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Category Archives: Growing a Business

Business Planning in a Down Economy

By | Business By The Book, Buying a Business, Buying a Franchise, Growing a Business, Growth Strategy, Increasing Profitability, Investing in Small Businesses, Planning, Starting Up, Valuing a Small Business, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

Q: Should the economic forecast be an important factor in determining the type of business to start or acquire? A: Most businesses that are acquired or started are done so with a long time horizon in mind. Add to that the fact of the typical continuous cycles of any economy: (downturn, bottom out, upturn, and peak). Given that long-term view and the necessary expectation of economic cycles that almost defy the ability to forecast the timing of those trends, it’s more important to pick an industry/market in which you have loads of experience and create a superior offering with a…

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Acquisition Growth vs. Organic Growth

By | Business By The Book, Growing a Business, Growth Strategy, Planning | No Comments
Acquisition Growth vs. Organic Growth

When I started a property management company, I got things rolling by acquiring three firms and combined them into one and then began focusing on organic growth off of that launch platform. The shift from an acquisition growth strategy to an organic growth strategy was not my original intent, rather, it was in response to the lessons learned in the first two years of buying and integrating the first three companies. I got an email today from another CEO in my industry that was interested in selling his company to me. I’m not interested. Read on to understand why. One…

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Feast or Famine on Sales

By | Business By The Book, Growing a Business, Growth Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Sales, Sales & Marketing, Social Media | No Comments
Juggling Priorities

Q: I find myself really struggling right now to maintain an even level of sales. My work seems to come in chunks and by the time I’m finishing up, I have to jump back into sales mode and it always takes me a month or two to rebuild enough momentum to bring in more sales. I’m not sure if you can help or not, but any advice would be appreciated. A: What you are wrestling with is the classic dilemma of a small owner/operator that is both selling the service and delivering the service. It is very difficult to do both…

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Venture Academy Video Excerpt: Service Distinctiveness

By | Advertising, Branding, Business By The Book, Business Communications, Coming Up with an Idea, Customer Relationship Management, Growing a Business, Marketing, Organization & Strategy, Sales | No Comments

This video provides insight into the necessity of having a distinctive service relative to competitors:     This video is just 1 of nearly 200 videos available with a Venture Academy subscription and is excerpted from the Sales and Marketing section.

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Institutional Equity Financing (Venture Capital and Private Equity)

By | Business By The Book, Finance, Finance & Accouting, Financing a Small Business, Financing a Startup, Growing a Business, Growth Strategy, Investing in Small Businesses | No Comments

Equity Financing is usually invested based upon the future prospects of a company and the anticipation of a future exit event that will provide acceptable returns to the investment fund. At the Growth Stage, Equity Financing is typically in the form of growth-stage Venture Capital invested by institutional venture capital firms, and at the Middle Market stage, Equity Financing is typically in the form of Private Equity invested by institutional private equity firms. There are also 571 active corporate investment arms that are identifiable that actively make corporate investments in smaller companies as a part of their growth strategy and…

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How to Start a $400 Million Business with No Money

By | Business By The Book, Financing a Startup, Growing a Business, Organization & Strategy, Planning, Starting a Family Business | No Comments

John Cook, armed only with a healthy mix of creativity and desperation, started Cook’s Pest Control with virtually no money in 1928 on the cusp of the Great Depression. The business is still owned and operated by his family, now in its fourth generation, and has grown into the seventh largest pest control firm in the U.S. with over 1,300 employees and 32 offices. Note that while most aspiring entrepreneurs dream of financial success like the Cook family experienced, as faithful followers of Christ we also need to view business as the Cooks do: it is a means to glorify…

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Your Business Model Determines Your Success or Failure

By | Business By The Book, Financing a Small Business, Growing a Business, Organization & Strategy, Self Evaluation, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

In business school, I had the privilege to read, study and analyze 1,600 business cases and as a strategy consultant I had the opportunity to transform several different businesses and industries. Additionally, over the past two decades I have reviewed, invested in, and created hundreds of business plans as an entrepreneur, Entrepreneur in Residence/Venture Partner with two venture capital firms and Chairman of a Seed Capital investment firm. One of the lessons that I’ve learned — often painfully as I look back on my mistakes — is that business models really do matter and have a tremendous impact on the…

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The Problem with Being First

By | Business By The Book, Coming Up with an Idea, Growing a Business, Organization & Strategy, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments

Those of us that participated in the craziness of the dot com days in the late 1990’s through 2001 will no doubt recall that there was a rush to be first-to-market and launch your company quickly with the coveted “first-mover advantage” status. Simply having that phrase in a venture capital fund-raising presentation in those days usually guaranteed an additional $5 – 10 million in pre-money value from your investors. I, too, was guilty of that thinking in one of my dot com ventures. Well, as we all found out, you can only suspend the normal rules of business for so…

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