The Equity Story: How to make yours stand out from the crowd
An equity story turns your company into something tangible for investors. Its purpose it to convey the DNA of a company in as compelling a way as possible and is the management’s chance to make an investment case with investors and, ultimately, maximise the valuation of their company. It tells them why they should buy this company’s shares and where the financial upside will come from. Differentiation is critical for success in an increasingly discerning and competitive landscape. With an IPO, you will have one shot to get it right.
In this blog we will look at the ways in which you can stand out from the crowd and gain traction with the investor community with your equity story. To do this, we will analyse the three key components of this story – content, design and delivery.
A 2017 PWC report breaks the content of the Equity Story down into 5 key sections which we will use to show a generic structure that is by no means fixed. It is worth bearing in mind that an Equity Story can be classed as more art than science so you will likely need an element of creativity in order to find the angle that works for you.
This is designed to show growth potential and shed light on the industry trends. Investors will need to be educated on your market position given the lack of financial information on private companies. The aim here is to show that there is space to move into and grow into position of dominance, preferably in an industry or market that promises future growth.
This section comes hand in hand with its predecessor. The purpose is to answer the question as to how the company is positioned to capitalise on the trends that are driving the market and how the management plans on achieving consistent and significant growth after the bell-ringing ceremony.
What strategy is in place to achieve this growth, be it organic or through acquisitions, and how will that strategy evolve and adapt in the short to medium term? There will also need to be an indication of how the proceeds of this growth will be distributed, be that reinvestment or paying them out as dividends.
The critical, more quantitative section of your story will enable research analysts and investors to populate their models and compare you like for like against what they believe to be your peers. This section will also set a precedent in terms of what forward multiples, financial ratios and other metrics your company plans to present on a quarterly or semi-annual basis going forwards.
Deep talent bench
Often overlooked as companies assume that this is a given, investors will still heavily scrutinise a team as they want to be sure that they have the track record to deliver on the promises that you have laid out in the previous sections over a prolonged period. The ability to reference a strong senior management team with transaction experience and relevant industry experience is invaluable. Investors will be more likely to put their faith in you if they can see your past successes.
The design of the presentation is critical not only at IPO to market the transaction itself but also because it sets a valuable foundation from which to roll out the quarterly results presentations once publicly listed. A common misconception about this is that the design is simply about making the presentation look more pretty. It is fundamentally about making the key messages more compelling, enabling the narrative and performance to emerge in a strong and deliberate way that will most help the investors extract and digest the information they need to decide on whether to express an interest in your shares.
The aim is to create a clear, clean and consistent design that is aligned with the company’s brand. A new template should ensure that the presentations tie in with the current brand identity but also translate into the future. This gives your deck longevity and maximises value for money spent on a graphic designer specialised in financial presentations.
The aim at the end of the process is to have total ownership of a professionally designed, easy to use template and a bank of high-quality slides from which to build on and develop as you stride out into life as a publicly traded company.
Unfortunately, even with a carefully crafted equity story and meticulously designed presentations, the messages will lose their impact if the management fail to get them across in a compelling and engaging way. As such, the last piece of the puzzle – delivery – is of paramount importance.
As Perform Partnership, a leadership coaching specialist, stipulates – “in high stakes games, projecting and communicating with impact are the only option.” In IPOs you have one chance to get it right.
Management is pivotal to share the Equity Story and to convince others and, specifically, investors that they should buy a share in the business. Their passion and ability to deliver a well-honed narrative will elicit a response from the audience and will increase your chances of forming a lasting connection with them.
Now that you have the attention of the audience, you need to hold onto it by focusing on what they want to get out of your presentation. Don’t lose sight of the fact that they are trying to build a complete picture of your company but, above all, they need the key valuation metrics to be front and centre.
Lastly, and most importantly, remember that it is called an Equity Story for a reason. This is storytelling and you need to strive to ensure that this makes a successful transition from financial PowerPoint to engaging story through your voice, your body language, your presence and conviction.
A pre-IPO ‘early look’ presentation is the perfect opportunity to stress test your story. This short deck will enable you to gain priceless feedback from investors on all aspects of your Equity story.
Differentiation is the key to success in today’s world. Stand out! Zone in on your content, design and delivery and pack the punch required to ensure a successful IPO.
Get in touch!
For support with content consultancy, presentation design and speaker training then reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be delighted to help you with any important investor facing presentations that you might have whether you are a private company, a public company or if you are making the transition from one to the other, we are here to help!