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.
to watch the video.
"The TRUTH About
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?
to watch the video.
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.
to watch the video.
"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?
to watch the video.
Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Earlier this week, Growthink's Co-Founder Dave Lavinsky spoke with Dave Humphrey, COO and Senior Investment Professional for Oklahoma Equity Partners, based in Tulsa OK. Humphrey has served as a principal at Davis Tuttle Venture Partners (the oldest VC firm in Oklahoma). Also, in over 10 years with Koch Industries, he led $300+ million of expansions and acquisitions, and served as the CEO of a $200 million business where he increased profitability by six-fold.
You can click here to listen to the entire interview: http://www.growthinkuniversity.com/public/248.cfm
In the interview Dave discussed how networking plays a role in both capital raising and bolstering a management team, as well as a way to approach financial projections that will show investors your true capacity to execute on a market opportunity.
Also discussed are the 3 key elements that Humphrey looks for in every business plan.
To listen to the interview, visit this link: http://www.growthinkuniversity.com/public/248.cfm
Written by Growthink on Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We welcome you to attend our webinar "How to Successfully Invest in Venture Capital and Private Equity."
In the webinar, Growtthink's CEO Jay Turo provides an overview of venture capital and private equity investing, including commentary on current market conditions (credit crunch, decline in stock market, real estate bust) as well as private equity investing "best practices" for success in the current environment.
During the webinar, Jay provides his perspectives on:
- The credit crisis and the stock market correction
- Why smart investors are engaged in a "quest for value" and how this relates to private equity
- The importance of applying portfolio theory to private equity & venture capital
- How to assess risk and price venture capital & private equity deals
- Why most private equity investors fail -- and what to do about it
- Which sectors present opportunities NOW
Use this link to learn more and reserve your spot:
Growthink's Private Equity & Venture Capital Webinar
Are you an entrepreneur looking to raise capital from private investors? With Growthink's Private Placement Memorandum Template, you can finish your PPM quickly and easily, so that you spend less time "preparing," and more time speaking with investors.
Written by Jay Turo on Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sometimes things are so obvious as to be hard to see.
That is certainly the case right now with the incredible flood of federal stimulus pouring into the economy - both in terms of fiscal and monetary policy. But saying it in this way, as it is often done by the chattering media classes, makes the issue unnecessarily opaque and complex. We agree with Milton Friedman (and not just because of his long Stanford connection) when he describes inflation as "always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon."
Written by Jay Turo on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In my 10 years at Growthink and my 20 years in business, I have never
lived nor worked through a period with as much uncertainty and
negativity, as much economic depression, as much market fear, as we are
living through right now. As spirits have waxed low in the markets, I
would be not candid if I did not confess that I have bouts of
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Thursday, January 15, 2009
I’m really good about working out. With few exceptions, I go to the gym every day after work and try to work out at least one day over the weekend.
Part of why I go is to stay in shape, but I think it helps me a lot business-wise as the exercise helps me release excess energy so I can really focus on the tasks at hand when needed.
Because there’s always too much to do each day and yet I insist on going to the gym, I’ve devised a laser-focused 25 minute workout that I follow. It’s nothing too fancy -- it’s mainly that I go from machine to machine to machine with no breaks in between (many people do a similar routine but it takes them twice as long since they take breaks in between each rep and/or machine).
Anyway, what this means for me is that every January is a nightmare. Why? Because every January, the gyms are full. And this means that I can’t quickly go from machine to machine to machine because I have to wait for others who are using the equipment.
This happens because every year, tons of people make New Year’s resolutions to go to the gym more. So, in early January, the gym is full of these “resolutionists.” Fortunately, by February, they’re usually gone and it’s back to normal.
The reason I tell you about this is that it’s incredible how much this mirrors raising capital.
To begin, raising capital, like weightlifting and exercising, only works if you do it EVERY DAY. You don’t get strong working out like crazy for one month and then relaxing the rest of the year. Rather you need to put in an hour a day or an hour every other day throughout the year to realize an impact.
When raising capital, you need to constantly be speaking with investors, finding new investors, and making presentations. You need to constantly tweak your business plan to make it better and better. This will not happen overnight. It takes months.
Also, in weightlifting, if you don’t know what you are doing, you will have poor form and you will most likely hurt yourself. In capital raising, if you don’t know what you are doing, you will also hurt yourself and your company by failing to raise the capital you need.
And, like in the gym example, all the “resolutionists” HURT YOUR CHANCES of success.
At the gym, the “resolutionists” hurt me be using my machines and thus slowing me down.
When raising capital, those who don’t know what they are doing also hurt your chances. They submit their business plans haphazardly to every investor who will accept them. While these investors will rarely if ever fund these plans, they waste the investors’ time. As a result, the investors have less time to review good plans and meet with good entrepreneurs, like you.
I wish I could tell you that raising capital was fun. But I can’t. I wish I could tell you that it was easy. But I can’t do that either. Like weightlifting, it’s neither fun nor easy, but once you learn how to do it, and you repeatedly do it right over a period of time, you can succeed and the rewards far outweigh the costs.
GrowthinkUniversity.com, our new membership website, was designed to teach you how to raise capital using the proven techniques that we have implemented over the past decade for our consulting clients.
Written by Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, January 14, 2009
In his post, Could the credit crunch be good for startups?, Alexander Muse of Texas Startup Blog discusses Nortel's bankruptcy filing, and the silver lining he sees for entrepreneurs in the telecom space.
With the bankruptcy and ultimate breakup of the company, there will be lots of room for innovation from startups and entrepreneurs in the telecom space... Tightening credit markets mean that companies need to generate profits and can’t simply use debt to wait out under capitalized startups.
Just as forest fires cause great destruction, they are fueled by dead wood and allow new healthier forests to emerge.
This is a great analogy. Muse's optimism is in line with our belief that, despite all the negative news, there is always room for innovative, bold entrepreneurs with great ideas, excellent plans, and the will and tenacity to execute.
Related post: The Downturn - Keeping Things in Perspective
Written by Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The Small Business and Entrepreneurial Council recently released its ranking of the states that impose the fewest burdens on the growth of new businesses in their areas.
The report analyzes dozens of factors affecting entrepreneurship including regulatory costs, health-care costs, and crime rates.
Here are the full rankings of all 50 states, including District of Columbia (which came in dead last):
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
- New York
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- District of Columbia
Click here to read the full report.
Where does your state fall on the list?
Does your state's ranking reflect your personal experience?
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Tuesday, January 13, 2009
What traits and skills really make Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and countless other entrepreneurs so successful?
Over the past decade, we've identified key ingredients that lead to success, which we've observed both in celebrity entrepreneurs and in our most successful clients. When it's all said and done, they have all of the following critical skills, which are essential to entrepreneurial success:
Vision & Leadership: Entrepreneurs must have a vision of where the company will be in the future. In addition, you must be able to communicate you vision so as to motivate employees, investors, and partners to help you achieve that vision. You must be able to identify staffing needs, expertly fill them, and lead your team to success. Rarely do entrepreneurs build successful companies all by themselves.
Focus & Execution: Entrepreneurs must focus to make sure that goals are achieved, customers are satisfied, and employees are motivated. For most entrepreneurs, staying focused is harder than it sounds. Be careful not to be seduced by the next exciting opportunity without executing on the priorities at hand. And don't let perfectionism prevent you from taking action, either; at the end of the day, a product on the market is better than a product shelved due to lack of focus, execution, or perfectionism. Get to market and get feedback from your customers as soon as possible.
Persistence & Passion: As an entrepreneur, you must be passionate about what you are trying to accomplish. In addition, you must be willing to commit whatever is needed of them, whether it's time, energy, money, or other resources. You must persist through trying times (which will be frequent), and fight as much as needed to achieve the goals you have set for yourself and your team.
Technical skills: As the owner of your firm, you may not need to be the most skilled technicion on your team. But you need to have necessary foundational knowledge to be able to lead your technical team and make informed decisions.
Flexibility: Successful entrepreneurs understand that the world and the environment in which they operate are constantly changing. While you must focus on the end game, you also must adapt your strategies and offerings to meet changing market conditions.
There has often been debate regarding whether entrepreneurship can be taught. Can you really teach persistence or passion? Perhaps you can't. But if you understand the importance of these entrepreneurial traits, you can focus on them and make the necessary adjustments to succeed in your entrepreneurial endeavors.
What about you -- what skills or traits do you think make entrepreneurs successful?
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.
There is a second, equally important, benefit of retaining a business planning consultant to develop your business plan: it improves your business strategy.
Let's start with some facts...
Fact #1: There are 24 million businesses in the United States alone.
Fact #2: History tends to repeat itself.
What I mean is, if you have an idea, whether it's a marketing idea, operations idea -- anything really -- chances are it's been tried before. Chances are also that if it failed the first time, it will most likely fail again.
That's not to be discouraging, because there's a decent chance that it wasn't executed properly the first time, or lacked the nuances you bring to the idea. Regardless -- if your idea has been tested before, I bet you want to know about it.
When you are aware of the earlier attempts of an idea, you can quickly learn from them and either 1) Determine that it won't work (and cut your losses) or 2) refine the strategy and make it work. But, if you never know about those other attempts, your chances of failure are increased.
A competent business plan advisor can provide a lot of value during this research and discovery phase. Reputable business plan consultants not only perform market research, they leverage their existing knowledge and experiences regarding their own businesses and the businesses of their colleagues. This positions them to point out those potential pitfalls and strategies which have failed in the past, as well as strategies that have been proven to work.
This is very important, because unrealistic assumptions can kill a business.
To explore this, let's take an example from a company I just spoke with yesterday. This firm is about to launch a new division offering BPO (business process outsourcing) services. When I asked about their expected sales cycle (the time it takes from when they contact a prospective customer to when they secure the client) they answered 3 to 6 months.
Well, 3 to 6 months is a reasonable sales cycle in this industry. But what if they told me 3 to 6 weeks? Worse yet, what if they went out and succeeded in raising financing -- expecting revenues to come in within a 3 to 6 week period?
Most likely, they would have raised too little money and gone bankrupt while anxiously waiting for prospects to become customers.
There's another piece to business strategy consulting, which involves taking interesting (or even seemingly mundane) ideas from other industries and finding creative ways to adapt them to your business. These types of insights are frequently offered by outside advisors and have been known to result in breakthroughs responsible for transforming entire industries.
Consider roll-on deodorant. The "roll-on" part was inspired by the ball-point pen. Before that, deodorant was packaged in cream form. Or, consider Fred Smith's Fedex. Smith applied the banking industry's method of clearing overnight checks to the overnight delivery of packages. Each of these cross-industry breakthroughs resulted in billion dollar industries.
I'll admit it... As a kid, I hated history class. I couldn't imagine information less relevant to my life than what happened in Europe 600 years ago. But you can't be ignorant about what has happened in the past or what is happening around you -- even half-way across the globe -- because it does affect you. Knowing what other companies are doing, what's working and what's failed -- that's the information that will prevent you from repeating failures and allow you to replicate success.
Who knows? A well-researched busines strategy might just result in a breakthrough that establishes your place in business history.
Related post: How Business Plan Writers Help You Raise Capital