Going Public with Your Online Business
You might remember the heyday of the dot-com era, when companies went public with shares breaking Wall Street records. Well, going public remains a viable option for your Internet business, even if it takes more work (and a good battle against skepticism). Companies such as Google, GoDaddy, and LinkedIn certainly have proven that the dot-com magic is still viable.
Here’s the catch: You have to follow the same game plan as any other company that wants to go public, which includes these tasks:
- Create a sustainable business concept that’s capable of keeping shareholders happy over the long haul. Your financial statements must be in tip-top shape, and you must have a critical strategy in place to support sustained growth.
- Take a closer look at your employees, vendor partnerships, and customers, and then begin investing in some heavy hitters (if you haven’t already).
- Attract executives who are knowledgeable about the process of going public, and who have substantial experience with recognizable companies. You also need to partner with, or sell to, big-name vendors and customers. The more attention your company gets, the higher your public stock will be.
The pros of going public with your company are that you
- Increase its net worth (you hope)
- Jump into the big leagues
The cons of going public with your company are that
- The process is complicated, time consuming, and expensive.
- You get no guarantees.
- A venture capitalist (a firm or person that prepares your company to go public) might ask you to step down as CEO or president if your skills aren’t a match for taking your company public.
You usually don’t decide to go public overnight. If you’re on this path, you will experience some lower-level rounds of fundraising first. During that time, you typically work with angel investors and work your way up to venture capitalists.