Are you investment-ready?

Geoff SearleThe first step in raising capital is to draft a capital plan for the growth of your business. The company then uses this plan to identify its funding requirements in terms of the amount, the timing, the structure as well as the most appropriate capital mix for business growth. The plan also should look into alternatives to raising external capital.

By defining a company’s business goals and strategies, you find all the costs involved in the company’s business growth plans, including working capital requirements as well as the impact of budget over-runs and product development delays. Then you must take a long and hard look at the feasibility of your plan.

The capital plan and the business plan compliment each other. They both identify issues and risks. You must decide what resources your company requires to grow, when those resources are needed, how to get them — whether they can be sourced from within the business – as well as what the goals are and the value of the equity in the business after the introduction of new capital.

Attracting equity investment is not an easy process. Businesses need to be well-prepared and investment-ready to maximize the potential for success. A failure to be investment-ready is the most common barrier to accessing equity investment. Second chances are rare, so it is important to become investment-ready before establishing relationships with potential investors, regardless of a company’s stage of development or capital needs. Investors can be found among friends, family, venture capitalists, financial institutions and business angels, but wherever the capital is found, they need to know you are investment-ready.

When investors put their money into a company, they invest in the capability of that specific company and its people.

I made a list of issues that a business must address as it works to become investment-ready:

  • Management capacity and systems
  • A suitable business structure 
  • A realistic business valuation
  • Management commitment
  • A business model
  • An investment structure, terms sheet, and exit plan
  • A business and/or commercialization plan
  • An investment proposal (information memorandum) and pitch
  • Management capacity and systems

If you have any question for me please post them in the comment box.

Good luck advancing your business!

Great news: I am joining Matador.

book cover Geoff SearleLast week, I signed a contract with Matador for the release of “Freedom after the Sharks” in hardcover format. This will be in addition to Amazon and SmashWords.

There are already two reviews up on Amazon so check there to see what others say about my book.

If you are an entrepreneur and you have start-up questions, please contact me!

QUEST

I believe that companies must define their brand in a way that moves both employees and clients, and to communicate that effectively. In order to do that, it is critical to have a deep understanding of the role sales, marketing, and communications strategy play within a company’s overall business.

Note that while a consultant always asks for information from the client in order to diagnose problems and find solutions, the quest is to find the information that really matters. This is how the concept “QUEST” was born.

  • Qualities
  • Understanding
  • Expertise
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Time

If you think strategically about the most significant underlying factors that affect business performance, it is clear that employee motivation impacts customer behavior, and customer behavior needs to be positive in the relationship to secure new contracts, vertical sale opportunities and business referrals, so maintaining and increasing the motivation of the client companies we work with is valuable.

Q is for Qualities.

When managers are asked what qualities they most want their team members to bring to a given project, they may generate a list that includes responsibility, integrity, initiative, creativity, task orientation, persistence, clarity, co-operation, etc. These qualities exist in every company, and this is where potential skills arise.

  • Which qualities would you like to see more of in yourself?
  • Which would others on your team like to see more of, or less of?

Learning to use and express any specific quality or attribute is one kind of learning goal.

U is for Understanding.

Understanding requires more than just information; it requires a comprehension of all the components of a particular subject or system and the relationships among these components. You can have a great deal of information about a job or task without really understanding it. You may be able to state the mission of the company or of a given project, but do you really understand the mission sufficiently to be truly effective?

You should ask yourself: Given your current performance goals what, if understood better, would make success easier or more likely? Such goals might be stated in terms of, for example, “Expand my understanding of ….” (my co-workers, my boss, the customers, the competition, market dynamics, systems and processes, finance, obstacles, and so on).

E is for Expertise.

Expertise is what you call know-how or skill. It can be technical or emotional. Ask yourself what skills you have or could develop that would let you attain a higher level of performance. What skills are you learning that you could apply to your present role or project? Which of these skills could you learn from experience on the job, and which need some book or classroom learning?

Skills you could choose to develop might include computer literacy skills, negotiating skills, communication skills, accounting skills, technical skills, management or leadership skills, or you could choose to master a given body of knowledge. Once you develop these skills, they are available for you in a variety of future tasks.

S is for Strategic Thinking.

Strategic thinking can be viewed as a quality, a skill, or an understanding. But it is a distinct kind of thinking. It is the ability to step back from the trees and see the forest, to see past short-term goals and view long-range goals. It is a critical skill not just for a few managers and leaders, but for everyone in the organization. You need to ask yourself:

  • How strategically am I thinking?
  • Do I have a strategic perspective, or merely a tactical view?
  • How clear are my priorities in the company?
  • Are my current activities in line with my long-term goals?
  • Am I thinking independently enough?
  • Is my work life balanced and in harmony with the rest of my life?
  • Is my definition of work self-driven?
  • Do I see tasks in relation to other projects being completed?
  • Do I see what has to be done in line with the overall mission of the team and company?
  • Do I think strategically about my life?

Strategic thinking is about more than setting goals and targets in your work and in your life; it is about developing the ability to think strategically when you need to.

T is for Time.

All work is done in time and related to time, and understanding this relationship is critical to successful work. The best strategies and the best experts have failed because of an inability to come to terms with this fact.

  • Do you complete your work on time?
  • How aware are you of the time required to complete the tasks on your to-do-list?
  • Are you feeling constantly pressured by time?
  • Are you constantly behind on time lines?
  • Do you procrastinate?

You may want to consider setting a learning goal around the relationship between time, task and priorities.

The whole idea of QUEST is to provide leadership through dialogue and discussion, to ask questions and to promote discussion and creative thinking around those questions, and thus to help leaders broaden their horizons and persuade others within the mission to do the same.

Tribute to Annette & George Searle

Annette and George SearleMy book “Freedom after the Sharks” is coming out soon. The editing process is done and the final cover will be revealed within a few weeks. None of this would have been possible if it had not been for two wonderful people: Annette & George Searle, my grandparents.

I believe that my main drive for writing ‘Freedom After The Sharks’ was born out of my wish to share life’s learning experiences and lessons. The book describes the life of a young boy who despite the various challenges he faced, survived and found success and happiness based on truth.

My grandmother reminded me often as a child that “I have the ability to achieve my dream,  but the question is how much do I want the dream?

I think her counsel applies neatly to writing. One must write with passion, determination and drive. An author keeps refining their work and expect that it will be very hard work. Effective prose and a readable, engaging writing style and personal voice will not happen magically without concerted and disciplined effort.

I look forward to hear what you think about my book. The cover will be revealed soon so stay tuned!

My book; what is it about and who should read it

My book covers that in a declining economy, how to survive regardless of a lack of resources and finance. I will show you that you can survive and succeed. The book takes people through real live experiences. It shows them what not to do and what happens when you do. It guides you how to rectify your course of actions so you will see light at the end of the tunnel.

My primary audience is entrepreneurs. Starting up, they may not be sure of the path to take. Even if they can visualize the path, it is good to learn from other people’s mistakes and failures. Other groups of readers are middle management or junior executives who are looking for a fascinating life story of courage, drive and inspiration. My secondary audience is graduates and college students who will find information in my book that will prepare them for their career.