November 2011

Platinum turn cons inve

Transition Tips

Drive Progress After a Setback: Your Brand Can Help Restore Value in a Turnaround

By Dean Bachelor, Founder and Chairman
Platinum Group

Sometimes when companies are in trouble, the balance sheet shows negative equity, cash flow is non-existent, the senior-secured bank has issued a default notice and you have to develop a turnaround plan. At these times, it’s important to look at every asset available. Locating the hidden value within the company, including off-balance sheet assets, can make a big difference. In many instances, the company’s brand may be a source of significant value.

Brands command a value in turnarounds that should not be overlooked. Key questions to ask to determine the value of this intellectual property:

  • How long has the brand been in existence?
  • What market share has this brand commanded in the past?
  • How well known is the brand?
  • What is the perception of the brand?
  • What role can the brand play in keeping the company viable in tough times?
  • What is the brand worth?

Examples where Platinum has leveraged a brand include Geek Squad, which grew through several transitions over an eight-year period, largely due to its brand. Its visibility on the road — the distinctive black & white VW cars driven by special IT “Special Agents” — and its world class customer service, led to national publicity and awards. As the investors, Platinum Holdings and Geek Squad Founder Robert Stephens sold the company's consumer division to Best Buy for a large multiple of its earnings. Today, Best Buy has leveraged that brand into a billion-dollar business with 25,000 Special Agents in thousands of VWs and hundreds of locations.

Platinum Group Holdings II acquired the assets of the Club Car golf car business after this company's three years of losses and erosion of market share. The business was close to shutting down. It was determined that the “Club Car” brand had more value than the business. Platinum provided new capital and management to turn around the company, restoring the lost value.

So next time you sense that all value is lost, look to an off-balance sheet asset, the brand, to possibly provide value. After all, it's about value.

If interested in learning more, contact Dean at


In the News

Charity Golf Event Supported Three Minnesota Golf Organizations

The First Annual Superior Golf Cars Charity Classic was a great success! Owned by Platinum Holdings Fund II, Superior Golf Cars welcomed 112 players to Bunker Hills Golf Course in June. A silent auction raised $5,500 that went to support three important organizations: the Upper Midwest Chapter of the Club Managers Association, the Minnesota Section Foundation of the PGA of America and the Minnesota Golf Course Superintendents Association. The event was part of the grand opening of the new clubhouse at Bunker Hills, which offices the MPGA and Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame.

Congratulations to Pieter VanZyl (center), president of North Oaks Golf Club, who won the Master’s Sweepstakes at the First Annual Superior Golf Cars Charity Classic. Celebrating with him were Dan O’Brien (left), president of Superior Golf Cars, and Mike Packer (right), vice president of sales for Superior Golf Cars.


Lessons Learned

Invest in People to Expand Skills for Growth

By Darin Lynch
Platinum Group Member

While growing the eCommerce company I started in 2004, I have learned to recognize how people's talents can be identified early and groomed to fit the different stages of our company's lifecycle.

During our start-up, we had three employees. That was when we needed certain vital talents, such as scrappiness, resourcefulness and the ability to tolerate a certain level of “fly by the seat of your pants” work style. These talents led our initial team to establish a unique reputation for putting business first in our process and then applying business acumen to online strategies. At the same time, our team skills weren’t exactly what were needed for the future as we balanced growth and delivery. But I didn’t know that back then.

One of our first employees, Corey, has strong management, organizational and technical project management skills. Those skills weren’t as important in our early lifecycle when internal processes and oversight were lower priorities. Even though he was officially our Delivery Director, Corey’s activities were more concentrated on delivering individual projects. We still had a relatively flat internal structure, with a weekly production meeting that literally included everyone in our company. Online Managers generally came to me for project and delivery guidance rather than Corey.

With more people coming aboard, quality assurance and other processes have become increasingly important to handle a growing number and complexity of projects. Now with 16 employees, we’ve recently undergone some significant internal changes, including the decision to have delivery personnel more explicitly report to Corey. His skills are now extremely vital, and he is having a significant impact every day in helping to ensure and improve our delivery. It also has freed up my time as we now have a bi-weekly, leadership meeting with myself, Corey, Kevin Miles (Development Director) and Matt Schnell (Creative Director), while each director conducts his own bi-weekly, team meetings.

The lesson for me has been to invest in people — both before and after their current skillset is most called upon. Some may have skills that are more beneficial down the road as the company grows, and it’s important to have them trained, up to speed and plugged in when their skills are most needed. Others may have skills that are wholly appropriate now, but will need some leadership and coaching to expand the needed skills as the company grows. Timing, awareness and investment in people is certainly key for managing corporate and personnel growth.

Darin Lynch has been a member of Platinum Group since 2009, in addition to his CEO role of Irish Titan, an online technology company of Platinum Group. For more information, visit


In the Community

Twin Cities Entrepreneurs Serve Together for a Good Cause

For the fifth year, Platinum Group participated in the Twin Cities Entrepreneurs House, a community service project that brings together a group of companies, investment firms and other businesses that serve the entrepreneurial community to build a house as a part of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. The project offers a team-building experience while also providing an important community contribution.

John Hehre, Mark Hoiland and Roger Elias with one of the new homeowners at this year's Habitat for Humanity Entrepreneurs House. Not pictured are Tom Ahonen and Don Dewey. They spent the day building stairs, installing floor decking and other light construction.

The Platinum Group has officially launched its new website! Check out the Resources section for case studies, articles and tools you can use to add value to your business, browse through the newsletter archives, sign-up for an upcoming event, or meet and contact the value-driven team. Visit the site at to explore more!

Platinum Group
952.829.5700 • 9855 W 78th Street • Eden Prairie, MN 55344

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