Investor Relations - It’s Never Too Soon
A common misconception shared by “Leaders of public companies” is the unshakeable belief that if they run their company well, achieve their milestones, make good profits, then investors and the financial community will beat a path to their door. In practice, this amounts to only a small part of what needs to be done.
As the Leader of a public company you need to answer to outside board members, government-reporting agencies, you must consider public disclosure and meet all regulatory requirements. You have hundreds, or maybe thousands of investors watching you, you have media and industry reporters, stockbrokers and analysts, all calling and expecting information. What can be said, what should be said and how? A Leader needs to decide how they should carry out these responsibilities and perhaps realize that, like other aspects of their business, they cannot shoulder them alone.
The investor relations (IR) role is, more than ever, a much needed and changing discipline, essential for navigating through today’s communication challenges. Public companies, through professional IR specialists, have seen the value in being proactive and investor relations functions have evolved to become a marketing role. Just as the buyers of your company’s products and services have numerous options to consider when making purchasing decisions, shareholders also make decisions based upon the value of information they receive or do not receive. Every company is competing with all others for the investor’s dollar.
The proliferation of the Internet has also brought about significant changes to the investment community and IR role as well. Information is readily available with immediacy to any investor worldwide. Company websites and Internet presence has now become ubiquitous, and therefore a vital means of communicating with these investors. The influence of this medium has greatly affected how companies need to communicate.
As the Leader, how do you and your company deal with all of this now and in the future? When should you start? The answer is today! Or yesterday!
Start small and do it in stages.
1. Interview IR professionals, IR companies and your peers; educate yourself as to who and what is available and what is working for others. Consider an IR firm or a professional who will work with you as your business scales and who can handle your growing IR needs.
2. Establish an IR strategy early, a strategy that will grow with your organization. Implement this program in stages, starting small and beginning with basic shareholder communication and reporting. Remember your IR strategy should be presenting your corporate image as well as delivering your key messages.
3. Consider the many different media and delivery options for getting your message out, such as your annual reports, press releases, conference calls, presentations, executive speeches, websites and website content.
4. Start small and test numerous content and media over a variety of campaigns. You will find some campaigns and messages will get varying responses from the investment community.
5. Build a shareholder database.
Basically, it’s about building and maintaining relationships of trust with not only your investors but also the general investment community.
Investor Relations is a two-way street: a dialogue. Listen to the investment community, absorb and analyze feedback from investors, and react, if necessary, to this market intelligence. Continuous, consistent, and credible communication strategies should be defined as early as possible in the development of a company. It can build confidence, trust, and the desired track record with investors.
As the Leader, implement an effective IR strategy early so your focus can be on running your business.
Kevin Worth provides investor relations services to Vital Resources (CSE:VITL). Vital Resources Corporation is an emerging Calgary-based oil company focused on building shareholder value through development and exploration plays in the Philippines. You can contact Kevin at telephone: 403-668-1645 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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