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Wednesday, December 13, 2017 12:32 pm

Try on these "Boom Market" stats for size:

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed today at 24,642.86, 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.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017 10:55 am

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.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017 12:17 pm

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.

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Monday, November 27, 2017 12:35 pm


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.


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017 1:52 pm


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.  

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017 11:41 am

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.

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Friday, November 10, 2017 7:24 am

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.

Need help with your business plan? 


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Wednesday, November 8, 2017 2:37 pm

Have you heard about Broadcom's takeover bid for long-time competitor Qualcomm?

Well, it's happening now and it has dominated business news this week.

Because, at an offer price of $105 billion, if completed, it would represent the largest technology industry deal ever.

Now, big numbers like these can arise some intense emotions in any ambitious businessperson.

The first can be a testy combination of jealousy and frustration often expressed as the question - "why aren't big, exciting, lucrative things and possibilities like this happening for my business?"

For sure, a $100 billion+ purchase offer is beyond even the conception of the vast majority of businesses, but the usual slow-moving "business-as-usual" fare can get so old sometimes, can it not?

From here, it can be a very slippery and enfeebling slope to wishing a deal like this fails - as if someone else's failure could excuse or justify our own lack of business performance.

The second emotion can be more pure and advancing - greed.

Of the best kind - that carnal feeling that there is money to be made  - a giddy excitement that there exists in the world enough wealth and optimism to fuel a financial commitment and risk of such an inspirational magnitude.

We read about that $100 billion+ number and feel that as and when we "hit on something" that there will be well heeled suitors to court and offer us value on our promise - i.e at a level well beyond our business and financial performance to date.

From this space of possibility and inspiration, we excitedly and urgently get to work upon our "big business things."

Things ranging from those that arise strategically and opportunistically, like here with Broadcom and an acquisition of a competitor.

To those that arise from the launch of a new product or service - a Tesla, an Uber, a Dropbox, a Netflix, etc.

To those that arise more "softly," but for the vast majority of businesses are more accessible.

Like sales, marketing, and organizational initiatives that transform the perception that people have of and toward our business.

Now, what all these "big things" have critically in common is an individual who draws that proverbial line in the sand and says what "our organization is about conjuring up and doing big things."

Once this line is firmly and irrevocably drawn, then the "sausage making" commences - the messy and hard work of deducing down from big ambitions the type and scale (and at what risk profile and requiring of what resources) - of business projects, tactics, and initiatives to pursue.

Which, at times, can be VERY hard to do.

Because, sadly, the vast majority of business things just don't work.

Buyout offers fall through, or when consummated don't return the amount of value as initially hoped and planned.

New products get stuck in development or meet apathy when introduced to market.

New hires don't "gel" and transform our businesses as hoped.

The pull is always, greatly, toward that discouraging business as usual.

And it always must be resisted and overcome.

Because we live in an age where $105 billion buyout offers happen.

The money and opportunity is out there.

The only question is when we will join the party.

Want an Offer for Your Business?  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.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017 10:40 am

My article last week, "How To Sell A Lousy Business" prompted more replies than any of the 250+ articles I have written in the past four years.

While I would like to think that the reason for this was the profound business wisdoms I shared in it...

...the real reason for the post's popularity came down to one word.

That word, of course, is lousy.

As in, for better or worse, so many business men and women out there consider themselves as leading, or working at, or being connected to...

...lousy businesses.

Characterized in the replies were two basic forms of this so-called lousiness.

The first form were those businesses very much filled with hope, promise, and technological advantage, but that just can't seem to make any money.

The second were the "tired" businesses.

Their financial performance was not terrible - most of them had decent revenue bases and some profits - but had poor prospects for future growth and positive change.

They had a "caretaker" feel to them, with their managers mostly working in "respond and react" mode. When the usual stuff "came in the door" it got done, but true effort to create, sell, and do new stuff had become a distant memory.

In both cases that word "lousy" struck a chord.

Surprisingly, the chord struck for the most part were not requests for help as much as they were...

almost touching reach outs for some empathy!

As in "let me know that I am not the only one with a lousy business!"

Or more poignantly, "that it isn't my fault! I am dealing with so difficult business things - competitive, technological, personnel pressures and more - that my feelings of lousiness
are justified!"  

Well my friends, the good news is that at least there is misery in company as the vast majority of businesses, by whichever scorecard we measure them on, really are lousy. 

Most of them don't make much money.

And those that do, usually have their innovative and high growth periods back in their business's past.

And in both cases their most likely futures is just more of the same.

Those riding on hope will most likely not make money.

And the "tired" will not anytime soon conjure up and execute upon breakthrough change and growth initiatives.

But in a strange but understandable way, all of this "bleakness" is ok, natural and good 

Because only when we just accept it, then and only then can we quiet our minds and truly focus on the best possible answers to our most important business questions like:

Should we try to sell our business to someone who can get more out of it than we can?

Or if our financial results are going to continue to be bleak, should we just cut our losses and close up shop?

Or pursue a hybrid and harvest as much cash as possible from those parts of our businesses that allow it, while carving out entirely new businesses for some possibility-filled "moonshots?"

Moonshots like taking on the "the big boys" in our industry or even the world at large - becoming the next Amazon, Facebook, Google, et al. 

Or smaller, but no less worthwhile moonshots like the goal of doubling revenues in the next three years.

Or even better, of tripling profits in that same time.

Now, even when we accomplish all of the above and more, our businesses probably will revert again to some "lousy" state. 

But always the faith remains...

...that from any state of lousiness and despair rises the foundation of a new awesomeness.

Because while our businesses might at any point in time be lousy, we never are.

Is Your Business "Lousy?" Is it not generating the kinds of profits that attract business suitors of all types?

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

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

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017 11:21 am

For the most part, the value of your business is based on financial performance.

However, there's an equally, if not more important factor, that causes others to want to buy your company.

In fact, I've seen (and helped) many businesses with lousy financial performance sell for very solid sums.

Before I share what this factor is, let's be clear what we mean when we talk about financial performance.  

We are talking about profits, both on a historically demonstrated basis and with the prospects for even more of them in the future.

Truly profitable companies are the "belles" of the business dance, effortlessly attracting suitors of all types - growth capital, owner liquidity, unsolicited buyout offers and the like.

For everyone else, there is just a ton of self-improvement and "prettying up" work to do.

The self-improvement spans across every aspect of our business, the gritty and demonstrable details of our marketing, sales, operational, and financial competencies.

And then there is the "prettying up" - the work on our company culture, on the skill sets of our people, and on the élan with which we work and fight together to overcome adversity and win.

As we grapple with it all, transformational things begins to happen.

We "hit upon" those golden ideas, those awesome projects, the brilliant new hires, and / or the new products or services so exciting in their prospects that...

...they attract the eyes and hearts of our desired business suitors in the same manner and with the same effect as actual profits do.

As we have more and more of these "aha moments," we start to develop that so lovely business asset that creates multi-million, and in this day and age, multi-billion dollar offers for companies with not much more than business plans and histories of operating losses.

That asset is the promise of our business.

The promise that its future will be brighter than its past.

The promise that we can break out of that "lousy" pool, and be seen and judged as the business "belles" we really are.

This promise can sometimes, in the midst of the daily struggle, be hard to find and feel. And even harder to communicate.

But through the commitment to, and daily practice of ongoing business change, innovation, and improvement, eventually, inevitably,
we will find it. 

And then our biggest problem will be which of our many business suitors to dance with...

...and to party all night with!

Is Your Business "Lousy?" Is it not generating the kinds of profits that attract to it business suitors of all types? Have a key business initiative you would like some fresh ideas on how to get done?

Well, then complete this short questionnaire and give us a brief description of your current situation, and we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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