How often have you been asked for further information from a potential investor in your company? It happens frequently and the information you send should be of high quality and be the right message at the right time. After all, chances are you’re not going to be there when it’s being read – so the written material you send had better be strongly capable of representing your case.
You have a company with a strong business concept offering a high value product or service but you need essential funding to get to that next level.
We meet entrepreneurs at exactly this stage on a weekly basis. Some of them go on to achieve the success they can see in their mind’s eye. Many do not. The ones that manage to succeed do one crucial thing that the others invariably ignore: they learn how to present their opportunity to investment sources.
The right presentation materials – at the right time
The first part of presenting your company is to develop the appropriate presentation materials. While having a solid, up to date business plan is an essential for investment – and a valuable tool to help you be on top of your own business in any case – this is not the document that is going to open any door for you with a provider of capital.
Lengthy business plans aside, the way to get an investment professional’s attention is to provide him with a concise (we recommend a single page) overview of the opportunity. This will include a short description of the product or service, the need it is addressing, the market, the company’s strengths, and management. It has to be an illuminating document that delivers the value proposition – in brief – so that the investor can make a quick decision on whether he wants to see more information or meet with management.
You then have the opportunity to present personally, and the document at that point should be a power point presentation, no more than 10 – 15 slides long. Again, as brevity is said to be the soul of wit, the use of a few, wisely-chosen words wins the day with investment professionals. Keep it short, until they are sold enough on your deal to ask for the business plan, financials and all corroborating documents.
Respect the professional’s time and leave a good first impression
I have spoken to professional investors who have told me they are seeing “a deal an hour” come across their desks. Whether that is an exaggeration or not, this is clearly a person who does not have a lot of spare time on his hands to read extensive business plans. Your concise one-pager is the most you can expect him to make time for, and that’s something he will appreciate.
By keeping it short and sweet you will show the professional that you respect his time. Leaving that favourable first impression can make all the difference between getting that crucial call back for more information and having your deal consigned to the dustbin.
Leverage existing professional networks
Chances are you are an expert in your business and have deep and strong networks throughout your own industry. It is highly improbable that you have the same ties in the investment community. So even picking up the phone and cold-calling a professional investment source you heard about or found online has a very low chance of success. Consider approaching a good advisor that has extensive experience and a strong existing network of professional investment providers to help you reach the right people.
The advisor can help you with your presentation and your materials by tailoring them to what they know their contacts want to see. It is a way to effectively leverage the consultants’ network and make their contacts your own.
Since 2005 ITB Solutions has provided listings development services to stock Exchanges in Canada such as the Canadian Securities Exchange. ITB Solutions currently provides New Listing Services to the Since 2005 ITB Solutions has provided listings development services to stock Exchanges in Canada such as the Canadian Securities Exchange. ITB Solutions currently provides New Listing Services to the NEO Exchange. We assist companies with the listing application and managing the process to become publicly tradable in Canada, as well as offering advice on how to make the most of your public listing.
ITB Solutions Incorporated
Jeffrey Stanger, President