With the 2014 investor conference season about to go bananas (J.P. Morgan’s behemoth healthcare conference hits Jan. 14), it is probably a good idea to do a little prep work before spending all that time and money on the road. Think of it like going to sleepaway camp; you got your sunblock, check, bathing suit, check, toothbrush, check, compelling investor presentation, um …
OK, so unless you were the ultimate dork at summer camp, you probably didn’t bring an investor deck with you. The point is it is absolutely critical that you have the right mindset and materials before you embark on the conference circuit. Following are a handful of tips to consider:
- Make sure your investor presentation reflects the kind of company you are right now. Many of us get attached to clever graphics, analogies and even metrics that are no longer relevant to a story. A few substantial tweaks could make all the difference when it comes to keeping investors engaged.
- Manage your one-on-one schedule. It is easy to feel pressured by your hosts to sit with everyone on your schedule, but not all of the folks who want to sit with you are interested in investing in your company. Some are looking for industry trends or even making a bet that your company’s stock is headed south. Bottom line: Keep a close watch of your schedule and feel free to say no and request a new meeting.
- Piggyback NDRs. Traveling is expensive, not to mention time consuming. So, if you’re headed across country, let’s say to NYC, perhaps it makes sense to also do a day of meetings in Boston or Philly. Or better yet, maybe an analyst from a different bank would like to set up a dinner in NYC after your conference.
- Sleep well and eat right. OK, I’m an IR guy, not a nutritionist. But I’ve seen it before, the executive who has been up all night working, eating crappy food, and throwing back one too many glasses of scotch. And then comes the investor presentation, at which point you can hear all of the air being sucked out of the room because the speaker has no energy. I’m not saying stop drinking scotch, but I am saying it’s important to take care of yourself.
- And finally, take notes and ask questions. We usually assume that investors are the ones asking all of the questions, but maybe there is some insight to be gained if management teams ask investors questions. Investors sit with hundreds of management teams and likely can impart a few nuggets of their own.
– Evan Pondel, firstname.lastname@example.org