Growthink Blog

Equity Investing in 2013


Categories:

Last week, my column received quite a reaction as I pointed out how much of a disaster the public equity markets have been these past 14 years.

I shared some key statistics, especially that while from August 1982 to September 1999, the Dow Jones industrial average rose from 777 to 11,078, in comparison since 1999 it has moved only from 11,078 to 13,986 (approximately 25%).

Given that inflation since then has reduced purchasing power by over 37%, the net return for the period has been significantly negative.

To this, a lot of folks came back with basically two questions / comments:

1.  Why has this happened?

2.  What should we do about it?

Well, first of all with overall GNP growth rate being cut in half, from averaging 3.6% annually from 1982 to 2000 to 1.8% from 2000 - 2013, there is simply less money to go around.

Then, the returns that are to be had…well they have been mostly eaten up by the huge big bank infrastructures built up as trading volumes have increased over twenty-fold since the 1980s.

Sadly, slow overall GNP growth remains our most likely macroeconomic reality, and does anyone really see Wall Street slimming down any time soon?

So what to do about it?

Well, I suggest three prescriptions:

1. Give up on the public markets.

2. Find market inefficiencies.

3. Do it Right.

“Doing it right” should of course be all of our favorite, so on a webinar I will be hosting later this week I will share what I have discovered as to why today’s smart investors avoid the public markets and where, why, and how they invest now, including:

•  How many of them no longer invest in “companies,” but rather only in projects

•  How they are and how they are NOT planning to utilize the new laws regarding crowdfunding

•  How they are utilizing “cross-border” and “in-kind” transactions to shelter returns from Obama era tax increases

•  How they limit risk through "Black Swan" portfolio theory and modeling


Stocks Approach All-Time High (Who Cares)


Categories:

The muted reaction to the major U.S. indices approaching all-times highs this past week felt a bit off for those that remember a time when folks that made their living recommending stocks were held in an almost mystical regard.

Whether they be Wall Street investment analysts, venture capitalists, or even plain old stockbrokers, the bull markets of the 80s and 90s raised all boats and reputations.

Take a look at the average annual returns of the Dow Jones Industrial Average from 1982 to 1989:

1982: 19.61%
1983: 20.27%
1984: -3.74%
1985: 27.66%
1986: 25.58%
1987: 2.26%(!)
1988: 11.85%
1989: 26.96%

And in the 90’s, the good times continued to roll - with the Dow skyrocketing from 2800 at the start of 1990 to over 11,000 by September 1999.

Now THAT was a bull market.

Since then, not so much.

Think about it, on an inflation-adjusted basis the return of all major US stock indices over the past fourteen years (1999 – 2013) has actually been negative.

And it gets worse.

Historically low interest and inflation rates - combined with massive and seemingly permanent federal budget deficits - have given the bond and money markets an even less appealing combination of low return and systemic risk.

And to top it all off, how about governmental policy and tone that if not outright hostile to the plight of the equity investor, is at its best supremely indifferent to it?

Yes, it is enough to cause despair in those that still believe that well-functioning equity markets are at the heart of a vibrant and growing economy.

But all is not lost.

You see, in the mist of all this malaise over the last 10-15 years, some investors have been making money. 

Who Are They?

Now who these folks are and how they invest is something that I have dedicated a large part of my professional life to understanding and replicating. 

And starting this Thursday, I am going to share what I have discovered.


My "Aha" Moment in San Francisco


Categories:

This weekend I had the very good fortune to attend Ryan Deis and Perry Belcher's Traffic and Conversion Summit in downtown San Francisco.

Headlined by speakers including Guy Kawasaki and William Shatner, it was an awesome gathering of 2,000+ of the best, brightest, and most accomplished from the worlds of online marketing and sales.

 “Aha” moments were aplenty for all who made the effort to attend.  Here were a few of mine:

These are the Worst AND the Best of Times for New Client Acquisition. 

To large part because of gatherings like this - where the best SEO, SEM / PPC, landing page, copy-writing, and e-mail marketing strategies, tactics, and techniques are shared and then used (and in volume) by creative and aggressive marketers worldwide - it is more challenging than ever to attract new customers online.

Today’s online buyers have developed a killer combination of hardened skepticism AND sky high expectations as to pricing, product and service features and benefits, and to performance guarantees.

Now for the ambitious online seller this represents not just a great challenge, but an incredible opportunity as well.

You see, while these expectations have driven up customer acquisition costs, they have also driven the cost of a competitor acquiring that customer away from you even higher.

Now, this is where most companies who sell online get off track.

The very nature of the web - with its seductive ease of marketing to prospective customers worldwide - often causes the very dangerous myopia of neglecting those so good and honorable folks that are your customers now.

It is a bit funny that this was my big "aha" moment from a conference gathering of the some of the world’s biggest, baddest, and most aggressive online marketers.

And this led to my second aha.

The truth is already out there.

In this brave new world of ours where tens of hundreds of thousands of online businesses worldwide put their best stuff online for all the world to see…

…that imitation is not just the highest form of flattery, but it is great business strategy as well.

Now yes, what to do with all of this stuff can often feel overwhelming.

And this is where events like the Traffic and Conversion Summit are so valuable. 

Ryan and Perry and their merry band curate and interpret this global treasure trove of strategies, techniques, and tactics for you.

AND they give you a framework for how to do so yourself.

And finally, the energy one draws from a gathering of 2,000+ of decidedly private sector, decidedly ambitious Internet entrepreneurs and executives…
 
...animates in one the energy and inspiration to take all of this knowledge and translate it into that most precious of all business assets.

Opportunity.


Ray Lewis and Nick Saban: Effort is Eternal


Categories:

I usually hesitate to analogize from the world of sports that of business.

In contrary to many motivational videos, these are two very different realms of human endeavor and there is not a clear line between the attributes and mindsets that drive success in one as compared to the other.

This past week, however, I was moved by the stories and coverage of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ retirement after 17 seasons of professional football, and those of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban winning his third BCS national championship in four years.

Watching the various retrospectives and tributes to Lewis, the overriding takeaway was how his "always on” persona inspires those around him with feelings of action, of possibility, and of strong positive intent.

This kind of energy and presence is indispensable in very many aspects of business, but none so obviously more so than in sales and presentation.

Especially in this technologically distracted world of ours, the ability to consistently project high positive emotion is a key success factor and competitive advantage.

Now, a lucky few of us are blessed with a naturally "high motor" that can go on and on without a lot of maintenance.

But the vast majority of us have to work at it.

To eat, sleep, and exercise right.

And to feed one's mind and spirit with equally nutritional fare.

Now, when it comes working at it, Nick Saban is as great a role model as he is a legendary football coach.

While for some it was a bit off-putting to hear - just minutes after his team won the championship - - the notoriously "always on-message" coach already start talking about next season, for me it was refreshing.

Because in Nick Sabin’s world it is the work itself - as opposed to any glory or accolades or money that might come from it - that is the real reward.

And that as this work and its example catalyzes the success and growth of others, it is the satisfaction of so doing that is far sweeter and more gratifying than any personal triumph or celebration could ever be.

Ray Lewis. Nick Sabin.

Strong role models not because of their far greater number of wins than losses but because, in the words of Lewis himself, wins come and go but it is effort that is eternal.

And this effort, when taken to its methodical extreme, results in a life and career like that of Nick Saban's.

Which, of course, leads to triumphs and transformations and joys for millions to experience.

Just ask any Alabama football fan if you have any doubt about that.


2013 Words To Live By


Categories:

The ending of one year and the beginning of another is a natural time to take stock of all that was accomplished in the past 12 months, and usually more excitedly, to dream and to plan on the great promise of the New Year.

In this spirit, below are a few of my favorite quotes regarding dreaming, planning, goal-setting, and "going for it."

"You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'"

- George Bernard Shaw

(My comment: reflects the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit)

"What is not started today is never finished tomorrow."

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(My comment: the "fierce urgency of now" must inform and drive us all now more than ever.  It is too fast-moving a world, too merciless a marketplace, to in any way dawdle or delay.)

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts"

- Winston Churchill

(My comment: The most accomplished executives and entrepreneurs that I have worked with have impressed me as much with their great fortitude as they have with their “glamorous” attributes - brilliance, connections, salesmanship, etc.

"Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

(My comment: This is the essence of leadership in modern, always morphing collaboration-driven organizations. The best managers build alignment and focused energy around shared goals and objectives.

"Goals are dreams with deadlines."

- Diana Scharf Hunt

(Our comment: The great ones dream it now do it NOW!)

Happy New Year, and may 2013 be the best year of all of our lives!


The Power of Full Engagement


Categories:

I had the great good fortune this past weekend to co-host Growthink's third and final Business Blueprint Live event of the year.

This is a conference where entrepreneurs and business owners gather for three days and nights to dream, plan, and network as to how to best grow the revenues, increase the profits and better fulfill the missions of their businesses.

What is really neat is that because of its longer group and in-person format, there is time and space to really listen and, correspondingly, to be heard and to share best business practices, ideas, and inspirations for the New Year.

Golly - what a weekend!

The attendees that ventured from near and far and from the comforts of their homes and regular routines took a chance.

The chance that by "mixing it up a bit," that breakthroughs would follow.

And they did.

From a medical device entrepreneur having that flash of insight as to how to best position his business for a strategic sale, to the software entrepreneur reflecting on how best to integrate a traditional marketing channel (radio) with a burgeoning one (texting), new and powerful business ideas and tactics were hatched and committed to.

And I was reminded of an old wisdom that I forget way too often.

It goes like this: when there is something “nutritious” in my life and business that I am resisting, it is that thing that above all else I need and should be doing.

It could be getting up early and doing that workout.

Or not having that second glass of wine. 

Or sending those holiday cards.

Or taking that vacation.

Or, in business, making that call, writing that plan, structuring that partnership.

Going to that meeting, that conference.

And when you do, hold nothing back.

Don’t let any nagging doubts about whether this strategy, this decision, this job is the right one.

Just dive in.

Wasn't this so much at the essence of Steve Jobs' genius?  This full commitment to do with fierce excellence whatever it was that he was working on at that particular time?

I saw and felt this full engagement this weekend.

Those there were fully there.

And from this full engagement, millions of dollars of business and conceptual breakthroughs and lovely relationships naturally flowed.

And when I reflect on these amazing outcomes, and then when I think back to the resistance I felt of not wanting to organize, not wanting to go to the event…

Well, it hits home that so important wisdom that when I really don't want to do something that I know in my heart that I should…

…well that is the exact thing that I must do. 

And then let the magic happen.


Is Your Business Giving You the Results You Want?


Categories:

Take this short quiz to find out:

Are your revenues growing month after month without fail?

Are your profits rising, and allowing you to pay yourself enough money to spend freely on the things you want?

Do you have plenty of customers, with no need to get more?

Do your employees care as much about the success of your organization as you do?

Do you have enough cash flow to radically grow your company?

Would your business thrive if you took the next month off?

Are other companies regularly approaching you to buy your company?

... If you answered NO to one or more of these questions, then your business is NOT giving you the results you want or deserve.

And unfortunately, you’re not alone.

In fact, millions of other entrepreneurs and business owners are struggling.

As you may know, Inc. Magazine found that 80% of businesses fail within the first 5 years, and Dun & Bradstreet research showed that 91% of businesses fail within 10 years.


And according to the United States Census, only 3.9% of businesses make it to $1 million in sales, and only 0.6% of businesses make it to $5 million. And with the slow-down in the economy since 2008, many businesses have been struggling...

with no growth and declining profits.

That’s just depressing.  But there IS a solution...

...and I am so committed to helping you find it that I am offering free copies of Dave Lavinsky's new book so you too can discover what it is.

To learn more, click here: http://startattheendbook.com/free-offer


49 Days and Counting


Categories:

If you haven’t yet registered for my Wednesday webinar, this is your last chance.

Webinar: “How to Make 2013 Your Best Business Year Ever!”
Date: Wednesday, November 14th
Time: 8 pm EST / 5 pm PST
Registration Link: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/459943082

The fact is this: successful people figure out what they need to do BEFORE they do it.

For example, a winning football coach always comes up with a game plan BEFORE the game. Then he’ll go over the plan with his team and practice BEFORE the game. So when the game starts, the team is ready and able to execute on the plan.

The same is true in your business. And if you want 2013 to be your best business year ever, you need to start planning NOW (2013 is only 49 days away).

That’s why I’m hosting a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, November 14th at 8pm Eastern / 5 pm Pacific.

The webinar is called “How to Make 2013 Your Best Business Year Ever!”

REGISTER HERE*
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/459943082

On the webinar you will learn:

•    How to significantly increase your business’s 2013 sales and profits
•    The precise way to figure out the best 2013 opportunities for your business to pursue
•    How to set attainable 2013 goals that lead to long-term success
•    My #1 tactic for ensuring sustained success in 2013 and beyond
•    And much, much more!

You can expect to hear a positive, motivating message loaded with actionable intelligence to make 2013 the best year of your business life.


This Happens in Just 56 Days


Categories:

2013 is just 56 days away.

And if you want to make 2013 your best year ever, you need to start planning now.

To help you succeed, I’m hosting a complimentary webinar next Wednesday, November 14th at 8pm EST / 5 pm PST.

The webinar is called “How to Make 2013 Your Best Business Year Ever!”

REGISTER HERE (note, to allow for quality audience interaction, we are limiting attendance to the 1st 40 registrants):
  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/459943082

On the webinar you will learn:

•    How to significantly increase your business’ 2013 sales and profits
•    The precise way to figure out the best 2013 opportunities for your business to pursue
•    How to set attainable 2013 goals that lead to long-term success
•    My #1 tactic for ensuring sustained success in 2013 and beyond
•    And much, much more!

You can expect to hear a positive, motivating message loaded with actionable intelligence to make 2013 the best year of your business life.

REGISTER HERE (there's limited space for this free webinar):
 https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/459943082

P.S. Whenever Growthink hosts a webinar, we get a lot of requests asking if there will be a replay or a recording of the call.  Right now we don’t have any plans to do a replay nor to record the call -- so my advice is to be on the webinar LIVE!

REGISTER HERE (there's limited space for this free webinar):
 https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/459943082


Should You Play a New Game or Just Keep on Keeping On?


Categories:

Dave Allen, author of the great productivity best seller "Getting Things Done," has developed an almost cult-like following for his ideas, structures, and best practices around to-do list management, prioritization, and metrics and schematics that define what an effective work day should be.


Without question, there are great benefits to his methods, and I especially like his best practice of always ending a meeting, conversation, or work on an open-ended project with the simple question "What is the Next Action?"

This discipline alone can greatly improve daily and meeting productivity, and perhaps more importantly reduce that sometime suffocating sense of anxiety common to knowledge and entrepreneurial work that there is always way more that must be done than there are hours in the day.

 

But a focus on simple to do list management, in the modern world, is far from sufficient.

You see, the dirty little secret that all of the self-help masters, all of the highly paid management consultants fail to tell you is that in our incredibly fast-moving, changing, competition from everywhere modern economy it is virtually impossible to design a plan or strategy that is in any way close to being assured of success.

The reason why is simple. Plans and strategies, by their nature, are speculative and assumptive.

They require the planner to survey the current market and competitive landscape along with assessing the current strengths and assets of their enterprise.

And then, from those assessments, forecast how a course of specific decisions or investments will be received by the market, by current or perspective customers, and responded to by the competition.

 

When stated this way, it becomes obvious that there is a very high likelihood that a plan as designed will not work.

It really doesn't matter if that plan is to introduce a new product or service offering, a new marketing or advertising campaign, a website re-launch, or an internal re-organization.

So, does this mean that planning is worthless? Of course not

But it does point to a pair of strategic best practices:

1.    Before commencing any planning process, first reflect deeply and document extensively what is working now.

These could be the practices and habits of a top sales person, a pay-per-click advertising campaign with positive ROI, an invoice collections best practice, a particularly profitable partner or affiliate.

Or, on a personal level, an exercise or diet or spiritual regimen.

Now to do more of these things that work, productivity and accountability best practices as outlined by the Dave Allens of the world are incredibly valuable and should be incorporated aggressively into the daily work habits and disciplines of the modern professional.

2.    But for everything else that falls outside of this realm, the right mindset is one of testing and exploration, of brainstorming, of speculation and possibility. Of open-ended questions.

AND it should be noted extremely well that it is usually in this mode that the big outlier, “black swan” ideas and strategies and relationships are usually discovered.

As for the question as to how much of #1, or playing more of the existing game better, versus #2, playing a new game, should be incorporated into your daily work flow and planning processes, well that is a decision that the best managers, the best consultants and the most renowned self-help masters are paid a lot of money to answer.

My answer is - no surprise here if you've ever met me at a party - is to have my cake and eat it too.

Strictly schedule times, deadlines, to-dos and accountabilities to accomplish more of the stuff that you know works and leave plenty of open space - on the calendar and in one's mind and spirit - to step out of the safe harbor and into the big sea and dream more than just a little bit.

And when you balance doing and dreaming like this - and sprinkle in a little luck, a little bit of being at the right place at the right time - your dirty little secret will soon be how much money you are making.

Or even better, how much difference for the better you are making in the world every day in every way.


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.

Blog Authors

Jay Turo

Dave Lavinsky