So many companies dream of going public both as a growth and exit strategy but unfortunately few succeed with this process. The third party audit, sponsoring of the S1 and 211 by a market maker and SEC comments stage is just one of the obstacles involved with taking a company public. The attempt at going public and actually achieving a symbol are two entirely different things and if you are lucky enough to achieve a symbol there’s a completely separate area of expertise needed to keep your stock trading and to preserve a company’s longevity in the marketplace.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when gearing up to take your company public. Forget everything that you’ve read and heard and pay attention to what you’re about to read because this is the straight forward, objective reality of the process. First, do not hire an attorney to take you public as they will take you on a long drawn out process to get as many billable hours as possible, instead, hire a consulting firm whose sole business model is to take companies public and take advantage of the relationships that they have with attorneys. This is the first rule: hire a consulting firm that offers a complete A to Z turn-key solution for taking a company through the process of going public, achieving a symbol and preserving the trade with a solid, ongoing post public investor relations strategy.
Next, when you’ve decided on a consulting firm evaluate their team, don’t ask for references to call to research their track record, better yet, ask for symbols of previous clients and links to the Edgar database to check out current deals in the comments stage. The proof is in the empirical track record, not potentially fraudulent phone references that are easily engineered and BS.
Now look at their team. Make sure that the consulting group has a solid legal team, market makers, investor relations team, auditing group and someone well versed in the comments stage response as this can be one of the major hang-ups in achieving your symbol in a timely manner. Also, most important, they absolutely MUST have a solid group of investors to fund the process for equity and to sell their shares into the marketplace post public to create a market for your stock as well as a network of market makers familiar with your deal to piggyback off of the sponsoring market maker’s 211.
About one month away from symbol achievement you’ll want to meet with your consultants to get a solid IR strategy together for a big offering dbut. You will want to set up a strategy for 30 day IR intensives every other month with general corporate publicity strategies in between. I suggest changing your IR firm each quarter to keep it fresh and open up your trade to a new network of investors.
One special note to consider is that when you are raising your initial round of capital from seed investors, the fastest way to do this is to have a fist full of contracts and purchase orders in hand to strengthen your position and publicize this reality with an arsenal of press releases. Its 100 times easier to raise capital if you are showing seed investors a handful of ‘soon to be’ cash than to solicit them empty handed.
Obviously there are a multitude of other issues that you need to take into consideration when going public so find a consulting firm that can help you make it happen. Don’t try to venture out into these waters on your own as you’ll be diving into shark infested waters and you’ll almost certainly fail.