Finance

Borrowing isn't a Strategy

Borders

You may have read about the troubles Borders Group is having paying its bills. With Amazon pressing hard on one side and Barnes & Noble the other, Borders is facing the threat of buyout, bankruptcy, or even extinction if it can’t find a way to fix its balance sheet and shore up its revenue. Things don’t look too bright for ...

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Building the Innovation Business Case

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One of the toughest aspects within Innovation is making the Business Case. Much of the information is imperfect, the returns are often fuzzy and unclear in the early stages and the doubters line up ready to block and deter new ideas from entering the commercialization process. Justifying new innovation to others can often be really hard. How can you reduce ...

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Walmart Disease

Walmart-Rollback

Summary: Many large, and leading, companies have not created much shareholder value the last decade A surprising number of very large companies have gone bankrupt (GM) or failed (Circuit City) Wal-Mart is a company that has generated no shareholder value The Wal-Mart disease is focusing on executing the business’s long-standing success formula better, faster and cheaper — even though it’s ...

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Why Innovation Matters Now

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As the economic downturn settles in for its second year and promises to hang around like a slacker twenty-something on the couch, there is a growing divide between the innovation haves and have nots. Firms that were relatively innovative before the economic slowdown have for the most part sustained a high level of innovation investment. That’s not uniformly true, however. ...

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The Business Plan Fallacy

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As I’m reviewing business plans from college grads I’m mentoring (as an alumnae mentor at Brown Univ ) and from Glengary , the VC firm I’m a partner in, this whole business plan process is getting to me. So much of what I see in biz plans is, pardon the phrase, BS. We all know none of us believe any ...

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Could a Reversal Disrupt Groupon?

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Or, If Groupon Flipped Their Model, Could It Unleash the Power of Networks? by Venessa Miemis As I’ve been working on the supplemental infographic for the Future of Money project, I noticed that all of the interesting new sites and ideas for value exchange are essentially types of marketplaces. There are peer to peer marketplaces now for gifting, sharing, bartering, ...

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Innovation and the New Beancounters

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A while ago I wrote a post on how standard methods of valuing business opportunities hindered innovation. Somewhat foolishly I called it “How Accountants Kill Innovation” and it received a lot of comment from our blog readers, which was mostly very positive. Deb Schofield pointed out the uses of alternative valuation methods in her work as a VC and Ralph ...

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How Accountants Kill Innovation

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This isn’t going to be one of those rants against ‘beancounters’. We have actually collected and analyzed data which tells us that traditional accounting and valuation methods will damage innovation performance. To be fair to my accounting colleagues (some of my best friends are accountants) the main conclusion from our study is that we need a different type of accounting ...

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Harley Stays Cool in the Heat

Few brands were hit as hard by the recession as Harley-Davidson. Demand for motorcycles has taken a hit, and demand for premium motorcycles has taken an even bigger hit. It’s hard to sell a lot of twenty-some-thousand-dollar bikes when discretionary income is at a premium. Harley’s revenues continue to suffer, dipping 7.7 percent in the third quarter. Under these circumstances, ...

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The CFO and Innovation

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Can it work? by Stefan Lindegaard I ask whether CFO’s can make innovation happen, but in reality this should not even be a question of whether it can be done but rather a question of how to do it. The reason for turning this a how-to question is the increasing role of the CFO in many companies. Their influence keeps ...

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