Taking in finance is difficult. If its debt finance, the Banks will bring in their teams to look you over, look at your people, judge the risk. They may bring their own legal team (which you will pay for).
If its Equity, then it could be private or public. Investors often specialise in stage companies – start up, early stage, commercialisation, internationalisation depending on what you are planning to do. Angel investment groups have good people, and often a staff team to help you through. Venture Capitalists will bring lots of challenge. Private Equity firms will definitely go through everything you do like a dose of salts. They will question, challenge and I can assure you, there will be a moment when you will start to doubt whether this was a good idea after all.
If you are at the stage of going to public markets then you will need lawyers, brokers, PR firms – when we went public in 1995 the whole process is etched on my brain!
If you are approached about a trade sale – well this is often the most difficult of all. It is tempting to say that you aren’t ready to sell yet and be subsumed into someone else, but you have to consider it – could they get you where you want to go with your product faster? Do they have people that can really help? Can they take away some of the day to day stress?
And then you have public money – this has a rhythm all of its own, and it’s not usually very fast…
What’s the key? The key is the STORY – your story. This is what anyone is looking for – strong stories are fundable. Stories that have got holes in them soon get found out, so test them all beforehand.