Good private equity funds still attract large investments

Some private equity firms may be having problems fund-raising but don't tell that to Berkshire Partners.
The eighth fund of the Boston-based firm is clocking in at $4 billion, three sources said. Berkshire Partners, which only began fund-raising in late January, is expected to announce a first close in the next week, a source said.
A final close for Berkshire Fund VIII LP is seen coming 60 days after. "There was massive interest," a second source said. "This is one of the must-have funds of 2011."
The firm's prior fund, Berkshire Fund VII LP, closed at $3.1 billion in 2006. The one before that collected $1.7 billion in 2002. Fund VII had generated a net IRR of 6.9 percent as of September 30 for backer California Public Employees' Retirement System, while the sixth fund had produced a net IRR of 23.2 percent.
Berkshire Partners, which pursues leveraged buyouts, growth capital deals, take-privates and related transactions, typically invests between $50 million to $500 million equity per deal. Sectors of interest include consumer products, retailing, business services, transportation, energy as well as manufacturing and communications.
Last week, Berkshire Partners recapped Engineering Solutions & Products, a government services provider. In January the firm teamed up with Rhone to make a minority investment in Coty, the beauty company.
While private equity fund-raising is rebounding this year, firms have been taking longer to close their funds. The Gores Group took about 18 months to collect its third fund, which came in at $2 billion. EnCap Investments spent an estimated nine to 10 months raising $3.5 billion for its eighth upstream energy fund.

Watch how you present yourself to Finance types

Teaching Growth at Rotman University, to the top entrepreneurs of Canada is a privilege and I enjoy it greatly. Yet, I was stunned when one of the $3M revenue business owners chatted with me.
“I have to get some money. How do I get some money?” that was the opening sentence to me. She put on a cute, begging face – my kids used to do that to me when they wanted to go to MacDonalds and get the kiddie meal with a toy. 
She said, “I am so disappointed with the banks and BDC, they will not give me a loan. I have been a client of theirs for years; I wrote them a letter giving them a piece of my mind. What do I do with finance people like that who just do not get it?”
I was exhausted before we even began. 
This business owner had a copy of my book, Money Magnet, on the desk in front of her, yet had not flicked through it before speaking with me. Even one page would have given her more of a clue how to connect to finance people. For her, it was all about her and this ghastly situation for her. She may have realized that her company was actually attractive to Angels as she has good cash flow. She is also passionate about what she does. Double points.
Business owners talk like this to finance people who have access to a great  network of potential investors. This owner had given me a huge message about her style. Why would I put Loewen Partners' reputation on the line by making a call? If I did that favour, pretty soon, no one would pick up my phone calls. I asked her if she had a business plan. Nope. An income statement - maybe. OK, now we were making positive inroads.
As I probed, I could see she had a viable business and would be attractive to the right fit of investor. Since I work with $20M revenue companies and up, she was too much of a "can you do it for me?" type, for me to make any revenues and she would be too tough to mentor. I doubt she would ever touch my book again.
 Pass!
Instead, she could have opened with a few sentences (after describing her revenues and market) that would have caught my attention. Any of these would have made me see she had built and sustained a good business. Any of these door openers would have kept the conversation flowing because they are positive and business smart:
Conversation Openers with Finance Experts
1.      I have a great Business Model – We do loans for plastic surgery and I have been in business since 1998 and been profitable every year with strong cash flow. Our business has grown by 20% each year.
2.      We have a stunning Revenue Model – we have Margins of 60%. With another $200,000, I can add 2 more sales reps which drives the growth. I am looking for an Angel interested in financial services, near to Markham.
3.      There is Competition, like credit cards or the banks.
4.      Key Differentiating Feature – we have close links to the top 10% of plastic surgeons. So we make sure the client goes to good surgeon who also gives us a good price.
5.      Unique Selling Proposition- Secret Sauce – we are niched, focussed on plastic surgery.
6.      Addressable market – Can give the plastic surgeons a referral fee to advertise us on their websites and draw in clients.

BNN The Pitch - 5 Typical Questions

"Before I go on The Pitch," says Jacoline Loewen, "I get a one page outline about the company that is seeking the capital.  This brief summary will sprinkle clues throughout the description about how ready the owner is to get financial investment dollars. Typically, I like to give the outline a run through my standard framework which I detail in my book, Money Magnet."
As a business owner, you could discuss these at your next business meeting with your team. Try one question a week and you are now doing strategy extremely well:
6 Questions to Grow Your Business
1.     What has changed in our industry (e.g. impact of Asia) and why is it now the time for a company like ours?
     How are we different from the competition - our processes, our product?
4.     How is our customers' environment changing and what new pain does it bring? 
     Are we focussed on how our company is stepping in to help soothe that pain?
5.     Will this pain be enough to get customers to switch to our offering?
6.

The Pitch

thepitch@bnn.ca
The Pitch is an exciting new weekly show from Business News Network that hooks up Canadian entrepreneurs with the risk capitalists who are sitting on the real money... the money that brings ideas to life.  During the program, start-up entrepreneurs or companies seeking to take their business to the next level will sell their business idea - and the amount of cash needed - to a panel of tough financiers and experts.  The panelists will either give the pitch the green light or send the dreamers back to the drawing board.  It's a fast-paced half-hour hosted by BNN's Andrew Bell. And it's 100% live, giving viewers a chance to see how the entrepreneurs perform in a high-pressure atmosphere.
Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT

Join the Debate - Canada Has Missed the Boat to Asia

What's happening - Ivey Debates: Canada Has Missed the Boat in Asia on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 6 to 8:30 p.m. at First Canadian Place Gallery, 100 King St West, Street Level, Toronto

What we provide - Debate of the Year between a CTV anchor, a financier, a corporate strategy officer and a management consultant with Ivey Asia Dean/ Former Sun Life China CEO as the moderator. It is an event to be filled with great insights, business opportunities and funny comments! 

What you need to prepare - Sharp questions, healthy appetite (for drinks and hors d'oeurves) and a mood for networking with high profile alumni!

Ivey Debates: Canada Has Missed the Boat in Asia, a question raised by Dean Kathleen Slaughter's November 2nd statement in the Global & Mail newspaper: "Canada Has Missed The Boat in Asia."

Featuring:
  • Andrea Mandel-Campbell, CTV Anchor, Journalist and Author of 'Why Mexicans Don't Drink Molson'
  • Jacoline Loewen, Partner, Loewen & Partners Inc, panellist on BNN The Pitch, author of Money Magnet: Attracting Growth Capital to Your Business
  • Dev Srinivasan, Vice President Strategic Initiatives for Capital Markets, BMO and Ivey 2010 Emerging Leaders Award Recipient
  • Gordon Perchthold, Managing Partner, The RFP Company
  • Moderator: Janet De Silva, Dean of Ivey Asia and Former Sun Life China CEO
Are Canadian corporations soft, complacent and overly protected or have the examples of Bombardier, Manulife, and RIM demonstrated that Canada can effectively compete in fast paced, high growth Asia?

Registration
Register
  • IAAT Supporter*: $20 ($22.60 HST)
  • Current Students and Recent Grads (2010/2011)**: $20 ($22.60 HST)
  • Renew for or become an IAAT Support and attend this event - for alumni who graduated in 2009 or before: $70 ($79.10 with HST)
  • Renew or become an IAAT Support and attend this event - for alumni who graduated in 2010 or after: $50 ($56.50 with HST)
  • Ivey Alumni: $40 ($45.20 with HST)
  • Non-Alumni: $50 ($56.50 with HST)
* Find out more about IAAT's Supporter program by going to http://iveynetwork.ca/toronto/supporterprogram/

Strategy planning process keeps the business going

"A Business Plan," is a very broad idea. 
When I ran the strategy process in a big business, I did several plan-budget things every year from department to division to business unit. In one sense these were all a lot of hooey - the ink would still be soft when the first 15% was being changed. Some of that was stupidity but as it turns out, most of it is what "planning is all about. The planning success was the process because it kept everyone focussed on who is the target client, what do they want to see and how could you help them do their work better. The quick analysis done around what was the business offering that competitors could not, is almost a subconscious check on getting done the essentials to delight the customer.
In a finance business I have worked with for the past 16 years, I look back on its strategy-the early plans-and remembered how I did have to force the managers to go through a strategy process. At the time, some entrepreneurial types laughed at their irrelevance.  
"What did it matter to know we were not trying to be everything to all people?"
"What is the point of having three objectives to achieve this year?" "And how can you set just three that apply to everyone?"
The strategy process chewed over the amount of money they needed to keep in their piggy bank to ensure survival through the black swans. Back then, the governments were dropping the level of reserves required and there was political pressure to not red ink "no lend zones" for real estate. The bank was accused of not wanting to do deals as they refused to do the derivatives and swaps every other bank was now allowed to do with the reduced legislation.
Although they grossly mis-timed and mis-sized the recession, recovery is strongly underway. When I recently hosted the head strategist for this bank which is now global, he talked about the discipline of having a formal, tough process of doing a one page plan even. The process is what made the company conversation keep going back to sanity during the go-go years. He said to me that those old, goofy plans are priceless.
I wrote a book called The Power of Strategy about the process I used. It became a best seller and is still available on Amazon.

Think you do not need a business plan?

That question of just how necessary a business plan is and the value it adds is often raised by company owners. 
It is true that for the entrepreneur, the business usually starts with a half-baked idea and a written plan seems restricting and premature. If the venture needs to raise money beyond a good friend's budget or your uncle's finances, then you will need to find an Angel who may be an executive with extra cash, a group of professional investors or a Venture Capitalist. 
Then you absolutely need the plan as a key indicator that you are serious. It is selling your financial competence. 
Here is what a financier will be thinking:

1) How do financiers know it is credible, or profitable?
2) How seriously will I take you as an entrepreneur if you believe you don't need a plan?
3) Show me your cash flows, and explain when I get my money back.
4) What is your organic/inorganic growth plan?
5) Explain your competition's strengths, opportunities, technology, and the role of offshore outsourcing options.
6) John Smith has exactly what you are proposing - why should I fund you instead of him?

Didier Lombard warns of troubles ahead for Telecoms

Operating margins for many telecom companies have shrunk rapidly, as mobile phone service has overtaken fixed-line service, data traffic has outpaced voice traffic, and the old bread-and-butter phone service has become commoditized. Meanwhile, global demand for data services has increased massively, especially with the emergence of video streaming and downloading on the Internet. This “data tsunami,” as it’s been called, has grown in intensity with the proliferation of data-enabled smartphones.

Business plans don’t help in early stages - The Globe and Mail

If anyone believes the value of the business plan is the finished document, this article may be at least partially right. As someone who led the planning exercise in many companies, I learned that the journey was far more valuable than the destination.
Planning brings structured thinking to the business, and helps to ensure that key questions are posed for discussion. Everything in a business is connected. A decision to take a certain action will also produce re-actions. They need to be accounted for, and, if necessary, mitigated. The planning process helps to tie the pieces together, and keeps the pieces focused on the current objectives.
The inference in the article is that a plan will make a company less nimble and flexible. It might do that, if that's how planning is approached. But it doesn't have to be that way, nor should it.Planning brings structured thinking to the business, and helps to ensure that key questions are posed for discussion. Everything in a business is connected. A decision to take a certain action will also produce re-actions. They need to be accounted for, and, if necessary, mitigated. The planning process helps to tie the pieces together, and keeps the pieces focused on the current objectives.

Canada has Missed the Boat in Asia

Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 6 to 8:30 p.m., First Canadian Place Gallery, 100 King St West, Street Level, Toronto
Featuring:
  • • Andrea Mandel-Campbell, Journalist and Author of ‘Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson’
  • • Jacoline Loewen, Director, Loewen & Partners Inc
  • • Dev Srinivasan, Vice President, BMO
  • • Gordon Perchthold, Managing Partner, The RFP Company
Are Canadian corporations soft, complacent and overly protected or have the examples of Bombardier, Manulife, and RIM demonstrated that Canada can effectively compete in fast paced, high growth Asia?
Join IAAT’s debate as Andrea Mandel-Campbell – journalist and author of ‘Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson’, Jacoline Loewen – Director of Loewen & Partners Inc, Dev Srinivasan – Vice President of BMO, and Gordon Perchthold – Managing Partner of The RFP Company, together with the audience debate the question raised by Dean Kathleen Slaughter’s November 2nd statement in the Global & Mail Newspaper:  “Canada Has Missed The Boat in Asia.”
Canada’s relevance in Asia is a critical issue for Canada’s future economic prosperity and should be a key election issue for Canadians to ponder.
Light snacks will be served. 
Registration:Register
  • • IAAT Supporter*: $20 ($22.60 HST)
  • • Renew for or become an IAAT Support and attend this event – for alumni who graduated in 2009 or before: $70 ($79.10 with HST)
  • • Renew or become an IAAT Support and attend this event – for alumni who graduated in 2010 or after: $50($56.50 with HST)
  • • Ivey Alumni: $40 ($45.20 with HST)
  • • Non-Alumni: $50 ($56.50 with HST)


Register for Ivey Debate

Why Changing Living Standards Around the World Measure Inflation

How do you measure inflation? Is the high standard of living enjoyed by the Western world in decline, draining away to the rapidly growing countries of China and India? Larry Cyna, Cymore Fund, wrote a thought provoking analysis of the thesis that wealth and high standard of living is flowing to Asia. Here is a quick excerpt with a link to Cymor Fund blog at the end:
Inflation is not to be measured by traditional metrics, but rather by the changing living standards around the world, and the changing GDP of major country influences around the world – in essence the drop in economic standing of the US and Europe, and the unstoppable move forward by China, then overtaken by India.
Loewen & Partners hosted a event last week in Toronto where Dr. Michael Power of Investec Asset Management gave a presentation. Dr. Power is a noted advisor to Hedge Funds and travels extensively giving presentations internationally to Hedge Fund managers and others. His presentations on current trends and matters of interest are widely followed and respected. He pointed how US debt and changing demographics were inexorably shifting power and influence to China and then to India. Essentially I agreed with his presentation.The Unpredictability of Predictions: My first response to anyone who is a futurist, or who has the ability to spot major trends, is to thank him for the insight. However, I also have a theory that is proven by history. “What we as humans will never master, is to predict with accuracy the future.” Recent events, sometimes described as Black Swan events, are a vivid example. Who could have imagined that government surpluses of a few short years ago in the US, would turn suddenly into massive deficits that everyone is running in fear of? 
The inevitability of the inevitable is flawed: Interest Rates. While in an overall sense, I cannot disagree with the thesis, there is also the effect of interest rates. We currently live in this delusional world where we think that inflation is something that can be controlled by government. Governments have many tools, but the total control of interest rates, continues to elude us. Once the Genie is let out of the bottle, interest rates have a way of running away ahead of all attempts to restrain them. The result is a massive shift of wealthThe speaker felt that this massive shift would inexorably be to the new Eastern economies. However another way to look at the issue, is that the massive accumulated reserves of the new Eastern Economies, would be reduced in value by 20% in a single year, if inflation was 20% for that entire year.


Read Cymor Fund Blog

Are the markets getting frothy again?

It's hard to pick between the bubbles-are-bad and bubbles-are-O.K. camps is that bubbles aren't all alike. The best ones create assets whose value survives the crash. The Apollo program that put people on the moon, only to lose public support in the 1970s, was a "social bubble" in which over-optimism advanced science. Bad bubbles generate worthless assets such as exurban housing subdivisions that are taken over by squatters and mold. Other bubbles don't produce any supply response at all. The only impact of China's new mania for old wine—one bottle went for nearly $233,000 last year—is to transfer wealth to whoever was lucky enough to own the bottles before the Chinese got interested.
When the tech sector gets bubbly, consumers are often the biggest beneficiaries, notes Harvard economist Edward Glaeser. 
Glaeser says:
Because investors fund ideas that help the general public, from wireless communications to solid-state data storage to the Internet. So it was in the 19th century with the railroad boom. Today's speculation in tech is concentrated in social networking. 
The question is whether the new investments will live up to the greatest hits—and productive busts—of Silicon Valley's past.

Are You Growing Your Business to Sell?

Decide if you’re a Lifestyle Business Owner or an entrepreneur.  This distinction matters to Private Equity investors. They have to see the big growth over the next five years.
In the Bootstrapper’s Bible, Seth Godin teaches us that a product focused business owner sells their talents.  While they may have a few employees, they’re doing a job without a boss, but not running a business.  There’s no exit strategy or pot of gold, but they make their own hours and be their own boss.  Examples include layout artists, writers, consultants, film editors, landscapers, architects, translators, and musicians.  Seth writes:
An entrepreneur is trying to build something bigger than themselves.  They take calculated risk and focus on growth.  An entrepreneur is willing to receive little pay, work long hours, and take on great risk in exchange for the freedom to make something big, something that has real market value.

Why Valuations Matter in Tale of 2 Economies - China and USA


In the US, the Obama administration is ploughing a lonely furrow, the only major country in the world to be easing fiscal policy this year, even as the Federal Reserve persists with a scorched earth monetary policy. The President's nod to the hawks in the Republican party, who not unreasonably consider America's deficit to be out of control, could hardly have been more half-hearted – his proposed spending cuts won't get going until the presidential term after next. George Osborne he is not.
On the other side of the world, China faces a completely different set of problems.
Why valuations matter in US and China's tale of two economies - Telegraph

The BRIC countries’ Hainan summit could make the G20 redundant - Telegraph


 The West's political and financial elite is still a long way from adjusting to the fact that economic power is shifting to Asia and the long term implications for our cost of living. Money is flooding to China and India and for those thinking about selling their business, now would be the time to act.
The West’s political and financial elite is still a very long way from grasping the extent to which the global centre of economic gravity is now shifting – and the implications in terms of relative and absolute living standards.

The BRIC countries’ Hainan summit could make the G20 redundant - Telegraph

Which Pitch Would You Choose?

Jacoline Loewen was on BNN, The Pitch, April, 13th and was pleasantly surprised by exciting pitches.
There was a gold nugget of an idea pitched by Ken Seville, Guaranteed Interview, but the business model is not well developed yet.
Guaranteed Interview is for a recruitment website like Monstor.com, but focused on ex-military. What a great marketing vertical.
The company name is also not a catchy brand, and they need some private sector talent to drive growth. Great concept though and every trucking, security, logistics, aerospace company will be bookmarking the site. Ken did a great job presenting. Check it out HERE
Get hold of Ken: : ken.seville@gmail.com

Exempt Market Dealer Association Town Hall: EMDA Events

Kersten Kloss and Ron Lessoway would like to thank everyone for coming out to Peer Diligence's EMDA Town Hall last night.  It was a huge success.We want extend out thanks to Angie Redecopp from Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and Ron Lessoway from MRL Group of Companies.
For those of you who want to see the recorded version, you can see WATCH IT HERE 
The event is at the bottom of the page listed under "Peer Diligence TweetCast".  Click on the "Register For Event". When you register, you will be sent and email with the link to view to information.
We had a lot of non-registered participants last night, so if you know of anyone who showed up who was not registered, can you please get them to sign up for Peer Diligence at www.meetup.com/peerdiligence.  
http://www.refreshedit.com/index.php/live

Canada makes the list of countries with the Most Billionaires

19 Canadian Billionaires seems a paltry number next to the USA's 270, until you look at the top 10 countries with Billionaires.
Canada comes in fourth.
Mexico makes the cut too which shows it's great to be around the top economy in the world, the USA.

Teaching a 'Lean Startup' Strategy

Lean startup executives do not invest in scaling the company until they have achieved product market fit (PMF); that is, the knowledge that they have developed a solution that matches the problem.

Markets suffer setback | Investing | Financial Post

Oil prices are going to knock the economy, economists are now predicting.

Canadian stocks fell sharply for the second consecutive day on another violent pullback in commodities as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. told investors to take profits while warning of a correction in oil prices.

Markets also suffered after Japan’s acknowledged its nuclear situation had worsened and Alcoa Inc. showed disappointing results as the U.S. earnings season kicked off.

“For the last several weeks, world stock markets have taken every disappointment and uncertainty the world could throw at them and continued to drive higher,” said Colin Cieszynski, market analyst at CMC Markets Canada.

Ikea, Where's the Video Instructions? | Mark Evans Tech

IKEA is a wonderful place to visit but their product does not look the same at home - for me, their book cases need to be secured to the wall. I am glad for modern technology as my books and CDs seem to be dwindling in volume. Mark Evans made me laugh with his return to IKEA:

After swearing off buying anything from Ikea as a rite of passage in becoming a real adult, I succumbed recently in an effort to refurbish the home office without pillaging the corporate bank account. The magic about Ikea is how wonderful they make everything look. You stroll through the showroom and the world seems like your oyster…until you get everything home and suddenly realize it has to be assembled.

So, you unpack all the boxes, pull out parts, which includes lots and lots of little pieces (screws, widgets, etc.) and hunt for the instructions. What’s amazing is the instructions haven’t changed in years; they’re still black and white, no-frills, step-by-step instructions that assume everything is just so easy to follow.

Wrong.

Needless to say, the assembly process is frustrating, time-consuming and a serious threat to relationships if you do it with someone else. And you end up with extra parts, which I’m pretty sure Ikea doesn’t supply as a convenience.

It struck me there are some easy things Ikea could do to make things a lot better and easier. First, it needs to colour-code its instructions and the parts to remove a lot of guess-work that goes into assembling things.

Second, Ikea really, really needs to embrace video.



Read more: Ikea, Where's the Video Instructions? | Mark Evans Tech
Ikea, Where's the Video Instructions? | Mark Evans Tech

Venture Law Lines: When University Commercialization Offices Turn Troll

Suzie Dingwall has a great post on patents.

There are other alternatives for financing than the bank

Why Use Private Equity? Do You Want to Grow Your Business? If your business is not at $20,000, private equity investors will pass you by.
As we learn in most realms of life, the low-priced products aren’t always best for you. And with a greater number of private investors creating a growing company’s market for financing, many Canadian business owners are discovering there are alternative sources of capital. Probably, the most exciting news is that private equity deals are being done for as little as $500,000 – a sign that private equity is shifting from Bay Street onto Main Street. Read more (PDF) >     

How to fuel growth, technology and social media at Rotman

The Next Steps program gives you the confidence and skills you need to take your business to the next level. Interact with a senior-level advisory panel of accomplished women entrepreneurs, and gain knowledge from peer mentors who have shared your business challenges. The six-module format allows you to take what you learn and apply it immediately.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 6pm to 9pm

Rotman, University of Toronto

Jacoline Loewen, Author and Partner at Loewen & Partners:

Fuelling Growth: Technology & Social Media

Learn how to use new technologies and social media strategically. Maximize the impact of the X factors on your business development.

6 Tips for value pricing

Why is the concept of value pricing seen to be radical? It makes a great deal of sense and I appreciated the LinkedIn discussion and thought I would share some of the highlights. Here is one of the posts.
After mentioning I had taken 14 pages of notes on Baker's book on Value Pricing, above, Jacoline Loewen suggested I share a few Aha's from these notes. Here they are: Baker presents the idea that professional advisers should keep in mind that we are (or should be) giving our clients (which he calls customers) a crowbar with which to open a treasure chest. If so, ten times the price would still be a bargain for our crowbar. We should not provide a cheaper price merely because, for example, we may have lower fixed overhead. Value drives price, not cost. If we have significant intellectual capital (as defined by Baker), offering it at a lower price devalues it and sacrifices a significant amount of profit.
 We should focus on the totality of our services our firm provides the customer or client and consider bundling them together into a fixed price agreement, not an hourly rate agreement. The billable hour becomes the floor, not the ceiling.
 Baker outlines methods of qualifying the right customers/clients, the sins of hourly billing and ways to eliminate them, how to understand the value we offer that customers seek, key predictive indicators for knowledge workers, and eight steps to implementing value pricing.
In his section on developing and pricing offerings, the author identifies several elements, any or all of which a firm’s Value Council (explained in the text) may want to make part of a fixed price agreement, over and above the hourly rate, which is never mentioned:

  1. Fixed Price. (A guarantee that the customer/client will not be surprised by an invoice; that all work will be authorized in advance, so that the client will be able to budget his or her professional spend with certainty.)
  2. Change Orders. (This ensures customers that work will never be done without their authorization on price, terms and scope, giving them a choice on how to proceed.)
  3. Service Guarantee. (An overt statement that your project will create value three to ten times greater than the cost or the customer doesn’t pay.)
  4. Price Guarantee. (The customer may ignore any invoice they receive for which they did not authorize price, payment terms and scope. The customer will never be surprised by an invoice because all work is priced in advance.)
  5. Unlimited Access. (The customer is granted unlimited phone calls and meetings to discuss whatever the customer wants.)
  6. Payment Terms. (Financing plans.)
 The subtitle of Baker’s book indicates the concept of value pricing is radical. It may be radical, but after carefully studying his book, it makes a lot of sense to me.
Posted by Robert R Dunford
Robert R. Dunford, Principal
http://www.GCIResearch.com
1657-A Ramblewood Way
Snellville, Georgia 30078
United States of America
1+770-982-3480 Phone

Are my hourly rates too high or too low?

Business owners are enjoying their position of power as capital floods Canada and one of the big issues is how the fees charged by professionals are being squeezed. A post by Robert Dunford about how to charge for his finance services unleashed a torrent of responses.
I particularly liked the advice from Michael McGrady:
I personally believe that it’s imperative to lead the preliminary discussion as a marketing professional and leave the tactical/technical for later. You provide knowledge, perspective, assurance and informed caution – your work helps to set strategic direction, inspires the development of deal structure, helps to craft strategies regarding earn-outs, reps & warranties, etc. and in some cases help prevent bad deals from happening. We have all been involved in or know of deals that went south solely because of poorly executed research and due diligence – the financial consequences of these bad transactions always eclipse the minor onetime expense your contribution would have provided. They clearly like your work; remind them, talked about the multifaceted value you provide and the consequences of a poor execution. And don’t lower your price; if you don’t value your time who will? 
The second thing to possibly consider is working on retainer or a combination of retainer and an hourly rate for overflow. There is more work involved on the front end to ensure you and the client understand the scope. I like retainers because I don’t have to manage a time sheet and if I am more efficient in some aspect of my work I don’t penalize myself with fewer billable hours. The client likes it because they don’t feel they are being nickel and dimed and it gives them a delineated line item for the budget. As I said it’s more work on the front end but so far I haven’t broken my pencil and I make more money than I would have by billing hourly (knock on wood).
There was recommended reading from Isabella Brusatti and the book inspired this quote - Baker's book qualifies as a "good book," as defined by Thoreau: 
"Books, not which afford us a cowering enjoyment, but in which each thought is of unusual daring; such as an idle man cannot read, and a timid one would not be entertained by, which even make us dangerous to existing institutions––such call I good books." 
—Henry David Thoreau: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, 1849
Jacoline Loewen, Money Magnet author, Mergers and Acquistions expert.

Learn the financial strategies that will set you apart

Enjoyable and informative financial information do not often go together but Clemens is someone who has does manage to achieve both goals. He has a new book which I recommend.
This is not another finance book that promises you to get rich quick. Instead, it offers a systematic approach to learn some essential finance skills and to promote good money habits. The book is geared towards musicians and artists but it is also full of vital information for a typical young adult entering the work force or about to head for college. If you are considering a career as a self-employed creative entrepreneur or in case you just wish to brush up on your basic financial literacy skills, you will find extremely good value in this book. The author is an investment advisor and a former musician. He can relate to the world of finance from an artist’s perspective and is therefore uniquely qualified to teach personal finance in a way that makes sense to someone who has little or no experience with money matters. The book is full of fun and thought-provoking examples showing you how to keep your financial house in order. Ultimately, you will learn the financial strategies that will set you apart from those who live from paycheck to paycheck.

About the Author

Clemens Kownatzki is founder and CEO of FX Investment Strategies, a Registered Investment Advisor. In addition to running his investment advisory firm, he is a contributing author at SeekingAlpha.com and BusinessInsider.com. He also publishes the popular investment blog www.fxinvestmentstrategies.com along with a weekly news-letter. In 2010, he joined Pepperdine University as an adjunct professor of finance. Prior to starting his own business, Clemens has been in charge of the operations and risk management of two international foreign exchange and commodities brokerage firms in London and Singapore. Clemens earned his M.B.A. degree from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University. He is also an experienced and passionate musician of many years. He graduated from Musician’s Institute, Los Angeles in 1987 and was nominated Outstanding Guitar Player of the Year Award Winner. He currently lives in California with his wife and two children.



Aussie dollar boosted by its own 'gold standard'

The Chinese are told by their government to own gold bars and now India is picking up that investment philosophy. Dollars are no longer seen to be reliable - unless you are talking Canadian dollars or Australian. European money continues to flood the Canadian Hedge funds as Canada seen to be a haven of stability for the next 20 years.
The Australian dollar is one of the strongest currencies in the world because it is a commodity-backed currency. That’s why it hit a 29-year high against the US dollar today – and it’s all related to the gold price

BMW breaks car sales record

Guess the boys are back in town - driving their BMWs. When I saw this heading, I figured the sales would be from Asian growth and that seems to be the case.

Consumer confidence may be fragile in Europe amid spending cuts and sovereign debt concerns, but sales of premium Western cars are soaring in emerging markets as the middle classes grow. BMW said sales in Europe rose 8pc to 93,540 and sales in America gained 19pc. However, Asia surged by 52pc

BMW breaks car sales record - Telegraph

Canadian private equity deals 2010 - 2011

Business Development Bank of Canada(9 deals, $49 million) 
GrowthWorks Ltd. (6 deals, $26 million) 
VenGrowth Asset Management Inc. (4 deals, $14 million) 
iNovia Capital (4 deals, $8 million) 
Covington Capital Corporation (3 deals, $12 million) 
Tandem Expansion Fund (2 deals, $29 million) 
Export Development Canada (2 deals, $13 million) 
British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) (2 deals, $8 million) 

It is not just House saying this

Everyone lies

"Some people will lie to you because they mean to. Others will do it to tell you what you want to hear. Either way, test everything you are told. If someone tells you they are going to invest, get a date. And if the date passes, make sure your spider senses are tingling. If a client tells you he is giving you the order, ask him if it is in procurement yet; if not, then ask him if he minds if you call the purchaser yourself. Test what people tell you. They don't always mean to lie to you, but they do lies," says Robert Herjavec.
Robert is very fair in revealing this basic human need to be liked when face to face. Knowing this given when dealing with people, you can prepare strategies to move the sale forward. It reminds me of a negotiation course I did which taught me no matter what the first offer is, no matter how reasonable, act horrified, make a lot of noise and bring out your inner freak - out. I was returning a leased car and used this technique and was amazed when using strategies brought the final invoice down from a thousand to zero. That's right - zero. Planning your communication techniques works.


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Just plan for the worst...

Bring a compass

"'It's awkward when you have to eat your friends.' That's a cute saying I saw a long time ago, but it's very true. When you're starting out, you have to realize that it is going to be bad and then it will be worse than you think. Be prepared to survive the worst situation you can think of — and then assume that things will in fact get even worse than that. Be prepared — it's much better to have a compass to get out of the woods (just in case) than to have to eat your friend to survive," says Robert Herjavec.
OK - so this is a guy thing. I really liked this point though, the more I thought about it. Robert seems callous but he is right that things will get appallingly bad at the worst possible time. Look at the past three years and the economy. 
Investors already know this. That is why they want to know you, the business owner, and your tenacity. Will you have a compass ready just when we are eyeing up each other to see who we will have to kill to eat. It's nothing personal, bro', it's survival..

Read more in Money Magnet by J B Loewen