cycles are a natural component of free markets. But so is opportunity. And the opportunities available to Los Angeles companies embracing the potential of the domestic U.S. Hispanic market will only grow stronger, more diverse and profitable.


Business Planning 101: How to Prepare the Perfect Business Plan


Categories:

We're told that every successful business starts with a great idea. That's a half-truth. Our nine-year track record of transforming exceptional entrepreneurs into successful CEOs shows us that great companies start with great ideas — and a great business plan.

We've written more than 1,000 business plans for a diverse array of companies who have gone on to raise more than $1 billion. (Dakim is the most recent example). Our clients, early stage and middle market companies, just like yours, are engaged in every type of business, from building boutique hotels to wifi-hotspots.

The following five concepts, based on a recent Business Week Online interview with Growthink partner Dave Lavinsky, (see the interview here), are critical to building a successful business plan — and most importantly — a successful business:


1. Why You Need a Business Plan


A business plan is the marketing document telling the story of your company: its purpose, achievements and objectives. A business plan helps you obtain investment capital. Ideally, your business plan should be 15-25 pages long and it should include an executive summary of between 2-4 pages, depending on the complexity of the business and the purpose of the plan, which answers the two questions asked by every experienced investor::

  • What are the key value propositions of your business to your targeted marketplace(s)?
  • Why and how will an investor receive a return on their invested dollars?

Your business plan should also include an operating plan. In addition to other components, the operating plan contains milestones — the list of business objectives your company will achieve by a certain date.


2.
Research, Research, Research

Entrepreneurs of the world: do your homework. Investors reading your business plan want to see that you've thought long and hard about the potential promise — and pitfalls — of starting or expanding your company. Your dutiful due diligence must supply answers to these questions potential investors are asking themselves — and willask you:

  • Who are your competitors?
  • Who are your customers?
  • What companies have succeeded or failed in your sector?
  • Why fund your company now, rather than a year from now? Or a year ago?


Here's the blunt bottom line: If your business plan doesn't include research that helps you present a clear, compelling case to potential investors, why should anyone trust you with their money?


3. Investor Insight: Experience Over Speed

Ah, the days of 1999, when we believed that First Mover Advantage, like Venture Incubators, was the key to success. Well, we've been burned and we've learned that, for a range of ventures, from e-tailing (Boo.comanyone?) to streaming networks (Quokka.com, RIP), that being first doesn't mean finishing first among your competitors.

Many investors now want to see a track record — for example,a history of revenue and customers. Have you been running your business for awhile or is it still just a great idea, looking for capital? This change in investor strategy makes for longer funding cycles: that period between presenting your business plan to potential investors and receiving an initial round of funding. Longer funding cycles are frustrating for emerging stage business owners who need investment capital sooner, rather than later.


4.
Seek Specialist Funding

Does your company generate annual revenues over $1 million dollars? Are you an early stage company or a pre-revenue concern that owns its intellectual property? Well, there are investors seeking to fund companies justlike yours. Growthink's capital partners represent a wide range of investment mandates. Thousands of companies have come to Growthink for the capital and counsel critical to their success.


5.
Get Great Advisors — And Listen To Them

Your business plan should include the creation of an advisory board. The advisory board is a group of external experts who are not involved with the day to day business operations. A good advisory board helps keep your team on track towards achieving the milestones contained in your operating plan and alerts you to the changes and opportunities occurring in your target market.


6. Have Questions? We Have The Answers

Founded in 1999, Growthink is a leading business plan consulting firm and middle market investment bank.  Our professional business plan writers and investment bankers have assisted more than 1,500 clients in launching and growing their businesses, and raising more than $1 billion in growth financing.

 

Need assistance with your business plan? 

 

Raising a private placement round?

 


Growthink Client Dakim Secures $10M+ in Series C Funding


Categories:

We were thrilled to see that Dakim has raised $10.6 million in Series C financing, in a transaction led by Galen Partners.

Dakim is an innovated provider of brain fitness technology to improve the quality of life for Alzheimer's patients.

Growthink assisted Dakim in the drafting of their business plan, and in assessing the market for non-drug Alzheimer's-related products and services -- so we're especially proud of the company's success. We're happy that we've been able to play a role in their growth.


Recent Venture Capital Investing Trends


Categories:

Goldman Sachs recently came out with a report analyzing recent venture capital investing trends. Key takeaways from the report include:

Strong current investment interest in:

  • Software as a Service business models focusing on consumers and small and medium business, aka the Salesforce.com, 37 Signals, and SuccessFactors models.
  • Next generation mobile - including mobile GPS/navigation, television, and advertising.
  • Video-related investments, ranging from web video tools to enterprise video conferencing.
  • An increase in global (specifically India & China) focused investments

 

Concurrently, previous hot sectors of enterprise software, storage, and security software have and forecasted to see a cooling of interest.

It is important to note that the VC investment marketplace tends to move in waves - large crests of interests in certain investment spaces that as quickly crash and fall out of favor. Above all else, it is NOT advisable to start or re-focus a business based solely on "hot" investment interest in that sector. A chameleon business strategy of this nature is usually transparent, and almost always unsuccesful.

Good posts on the Goldman report can be seen here and here.


What Should Your Due Diligence Binder Include?


Categories:

Excellent post on PureVC (www.purevc.com) regarding the key elements of a due diligence (or background materials) binder for a company seeking financing. The short list of the key elements for the binder are:

1. Background of the company
2. Background of management
3. The Company's Business plan
4. Audited and unaudited financials since company inception
5. Management discussion of company performance
6. Capitalization Table
7. Leases
8. Employment agreements
9. Purchase or sale agreements
10. Previous letters of intent

The post goes on to discuss issues of confidentiality - which and to what detail of the items above to make publicly available and which to disclose only after confidentiality agreements have been executed. A good workaround is to have shortened, publicly circulable versions of the above, with sensitive detail withheld until under non-disclosure. The full post can be seen here.


Top 7 Myths About Starting a Business


Categories:

From our experience consulting to entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses over the past ten years, we've gained much exposure to the realities of starting and growing businesses.  We thought it would be interesting -- and hopefully instructive -- to lay out some of the myths and assumptions of aspiring entrepreneurs.

7. It Is All Dependent on Hard Work. Hard work is an absolutely necessary, but not sufficient, condition for starting and growing a business. It is the given, but without a solid business plan and compelling value proposition for customers and partners, all of the hard work in the world will be for naught. The world is filled with over-worked, over-stressed, and not terrible successful small business people who struggle not because of lack of appropriate effort, but rather for lack of appropriate planning.

6. If Your Product or Service is Compelling Enough, Customers Will Beat a Path to your Door. Unless you are building a business based upon intellectual property and/or technology that provides and creates such a competitive advantage and compelling customer value proposition, the early success of your business will be based as much on your ability to market and sell your product and service as it will on the product or service offering itself. Remember: in a capitalistic marketplace there is NO distinction between value and perceived value.

5. If Your Product or Service is Compelling Enough, Investors Will Beat a Path to your Door. Those that identify themselves as prospective investors in earlier-stage, small companies are mostly INUNDATED with investment opportunities. As such, no matter how good and unique your business opportunity, there is always a strong, initial prejudice AGAINST investment that needs to be overcome.

4. It Is All About You. The myth of the charismatic, "do and be everything" entrepreneur is just that -- a myth. Any and all companies of value are great teams much more than they are the by-product of a highly talented individual. The best entrepreneurs and business leaders inspire the mission, values and philosophy of a company by their own example. This inspiration is then communicated to all of the business' stakeholders -- employees, customers, investors, partners, vendors, and its wider community.

3. The Government Is Your Friend. We are constantly astounded by the regulatory and paperwork maze that a startup company needs to negotiate and constantly monitor to both start and maintain a business. It is a significant time, money, and energy drain that detracts from the main value creation intent of a new business. Our best advice in this regard -- as resources are available -- is to find competent legal and accounting counsel, to both advise upon and outsource the regulatory burden, so you can focus on business-building.

2. The Government Is Your Enemy. Having said the above, in the mixed economy in which we live, government revenue opportunities, on a local, state, federal, and international level, have never been greater for small business. While slow, meandering, and confusing to approach, governments have much to recommend them as clients and customers, not the least of which is that once sold, government clients pay well and are not bad debt risks. A somewhat trite but very important credo to remember when selling to governments, even more so than in business, is that "it is not as much what you know but who you know."

1. It Is Only Worth Doing If You Become the Next Google. The vast majority of small businesses will always remain just that -- small businesses. The odds of starting a business and have it become the next Google or a publicly-traded company are very, very small. While we would never discourage entrepreneurs for aiming for the stars, it is also important to have success metrics grounded in probability. An expectation of a minimum of 2years of very, very hard work with little financial return but with a lot of learning (and some fun hopefully as well) involved is a good starting point. From this first milestone, then and only then should there start to be an expectation of significant wealth-building. Find that balance between the long term vision and the Monday morning action plan -- and success, while not guaranteed, is very likely.

 

HTML clipboard

---

About Growthink

Since 1999, Growthink's business plan experts have assisted more than 1,500 clients in launching and growing their businesses, and raising more than $1 billion in growth financing.

Need help with your business plan? 

 


SEC Shortens Holding Period for Rule 144 Stock


Categories:

Pointing to our theme here of both markets and the regulatory environment adjusting favorably for the small cap public and the private company investment markets, today the SEC reduced the holding period for Rule 144 restricted stock from one year to six months.

The change will greatly help smaller public and private companies raise capital by easing the liquidity concerns of outside investors in these companies. Liquidity concerns are one of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenges to overcome in securing investment in private placement transactions.

Quite simply, this change is great news and in our view will be part of a theme we will see over the next few years to ease the regulatory burden on smaller company financings.

Read the article here on the change.


Southern California Passes Boston in Venture Capital Funding


Categories:

In 2007, for the first time Southern California passed the Boston area as the 2nd largest venture capital market in the country. According to Dow Jones Venture One, Southern California saw a 12 percent increase in amount of funded deals - to $3.8 billion. Venture funding in general was up 8 percent in 2007 - and VC's raised over $35 billion in fresh capital from limited partners to invest.

A few takeaways:

  • While the 2007 funding numbers for Boston and Los Angeles are still way behind the Bay Area's $9.9 billion in funding in 2007, it is encouraging to see VC funding continue to be more diversified around the country versus being so Bay Area centric.

  • The early stage, private company equity markets are probably the most insulated arena in the investment world these days. Other than psychologically, the fallout from the real estate credit crunch and generally soft economic numbers on a macro level have not effected the consistent, year-over-year uptick in VC funding.

  • There is a move in private equity and venture capital investing back to more traditional startup and seed investing. Later stage investing remains extremely competitive, with a LOT of VC's chasing relatively few deals. Because a number of larger funds, simply because of fund size, find it diffiicult to invest in smaller deals (say less than $5 million), there is a move to these funds actually investing in startup and seed FUNDS to give them early stage and seed equity positions. This is encouraging for entrepreneurship.

  • Having said this, raising money for a startup remains, as it always has been and probably always will, VERY, very challenging. Doable for sure, and more doable in these solid VC investment conditions, but still a complex, multi-faceted, and arduous process.

Roger Clemens and "Scandal Marketing" Opportunities


Categories:

The "Roger Clemens Goes To Washington" side show was the lead mindshare item across arenas today - sports obviously, but also popular culture and surprisingly the business press as well. CNBC broke in extensively from their market coverage in the morning to cover portions of the hearing, and the lead items on most Internet news sites were reports and analysis of the hearing.

Against my will, I found myself both anticipating the big event as well as excitedly following its course. And since my business plan and Internet marketing minds are, for better or worse, always on, I couldn't help but have my wheels turn in regards to the value of the millions of eyeballs tuned to the spectacle.

On some levels, it would seem impossible to put a marketing plan together for a profit-making enterprise that could capture so much free media so cheaply as these hearings (and let's be real here folks - there was really no point nor lesson to be learned from these hearings other than their "pleasure in other's misfortune" appeal of watching a rich and famous and seemingly untouchable sports icon fall from his pedestal).

But heck, the combination of the sheer numbers involved and our celebrity-obsessed culture certainly make "voyeuristic-based" promotion and PR worth exploring -- especially for consumer-facing product and service offerings having difficulty being heard above the noise (and operating, as we all are, with limited marketing budgets). GoDaddy and their racy Super Bowl commercials come to mind as a great example in this regard. So does Mark Ecko and his purchasing and then online vote regarding what do with the Bonds home run ball.

While certainly a lot of this kind of promotion is done in what we will call the "You Tube" marketing channel, it hasn't bled over to mainstream media as much perhaps as it should. My gut says that enterprising marketers will be putting this kind of "scandal marketing" more and more in their business plans in the years to come.


Raising Capital: Why Is It So Difficult?


Categories:

Raising capital for a startup or small business is without question one of the most challenging aspects of growing a business. The stories are manifold of entrepreneurs and small business owners becoming both frustrated and discouraged by the amount of time it takes to secure capital, the rejections they endure, and the lack of linearity and progress checkpoints over the course of the fundraising process. Complaints we hear repeatedly from entrepreneurs regarding fund raising include the following:


Syndicate content

Most Popular
New Videos

"Business Plan
SHORT-CUT"

If you want to raise capital, then you need a professional business plan. This video shows you how to finish your business plan in 1 day.

CLICK HERE
to watch the video.

"The TRUTH About
Venture Capital"

Most entrepreneurs fail to raise venture capital because they make a really BIG mistake when approaching investors. And on the other hand, the entrepreneurs who get funding all have one thing in common. What makes the difference?

CLICK HERE
to watch the video.

"Brand NEW
Money Source?"

The Internet has created great opportunities for entrepreneurs. Most recently, a new online funding phenomenon allows you to quickly raise money to start your business.

CLICK HERE
to watch the video.

"Old-School Leadership
is DEAD"

"Barking orders" and other forms of intimidating followers to get things done just doesn't work any more. So how do you lead your company to success in the 21st century?

CLICK HERE
to watch the video.