Many companies have a unique service or product but either lacks the capital or know-how to go public. Going public slams open the doors to massive global capital possibilities and massive partnering and strategic growth capabilities. A financially broke company should never try to go public to raise money to stay afloat as you’ll only attract the fee based predatory consultants who make their money on individual fee oriented services without the ability to bring it all together in a turn-key solution so in the end there is no accountability.
The prototypical company that will succeed in going public is either a profitable and mature company or a start up with contracts in place for capitalization and patented and/or proprietary technology or systems that give it a massive edge over competitors. The decision to go public should be based in the desire for rapid growth and capitalization. The qualities of a company that will succeed on the public forum is one with a solid executive staff, experienced board of directors and a service that is recession proof (Yeah I know, what business is recession proof?), and finished with the actual developmental stage with a solid product or service and identified partners and distribution sources.
If you realistically have a chance at going and staying public you’ll attract consulting firms and/or broker dealers and market makers and many times law firms that focus on taking companies public in return for minor upfront fees and a solid equity position. Be careful not to sign on with a company that does not offer a ‘one stop shop’ or turn-key solutions which includes everything if you are going to be paying an upfront fee and equity. Many solid firms will ask for both fee and equity compensation and it’s worth it if they are truly capable of delivering a full range of services.
You should have a polite yet rigorous interview process with the firm before signing on. The ideal situation for a company going public is to partner with a consulting firm or broker dealer who offers absolutely everything you will need to succeed in the pre-IPO and post-IPO market. Expect to pay a fee for corporate structuring, business plan, private placement memorandum and Direct Public Offering to the firms database of investors (if they do not offer an introduction service to investors you should not take them seriously as a full service consulting firm as they are only offering you a sandwich without the bread).
Parts that a consulting firm will partner on if they can truly take your company public from A to Z is the initial Direct Public Offering to an in house group of investors who will invest the capital needed to pay for the audit (though many times this will have to come out of your pocket even if you team of with the best firms in the business), S1 filing and comments, SEC and FINRA approval and ultimately to the point where a market maker or broker dealer is selling your securities to the public. Sometimes it’s good to just hire a company that is strictly fee based for your ‘going public’ ambitions but be prepared to pay hefty fees. If you are a solid corporation with a realistic chance at going public, you’ll be able to tell by the tone that consulting firms have with you when you engage them in the initial phone consultation. If you’re ready to go public, a proper consultant will be able to identify your position in the market place to fill in the blanks.