The future of private finance in the new world requires Founders to have a greater handle on their business’ finances. They need to show a higher level of understanding of systems, processes and performance if they are going to earn their investors’ confidence.
Founders can no longer gloss over the results, margins and targets, they need to demonstrate detailed knowledge in the here and now. Based on my experience of advising Founders on how to get their finances in shape, here are the top five things you MUST do to impress your investors:
1. Prepare a robust financial forecast which is underpinned by informed assumptions
I’m amazed at how many businesses have never documented their strategy let alone assessed the finances that they need to achieve their goals. Often, the trigger for preparing a financial forecast is to secure investment. However, how do you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there if you haven’t made a plan?
Your financial forecast will be a key focus during the due diligence phase so it needs to be robust and you need to understand the assumptions inside out. A weak forecast or one with lots of gaps will seriously undermine confidence.
2. Know your key business metrics inside-out
Understand the key drivers in the business and track these closely. What has the biggest impact on profit and cash? What drives increased sales and how do you monitor / influence this? Every outcome can be measured and changed if you understand what has led up to that outcome in the first place. If you don’t demonstrate a keen understanding of the metrics for your business, your potential investors will!
3. Show real-time performance reporting is embedded in the business
Investors want information so they can monitor how their investments are performing. You need to give them accurate, reliable information that is up-to-date so they can meet their own reporting obligations to their shareholders. If you don’t deliver your management reports on time then your investors will be concerned that you aren’t managing the business effectively. Show your investors that everyone in the business is responsible for data and the key reporting metrics for the business.
4. Provide them with live dashboards on key performance metrics
The best way to build investor confidence is to give them live access to the KPIs. Give them access to the data you use on a daily basis to demonstrate how important it is to you.
5. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of performance versus target
Management reports should track performance against prior periods and against targets. There is a reason why a car has five (or six!) forward gears and one reverse gear - it’s more important to understand and get to where you are going than it is to see and retrace where you’ve been.
Include a commentary that explains key variances and demonstrate to your investors that you and your team are taking action to achieve targets.
We have developed the GrowthCheck which is designed to assess how fit a company’s finance processes are today and how well they will support the business during the growth phase. We benchmark the company’s score against their peers and the target for other similar size companies and we provide the Founders with a roadmap with recommendations that can be implemented in key stages as the company grows.
Get in touch now to see how fit your finances are to support your growth plans.