(DGIwire) — How many times have you watched an entrepreneur win the opportunity to court the interest of The Shark Tank investors, yet fail to gain the coveted investment due to poor presentation skills and the inability to articulate their value proposition?
“Many people don’t realize that the need to attract a banker, a “crowd” or other investors begins the day a company is born. Although you may be one of the lucky entrepreneurs that never needs to raise outside capital for growth, you will still need a broad-based, integrated strategy specifically designed to showcase the value opportunity of your company,” says long time communications expert Dian Griesel, Ph.D. “Whether managed in-house or through an outside firm, an effective plan has a dual purpose: 1) to catapult your company to its next level of success and growth, and 2) to serve as a safety net to support you through unexpected times of crisis or need.”
A well- planned program will:
• Provide information to the marketplace.
• Get feedback from the marketplace.
• Build relationships with appropriate banks, investors and third-party endorsers.
• Maintain proper disclosure as required by law and by your market venue.
• Manage expectations and disappointments.
• Communicate management’s vision for the future.
Although not everyone considers the company the best source of information about itself, and some investors are more prone to rely exclusively on quantitative or technical analysis to determine where they will invest, such investors are in the minority. Most do see company management—the key people running the company—as the essential source of information. Many money managers would never even consider making an investment without first having a “touching and feeling” one-on-one meeting with management. These meetings allow would-be investors to evaluate intangibles such as the personalities, honesty and integrity of management, and to develop an opinion as to management’s ability to accomplish the tasks at hand and to think, act and progress in accordance with the company’s mission.
So, how do you prepare to ask for money if you need it?
Nothing happens in a vacuum, at least most of the time. Think Ockham’s Razor—a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham, and frequently paraphrased as “All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.”
The lack of investing interest in a good company is often a consequence of its failure to institute a strong communications program. A company must spend the necessary time to ensure that its potential customers and partners, and the investing and media communities, know of its existence—and we are not just talking about putting out the occasional press release.
Let’s assume that you and your company have a great offering and that you have been delivering on your promises. You have a good tale to tell. Are they getting out in public telling it? Or are you spending your time “singing in the shower?”
The shower is warm and safe, but the rewards are on stage, in front of a live audience.
Besides management being reluctant to get out and meet with people, companies too often fail to put sufficient thought, time and effort into their messages and strategies. Add to this news releases that are poorly written, rushed out and ill-timed; conference calls that are treated in an off-the-cuff manner; presentations that lack formality; and crisis management that is not planned and addressed prior to an unanticipated event. Are any or all of these factors contributing to the stagnation or lowering of your company’s valuation? They assuredly will be if you have not carefully considered how to best present your story.
Do you want a higher valuation? Greater sales? Peer recognition? Of course you do! The higher the valuation, sales and/or recognition the more likely you will be able to obtain capital for the financial growth requirements of your company and the less dilutive any future rounds of fundraising will be. More so, you will be better positioned to intrigue a wider circle of possible investors, partners or buyers.
What does all this mean to you? Dian Griesel, Ph.D., president of DGI Comm sums it all up this way: “If you aspire to a place in the big leagues, you need a well-thought-out, progressive, proactive communications program. You need it today, tomorrow and every day that you exist as a company.”