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IPO Readiness Practical Tips for General Counsel: “Ready Set Go Public” Part 1 of 6

Ready? Set, Go Public!! — Is your company ready for an IPO?

What is this all elusive IPO that businesses talk about? An Initial Public Offering is that first sale of stock in your company. It’s that day that you stand up and say, “I’m truly ready to grow!” Going public with an IPO, for many reasons, is critical to the growth of a business. The walls that you had around your company turn to glass and all of a sudden everyone can see what lies within. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. An IPO is like a beautiful wedding, but like a true marriage, needs strong policies and processes to sustain its long-term success.

Keeping the above in mind, I propose the question again: Is your company ready for an IPO? Consider the costs of being a public company over the long run. This is a marriage after all and you need to be ready for the long term. Are you honestly ready for the financial and operational responsibility of a publicly held company? How will investors react? What are the key indicators that the market is ready for you?

I urge you to familiarize yourself with the entire IPO process. It can be a bit overwhelming, so do your research and talk to friends, lawyers, and colleagues. This is a huge decision and there will be much to remember; don’t try to understand it all at once. But once you’ve decided that you’re ready, do it. Act on it! Use resources because you’ll need them. Get help with the IPO process so you can still focus on running and growing the business. Time doesn’t stand still while you’re getting your company ready to go public.

Here are some helpful tips on the IPO process:

Prepare – it takes extensive effort to draft the SEC disclosure document, prepare financial statements, collect due diligence materials and implement changes required for that publicly acclaimed status.

Be proactive – anticipate and address issues prior to your IPO. This will allow you to minimize distractions and make sure everything runs smoothly.

Build your team – Top-notch, experienced accountants, lawyers, managers, and investment bankers make a world of difference.

A beautiful wedding does not equal a successful marriage. The wedding is that “perfect” day that everyone worked so hard for; all the components were carefully orchestrated – the florist, the caterer, and the wedding planner. After much preparation, planning and professional guidance, your company can successfully unveil a fresh readiness for its own initial public offering.

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