Blog Posts by Chris Myers

  • Sometimes, Goliath is the underdog: How small innovative businesses can have the upper hand

    Let’s get one thing clear before we begin.  While I’ve lived and breathed the startup world since founding BodeTree in 2010, I’m not your typical startup founder.  First of all, I don’t live in the Bay Area, or New York, or any other hub of excitement.  I grew up in the sprawling metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona and now live in the Mile High (in more ways than one) city of Denver.  Up until recently I always viewed this as a weakness.  After all, all of the hip, wildly intelligent, and dynamic entrepreneurs on the coasts must know something that i don’t, right?

    I’m beginning to find, however, that isn’t exactly the case.  In the rush to prove how disruptive and innovative they are, many entrepreneurs are inadvertently conforming around common assumptions and, as a result, missing a huge opportunity.  I’ve written in the past about my love/hate relationship with business books, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve yet to shake my addiction.  My latest foray into the land of business

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  • A look back at Father’s Day and its lessons for the entrepreneur

    Empower Kids

    As a father, once a year I get to relish in the accolades I receive from my children (and, sometimes my wife) on what an exceptional dad I am. I love it. I definitely eat it up. Who doesn’t bask in (at least for a day) the joy of being the beloved one? I even love the multi-colored, animal tie that doesn’t seem to match anything I own.

    The day can also make me nostalgic for the time gone by. As the saying goes, “with children, the days can proceed painfully slow, but the years fly by.” If you are paying attention, there is a wealth of knowledge we all gain upon indoctrinating ourselves into parenthood that we can apply to our business lives.

    There are the easy lessons:
    • time management is a necessity, not a class we were required to take.
    • patience truly is a virtue - how many different ways can I answer the question “why”?
    • sharing is highly recommended…for anything and everything.
    • instituting the golden rule really does solve most person-to-person conflicts. Who knew?

    There are also

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  • Shaking the Bode Tree: Everything you wanted to know about business valuation but were afraid to ask

    Many business owners assume they should only care about how much their business is worth if they’re looking to sell or are going through a difficult situation, such as a divorce or corporate break-up. Unfortunately, this is an extremely short-sighted view that misses the bigger picture.

    Valuation is the most important concept in finance, and something that every business owner should know something about. At the end of the day, each of us is in business to create value. Your company’s value captures nearly everything about your business in one, easy-to-understand number.

    Valuation has a reputation for being boring, abstract, and complex…and to be honest, it tends to be. But fear not, I’ve boiled it down to three key concepts that make it easy.

    1. Valuation Methodology
    2. Common Pitfalls
    3. Value-Based Management

    Valuation Methodology

    We’ll start with a simple definition – valuation is the price that a reasonable person would pay to own the future cash flows of a business less any debt owed plus all

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  • Shaking the Bode Tree: VCs and Entrepreneurs “failing-on”

    The king is dead. Long live the king.

    As an avid football fan, I am constantly befuddled by how losing coaches actually get hired by other teams. And, I am not talking about the exceptional coach that just had a few bad seasons. I am talking about the habitual losers. You know the ones - that guy you pray gets hired by your arch-nemesis. Take, for example, Dick Jauron. During his head coaching tenure with the Bears, he put up an “impressive” 35 wins against 45 losses (.438 win percentage). He had one winning season during the entire 5 years he was with the Bears. A year later, he gets hired as the Buffalo Bills head coach. What did Buffalo get for this omnipotent choice? An “outstanding” 24-33 record (.421 win percentage) for the next four years and not one winning season. To be fair, the four years prior, the team went 28-36 (.438 win percentage). Buffalo may just be a glutton for punishment.

    What does this have to do with entrepreneurship? It is the surprising willingness (or, even requirement) by VCs to generally only

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  • Shaking the Bode Tree: How to get a bank loan for your small business

    Signed In Blood

    It’s no secret that every business, small or large, needs funding in order to operate. Unfortunately it’s getting tougher and tougher for the average small business owner to secure a bank loan. In fact, 43% of small business owners were denied funding at least once over the last four years. Worse yet, one in three businesses had their existing credit lines slashed and one in ten had loans called in early.

    Given the economic uncertainties faced by small businesses, it’s likely that bank financing will remain scarce. Nevertheless, it is still possible to get a bank might just need to work harder.

    Banks, credit unions, and investors are looking for the same thing – a return of capital and a return on capital. The only difference is that lending organizations have limited upside (only the return of capital plus pre-defined interest) whereas investors can participate in the upside (return on capital is theoretically unlimited). Both carry the downside risk of not being paid

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  • Shaking the Bode Tree: The Value of Knowledge

    Looking for Knowledge

    Sometimes, ignorance truly is bliss – like when you are enjoying your favorite cheesecake and have no idea how many calories you have ingested. But in business, feigning like an ostrich and putting your head in the sand generally does not work out too well. That is why it is essential to stay on top of the trends in your business, no matter how difficult they may be to hear and accept. Knowing information is the first step in solving emerging problems.

    Don’t get me wrong; life should not be spent dwelling on negatives. In fact, positive individuals are 30% more likely to be successful than their pessimistic brethren. But, the most successful leaders inspire confidence through positively addressing challenges and winning through them rather than being positive without knowledge.

    How can you identify developing issues in your business?

    1) Seek out non-confirming information. We are all hard-wired to find evidence that supports our thesis and ideals. By actively pursuing facts counter

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  • Shaking the Bode Tree: Growing Broke

    Growing Broke

    When you ask a small business advisor what you need to do to create value, the three most often-cited strategies are….grow, grow and grow some more.  Typically, advisors are only referring to your top-line sales because where the top-line goes, your cash flow follows!  While this advice might prove true, it certainly is not the rule.  Let me provide a new phrase for you to consider – Don’t Grow Broke!

    What does this mean?  In a nutshell, not all growth is good and many companies take a good thing (responsible growth) to the extreme and create massive havoc pursuing even more growth and sometimes kill their business.  We have all heard the stories about the restaurant owner that had a phenomenally successful location that was throwing off a ton of cash flow.  The owner was happy, not too over-worked and was making a very good living for herself and her family.  She was lured to expand rapidly  to other locations to take advantage of her company’s success and “not let the best locations

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  • Shaking the Bode Tree: The Future Belongs to the Fortune 5 Million

    It seems as though you can’t turn on the television or pick up a magazine without coming across a politician or pundit extolling the virtues of small business and the role it plays in the U.S. economy. It’s easy to see why small business is such a popular topic of conversation. As of today there are about 27 million small businesses in the U.S., 6 million of which actually have employees. These businesses account for over 50% of total U.S. GDP and 75% of the net new jobs in the U.S.

    Golden Egg

    It’s clearly a big deal, but I for one, think that this renewed focus on small business is only the beginning. There is strong evidence to suggest that we’re witnessing the beginning of a major social and economic shift. As a result, I’ve become convinced that while the 20th century was dominated by the Fortune 500, the 21st century belongs to the Fortune 5 Million.

    There are three key drivers of this shift.

    1. Structural changes in the economy
    2. Increasing interest in niche products
    3. Ever lowering

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  • Shaking the Bode Tree: Our Top 3 Startup Lessons

    Money Tree VII,

    I have a confession to make. I’m a business book addict. It's an unhealthy relationship that drains my bank account and generally leaves me with few, if any, useful insights. Yet for some reason I can't seem to pass through the coffee-stained aisle of my local book mega-store without picking up a few of the new releases. I've even taken to strategically removing them from my bookshelf, so house guests don’t’ mistake me for a cliché-spouting, new-age, faux business 2.0 guru.

    The funny thing is that, despite having read virtually every hot business book out there, the most important lessons I've picked up while nurturing my business from scrappy startup to even scrappier, slightly more mature, startup, were learned the old fashioned way: by living and learning.

    So, with that being said, I submit to you the top 3 startup lessons that I learned the hard way.

    1. Focus on the Pain Points

    Don't roll your eyes…This lesson isn't as obvious as it seems. Every single founder thinks that his or

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