Business Owners: Build A Corporate Structure That Investors Love! Ok, you've decided to go after investment capital but you're not sure where to start. Here are the basics that you should pay close attention to before putting your company in front of investors.
First and foremost you need to perform an industry analysis that answers the questions pertaining to where you are in the industry and who are your competitors. It doesn't matter what product or service you offer. You could be selling underwater sock fitting kits and there is a competitor and industry leader somewhere in the world. Don't be so naive in thinking that there is no competition or that you are at the pinnacle of your industry. Show your audience that you've done your research and that you've identified the players in your market.
Next get your executive team together and it better be the who's who in your industry. If you can't attract the upper echelon of your industry genre then you need to do some serious PR on behalf of your individual executive team to show the public what they are made of. Brand them as the up and coming powerhouse executives in the industry. Publish their articles and knowledge on industry blogs and article submission sites. When a funding source initiates general due diligence you need to shine like a lighthouse in the fog. Each and every executive team member needs to have an image that screams power, success and investor security.
The next thing you need to do is take a serious look at your board of directors. Who is on your board, what is their compensation and is there someone that is a better fit for formulating strategies and alliances than those who are currently populating your director staff.
One of the main reasons that investors turn down companies for funding is because they lack the backup of industry players in connection to strategic alliances. You need to identify and contractually reach out to companies that will enhance your overall business strategy. Your minimum goal should be 10 solid, aged companies that have already branded their names in the marketplace and are willing to add you to their mix of advertising and ongoing strategy and they will expect the same from you. Show investors that it's not just you treading water in the industrial whirlpool and that you've built a life preserver of alliances.
Now you are ready to write a business plan and private placement memorandum that takes all the essential elements above and puts them in two well authored and to the point documents that will make an interesting and informative read for investors who have a track record of investment in your particular industry. If you've written your own business plan, toss it. If investors are going to take you seriously you need a professionally written business plan that touches on all the triggers that investors are currently looking for.
Next, it's best to use the Regulation D, Private Placement Memorandum as the vehicle for staying within SEC guidelines for raising capital and you should use a Direct Public Offering as the process for raising the actual capital. Reaching out to friends, family, industrial counterparts and alliances should be the first place you go for funding. If you are lucky the consultant you hire to assist you with the above processes will have a solid database of investors to assist you in your initial, first round raise via DPO.
Last but not least you should consider, even though it's not a mandatory requirement for a PPM or DPO, getting an independent audit done on your company to demonstrate an objective analysis of your financial reality so that investors can find their comfort level quicker without a prolonged comments stage.
There you have it. These are the basics to what it takes to achieve equity investment in this current market. Get out there and raise some money!