Do This to Maximize the Value of Your Business in 2018


In this recorded webinar, Five Steps to Maximize Your Valuation - I reveal the 5 steps you can take in 2018 to dramatically increase the sale price of your business, and dramatically decrease the time needed to achieve it, including:

  • How to tailor your business value and sale story specifically for the unique conditions of these extremely strong business and financial markets
  • The most likely impact of the recently passed tax reform bill on business value and sellability
  • The 3 Mistakes that most Entrepreneurs and Executives make that effectively render their businesses unsellable
  • The 5 things that all businesses that sell for high valuations have and do
  • A simple formula to determine how much your business is worth right now
  • And much, much more!

Access the webinar recording via this link


How to Write a Business Plan for Raising Venture Capital


Are you looking to raise venture capital?

You need a good idea – and an excellent business plan.

Business planning and raising venture capital go hand-in-hand. A business plan is required for attracting venture capital. And the desire to raise capital (whether from an individual “angel” investor or a venture capital firm) is often the key motivator in the business planning process.

But how exactly will your business plan persuade investors to sign a check?

This article provides advice on how to position each section of the business plan for an investor audience. These tips draw on Growthink’s decades of experience consulting to start-ups in the business planning and capital raising process. You can download Growthink's Proven Venture Capital Business Plan Template here.

Executive Summary

Goal of the executive summary: Stimulate and motivate the investor to learn more.

  • Hook them on the first page. Most investors are inundated with business plans. Your first page must make them want to keep reading.

  • Keep it simple. After reading the first page, investors often do not understand the business. If your business is truly complex, you can dive into the details later on.

  • Be brief. The executive summary should be 2 to 4 pages in length.

Company Analysis

Goal of the company analysis section: Educate the investor about your company’s history and explain why your team is perfect to execute on the business opportunity.

  • Give some history. Provide the background on the company, including date of formation, office location, legal structure, and stage of development. 

  • Show off your track record. Detail prior accomplishments, including funding rounds, product launches, milestones reached, and partnerships secured, among others.

  • Why you? Demonstrate your team’s unique unfair competitive advantage, whether it is technology, stellar management team, or key partnerships.

Get Growthink's Proven Venture Capital Business Plan Template Here

Industry Analysis

Goal of the industry analysis section: Prove that there is a real market for your product or service.

  • Demonstrate the need – rather than the desire – for your product. Ideally, people are willing to pay money to satisfy this need.

  • Cite credible sources when describing the size and growth of your market.

  • Use independent research. If possible, source research through an independent research firm to enhance your credibility. For general market sizes and trends, we suggest citing at least two independent research firms.

  • Focus on the “relevant” market size. For example, if you sell a portable biofeedback stress relief device, your relevant market is not the entire health care market. In determining the relevant market size, focus on the products or services that you will directly compete against.

  • It’s not just a research report – each fact, figure, and projection should support your company’s prospects for success.

  • Don’t ignore negative trends. Be sure to explain how your company would overcome potential negative trends. Such analysis will relieve investor concern and enhance the plan’s credibility.

  • Be prepared for due diligence. It’s critical that the data you present is verifiable, since any serious investor will conduct extensive due diligence.

Customer Analysis

Goal of customer analysis section: Convey the needs of your customers and show how your company’s products/services satisfy those needs.

  • Define your customers precisely. For example, it’s not adequate to say your company is targeting small businesses, since there are several million of these.

  • Detail their demographics. How many customers fit the definition? Where are these customers located? What is their average income?

  • Identify the needs of these customers. Use data to demonstrate past actions (X% have purchased a similar product), future projections (X% said they would purchase the product), and/or implications (X% use a product/service which your product enhances).

  • Explain what drives their decisions. For example, is price more important than quality?

  • Detail the decision-making process. For example, will the customer seek multiple bids? Will the customer consult others in their organization before making a decision?

Competitive Analysis

Goal of the competitive analysis section: Define the competition and demonstrate your competitive advantage.

  • List competitors. Many companies make the mistake of conveying that they have few or no real competitors. From an investor’s standpoint, a competitor is something that fulfills the same need as your product. If you claim you have no competitors, you are seriously undermining the credibility of your plan.

  • Include direct and indirect competitors. Direct competitors serve the same target market with similar products. Indirect competitors serve the same target market with different products, or different target markets with similar products.

  • List public companies (when relevant, of course). A public company implies that the market size is big. This gives the assurance that if management executes well, the company has substantial profit and liquidity potential.

  • Don’t just list competitors. Carefully describe their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the key drivers of competitive differentiation in the marketplace. And when describing competitors’ weaknesses, be sure to use objective information (e.g. market research).

  • Demonstrate barriers to entry. In describing the competitive landscape, show how your business model creates competitive advantages, and – more importantly – defensible barriers to entry.

Get Growthink's Proven Venture Capital Business Plan Template Here

Marketing Plan

Goal of the marketing plan: Describe how your company will penetrate the market, deliver products/services, and retain customers.

  • Focus on the 4 P’s. They are: Products, Promotions, Price, and Place.

    • Products. Detail all current and future products and services – but focus primarily on the short-to-intermediate time horizon.

    • Promotions. Explain exactly which marketing/advertising strategies will be used and why.

    • Price. Be sure to provide a clear rationale for your pricing strategy.

    • Place. Explain exactly how your products/services will be delivered to your customers.

  • Detail your customer retention plan. Explain how you will retain your customers, whether through customer relationship management (CRM) applications, building network externalities, introducing ongoing value-added services, or other means.

  • Define your partnerships. From an investor’s perspective, what partnership you have with whom is not nearly as important as the specific terms of the partnership. Be sure to document the specifics of the partnerships (e.g. how it will work, the financial terms, the types of customer leads expected from each partner, etc.).

Operations Plan

Goal of the operations plan: Present the action plan for executing on your company’s vision.

  • Concept vs. reality. The operations plan transforms the business plan from concept into reality. Investors do not invest in concepts; they invest in reality. And the operations plan proves that the management team can execute on your concept better than anybody else.

  • Everyday processes. Detail the short term processes and systems that provide your customers with your products and services.

  • Business milestones. Lay out the significant long-term business milestones for the company, and prove that the team will execute on the long-term vision. A great way to present the milestones is to organize them into a chart with key milestones on the left side and target dates on the right side.

  • Be consistent. Make sure that the milestone projections are consistent with the rest of the business plan – particularly the financial plan.

  • Be aggressive but credible. Presenting a plan in which the company grows too quickly will show the naiveté of the management team, while presenting too conservative a growth plan will often fail to excite an early stage investor (who typically looks for a 10X return on her investment).

Financial Plan

Goal of the financial plan: Explain how your business will generate returns for your investors.

  • Detail all revenue streams. Be sure to include all revenue streams. Depending on the type of business, these may include sales of products/services, referral revenues, advertising sales, licensing/royalty fees, and/or data sales.

  • Be consistent with your pro-forma statements. Pro-forma statements are projected financial statements. It is critical that these projections reflect the other sections of your business plan.

  • Validate your assumptions and projections. The financial plan must detail your key assumptions, and it is critical that these assumptions are feasible. Be sure to use competitive research to validate your projections and assumptions versus the reality in your market place. Assessing and basing financial projections on those of similar firms will greatly validate the realism and maturity of the financial projections.

  • Detail the uses of funds. Understandably, investors want to know what, specifically, you plan to do with their money. Uses of funds could include expenses involved with marketing, staffing, technology development, office space, among other uses.

  • Provide a clear exit strategy. All investors are motivated by a clear picture of your exit strategy, or the timing and method through which they can “cash in” on their investment. Be sure to provide comparable examples of firms who have successfully exited. The most common exits are IPOs or acquisitions. And while the exact method is not always crucial, the investor wants to see this planning in order to better understand the management team’s motivation and commitment to building long-term value.

Get Growthink's Proven Venture Capital Business Plan Template Here

Above all, the business plan is a marketing document that helps to sell the investor on the business opportunity, the management team, the strategy, and the potential for significant return on investment.

Raising venture capital is a difficult and time-intensive challenge. There is no easy shortcut or silver bullet. However, you can greatly improve your chances of raising venture capital by writing a business plan that speaks directly to the investor’s perspective.

Ready to get started? Download Growthink's business plan template and finish your business plan today.


About Growthink

Since 1999, Growthink's professional business plan writers and investment bankers have assisted more than 2,000 clients in launching and growing their businesses, and raising more than $1 billion in growth financing.

Need help with your business plan?

Speak with a professional business plan writer today.

Raising money from individual "angel" investors?

Contact our private placement memorandum experts.

Or, if you're developing our own PPM, consider using Growthink's new private placement memorandum template.


2 Reasons Why This is the Best Holiday Season Ever


This holiday season is the best ever for your business for two simple reasons.

The first is that we currently have awesome economic conditions: a roaring stock market, low unemployment, and solid consumer and business confidence, all of which make right now as good a time as ever to start, grow, finance, and/or sell a business.

The second reason is the calendar, with Christmas and New Years Day falling on Mondays, sets up next week very nicely to both spend quality time with family and friends and have solid work days to... business and reflect, plot and plan for a breakout 2018!

So how should the ambitious and thoughtful executive take best advantage of this happy confluence?

Starting with the bad stuff, liabilities.

There are the obvious ones - financial debts and obligations (both contractual and de facto) to lenders, lessors, employees, contractors, suppliers, vendors, and the like.

These are big and serious commitments and obligations, and in the holiday season especially we should be highly thankful and grateful to all business owners and entrepreneurs that take on and live up to them.

Then there are the kinds of insidious liabilities that don’t show up on a traditional balance sheet.

These are the liabilities of our tired thinking, our waning energy, and of our "legacy" ways, systems, and approaches.

So next week let’s give ourselves the gift of time and space to reflect upon why we have burdened ourselves with onerous psychological and philosophical liabilities like these...

...and the best path forward to shed ourselves of them.

The shedding process will be different for each of us - some of us like to read inspirational business books, or meditate, or exercise, or group brainstorm, or hire an advisor to help us work through it.

Whatever our chosen method, do know that given these hot markets, that the opportunity cost of NOT shedding has never been greater and...

...when done right will open up beautiful space for Asset Building.

Of those ultimate and most important assets, cash and marketable securities.

But to acquire more of these in 2018, first we must build the kinds of “softer” assets that power and fuel our business’ cash-generating engines.  

As reviewed last week, these soft assets include our business and strategic plan, our brand and company culture, and our Innovation Quotient, or our ability to change and grow as market and competitive conditions dictate and demand.

And next week is a GREAT time to work on them all. =

And similar to with liabilities, the actual process by which we choose to do so will differ for each of us, and range from comparative benchmarking, to team brainstorming to the outsourcing of these “builds” to outside service providers.

And with liabilities down and assets up, we are left with that most beautiful piece of our business balance sheet - equity.

Business equity is a measurement of financial accomplishment attained and retained.

And it is a measurement of our business potential and possibility.

Of our potential for greatness, and of the possibility for that greatness to happen far faster and with far less risk than ever imagined before.

So let’s have it all this holiday season - high quality time with family and friends, and high quality work as much on - as in - our business.

Let's do it for ourselves, and for everyone we love and cherish.

Give Your Business a Holiday Gift. The holiday season is a natural time to take stock and pride in the accomplishments of the past year, while developing a steely resolve to profit from the awesome opportunities that the New Year is sure to bring.For the past 18 years, Growthink has helped companies like yours grow more rapidly by creating comprehensive Growth Plans. We catalyzed success for clients including:

  • Arganteal (software deployment automation) secured $611K in growth capital.
  • DNT Express (logistics) secured $2.2M in debt funding for facility expansion.
  • FutureFuel (HRTech+FinTech) successful  $1.6M financing round.
  • Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) acquired our client manufacturing process control company Ometric.
  • MPulse (SaaS), acquired by JDM Technology Group.  
  • NativeAds (digital advertising) closed on a $4M venture financing.
  • Permacity completed the world's largest solar rooftop project and increased revenue by over 35%.
  • PayCertify (fintech), secured $700k in seed funding.
  • ViewQwest launched in Malaysia in Q3 2016 with Indonesia next in line.

What do all of these success stories have in common?

The entrepreneurs and executives running these great companies understood that whether you're looking to raise capital, sell your company, expand current market share or enter new markets, having a solid growth plan and roadmap is indispensable.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season between now and December 31st, we would like to give your business the gift of a complimentary consultation with one of our growth advisors to help you identify your most valuable growth initiatives to pursue in 2018 and beyond.

To accept, simply click here to arrange a day and time via our online call scheduler.


Breakout Growth Strategies for Today’s Boom Market


Try on these “Boom Market” stats for size:

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed today at 24,585, up 24% since January 1st and 34% since Election Day 2016. 
  • The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November, including 31,000 in the manufacturing sector, and unemployment remained at a 17-year low of 4.1%.
  • Consumer holiday spending is on track to hit its highest levels ever, with online shopping up 16% and even the woebegone “offline” retail sector showing a 3%year-over-year rise.
  • Business and Economic Confidence are holding strong and steady at their highest levels since the “Dot Com” boom of the late 1990s.

But what does all of this mean for your business?

In a word, opportunity. For faster growth, for greater profits, for an accelerated path to a business sale and exit.

But opportunity is just that - an exciting but ephemeral thing that when not properly pursued disappears into the ether as competitors rush in and take what should be ours.

So here are four simple strategies to keep this from happening and ensure that we all get our share of this big boom:

#4. Raise Prices. When widely-held assets like stocks and real estate (and now Bitcoin!) are on sustained rises, there builds in every market a class of consumers that is flush with the feeling of wealth and liquidity, and thus becomes far less price sensitive.

And so very often our lowest hanging business fruit is to just give these affluent customers what they want - VIP purchase and consumption experiences at VIP, higher prices.

#3. Raise Capital. Almost all investors now are fully playing with house money, deep-in-the black on their portfolio and itching for more.

This frothiness, when coupled with very low yields on cash instruments, makes it far easier for more speculative investment propositions, like angel, venture capital, and private equity investments, to be evaluated on their individual merits versus more of a blanket “risk anxiety” as is typical in more normal markets.

Raising money will always be a lot of work and energy, but if ever there was a moment in time where the market and investment tailwinds make it far easier to do, now is it.

#2. Build Intangible Assets. So much of our business day is spent on revenue and costs - i.e. generating the most possible sales at the least possible cost to pay the rent, meet payroll, and keep the lights on, etc.

This is all well and good, but in a world where public companies are trading at multiples of 25 times earnings and 2.25 times revenues, it pays dividends to build the kind of intangible assets that "flutter the hearts" of key business stakeholders - investors for sure but employees, contractors, partners and vendors and too.

What are these intangible assets?

Well, for starters, our moving forward business and strategic plan, i.e. our vision of what the future of our industry and market will be, and then what our role in it will be.

Then relatedly, strengthening and boosting our brand and company culture.

And finally, increasing our Innovation Quotient, our ability to change and grow in response to fast-moving markets and competitors.

These are all classic "work on our business and not in it" undertakings, and hot markets like this are the best time to get after them and get them done.

#1. Work Harder. Hard work is a value in itself and a condition for meaningful success in any market or economy.

But in boom times like this, the cost of leisure and of not working hard is particularly and extremely high.

We can rest when markets cool, but right now let's work hard, think big, and get our share of this historic boomtime market.

Give Your Business a Holiday Gift. The holiday season is a natural time to take stock and pride in the accomplishments of the past year, while developing a steely resolve to profit from the awesome opportunities that the New Year is sure to bring.

For the past 18 years, Growthink has helped companies like yours grow more rapidly by creating comprehensive Growth Plans. We catalyzed success for clients including:

  • Arganteal (software deployment automation) secured $611K in growth capital.
  • DNT Express (logistics) secured $2.2M in debt funding for facility expansion.
  • FutureFuel (HRTech+FinTech) successful $1.6M financing round.
  • Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) acquired our client manufacturing process control company Ometric.
  • MPulse (SaaS), acquired by JDM Technology Group. 
  • NativeAds (digital advertising) closed on a $4M venture financing.
  • Permacity, completed the world's largest solar rooftop project and increased revenue by over 35%.
  • PayCertify (fintech), secured $700k in seed funding.
  • ViewQwest, launched in Malaysia in Q3 2016 with Indonesia next in line.

What do all of these success stories have in common?

The entrepreneurs and executives running these great companies understood that whether you're looking to raise capital, sell your company, expand current market share or enter new markets, having a solid growth plan and roadmap is indispensable.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season between now and December 31st, we would like to give your business the gift of a complimentary consultation with one of our growth advisors to help you identify your most valuable growth initiatives to pursue in 2018 and beyond.

To accept, simply click here to arrange a day and time via our online call scheduler.


The Most Interesting Part of CVS & Aetna


CVS' proposed acquisition this week of health insurance giant Aetna is a big deal.

It will combine a pharmacy retailer with more than 9,000 stores, with a health insurance giant with more than 22 million members. 

And, at a $77 billion purchase price, it is one of the largest mergers in the history of healthcare and will enrich Aetna shareholders to the tune of a 29% percent premium on their stock shares.

But that is the least interesting part of the deal.

Far more interesting is what it means for the rest of us.

How this deal is just yet another signal that all of us - no matter the size of our companies or the conservatism of our industry - are faced with a very intense "Disrupt, Innovate or Die" choice and challenge each and every business day. 

For CVS and Aetna, theirs is a bold strategic stroke to build a more efficient healthcare delivery model in sync with our information economy and technological age.

Now some will say that too strong a profit motive, per the mindset of retail and insurance executives, might have deleterious effects when placed too front and center for so many of the healthcare choices that we and our loved ones are often faced with, but... a bare minimum simply having a viable alternative to the so complex, byzantine, bloated, institutionalized system that is modern healthcare has to be an unambiguously good thing.

Even more interesting will be the competitive response - from the traditional retail and insurance competitors like Walgreens, Anthem and Humana.

And from the Walmarts, the Amazons, the Apples and Googles of the world - large, deep pocketed players with the ambition and the intellectual and innovation capital to look at this $3 trillion+ industry and simply say we can do better.

A lot better.

Yes, it is this mode of thinking and feeling that we should take away from CVS buying Aetna.

That fear is a good motivator.

For CVS, the fear of Amazon coming into their market and squeezing them, as they have done to so many others, so hard that margins just evaporate.

For Aetna, the existential fear that in a world of big data, predictive analytics, and financial disintermediation of why do big insurance companies like them need to exist at all anymore.

These kinds of fears are present in the minds of every thoughtful and forward thinking business leader.

That what once worked won't do so forever.

And that it is far better to be the proactive agent of change and disruption than the victim of it.

Once we work through these fears and re-frame and channel them into determination, into fight and will and the desire to win...

...what comes out on the other side is enthusiasm to take our swings  and do things different and better than
the same old same old.

And so like those bold CVS and Aetna executives, we too have the golden opportunity to move past our fears and make of our old, tired, and threatened businesses and perspectives...

...something new, potentially beautiful, and in congruence with the tenor and flow of modern life and business.

Let’s do this!

Rather Innovate than Die?  Like to explore what bold strokes like CVS buying Aetna are possible for your business in 2018? 

Or simply interested in selling your business in the next few years, or growing sales and profits in the New Year?

Well, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


Will “Rapid Demonetization” Kill Your Business?


Have you heard of renowned futurist Peter Diamandis?

Or what he describes as “rapid demonetization?”

If not, you need to, as we now have many examples of businesses getting killed by it, like:

  • Videoconferencing - today available for free via a wide number of mobile apps (Skype, WhatsApp, Hangouts, etc.), but was sold in 1982 by Compression Labs for $250,000 ($598,000 in today’s dollars).
  • GPS - also free today (Waze, Google and and Apple Maps, etc.), but in 1983 was sold by Navastar for $119,900 ($284,000 in today’s dollars).
  • 5 Megapixel Camera - free on your smartphone, but in 1986 was sold by Canon for $3,000 ($6,700 in today’s dollars).

Diamandis’ list goes on and on, and he presciently notes that demonetization like this is accelerating quickly in “big spend” arenas like transportation, food, healthcare, housing, energy, and education (wow).

Now, the cold hard truth is that most businesses have no idea how to serve customers in this demonetized world - how to meet their very low cost, very high value expectations.

Their leadership is just not talented nor flexible enough to execute upon the necessary pivots and re-inventions to do so.

So sadly, most of them will fail.

But a chosen few will win bigger than ever before.

Because the playing field will be cleared of so many failed and “lousy” competitors.

And because when we win digitally, we do so fast and big.

So how are these chosen few competing and winning in this de-monetized world?

Very simply, they are harvesting that most important form of capital of our modern age.

Intellectual Capital.

Our ideas.

Our ability to learn new things.

And unlearn old ones that no longer serve us.

Our imaginings of what our businesses might be.

And then our determination, fortitude, and stick-to-itiveness to will ourselves and those around us to make it so.

Our ability to inspire. To delight. To connect.

To not have technology distract us, but empower us to work more efficiently, collaboratively, sustainably and brilliantly than ever before.

All of us were born with vast troves of this kind of capital lying fertile within us.

And through years of education and life experience we have accumulated enough of it to enable any modicums of success we might have.

So to go to the next level of modern business success, we simply need to go to the next level of increasing and harvesting it to compete and win like never before.

It is not just possible, it is easy.

Everyday simply honor, protect and strengthen our minds, our creativity, our indomitable wills for the incalculably valuable assets they are.

Then watch the love, and the money, flow like manna from Heaven.

Want to Build More Intellectual Capital in Your Company? Feel like your business doesn’t have enough of the “right stuff” to compete and win in this daunting, “demonetized” world?

Interested in selling your business in the next few years, or interested now in growing sales and profits?

Well, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


The Importance of Changing Your Company Offerings



Nearly 20 years ago, my wife came home from a routine doctor’s appointment and told me she was pregnant. Among other things, this prompted me to think about the kind of employment I wanted. To maximize time with my family, I certainly didn’t want to travel a lot. And I didn’t want to make the family sacrifices I figured were needed to climb the corporate ladder. Starting my own business seemed like the perfect choice.


While that moment doesn’t seem like it was too long ago, my son (with whom my wife was pregnant) is now looking at colleges, and I am running a business that’s 18 years old. While my business hasn’t changed as drastically as my son has over this time, it has clearly evolved. And it is this evolution which has kept it relevant and successful for so long.


When I first launched my company, it was called Best Business Plan and I purchased the domain name Being the savvy graphic designer (not really), I choose a unique font and changed the “s” to a dollar sign, so our logo read Be$tBizPlan. Fortunately I brought on my co-founder Jay Turo soon after, and with his guidance, changed our name to something a little more sophisticated -- Growthink.


Like, Growthink’s focus was to develop business plans for startups. This is still a core service we offer today. But over the years, we have added new services, products, customer segments and lead magnets as discussed below.


Adding Services


Particularly when we started, the number one reason entrepreneurs and business owners came to us was for funding. They needed a business plan to present to banks and investors. Naturally, upon completion of client business plans, they would ask if we could help raise funding.


Initially, we didn’t offer this service since we didn’t have the expertise and experience nor the required licensing to do so. But, within a couple years, we developed services to help clients raise funding. We also developed M&A expertise to help our clients sell their companies or acquire others.


And when we found ourselves spending a lot of time, energy and money purchasing lists of prospective investors, we launched an investor research service to provide such lists to ourselves and clients.


Likewise we launched a market research service to conduct market research needed to properly advise our clients and to directly serve the needs of external clients.


So, how does this affect your business?


Are there any products or services your customers need or are asking for that you don’t provide?


Are there any products or services you purchase, but could possible perform yourselves?


Identifying and adding such products or services could help reinvent your company and add to your bottom line.


Attracting New Customers


Our initial focus was developing business plans for startups. This was an exciting business in that we met lots of cool entrepreneurs and heard tons of interesting ideas. On the flip side, there were some frustrations. Startup entrepreneurs don’t have a lot to spend on services. And, most of them never make it, so repeat business is low.


For these reasons, we started to expand our client base by attracting new customers. We reached out to mid-sized and even Fortune 500 companies since every business needs a business plan. And every business can use market research and consulting to identify and pursue new growth opportunities.


Adding Products


While adding new services and new customers proved successful, we didn’t stop there. We realized that we still weren’t serving as many entrepreneurs and companies that we could. For instance, there were many entrepreneurs who wanted us to write their business plans but couldn’t afford it.


So, we created a products division to offer for-profit business plan templates, non-profit business plan templates, and business plan software. And we created online training products teaching companies how to raise capital, improve their marketing, and hire better among others.


Adding New Lead Magnets


Throughout the years, we’ve also evolved our “lead magnets.” A “lead magnet” is an offer that provides enough value for a prospective client to give you their contact information. We have created and offered lead magnets ranging from free business plan guides to funding reports to webinars on company innovation to ebooks on improving company valuation.


Each new lead magnet has given us the opportunity to gain interest among clients who otherwise might not have found us.


Is it Time for Your Business to Evolve?


Evolving our services, products, customer segments and lead magnets over the years has kept our company relevant and allowed us to expand.


It hasn’t always been easy. And not every new offering has worked as planned. But, in trying numerous ideas and keeping the winners, we have been left with a more diversified and stable business. Perhaps equally importantly, our new offerings have provided excitement and personal growth. This is in stark contrast to many business owners who burn out after doing the same thing day after day, year after year.


So take a moment today to think about your next iteration. What can your company start offering to add value to customers? What expertise do you have internally that you haven’t yet shared with the world? Figuring these out could be just the positive change you and your company need.



Persisting Through a Capital Raise



Raising funding for your company is challenging. This is particularly true if your company is new and doesn’t have assets or an operating history. In fact, the vast majority of new companies fail to raise capital, and as a result, never fully launch.

The first step to funding is to prepare your business plan. Please feel free to use our for-profit business plan template or nonprofit business plan template to help with this effort.

Armed with your business plan, you’re ready to raise funding. Below, I detail the experience and lessons learned from a new company for which I helped raise several million dollars, to help your business successful raise money if and when needed.

Go After the Right Sources of Funding

The first key to raising funding is to pursue the right sources of funding at the right time. There are numerous forms of funding from which you can potentially choose: bank loans, credit cards, angel investors, venture capitalist, crowdfunding, etc.

Each funding source has different criteria. For example, to receive a bank loan you generally need a 3-year operating history. And to raise venture capital, you typically need to have already proved your concept and have the ability to scale rapidly.

No matter how interesting your company, or how amazing its growth potential, if you pursue a funding source for which you don’t meet the criteria, you will fail.

For my client, which was seeking venture capital, we initially failed to raise venture capital since we didn’t have proof of concept. So, we raised money from angel investors, used it to prove the concept, and then pursued and successfully raised funding from venture capitalists.

It’s Nearly Always a Numbers Game

Even when you have a great product at a great price, success in sales is a numbers game. That is, you still need to present your product to many potential buyers before one purchases.

The same is true with raising funding. No matter how great your company is, most investors will reject you. Even the mighty Google was rejected by multiple venture capital firms when it first approached them.

You must be willing to present your company to many prospects, be it multiple banks, angel investors, venture capital firms and so on. The majority of presentations will result in rejection. You just need one yes to be successful.

In my client’s case, we reached out to 118 venture capitalists. Forty-seven of them requested more information via email. We gave in-person or virtual presentations to fourteen of them. And one ultimately funded the company.

It Takes Time

In my client’s case, the entire funding process took just nearly 2 years. It took approximately 6 months to create a business plan and raising money from angel investors. This money was then used over an 8 month period to build technology to prove the client’s concept. Then, it took an additional 9 months to raise venture capital.

You Must Have a Clear Value Proposition

When we first started presenting to investors, my client explained itself as a MEMS company. You know what a MEMS company is, right? Of course you don’t, and neither did investors.

Likewise, explaining what MEMS stands for, micro-electro-mechanical-systems, didn’t help.

It was only when we focused on the benefits and applications of the MEMS technology (such as its use in improving the range of telecommunications equipment) and how the company had an advantage in the space, did investors get excited and write us a check.

Yes, You Can Ultimately Raise Money For Your Business

While not easy, most entrepreneurs and business owners can raising funding. You need to have thick skin as you’ll face a lot of rejection. You need to be patient as it will take time. You need to focus on the types of funding sources that are fit for your business. And you need to make sure you can clearly articulate the value of your company.

The good news is that if you can assemble each of these pieces, funding will be yours.  


Why These 50 Companies are Positioned for Breakout Growth


Fortune Magazine and Boston Consulting Group just teamed up to create their inaugural "Fortune 50" list.

The list ranks companies best positioned for breakout growth in the years to come.

I love the list for a few reasons.

First, because it highlights some incredible companies and their amazing successes, like Salesforce (#1 on the List), Tesla, Intuit, Tableau, Splunk, and GoDaddy.

And, because the insights from the methodology utilized to create the list allow any executive, no matter their industry or type of business, to make their company perform better right away.

Its first component is an evaluation of a company’s market potential, defined as the “Present Value of Its Growth Opportunities (PVGO).

PVGO measure is the premium the stock market is willing to pay for the “hotness” of a company’s market sector. 

So companies ranked high on the Future 50 like Tesla, Facebook, and Netflix, driven by the great market bullishness for electric vehicles, social media, and on-demand entertainment respectively, score very high by this measure. 

The lesson here is pretty plain and simple.

For a higher probability of breakout growth, executives should study and understand carefully the overall growth of their market sector and if it is too low...

...then to think long and hard about pivoting to a more attractive one.

The next component of the methodology measures a company’s ability to actually deliver on its market potential.

This is described as a company’s vitality measurement - i.e how much internal strength and "bones" does it have to actually convert upon and profit from its market opportunities?

Into this determination go factors like Technology and Investment, i.e. the more a company invests back into itself, into its people and intellectual property (both via internal R&D and acquisitions), its probability of breakout growth commensurately goes up.

And it discovers, not surprisingly, that Younger-Aged leadership teams that have worked together for a long a time are more likely to deliver on breakout growth than older, recently assembled ones. 

While perhaps not politically correct, the statistics show that teams lead by chronologically older executives often struggle with change and growth.

Finally, the methodology makes powerful use of artificial intelligence tools like machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze 200,000 earning calls and 70,000 10Ks to measure the soundness and consistency of a company’s strategy and its capacity for innovation.

Here, the highest correlation with long-term revenue growth was found at those companies where their executives defaulted to words like "invest" and "vision" versus words like “current” and “short-term.” 

And, when those executives demonstrate Biological Thinking, or “ability to address the uncertainty and complexity of business environments with flexibility and adaptation.”

This may sound like a lot of jargon, but it is just the simple idea of prioritizing the long term over the short term while being willing to bob, weave, morph, and evolve in its pursuit.

Along with the simple, but so beautiful zen idea that as business leaders just talk about this kind of behavior, this alone increases their company’s prospects for breakout growth.

The Buddha famously said "we become what we think."

Well, the Future 50 List shows us that companies become great simply as their leaders think and talk about them like this every day in every way.

Can you do the same for your business? 

Want to Experience Breakout Growth Like the Future 50?  Tired of business as usual and want something BIG to happen to and for your company? 

Interested in selling your business in the next few years, or interested now in growing sales and profits?

Well, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan


business plan

Below are our top 20 reasons why you need a business plan.

Reference our proven business plan template to most quickly and easily complete your plan.

1. To prove that you’re serious about your business. A formal business plan is necessary to show all interested parties -- employees, investors, partners and yourself -- that you are committed to building the business.

2. To establish business milestones. The business plan should clearly lay out the long-term milestones that are most important to the success of your business. To paraphrase Guy Kawasaki, a milestone is something significant enough to come home and tell your spouse about (without boring him or her to death). Would you tell your spouse that you tweaked the company brochure? Probably not. But you'd certainly share the news that you launched your new website or reached $1M in annual revenues.

3. To better understand your competition. Creating the business plan forces you to analyze the competition. All companies have competition in the form of either direct or indirect competitors, and it is critical to understand your company's competitive advantages.

4. To better understand your customer. Why do they buy when they buy? Why don’t they when they don't? An in-depth customer analysis is essential to an effective business plan and to a successful business.

5. To enunciate previously unstated assumptions.
The process of actually writing the business plan helps to bring previously "hidden" assumptions to the foreground. By writing them down and assessing them, you can test them and analyze their validity.

6. To assess the feasibility of your venture. How good is this opportunity? The business plan process involves researching your target market, as well as the competitive landscape, and serves as a feasibility study for the success of your venture.

7. To document your revenue model. How exactly will your business make money? This is a critical question to answer in writing, for yourself and your investors. Documenting the revenue model helps to address challenges and assumptions associated with the model.

8. To determine your financial needs. Does your business need to raise capital? How much? The business plan creation process helps you to determine exactly how much capital you need and what you will use it for. This process is essential for raising capital for business and for effectively employing the capital.

9. To attract investors. A formal business plan is the basis for financing proposals. The business plan answers investors' questions such as: Is there a need for this product/service? What are the financial projections? What is the company's exit strategy?

10. To reduce the risk of pursuing the wrong opportunity. The process of creating the business plan helps to minimize opportunity costs. Writing the business plan helps you assess the attractiveness of this particular opportunity, versus other opportunities.

11. To force you to research and really know your market. What are the most important trends in your industry? What are the greatest threats to your industry? Is the market growing or shrinking? What is the size of the target market for your product/service? Creating the business plan will help you to gain a wider, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of your marketplace.

12. To attract employees and a management team. To attract and retain top quality talent, a business plan is necessary. The business plan inspires employees and management that the idea is sound and that the business is poised to achieve its strategic goals.

13. To plot your course and focus your efforts. The business plan provides a roadmap from which to operate, and to look to for direction in times of doubt. Without a business plan, you may shift your short-term strategies constantly without a view to your long-term milestones.

14. To attract partners. Partners also want to see a business plan, in order to determine whether it is worth partnering with your business. Establishing partnerships often requires time and capital, and companies will be more likely to partner with your venture if they can read a detailed explanation of your company.

15. To position your brand. Creating the business plan helps to define your company's role in the marketplace. This definition allows you to succinctly describe the business and position the brand to customers, investors, and partners.

16. To judge the success of your business. A formal business plan allows you to compare actual operational results versus the business plan itself. In this way, it allows you to clearly see whether you have achieved your strategic, financing, and operational goals (and why you have or have not).

17. To reposition your business to deal with changing conditions. For example, during difficult economic conditions, if your current sales and operational models aren’t working, you can rewrite your business plan to define, try, and validate new ideas and strategies.

18. To document your marketing plan. How are you going to reach your customers? How will you retain them? What is your advertising budget? What price will you charge? A well-documented marketing plan is essential to the growth of a business.

19. To understand and forecast your company’s staffing needs. After completing your business plan, you will not be surprised when you are suddenly short-handed. Rather, your business plan provides a roadmap for your staffing needs, and thus helps to ensure smoother expansion.

20. To uncover new opportunities. Through the process of brainstorming, white-boarding and creative interviewing, you will likely see your business in a different light. As a result, you will often come up with new ideas for marketing your product/service and running your business.





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.

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