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Play More for Success in Business

We’ve all heard the adage “work hard, play hard.” Unfortunately, it’s difficult to take the time to play when there always seems to be a deadline to meet, a tweet to type, a status to be updated, and twenty emails to be answered. As difficult as it is to disconnect from work, it’s a definite necessity – not only for a balanced life, but a successful business too.

Here are some of our favorite ways to play, and a few of our thoughts on how they can benefit your business:

Golf – Turn off your phone and spend an afternoon at the golf course. Not only is golfing an excellent networking sport, it will help you develop patience, precision, and integrity (mulligan, anyone?) – all qualities that will benefit you in business.

Take some of your charitable contribution budget and buy a foursome at a local charity golf tournament. Call the tournament organizer and ask for an attendee list to see if there might be someone attending the event that you would like to meet. Many golf tournaments take pairing requests in advance of the tournament for a small fee, or even for free. Regardless of your handicap, you’ll have a fantastic chance to meet new contacts and network on the golf course, all for a good cause of course.

Just for fun, check out this this list of Famous Golfers And Their, Um, Handicaps from CEO.com.

Basketball – We have to admit, we’re partial to basketball here at Imagine Growth Strategy. NBA, NCAA, High School, and anything and everything basketball related we love! Basketball can benefit your business if you play your cards right. For example, you could organize an office basketball team and join an adult basketball league. Spending one night a week letting off some steam on the court can be a major benefit to your business. Basketball is all about team work, and in order to be successful, you and your teammates must be able to come up with a game plan and execute it. A night of basketball might be just what you needed to refresh your ability and desire to take your team at the office to the next level.

One piece of obvious advice before you kick off your season…just don’t get into any fights – like the Georgetown Men’s Basketball Team did during a recent off-season trip to China. Wow, what a mess!

Running – Set a goal and train for an upcoming race. Running might be tough to get into at first, but eventually it gets easier and the benefits of your hard work will be evident. Training for, and completing a race, whether it’s a 5k, a full marathon, or another type of race, you’ll develop your endurance, follow-through, and ability to overcome challenges. All of these qualities will serve you well in the conference room.

Here is a list of some fun races to check out:
The Dirty Dash – A ridiculously awesome mud run obstacle course…think military boot camp!  Races are held in several states, includingUtah,Montana,Idaho,New Mexico, andColorado.
The Big Sur Marathon – Run through some of the world’s most breathtaking coastline inCalifornia’s Big Sur Marathon. With all of the gorgeous scenery, you might just forget that you’re logging more than 26 miles!
Amasa Back Trail Race – If you’re interested in a more extreme sort of race, check out the Amasa Back Trail Race inMoab,Utah.  You’ll find yourself running either 6.5 or 14.5 miles onMoab’s majestic (and steep) slick rock terrain. It’s not for the faint of heart, but you’ll have some stories to tell when it’s through!

Rock Climbing – Release some endorphins climbing rocks. Start out in a local rock climbing gym and work your way to the mountain.  Rock climbing, and other extreme sports will not only give you an adrenaline rush, they will help you to overcome your fears and move forward with confidence.  In this economy, the ability to conduct business with confidence, even when the slope feels dangerous and steep, could make the difference between great success and falling short.

Skiing/Snowboarding – Escape the winter blues (and inversion if you live along the Wasatch Front in our home state of Utah) with a day on the slopes. Skiing is all about balance and calculated risk.  Going down the black diamond may be dangerous, but if you can keep your balance, the risk is worth it.  Same goes for business – sometimes you have to take some risks, and maintain balance throughout the process, to reap the best rewards.

At the end of the day, we say go play! Don’t be afraid to disconnect for a while, and see your business thrive.

Tell us, what is your favorite way to play, and how do you think it benefits you in business?

 

Five Growth Tips for Emerging Companies

Helping emerging companies develop a solid plan for growth and long-term success is our main focus here at Imagine Growth Strategy. Our team has a great deal of experience and expertise in business strategy and execution, as well as business development and sales. With specialties in business model analysis, corporate strategy, social media marketing, business development, fundraising, strategic marketing, and financial management – just to name a few – we have the tools that emerging companies need to take their business to the next level.

We’ve been working with emerging companies, as well as companies in need of a turnaround for several years now, and we understand the constraints companies are facing in our current economic climate. With so many companies looking to recharge their batteries, there’s a lot of information out there about how to grow small business, and it isn’t always easy to rifle through it all.  We thought that Fast Company had some great practical tips for growing small business in its recent article, “5 Essential Principles for Growing Your Small Business.” The five points Fast Company elaborates on in the article include:

  1. Timing is everything.
  2. Brand, brand, brand.
  3. Scale your sales.
  4. Embrace technology.
  5. De-stress for success.

This article is a must read, and when something good like this comes along, we just have to share!

Tell us, what do you think of Fast Company’s tips? What does your company need to focus on for that extra edge?   

7 Best Articles of 2012 – What Are Your Favorites?

It’s hard to believe that 2012 has already come to a close. It was a good year here at Imagine Growth Strategy.  We had the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative emerging companies out there, and we enjoyed the chance to share our thoughts and ideas here on StrategicallySavvy.

It was an interesting year on blogs and in the news. Here are some of our favorite stories and blog posts of 2012:


Google Glass1.  
The End of the Smartphone Era is Coming – Our most viewed blog post of 2012 was thanks to this article, outlining the new Google Glass and discussing the future of computers on your face (Microsoft is extensively researching this area of opportunity, in addition to others). Now we’re hearing rumors that Apple is looking at the possibility of building the iWatch. Its going to be very interesting to see what 2013 brings by way of these emerging new products.

2.  The KISSmetrics Guide to Blogging – For all you blogging business owners out there (and we hope you all are blogging business owners!), this articles offers 30 great blogging tips from the pros at KISSmetrics.

 

 

3.  For-Profit Colleges Spend Big on Online Advertising – It turns out Google’s biggest advertiser isn’t a bank or a major retailer… it’s University of Phoenix! Did you know?

 

 

4.  A Look at Shark Tank’s Most Memorable Deals – We LOVE Shark Tank! Talk about a crash course in Venture Capital and Start-Up Investment. This article provides a peek at some of the most successful startup pitches on one of ABC’s most popular shows.

 

5.  Your Table is Ready, Mr. Headsets.com – Would you change your last name? How about changing your last name for a company? Be honest, you probably would for the right amount of Kwan! Read how this crafty entrepreneur auctioned off his last name to HeadSetsDotCom for $45,000. Awesome!

 

6.  What Instagram’s New Terms of Service Mean for You – Instagram caused a major mess by announcing it would change its privacy policy, just in case it might want to sell your photos in the future. Then, not surprisingly, quickly reversed its message after a slew of bad press and customer push-back. How will the controversial changes to Instagram’s privacy policy affect you?

 

7.  The Can’t-Miss Social Media Trends for 2013 – Get ready for 2013! Here is a look at the biggest social media trends set to unfold in the year ahead.

 

 

Tell us, what were some of your favorite stories of 2012?

We look forward to what 2013 has in store, and wish you a successful, prosperous year both personally and professionally!

Is Your Business Prepared for an Acquisition? Teavana Sure Was

In case you didn’t know (–awkward pause–), Starbucks is more than a coffee shop. The upscale shops, located on what seems like every corner, sells just about everything a fast-paced business professional might want, from assorted trinkets to pastries, smoothies and several other specialty drinks – even the “dynamic” drink of tea. Yes, that’s right, tea is apparently DYNAMIC.

When I first heard the news of Starbucks’ most recent acquisition of Teavana, I immediately thought, “wow, $620 Million for Tea. That must be some damn tasty tea.” Teavana is a specialty retailer founded in 1997 that offers just about anything tea related you could think of. The company maintains stores throughout the US and a handful of franchised stores in Mexico.

Well, turns out it’s more than just the taste of Teavana products that makes this deal such a good play for Starbucks.

Starbucks plus Teavana equals What

Was Teavana ready for an acquisition?

Over the years, Teavana has done a superb job building what we’ll call the Four Pillars of Acquisition.

  1. Real Estate – Teavana holds more than 200 company-owned stores throughout the US, many of which are located inside shopping centers.
  2. Brand Equity – Teavana has worked for years to establish and polish their brand. The company has created a culture around product quality and customer service, two extremely important long-term attributes for any company.
  3. Existing User Base – With more than 184,000 likes on Facebook and 30,000 followers on Twitter, Teavana has an emerging, very loyal customer base.
  4. Product IP & Knowledge – Teavana offers more than 100 varieties of specialty teas as well as several types of proprietary merchandise that others DO NOT offer.

Why did Starbucks decide to acquire Teavana?

Why did Starbucks ultimately decide to pull the trigger and acquire Teavana? There are a few key reasons…

  1. Control the Supply Chain – Starbucks is relying more and more on their option to offer customers in-house products, which helps them to focus on quality control and efficient delivery times. They understand that adding new, complimentary product offerings can reap huge benefits down the line.
  2. Expand the Brand – Teavana’s brand culture is very similar to Starbucks, making the possibility of a successful long-term acquisition outcome more likely. Starbucks has generally done a great job in the past acquiring similar, like-minded brands that fit in with the unique culture at Starbucks.

How can you better prepare your company to be acquired?

Ask yourself the following questions to see if your company might be a candidate for future acquisition.

Q:  Why you might consider an acquisition?

A:  Agreeing to be acquired is the quickest way for your company to grow. You’ll almost immediately have more access to capital and other important resources that you might not otherwise have standing on your own. An acquisition may also shore up an existing product weakness for either the buyer or your company.

 

Q:  Is your company in good financial standing?

A:  Make sure your company finances are healthy and in order. Consider the following very carefully:

  1. Be ready to provide necessary financial documents during due diligence.
  2. Having accurate financial status reports is critical during this process.

 

Q:  Is the time right?

A:  Watch market signals from competitors with complimentary products. Keep an eye out for the following:

  1. Has a competitor recently gone public?
  2. Is a competitor opening up new market segments or are they looking to expand into your area?

 

Q:  Are you growing your customer base?

A:  The more steadily you have been growing market share, the more of an acquisition candidate you are. Adding real estate (brick/mortar locations) in key demographics locations, building a large tribe of social media advocates as well as maintaining a retail presence online all contribute to a “sellable” user base.

Leave a comment and tell us how you’re preparing for a future acquisition. As always, we would love to hear from you!

Check out some more interesting facts about past Starbucks acquisitions below.

When you look at some of the acquisitions Starbucks has made in the past, you begin to quickly realize a history of prudent, methodical purchase strategy designed to add complimentary products that help streamline the company’s supply chain. Some past acquisitions include:

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