One of the major problems with starting a business is getting the business into a situation in which you can scale and make the business truly sustainable. This normally means getting some form of investment, this may be from other founders, employees, but most often from investors.
So what are the minimum set of items to check off the list to become investment ready?
1. Domain Name: Make sure you secure the .com site and your country domain, e.g. .co.uk. If these are not available then you should seriously consider renaming both the domain and trading company or someone else could end up with your website traffic.
2. Registered Company: In order to issue shares to an founder, employee or investor in return for their money time/you will need to form a Registered Company, such as Ltd. This normally means going to companieshouse.ork.uk and completing an online form.
3. Have a working Business Bank Account: This must be in the name of the Registered Company with the current directors as signatories. It takes a little longer than expected and make sure you have all the documents before setting foot in the bank. For you first business bank account I recommend you have a physical bank with a business manager, so shop around and make sure you get on with them. This means you can ask questions and get advice for nothing.
4. Trademark, Copyright or Design Rights: It is very important to ensure you are covered by a Trademark in your main trading country(s) so that no one else can use your product or company name.
5. Financial Forecast: In order negotiate a fair deal for both you and the investor it is very important to have robust financial forecasts and a proper valuation of your company. Again there is professional help with accountants if you are having problems.
6. Business Plan: Planning and Execution are key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. I have never liked writing a business plan as it becomes an exercise in writing and not planning, risk management and strategic thinking. I highly recommend that you write this yourself in no more than a day or two as this should be short and concise as the majority of angel investors are busy people and will skim read it at most.
7. Presentation: Once you have got through the door to meet the angel investor, then you only have a few minutes to impress and show you know what you are doing. So use the rule of five, five slides with five lines with five words, the rest is in your head. Remember, the five slides are Problem, Proposition, People, Proof, Request.
8. Shareholder Agreement: It is advisable for you to create a fair Shareholder Agreement rather than use one the investor provides which is likely to be highly stacked in their favour as it has been written by their lawyer.