Dave Lavinsky tells us how Growthink develops strategic, innovation, exit, and business plans to help companies grow, raise capital, and exit..
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Growthink.
Dave Lavinsky: In 1999, I graduated from business school at UCLA. I had a startup business that wasn’t close to generating sales/profits, so I needed a way to bring in money in the short term.
I pitched to a couple of media outlets that I and some fellow classmates were writing business plans for startups and The Los Angeles Times wrote about what I was doing.
This brought in a ton of prospective calls and emails and let me know that there was significant demand for business plan writing services.
Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?
Dave Lavinsky: I place great respect and emphasis on my time. In this regard, I block out my calendar regularly. If I have an internal project that must be completed, I’ll put it on my calendar and won’t let anything get in the way of completing it. By doing this, I don’t get sidetracked easily.
How does Growthink market its product/services online?
Dave Lavinsky: We use several online methods to market our products/services, including pay-per-click advertising, public relations, link-building/SEO, YouTube videos, and social media posts.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Dave Lavinsky: We track everything we do extremely closely in Google spreadsheets so we can improve our results on an ongoing basis.
What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?
Dave Lavinsky: Nearly all hires are initially hired to do a specific, short-term project. In doing things this way, we rarely hire someone and “hope” they will do a good job. Instead, we hire people who have already successfully completed at least one test job for us.
How are you funding your growth?
Dave Lavinsky: We fund growth through ongoing profits.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Dave Lavinsky: Our greatest competitor is liveplan.com. We “stay in the game” by improving our online business planning software and products on a regular basis.
Tell us a customer success story of yours.
Dave Lavinsky: I don’t like using client names as they sometimes don’t love it…but we’ve had multiple clients come to us for business plan help when starting their businesses and now, after working with us, are running or have sold businesses generating tens of millions in revenues.
Your final thoughts?
Dave Lavinsky: The key to my company’s success is focus. We start every week and every month with a discussion of what we need to accomplish to progress the business. Then, as mentioned above, we schedule times on our calendars to ensure we complete the necessary tasks. We track our performance in all areas so we can focus on what’s working and what’s not working. And we constantly tweak things (e.g., marketing strategies) to improve performance.