(Writer| Speaker| International Business Developer)
Starting a business can be quite simple, but scaling it to the level where you can obtain the right funding partners involves work. Hopefully, you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting by yourself. Having consulted for small scale startups since 2015, below are my list of the top 10 ten things you must plan and prepare for to make your business investor-ready.
1. PROOF OF CONCEPT AND MARKET OPPORTUNITY – This has to do with the need for the business in the first place which is why your business has been set up. This would determine the size of the problem (addressable market) and the potency of the business to provide the needed solutions.
2. EXPERTISE OF THE MANAGEMENT TEAM – This has to do with the experience, contacts and networks of the management team of the company. How much does the management team know about the industry in which the business operates? Are they well qualified to handle the business’ operations and capital requirements?
3. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE PROCEDURES – Does your business have the appropriate business registration and legal requirements? Does the company have a team of lawyers? Does the company have an excellent tax record and obligation to the government of the country it operates in?
4. BRAND APPEAL – Does your business have a solid brand appeal among the customers in its marketplace? Is your business seen as a trusted and reliable brand in its market? Are there any market survey reports and customer comments or sales reports to prove this? Does your business have any registered trademarks?
5. STABLE CASH FLOWS – Does your business have consistent inflows obtained from its business activities? Is the company able to periodically pay its salaried workers, board and management team? Are the cash flows positive or negative?
6. POTENTIAL RETURN – What are the estimated profit and revenue trajectories from each of the business’ revenue streams? How long will it take for your business to burn out of cash needed for its operations until its next funding or investment round or capital injection from its shareholders? What is the month-on-month and yearly financial performance for your business?
7. VALUE CHAIN DYNAMICS – What is the strength of your business’ value chain? How connected, reliable and sustainable are the partners, suppliers and external resources of the business?
8. BENEFITS TO INVESTORS – What are the sellable monetary and non-monetary benefits of the business to any possible investor(s) who seeks to join its board or management team?
9. GROWTH PLAN – What are the SMART short term, medium term and long term goals of the business?
10. EXIT PLAN – What is your business’ exit plan? (Sale, Merger, Dissolution?) And how long will it take to get there?
Your biggest fan,
Richmond Engel Bennah