So, you’ve been running your small-and-medium-sized enterprise (SME) for some time now and are seeking fresh capital to push it to the next level. If it has been awhile since you’ve last courted potential investors, then it’s time for a refresher. The golden rule is always ensure your house is in order before you start the process of fund raising and speaking with external investors. In an ideal world, you’re sorted and ready to go. But if it’s not, then now is a good time to look into it. But what exactly needs to be ready? For starters, here are six areas that you need to consider.
- Be compliant No one will come near you with a ten-foot pole if you are not compliant. Have all the necessary audits done; ensure your tax returns are accurate and up to date. It is important that any regulatory-related filings are complete and current.
- Have a data room If you have not heard of this, you should. This is a digital filing system of all the company’s key documentation, including corporate secretarial files, fund raising documents, financial statements, marketing material, payroll information, patents and trademarks. This is also where you file any previous legal issues you have encountered.
- Prepare a pitch deck (or IM) with financial projections Where will your business be in the next three to five years? This is a common question asked by investors and you should have a good answer prepared, complete with substantiation based on historical data and aligned with your vision and mission.
- Hire the best people you can find I know this sounds like a given. Unfortunately, many start-ups and SMEs have management team members who undermine the company’s ability to secure funding, usually because of someone’s bad reputation, incompetence or outright stupidity. The fact is that investors will not fund you if your team is not capable and qualified, so get rid of the turds, hire the best people you can (yes, you will need to pay for this), and move forward quickly.
- A good lawyer Ensuring you have sound legal advice in the areas of corporate structuring, compliance and regulation is often under-rated. A good lawyer will also help ensure all the necessary documentation you need to attract the right investors is in place – including an updated company constitution, draft shareholder agreements and business contracts.
- Have an efficient back-office In addition to the list above, another key component of making sure your house is in order is having an efficient well-run back office – something that PikoHANA can help. The Singapore-based technology firm has designed a proprietary dashboard reporting system that integrates everything from payroll, to finance, administrative support and customer relationship management. It also provides real-time business intelligence through its platform AO, as a part of its service.