What’s the best way to keep your shareholders informed of your business activity? How often should you update them? How should you celebrate your good news? And what about delivering the bad news?
The main purpose of a shareholder update is to keep your network in the know.
Your shareholders have invested their time and money into your business and a simple frequent update can provide a transparent line of communication to let them know how the business is progressing: what’s working, what’s not, and how you plan to fix it.
A single page update delivered on a consistent monthly basis can provide unparalleled information to your network and encourage further, future capital investment.
Regularity, clarity and professionalism are the key aspects of any engaging shareholder update.
The best investor updates we see are simple and to the point. Your investors will be time pressed, so your best bet for maximum engagement is concision. The introduction should provide a brief snapshot of the business since your last update, such as upcoming company news and recent additions to staff.
Think of it as a blurb to a novel – for the best bits, your audience will want to read on!
An ideal update would look something along these lines:
It’s been a great month for us here at [your.company].
We’ve negotiated a major signing with HubSpot, and welcomed Liam onto the team as a Senior Creative. These connections will help us develop a major product we hope to make available to the public in April 2019.
Now you’ve given them a snapshot, it’s time to go into some more detail: the nitty-gritty & the nuts and bolts of your business. From my experience, the best way to make this clear to your shareholders is to use the goals, successes and challenges categorisation method. This allows you to walk your investors through your business activity, giving them the greatest possible understanding of how your business has performed.
Outline the direction you’re taking over the next month, and provide reasons for why you decided to take that course of action. Your shareholders will want to know how you plan to keep their best interests at heart. For example:
- We are searching for a larger office space in the Sydney CBD area, ideally around 500 square metres, close to public transport hubs.
- We’re looking to expand our digital marketing efforts by hiring freelance writers for our blog posts.
Don’t be afraid to brag here, this is your chance to show off how great you’re doing! Your successes serve as essential talking points for not only current stakeholders, but future customers and investors. What’s more, if your shareholders can see consistently strong performance, they might be encouraged to contribute further capital. Here’s what they expect:
- Successfully finalised deal with HubSpot for 3 years. Congratulations to Hamish and the sales team involved for making that happen!
- Increased monthly website visits by 35% this month.
- Registered 18 new clients.
Every business will face some sort of difficulty on a month-to-month basis. In fact, if you’re not, you just might be falling behind! Use these difficulties to take a proactive approach and demonstrate to your network your plans to remedy these issues. This might look like:
- Problems with integrating Salesforce into our accounting records. Chester will focus on this with the IT department over the next few weeks.
- Internal reshuffling of staff, Isobel in HR will focus heavily on this to streamline business efficacy.
Key Performance Indicators
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so your Key Performance Indicators are vital elements of any shareholder update. By providing your network with a range of business data, such as: monthly online users, sales, & lead generation, you give investors key metrics to assess the business’ performance.
Be sure to include some commentary and explanation, as well as any plans for change or adjustments over the coming month.