How you can turn the tables on the investors

Banking colleagues and investor friends of mine often despair at how poorly businesses present when seeking capital – debt or equity.  Sometimes the business fails on the very basics such as a projected cash-flow. Back-of-the-envelope presentations no longer attract capital via investors or banks. A new & measured approach is now required. If you present a half-baked case you will struggle to raise capital.

There is a better way.

A client of mine recently presented to their bank a very clear and concise strategy. Integral to the strategy were metrics (KPIs). Each of the KPI’s had 2 years worth of month by month history and targets going forward – (see the 6 Dashboards examples below). Of course there was more to this client’s presentation, including financial projections, use of capital, team bios etc., ultimately, however, it was their Dashboard that nailed it. It communicated very quickly to the bank that these guys had their house-keeping in order and they (the bank) had a good prospect of getting their money back!

I will let you in on a little secret. Commonly, it is the presentation and nous which raises capital, and NOT your business proposition or managerial skills, that often will determine the success in financing an investment proposal.

While I cannot share the specifics of the above client, I can show you some images of what their Strategy Map and Dashboards looked like. Note, a Strategy Map is not an exercise in word-smithing and slick design. It will take a good couple of days of intensive work-shopping to get it right for your business. Each business will have its unique Strategy Map. The image below is fairly representative of the expected output.

Financial Perspective

Note that each of the numbered entries on the Strategy Map is an objective and aligned with these objectives are metrics or KPIs, such as the following 6 Dashboards.

Dashboards

Each Dashboard compares last year (the yellow line) and target (the blue line) to this year, the green or red bar. The bars are colour-coded accordingly:

GREEN = on or above target
RED = below target

This is a compelling visual for any investor – or for that matter a prospective buyer of your business, such as recently occurred for another client.

An investor presented with this level of rigour (viz. Strategy Map & Dashboards) will immediately be thinking “these guys have their house-keeping in order”. Your proposal will stand out head and shoulders above countless other applications.

Some closing points.

With a Strategy & Dashboard it is YOU who will be in the driver’s seat. You have the prize – so long as your business is sound of course – all the investor has is the money and that’s a commodity. You will appear as less needy. Investors are turned off by “neediness”. This all serves to put you in a very different position when negotiating the terms of the deal.
And once your Strategy Map and Dashboard is insitu – this stuff is not just for the capital raise alone. With a dash of leadership (from you) this system will result in profitable growth and opportunities you may not have thought of. And that’s exciting!

Opportunities will start to find you. Another regional client who went through this process was purchased late last year by a large European group at an offer the owners couldn’t refuse; giving the founders a very comfortable retirement.

Let me know if you want to explore this further – but please, if you are interested, take action well before you actually need the capital. Give yourself some breathing space, as it is much more difficult to implement this at the 11th hour.

The rule of thumb is this: When a company raises capital is NOT a function of when it needs it; it is a function of when the capital is available or when the company is positioned to raise it.

Author: Jeremy de Constantin – jdc(at)deconstantin.com.au or mobile 0402 242 670.