Attaining Competitive Advantage in Any Business


An underrated joy of being in business is the daily opportunity it offers to strive for and experience breakthroughs in "that best version of ourselves."

To some this may sound like pop psychology babble, but when you dig into it just a bit you will find within a HUGE KEY to attaining competitive advantage in any business.

It all starts with just going to work every day, and doing so with enthusiasm, optimism, pride, and a striving toward excellence.

I have been blessed in my business life with very hard-working partners, employees, clients, vendors and suppliers.

And the beautiful sum of all of their hard work has made my life easier, richer, more interesting, and team accomplishment filled.

You see, sometimes in our business bubble it is easy to forget that less than 25% of the total U.S. population works in the private sector.

While of course there is nothing wrong with other forms of work - in the public and non-profit arenas, or in being retired - there is just something fundamentally different, hard, and admirable of those “fellow business travelers” that battle everyday to pay the rent, meet payroll, and grow and prosper for-profit entities for the love of money and accomplishment.

Which fundamentally in modern business involves a tough and bare-knuckled ongoing struggle and fight for competitive advantage and victory.

The great Michael Jordan expressed this best when he talked about the differing intensity and drive needed to win a regular season game, versus a playoff game, versus a “close-out” game, versus a championship.

In all cases, a proper, focused direction of talent and the will to win are needed, but at each "higher" step on the victory pyramid the intense degree of these combined factors goes up and up and up.

Competition in business is similar. Starting a business is a challenge, similar in sports to say “making the team.”

Getting to cash flow break even, a seemingly minimal level of performance but one that a very small percentage of businesses ever reach, could be considered like qualifying for the playoffs.

But just like all of those athletes that get to play in, but eventually lose the bigger and more important games, just breaking even in business is very unsatisfying.

No, those next levels of competitive business striving - toward double digit and beyond revenue growth, real and tangible profit, meaningful asset aggregation, and toward brands, cultures, and reputations that stand the test of time...

... well to attain and achieve any or all of these require us to prevail over and beat the untold multitudes of competitors striving for exactly the same thing, many of whom have over us significant advantages of resources, talent, and cost structures.

Sometimes, the realization of the enormity of this challenge - often set off by a business setback like a lost sale, or a lawsuit, or an online flaming, can rise in us feelings of discouragement, futility, and even anger at how the cards seem stacked against us.

But it is in these darker moments when we discover things about ourselves that perhaps we never knew.

The depth of our courage and perseverance.

And of our burning desire to compete and win.

And what exactly is that best version of ourselves.

As professionals. As businesspeople. As human beings.

Striving for and attaining competitive advantage and victory requires and demands nothing less.

And truly, who would want it any other way?

Does Your Business Have REAL Competitive Advantage?  

Are you beating the competition in all aspects of your business? 

With your marketing? With your culture? With your strategy? With your profits? With your balance sheet? 

Well if so, kudos to you and keep on keeping on! 

But if you are just losing in one or several of these areas, then you probably need a jolt of ideas, energy, and inspiration.

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business’ current status, and key goals and initiatives now.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


What Tesla and Playdoh Do that Your Business Should Too


Growing wider every day is the divide between companies that “get it” when it comes to modern marketing and business promotion...

...and those that don’t. 

Luckily, there is a super simple way to upgrade your company’s marketing

from old, tired and slow to... 

...futuristic, engaged and hyper-fast.  

To illustrate, garner a peek at the Instagram feeds of Tesla, Playdoh, Airbnb, and Adobe. 

What we find is marketing that is beautiful, creative, dynamic, and relentless.  

And very different from how most of us go about it, sadly not all that differently from how JC Penney and Sears did so more than 100 years ago. 

Statically and unidirectionally. 

It was catalogs back then, and websites and mass emails today. 

Now, these methods still do work, to a degree - as evidenced by the huge sums spent on digital marketing and by the flood of promotional emails we all get.

But, they don’t work at all for huge swaths of target customers in almost every business category. 

Because those customers have opted out and sealed themselves off.  

Because the marketing is too much of a deluge and too never-ending.

And because of our smartphones. 

These immensely powerful, intensely addictive little things that are on us and part of us always, at work and at play.  

These little things that train us to expect personalized emotional experiences. 

As in watching, listening, and reading any kind of entertainment, informational, or titillating content that our hearts and minds might need and desire. 

At the exact moment when we need and desire it. 

Then, we bring with us this extremely high communication expectation with us when we shop for things and services.  

That they should be produced and presented just for us.  

And done so in that way as old and basic as Homo Sapiens themselves. 

As a conversation.

Between two people, on balanced and mutually respectful footing.

From this perspective, the platforms on which these conversations take place are of secondary importance.  

For sure, beautiful, visually-based platforms like Instagram are engaging in ways that the written word can never be. 

And are even more so when the conversations there are made so quick and easy by maligned but emotionally resonating tools as are “likes” and emojis.  

But modern marketing conversations of course can and should still take place in the traditional channels  - over the phone, in person, and via email.

They just have to be devoid of the marketing schmaltz and sales trickery. 

Instead, let’s meet our customers where and who they are.

As one-of-a-kind individuals with their particular hopes and fears big and small.

Marketing this way asks a lot of us.

We can no longer just “play the part” as engaged and empathetic businessmen and women.

Now we really have to be these things!

So it is harder, but so much more human in so many ways.

Scroll again through Tesla, Playdoh, Airbnb, and Adobe Instagram feeds if you have any doubt. :)

Is Your Marketing Tired? 

Do you “apologize” for your website? 

Are you struggling to exploit all of the new modern marketing and sales channels?  

And as a result, are your sales and profits not anyway near where they should be? 

Need a jolt of ideas, energy, inspiration? 

Have a key business initiative or new product that you want to get moving on this year?

Well, we can help. 

Click here and complete this short questionnaire. 

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


The CEO Trap (Avoid This)


Unfortunately, most things don't work in business.

New marketing campaigns don't generate leads, new salespeople don't sell, new software doesn't save the promised time and money, and so on and so on.

And, in a business, as the years go on, and the number of failed initiatives pile themselves upon one another... unfortunately a certain discouragement and fatalism can set in.

Which if we are not extremely careful can be our
business death knell.

I come across this often in my advisory practice, hearing tales of business woe from CEOs and business owners of all types. 

Of cost and pricing pressures bearing down on all sides. 

Of employees not hard-working or talented enough to do the job at hand. 

Of banking and finance partners not making available the needed capital to grow. 

And of a general weariness and heaviness that no matter what we won’t be truly able to break out of our business rut. 

Now, what is so interesting about these “whiny” CEOs is that in almost the next breath they will speak with great enthusiasm as to the real possibilities and opportunities for their business.

Of how valuable and unique their products and services really are. 

Of how many new markets and customers that are out there for their easy taking.  

And of how comparably strong and worthwhile their company is when compared to its competitors. 

It sounds self-contradictory because it is, on the one hand a "pity party" as to the “unsolvable” challenges they face, and on the other an almost childlike faith that a big breakthrough is right around the corner.

Well, the hard truth is to the degree these CEOs wallow and oscillate between these equally unproductive and ineffective nodes, their businesses will never have the slightest chance of meaningful growth. 

And it gets worse. 

You see, sadly there are a lot of CEOs for whom these afflictions are so deep rooted that for them all business hope is truly gone. 

And the best thing now they can do for their companies is to step aside and sell or hand it over to someone else.

Now, for those that are not yet chronic cases - i.e. they they whine and complain and are fatalistic somewhat, but are still grounded and action-oriented enough to be effective leaders, well for them the guidance is simple:

Judge, rate and decide on potential new business initiatives not on their raw and “siloed” prospects of success, which will almost always be quite low...  

...but instead by the prospects of the next best alternative.

I call this the “if not this, then how else?” formulation.

As in, if we don't try this new marketing channel (social media, SEO, telemarketing, etc.) then how else will we grow sales? 

If we don’t raise capital, then how else will we meet our cash flow needs? 

If we don't fire this person, then how else we improve their performance? 

If we don't develop this new product, then how else will we avoid obsolescence?

Now this “If not this, then how else?” formulation is powerful when we use it by ourselves... 

...but is completely transformative when used in group strategy and business brainstorming sessions. 

It quiets down those naysayers who jump immediately on the shortcomings and probabilities of failure of anything new. 

And once quieted, it then pivots them from energy drainers into active participants in designing and implementing moving forward plans and solutions. 

If not this, then how else?

Use this simple trick to flip discouraging business realities.. 

...into ones filled with possibility and action. 

Looking for Better Business Ideas and Plans? 

Tired of competing hard and long but just not winning? 

Need a jolt of ideas, energy, inspiration?

Have a key business initiative or new product that you want to get moving on this year? 

Then click here and complete this short questionnaire.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


How to be an Olympian in Your Business


Isn’t it awesome to see the amazing grace, endurance, skill, and competitiveness of our Olympic athletes? 

And wouldn’t it be great to perform as executives and entrepreneurs at that kind of “ultra-peak” level?  

Well, it isn’t as hard as it seems. 

It just requires one simple thing that all Olympians do instinctively. 

Which is, in their quest for gold, assemble an awesome team of coaches, trainers, agents, nutritionists, sponsors, equipment partners, family, friends, and "moral teams" to enable and empower their peak performance.

Think about how different this is from the way most of us approach our work. 

One dimensionally. On our own. Isolated.

This is not a criticism, as thinking about work in this manner is very different from how most of us have been trained and have done so by habit for many years. 

But if we truly want to win business gold, just as it is for Olympic athletes, where the difference between standing on the medal podium and being an also-ran is usually mere thousandths of a second...

...the competition is just too good and too fierce to do it in any other way and honestly expect to win. 

Arguably the #1 factor in gaining those tiny, critical slivers of business competitive advantage, just as it is for Olympic athletes, is the quality of our team and network of advisors, consultants, coaches, and helpers.

This is well shown by Norway - with a population less than that of Colorado but with arguably the world’s best Athletes Development and Coaching Program, leading the Olympics Medals Count while the US is 5th and Russia 7th. 

Business is no different. The best and most successful companies have the best and most pedigreed teams of outside advisors of all types to build, sustain, and grow profitability and value.  

Whether that advice and assistance pertains to marketing, sales, branding, IT, new product development, finance, company culture, strategy, exit planning, and everything and anything in between.  

And luckily for all of us, this is a golden age where advisors of every business challenge specialty have as their default new client development protocol a complimentary consultation to discuss our unique problem, to offer initial recommendations, and to then revert back with a suggested scope of work and project action plan. 

All on their nickel.

And just like the synchrony between a great athlete and his or her coach, great business advisors catalyze transformational business leaps forward, bypassing and turbo-charging the traditional and slow “brick-by-brick” growth model into one of ideas, strategy and key relationship break throughs.

All of this “manna from heaven” starts from a simple choice: to throw our hat in the ring for a shot at that medal.

From this heroic step everything naturally and fairly follows - the evaluation of our competitive landscape and an inventorying of our own strengths and areas needing improvement.

And from this, then the natural identification of the the kind of outside help we need to achieve our big business dreams.

The beauty and intensity of Olympic competition brings this simple dynamic into perfectly sharp focus.

Looking for Olympic-Level Performance in Your Business? 

Tired of competing hard and long but just not winning? 

Need a jolt of ideas, energy, inspiration? 

Have a key business initiative or new product that you would get going on this year? 

Then click here and complete this short questionnaire.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


Is Your Business Running Out of Time?


On Monday, New York Times CEO Mark Thompson admitted something. 

He admitted their print version faces inevitable "expiration." 

Yes, he said “expiration.” 

As in running out of time. 

Now, as a long ago paperboy (for an afternoon newspaper no less!), I felt  a small but perceptible sting of nostalgia at this not entirely surprising news. 

But what really caught my ear was that word "expiration."  

As in a business that, because of technology and changing customer preferences, is just running out of time.

Very unfortunately, when confronted with this kind of reality, too many executives and business owners react in exactly the
wrong way.

They sit in a place of denial - refusing to admit, concede (or even research and understand) the drivers, consequences, and timeline of their business demise.

Or they waste precious time and energy in feeling sorry for themselves - boringly waxing on as to how things “used to be” before all of this "technology" and "those people" got on and ruined things.

Others are more functional, but sad and depressing in their own way. 

They admit, like the New York Times CEO, that they face expiring pressures but then deceive themselves by placing that expiration date in the distant and unpredictable future - kicking the can down the road to be dealt with later, usually by someone else.

Or they “toe dip” with high promise business model innovations, yet weigh them down with the fixed overhead of their expiring parts. 

Half measures like this are doomed to failure.

No, the only appropriate response to expiring business realities is quick, uncompromised and even heartless action.

In the case of the New York Times, that probably (and obviously), should take the form of discontinuing the paper’s print version immediately and not in "ten years or so" as currently planned.

In the case of most smaller businesses, it starts with a thorough audit of all expenses - rents and labor especially - and then matching those against sources of revenue to identify which are moving forward value-add and which are "legacy," expiring and running out of time.

Now, conducting this cost and profit audit based on current marketplace and competitive realities can be money saving, but doing so on future, forecasted realities can be
business saving.

For example, while a defensible argument can be made that many folks are still willing to pay quite a bit to put their hands on a physical newspaper, the economics of so doing are almost certain to continue to deteriorate, so why weigh down the rest of the enterprise to protect a part of it whose future is so bleak?

This is where business leaders become great -- via their ability to forecast how things will be, and then harshly adjust today’s strategies and tactics to serve
tomorrow's realities and opportunities.   

Expiration is the frightening flip side of technological innovation and change.   

Watch-on painfully as it drives your demise... 

...or use the threat of it to drive change and innovation at your business for the better.  

Would you sell your company if the price was right? 

If so, how much is the right price? And do you truly think you can get that? 

To get the highest price for your business, join me for an information-packed recorded web training where I reveal the 5 steps you can take to dramatically increase the sale price of your business, and dramatically decrease the time needed to achieve it.

Watch Now! <== Click Here


Is Your Business Due or is it Hot?


I recently read a great story about basketball legend Nate “Tiny” Archibald.

Nate was such a great player he was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. 

But earlier in his career, he missed the first 20 shots of his South Bronx high school championship game!

In spite of this, his team stayed close and in the last minute had an opportunity to win with a last second shot. 

The team’s coach, well aware of Nate’s deep slump, diagrammed a play to set up a shot for another player.

As he did, Nate jumped up and said, "Wait a minute, Coach! I want the shot. Give me the ball!”

The coach, against his better judgement but impressed by the display of confidence, changed the play to give Nate the last shot.

Which of course he made and was carried off by fans and teammates as the hero of the night.

When re-telling the story later in life, Nate was asked how he was able to stay so confident after all of those missed shots. 

He answered, "Well, I've always been a 50% shooter. After I missed one, I figured the next one was likely to go in. After I missed two, I was overdue. After I had missed five, I figured the odds were increasing in my favor."

Then he was asked, "Okay, if that's how you think after you miss your first few shots, how do you think when you make your first six or seven in a row?"

"That's totally different," he said. "I feel that tonight's my night, I am on a hot streak, and that I am going to make everything."

"That's ridiculous," the questioner challenged, "You can't have it both ways."

And the future hall of famer so very sageley replied: "Of course you can."

Yes, great shooters serenely oscillate between these two equally empowering realities.

They are either due or they are hot.

Shouldn’t we think about our businesses this way?

If we are coming off a bad year, a bad month, a bad day, well then we are due for the next one to be very good.

And if things are going well, if we are seeing double digit growth, or if we just made a big sale, or if our new product launch is met with great reviews then...

...we are hot and should press our bets with more marketing spend, new hires, raising capital, etc.

In either case, the empowering stance is to frame whatever has gone before as a
positive for our future prospects.

Feeling and acting this way has a number of awesome benefits to our businesses and ourselves.

First of all, with confidence we do everything faster.

Meetings are shorter, and more action-focused. 

Conversations with prospects get to the point quicker.  

Hiring (and firing) decisions are made far more rapidly. 

And our confidence inspires all we touch.

I challenge you to name a great business leader whose persona was not dripping in confidence.

Think about the big and bold innovators from last week - Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon.

You don’t take on the challenge of fixing our nation’s broken healthcare system without oodles of confidence!

And, finally this eternally confident mindset is just a beautiful way to live and work, is it not?

Whether or not things in the end turn out as well as our strong and steadfast confidence should predict, at least between here and there we live and work in that magical and happy world where the second the ball leaves our hands...

...we just know it’s going in.

Is Your Business Hot? Or Due? 

Either way would you like more of the “good stuff” - more sales, more profits, more equity? 

Have a key business initiative or a key new product that you would like help in getting done and launched?  

Well, then click here and complete this short questionnaire.  

And whether your business is hot or due, we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


The Biggest & Boldest Undertaking of 2018


The big news this week was the announcement that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan were teaming up to form a completely new healthcare company.

As in Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon. 


What does this mean for healthcare as we know it? 

What can your business learn and gain from this incredibly big and bold undertaking?

Well, all of us - frustrated by always rising healthcare costs and its way too often uneven and mediocre quality - should applaud these innovators and root for their success.

What gets me really excited, much more so than I was for last month’s “in industry” disruption attempt of CVS buying Aetna, is that these are true industry outsiders and legendary business leaders of the highest rank.

Jeff Bezos will bring his hyper focus on the end customer experience, and then how to apply technology to make that experience as quick, delightful, and consistent as possible.

Warren Buffet will bring his incredibly prescient sense of the brand, franchise, leadership integrity, and cost drivers of any company, and from that sense serenely and precisely forecast its future cash flows.

And with Jamie Dimon, it is risk management, the ability to hedge against and optimize for vast and complex scenarios of potential economic results. 

Combining these three sensibilities creates incredible potential for customer-centricity, quality improvement, and cost reduction in this gigantic domain of our society and economy that has frustrated so many for so long.

At the top of this “frustrated” list for sure are those business owners committed to offering quality healthcare benefits to their employees, but struggling mightily against the absurd costs of doing so. 

But as any business owner knows, there is nothing like a hard and determined competitor to force prices down and services up.  

Because it is one thing for healthcare industry incumbents like Aetna, Anthem, and Humana to "talk the talk" about reducing costs and improving value... 

...but it is another thing entirely when they are forced to do so because of the existential threat of a “disintermediating” juggernaut like Amazon and friends represent here.

And oh yes, none of these companies should believe for a moment that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan will for long be engaged in the healthcare business as they say are now - “on a non-profit basis and solely for the benefit of their own company’s employees.”

They will start that way, and create significant advantage as their baseline healthcare costs drop below their competitors, but just as Amazon does with its web services platform, they will soon start selling their healthcare platform as a service to the nation at large.

And then we will see the benefits of real competition for our healthcare dollar -  lower prices, expanded services, and yes better health for all.

This will be awesome. 

And for those thoughtful and “techno-optimistic” business executives among us, it might not even be the best part.

No, that would be that with this big and bold undertaking, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, and Jamie Dimon inspire us to believe that our most vexing societal and economic problems can be solved through...  

...that so simple combination of applied technology and sound business principles and ethics.

Shouldn’t we act on this inspiration?

Through a re-examining and re-engineering of how our businesses utilize technology to deliver more value to our customers at a lower cost? 

And then with our better engineered business, shouldn’t we then attack, like Bezos and Buffet and Dimon, really big new markets and opportunities?

Yes, why can’t we too can be the makers of business history and reap the rewards for so doing?

To heck with the status quo!

Like some "Bezos and Buffett" magic injected into YOUR business? 

Not generating the kinds of profits that attract to it business suitors of all types? 

Are you unable to pursue good business opportunities because you just can’t seem to get out of your own way?

Have a key business initiative you would like fresh ideas on how to get done? 

If any of these describe your current situation, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


11 AMAZING Businesses Your Business Can Learn From


Does your company defy the odds? 

Remake the status quo? 

Transform your patch of the business world? 

Well, the 11 finalists in Inc. Magazine’s “Company of the Year” competition certainly do.

What can your business easily learn from them to perform far better in 2018 than ever before? 

Well, here are 11 quick business wisdoms from these 11 great companies: 

#11. Tesla. Elon Musk’s electric car maker saw its valuation grow to more than $60 billion last year, greater than that of General Motors in spite of selling 90% less cars!

One Quick Wisdom from Tesla: Innovate, Innovate, Innovate! Tesla’s financials aren’t great, but both its capacity and reputation for breakthrough innovations has made it one of the most iconic and valuable companies in the world. 

Ask everyday “Where and how can my business innovate more today?”

#10. WeWork. The sharing economy’s darling provider of shared workspaces (including for my company Growthink!) has since its founding 9 years ago grown to 172 locations in 18 countries.

One Wisdom: Everything, even physical space, can be purchased and consumed “as a service” versus being leased or owned. And WeWork’s 150,000+ members agree that in modern business way more often than not it makes great business sense to do so.

#9. Warby Parker. I write here at WeWork wearing eye glasses purchased online at Warby Parker. And with Warby’s 2017 “direct to consumer” eyeglass sales revenues of $250 million+, I am not alone.  

One Wisdom: The future of selling just about everything will be owned by businesses that provide, as Warby Parker does, truly delightful online customer experiences. 

Whether your business sells a product or service, ask yourself how can your company look and perform better online?

#8. Chobani, which did more than $1.5 billion in revenues last year, mostly in the greek yogurt category, is well-deserving of our admiration for its products, its growth, and uniquely high level of ethnic diversity among its workforce.

As Company founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya says "Having different backgrounds and perspectives within Chobani makes us stronger, more innovative, and more successful. We're not telling other companies what to do.  But for us, it's the only way."

One Wisdom:  Leaders of companies like Chobani find meaning as much in the culture of their companies as they do in their products and profits. 

So find your “why” and go for it to the max!   

#7. Lyft. Uber’s lesser known ride-sharing competitor now has car service available to 95 percent of the US population, and is moving fast to overtake Uber both in size and as a leader in the potentially society-changing autonomous driving space.  

One Wisdom: Nothing is forever. Just because, today your business is behind better known and bigger competitors, it doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow. 

#6. Glossier. The startup beauty brand, created as an offshoot of Founder Emily Weiss’ popular blog “Into the Gloss” created, released and marketed seven new products in 2017 (that is more than one every other month!), driving 600% revenue growth and helping the company raise more than $24 million in growth capital.

One Wisdom: In so many market spaces, speed of product development, deployment, and marketing is the key success factor. 

What can you do to speed up how fast your company launches new products and services? 

#5. Darktrace. Cybersecurity firm Darktrace saw its valuation more than double in 2017 (from $400 million to $825 million) as it grew revenues by 80%+. 

Two words are driving all of this growth: Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Darktrace’s ability to utilize it to detect security threats faster and earlier than its bigger and better known competitors (Symantec, Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro, etc.) 

One Wisdom: Simply and powerfully ask “how is your company using AI to reduce costs and identify both risks and new opportunities?”   

#4. Uber last year suffered justified hits to its brand and reputation as allegations of sexual harassment, customer privacy breaches, and severe leadership dysfunction were prominently broadcasted across the tech and business media.  

In the face of it company founder Travis Kalanick  resigned and a new leadership team at Uber is hard at work both rethinking and rebuilding the company’s culture and reputation.  

One Wisdom: Modern business is fully transparent. Our brands are reflective of our company cultures, and vice versa.   

And business has to be done the right way, or not at all. The good news is that almost everything and anything can be rectified and turned around.  

#3. Casper. The online mattress retailer fundamentally changed its business model in 2017, including both entering into a partnership with retailing giant Target and through introducing multiple new mattress designs and models.  

One Wisdom: Many asked “Why fix what isn’t broken” as Casper saw its revenues grow from zero to over $300 million in 3 short years.  

Because business is always lived forward and what worked yesterday may or may not work tomorrow. Yes, let’s learn from our past successes, but never rest on them! 

#2. Planet Labs The San Francisco-based startup, founded by three NASA engineers in 2010, now has more than 200 tiny (10 x 4 inches) satellites orbiting the world, allowing the company to amazingly photograph the entire Earth every single day! 

Applications range from maps to predicting crop yields to security to transportation to finance.  

One Wisdom: “Wow” technology like Planet Labs’ can either scare us or inspire us. Best to choose to be a “techno-optimist” and look and dream where all of it can make our world a better, safer, and richer place.

#1. MailChimp. Somewhat surprisingly, the 2017 winner of Inc.’s Company of the Year award was email service provider MailChimp, which now boasts more than 16 million customers, with more than 14,000 more signing up every single day, and revenues growing at a rate of over $120 million/year. 

And oh yes, in its 17 year history the company has never raised a dime from outside investors and is still 100% owned by its original founders.  

This in spite of the fact that...everyone hates email!  

We all certainly might, but U.S. businesses spent $2.8 billion on email marketing in 2017, and MailChimp has clearly become the “low cost/high quality” leader in its space 

One Wisdom: MailChimp 11 did not invent email, nor was it the first, the best, the largest, or most well-funded player in the space. But of all of its competitors, it has grown at the steadiest, most consistent, and most cost effective pace.  

And this is the most tried and true formula for business success - just good blocking and tackling everyday and slowly but surely we arrive in our business endzone and beyond! 

Great and easy business wisdoms from these awesome companies.  

Do what and as they do and maybe and hopefully your company will join this high-flying list!

Is Your Company Not Growing as Fast as It Should? 

Not generating the kinds of profits that attract to it business suitors of all types? 

Are you unable to pursue good business opportunities because you just can’t seem to get out of your own way? 

Have a key business initiative you would like fresh ideas on how to get done?

If any of these describe your current situation, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


The One Thing Your Business Needs


To succeed, a business doesn’t need technical nor finance nor sales nor marketing nor customer support skills and competencies. 

It doesn’t even need a physical location. 

But it does need one thing.  

To illustrate, picture in your mind’s eye what you see when you think about a business.  

For most of us that vision starts with the entrepreneur.

That hard working and
so inspirational individual that stakes their life to start, build, lead a company.

One company.

one physical location where he or she manages and works alongside a small team of employees who also work only for that one company.

Now, of course there are elements of this traditional structure that are completely optimal.

First and foremost is the primacy it rightly places on the entrepreneur, and upon their creative force and perseverance as the beating heart of a dynamic and innovative business. 

And its simpleness and leanness empowers the kind of highly functional small teams that are the most efficient builders of big and great things. 

But beyond this, when it comes to how a business should be structured and organized, or whether that entrepreneur and his or her team should focus on one, or multiple businesses... 

...anything goes.

Because the ability to “outsource and fractionalize” every and any business work process is now not just not possible, but is a best practice.

Starting with technical processes and projects - like software and app development, web design, IT systems and the like.

For the vast majority of businesses it would actually be strange and anachronistic to even attempt these kinds of projects “in-house,” versus via outsourced service providers (either domestic or overseas).

Now from outsourcing technical projects, it is a small jump to outsourcing traditionally in-house functions like finance and sales.

Bookkeeping and accounting have been been outsourced forever, but in the last few years the popularity and effectiveness of outsourced and virtual CFO and finance advisory services like Tatum, SuperCFO, and the Newport Board Group has grown significantly.

And the same is true for sales, as proliferating are not just purveyors of "lead generation" and “appointment setting” services, but also companies that will not only identify and set prospect appointments, but close them for us too! 

The same goes for customer service and product fulfillment, and though still idiosyncratic and difficult to do well, for marketing and branding as well.

So if a business doesn't need technical nor finance nor sales nor marketing nor customer support in-house, then what does it need?

Well, it doesn’t need a physical location, which of course can also be outsourced. 

In the form of shared fulfillment, or co-working office space, and just via the all-powerful smartphone, which allows us all to work anytime from anywhere, on pretty much everything.

How about a firm’s culture and its strategy?

Of course  there are phenomenal consultants in these domains as well, and “fractionalizing” high-end business functions like these allows them to be completed at a far higher level of sophistication than when done in-house.

Ok, well how about organizing and managing all of these outsourcers? 

That has to be done in-house, does it not?  

Not really, as there are business “wedding planners,” individuals and firms that hire themselves out as organizers and managers of all of a firm’s outsourced service providers and partners. 

So yes almost any business function can be outsourced. 


Because there is one extremely important business thing that can’t now nor ever be outsourced. 

That one thing that comes back to why entrepreneurs do and must exist in the first place. 

Motive force. 

Or to say it another way, entrepreneurial will and desire. 

Great entrepreneurs will always be needed to provide this magic element to get the whole engine started. 

And then to channel that will and desire into problem-solving excellence to grow either one business, a handful, or many dozens of them.

Started and grown serially, or increasingly so all at the same time. 

The trick is to not get ourselves so consumed by “the noise” that our motive force gets distracted and dissipated attempting to solve problems that could and should be more easily and cheaply solved by someone else.  

Outsourcing and the fractionalization of work makes this enticingly and excitedly possible. 

But only entrepreneurial motive force makes it real.

Is your business too “traditional?”  

Is it not utilizing the power of outsourcing to increase sales and reduce costs?  

Is it not generating the kinds of profits that attract to it business suitors of all types?

Are you unable to pursue multiple business opportunities at once?  

Have a key business initiative you would like some fresh ideas on how to get done?

If any of these describe your current situation, then complete this short questionnaire and we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


How to Add “Championship Caliber” to Your Business


Did you catch the end of the Alabama-Georgia College Football Championship game on Monday? 

It was incredible (unless, of course, you’re a Georgia fan). 

The game provided an awesome wisdom for business executives and entrepreneurs seeking to progress their organizations from good to championship caliber.

Alabama, the betting favorite, fell behind early, and then at halftime benched their starting quarterback for 18 year old freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who made himself an Alabama and schoolyard legend by leading his team back to tie the game at the end of regulation play, and then winning it in overtime with a 41 yard touchdown bomb. 

In a sudden instant, unbridled joy broke out on the Alabama sidelines, leaving their famously grizzled and dour 66 year old coach Nick Saban, winner of five previous national championships, to say that “'I've never been happier in my life.”  

The sad flip of these emotions were seen and felt on the Georgia sideline, tears of heartbreak and disappointment to have worked so hard, to have come so close, and to have it slip away at the end. 

And in the game’s topsy turvy and quick ending, and then in the vast contrast of experience between that of the winning and losing team, the four letter word that stuck in my mind was luck.

Because the game was as even could be - with the smallest sum of the breaks and bounces and rotations of the ball separating the two teams. 

And with those breaks, heaped upon Alabama was status, brand enhancement, and yes money...

...while upon Georgia for better or worse fell the opposite - some respect for sure for making it so far but for the most part just that quiet disappearance that is the fate of unlucky losers always.

Business is like this too, is it not?

Some companies have talent, work hard, get lucky, and win big (see Amazon, Facebook, Google, et al).

So many other companies too have talent and hard-working cultures, but for almost impossible to pinpoint reasons for them that magic ingredient of luck just never gets sprinkled in. 

And those companies don’t win anyway near as big.

This “unfair” reality, just as it will for Georgia fans, has forever flummoxed and frustrated otherwise calm, rational and optimistic entrepreneurs and executives. 

But the paradox of luck is that while of course it greatly influences and determines whether or not a business is a big success, in the end...

...luck doesn’t matter.

Luck doesn't matter because nobody, except perhaps for our mothers, cares whether we have it or not. 

Luck doesn't matter because competitive business and society will never balance the “scales of justice” between those whose luck is good and those whose it isn’t. 

And of course luck doesn't matter because there's nothing we can do about it.

It is, by its nature and definition, random and thus out of our hands and power to effect or influence it.

So this allows us to focus as businesspeople, just as both the Alabama and Georgia football players and coaches will once they get off their respective highs and lows from their awesome game. 

On the next practice. On the next deal. The next hire. The next new product.  

The next new company. 

And as we do, luck may or may not with us.  

But it's only when we stop in our pursuit of it that we truly lose and fail.

Let's never wish that kind of luck on anyone.

Give Your Business a New Year’s Gift. January 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 19 years, Growthink has helped companies like yours grow more rapidly by creating comprehensive Growth Plans. We catalyzed success for clients including: 

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. 

In the spirit of the New Year, 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. 

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