Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How to Impress Investors

If you're a CEO courting investors, you probably find yourself presenting the business plan for your company or product frequently. Incorporating solid market research in the plan gives it credibility.

However, the credibility of the written business plan sometimes has less impact than your credibility, and the credibility of other leaders in the company. So you might think that market research helps only marginally in closing the deal with investors. Perhaps you should instead just try to pad your Board of Directors and leadership positions with some industry experts. Think again.

The most impressive presentation you can give to investors is one in which you demonstrate not only that you have a solid plan, but that you know how to address business realities. Rather than rely on industry experts - who can be helpful but can also be a crutch - how about becoming an expert yourself?

If you just happen to have market research and strategy skills, you can use them to become an expert on the market for your products. If you don't, however, you need to hire someone who does, and who will make you an expert on the market and the strategy for targeting it. When you hire such a person and become an expert, you not only impress with your knowledge, but you demonstrate you are resourceful in confronting whatever the market throws your way.

It carries weight with investors when you know your market and hire people with the skills to keep your company in tune with it.

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