Posts Tagged ‘Investor Relations’

 

I recently presented at the 2012 CIRI Essentials Conference in Vancouver (Canadian Investor Relations Institute). This is a fantastic educational event that occurs annually in Canada, and is designed for professionals new to Investor Relations. My topic was, ‘Investor Relations on a Tight Budget‘. This was an interactive presentation requiring all participants to work in groups to develop their: IR Strategies, IR plans and their IR Budgets; while finding ways to save money when creating these essential documents. The participants had only an hour, so we moved through these steps quickly, giving them insight to the process but at a superficial level. We used a typical Vancouver junior exploration company as our case study. This will be the first of two posts focusing on 1) Creating IR strategies, plans, and budgets. The second blog post will provide details on 2) ways to save money and stretch your IR budget.

 

 Our case study – Coal Harbour Gold

After the participants had a chance to meet each other and network, they were divided into small groups, and presented with their case study. Coal Harbour Gold are a fictional resource exploration company head quartered in Vancouver with their exploration focused in the Yukon. Here are the details the class was provided:

  1. Market Cap $50 Million
  2. Small executive team: CEO, CFO, VP exploration
  3. Consultants used for all other corporate functions
  4. Very little IR in past few years – Shareholders want this to improve
  5. CEO knows better IR is needed but IR is a bit of a mystery to him
  6. CEO has hired us and now wants us to come up with full IR plan and budget
  7. Company is running low on funds and will need to raise 3-5$ M in next 12 months
  8. Share price has been stagnant with very little trading volume
  9. Company is unknown in the investment world, very few contacts,
  10. Most shareholders are retail, no analyst coverage

 

StrategyCreate the IR Strategy

Our project was to create Coal Harbour Gold’s IR strategy, plan, and budget; and find ways to cut costs while doing it. Our strategy is our game plan to take us from where we are today to where we want the company to be one year from now. Our IR plan is the road map – breaking down the activities we will perform month to month. The budget adds the dollar figures to our IR plan. Here are a few suggestions our class had to help shape the IR strategy:

  • The Sr. management are unknown – we need to highlight their achievements and market them
  • Get on the road and tell the story, locally, nationally and internationally
  • Increase the frequency, and quality, of their communications with their stakeholders
  • Build out the crucial marketing pieces, starting with a solid website

 

What are the essentials of the IR plan?

Once the groups identified their strategies I asked them to create a list of the essentials for their IR plan. What are the 6-7 things that were musts, not wants. These essentials were crucial to the IR plan if it was going to be successful. Here are the items the groups decided on:

  • Website
  • Roadshows
  • Marketing materials: fact sheets, presentations
  • Annual Report
  • Database management
  • Conferences / tradeshows
  • Networking events
  • Social Media

Once the essentials are decided upon you can start to build out the IR plan. The IR plan once again is the road map for the year. It is a month to month schedule that lays out the yearly IR activities and follows the IR strategy.

 

Budgeting time

Now that the IR plan essentials were identified and the strategy was in place, it was time to start putting some figures to the activities that would be in the plan. Were we really ready for this? Perhaps we needed to clarify a few things from our CFO about our budget. Here are some questions we had for her:

  • What items would fall into the IR budget? Can any of these be moved to another budget like salaries, travel etc.
  • Was there a budget for IR last year or any previous years? Can we have a look at it?
  • What is the total dollar figure we have to work with?

The truth is more time should be spent creating a powerful IR plan. If you can create a kick-ass plan you may be able to convince the CEO to add more funds into your budget. I always find that if I can show the value with each item in the plan and the rational for why it is needed the CEO or CFO have a harder time deleting it, and if they do, I can usually convince them to make room for the item the following year.

True IR talent is making the IR plan fuse with the IR budget provided. Once you have mastered this skill it is time to ask for a raise, but ensure your salary does not fall into your IR budget.

 

Budget Tracking and ReportingBudget tracking and reporting

You should revisit your IR plan and budget at least every quarter. I try to take notes, and write basic reports, on the activities we attempted. Did we find them to add value, was it worth the expense; and are there ways we could do it again, but cut costs? I also watch for other activities that may have been new this year, or perhaps out of our budget. I try to get feedback from peers that attended those events, and I make a note to try and fit the successful activities into next year’s plan. If you can present these types of documents to your CEO or perhaps even the board of directors, you will have a greater chance of growing your budget next time around. Did I mention to keep your CFO close? If you can make your CFO a fan or perhaps a good friend, I guarantee your budget rules will be a bit more relaxed next season.

 

Finding ways to cut costs

Watch for our next blog post where we will share ways to reduce the costs of the essentials in your IR Plan and ways to stretch you IR budget.

Like the article? Let us know what you think, find us on Twitter.

 

The PDAC’s top 10 investor questions

March 2nd, 2012 by Jon Bey

Congratulations, you have made it to the PDAC International Convention. For those unaware of this event, it is the mining industry’s version of March Madness. 30,000 attendees walking the investor exchange aisles in search of the rare gems, the exploration companies with the next “big discovery”.

Now that you are here, I hope you ready. It is your time to shine. You will be the face of the company, fielding a myriad of questions so you’d better be prepared.

So what should you do to prepare?

Create a Frequently Asked Questions list

Following our recent article on preparing for an Investor conference , I met with Nancy Goertzen, an IR consultant in Vancouver currently completing the CIRI/IVEY professional certification in Investor Relations.  Nancy admitted she always prepares a frequently asked question list prior to working the booth at investor conferences. Here are the top 10 questions she is often asked.
 

1. Why should I buy shares in your company?

2. Are you going to be doing a financing soon?

3. Why isn’t your CEO here?  Doesn’t He/She care about the company?

4. How many shares do you have?  How many options do you have?

5. Is there going to be a rollback (of the stock)?

6. Are you going to be having a property tour of the mine site?  Can I come?

7. I’ve heard that gold (insert commodity of your choice here) is going down, what do you think?

8. Management should do a better job of keeping the share price up. Do you have any management here so I can talk to them?

9. Someone in your company told me to buy shares at 2 dollars and now you’re down to 1 buck. Who can I talk to about that?

10. Will you meet me for drinks tonight?

 

Technical Questions over your head

Besides the generic questions, you may also be asked very specific geological questions at shows. If your knowledge level is high, fantastic – answer those questions. If the questions sound like a different language and are over your head, don’t try to answer them. Instead, explain that you are not a geologist but you would be happy to have your company geologist follow up. 
 

Know your Team

You will also be asked about your management team, so you must know who all of your key people are.  If you are new to the company, it is quite possible that you may not have met all of your company’s Sr. Management team or your Board of Directors. You still need to know who they are, where they are, and at least the information about their bios that can be found on the website. You should also figure out who your institutional investors and your significant shareholders are. Look them up and memorize their faces and something about them so that when they do present themselves at the booth or at some social function after booth hours, you will be able to receive them in a professional way.
 

Develop and grow your FAQ list

Your frequently asked questions list is a fluid document that is always changing. Record the questions you were asked at the show – especially the ones that caught you off guard – and add them to your list for the next show. During the show Tweet the questions you are asked the most, chances are your followers would like to know the answers as well. If this is your first time creating a list of FAQ’s, start by asking your peers and your management; they will have great insight and may be impressed with your preparedness.

 

Remember: “failing to prepare is preparing to fail”

 

What questions have we forgotten? How would you answer these questions? Drop us a note, and let us know. As always, we would love to hear from you and add you to our peer group, so please connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

 

Jon Bey

How to Succeed at Investor Conferences

February 28th, 2012 by Jon Bey

I received a call the other day from an individual new to Investor Relations. She had just been hired by a junior exploration company in Vancouver and was asked to represent her company at the upcoming PDAC mining conference in Toronto. This will be her first experience as an Investor Relations professional representing a company, and it just happens to be at the largest mining convention in the world. Now what?

Depending on whom you ask, these investor conferences can be of great benefit or a complete waste of resources. I believe they can be both. If you prepare properly and follow a game plan, these conferences can be extremely valuable. But, if you show up unprepared, it may be a fun experience but a complete waste of corporate funds and time.

I caught up with Bear Creek Mining’s Lisa May, an experienced IR professional, currently completing her professional Certification in Investor Relations from CIRI and the IVEY school of Business. We discussed investor conferences and came up with these four areas which are critical to the success of Investor Relations professionals.

4 pillars of a successful Investors Conference plan

There are four pillars to a successful investor conference plan. If you follow all four, you will have success and will have created value for your company. Miss any of these crucial pillars, and your conference might have been a waste of time and money.

1. Identifying the right conferences
2. Preparing for the conference
3. Executing the conference plan
4. Conference follow up – measurement of success

Identifying the right conferences for your company

First, you must understand your own company. You will need to figure out the basic facts about your company before you can figure out which conferences to attend. Next, find out from Sr. management what the corporate strategy is and why they want you to attend the conferences. Finally, use your detective skills to search for all potential industry specific conferences. Once you know these answers, it should be easy to identify the right conferences to attend.

• What industry are you in? (no brainer)
• Why does your company want to you attend the conferences? What is the strategy?
• What stage is your company in? (grass roots exploration, advanced exploration, mining)
• What’s your market cap size? (micro-cap, small cap, mid cap, large cap)
• Who are your company’s peers? (companies similar to yours)
• What conferences do your peers attend? – which ones do they recommend?
• What is your company willing to spend to attend the conferences? Some are expensive!
• Where does your management want to gain traction? – find investors, analysts, fund managers, brokers etc. (local, Canada, USA, Europe, Asia)
• Search online – maybe there are new conferences this year.
• Search through your social networks – ask what conferences to attend on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.

Preparing for the conference

Now that you have identified a few conferences that look intriguing, the next steps are to get registered for the conference and start the process of preparation. The registration is the easy part as long as the conference is open to all. You may find the conference you want to attend is by invitation only and your company may not meet the criteria this year. Once you have registered, the real work begins. The preparation stage is by far the most important.

• Identify the company goals for the conference. Why are you attending? (To gain retail investors, meet institutional investors, business development, or networking)
• Book all the conference extras (tables, chairs, carpet, insurance etc.)
• Book travel for you and your conference materials. (you may send your booth early)
• Do you have a conference booth? Is it current? Do you have a graphic designer to provide current material for the banners? Is your booth functional? How do you set it up, Test it out. Make sure you do a dry run in your office!
• Prepare the marketing materials: fact sheets, corporate presentations etc.
• Locate a local printer near the conference in case more materials are needed.
• Plan your schedule around the conference – what other events, meetings can you arrange for your management team?
• Invite investors, brokers, shareholders to visit you at the booth – by email and through social networks like: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
• Prepare your strategy and game plan for your days at the booth. How will you engage investors? How will you track your conversations?
• Prepare a list of frequently asked questions you will likely be asked at your booth and rehearse your answers
• Add the conference to the Calendar section of your company website – maybe highlight the conference on the homepage.
• Prepare a strategy to measure your success at the show – did you accomplish your goals?

Show time – During the conference

You have managed to get this far; now it is time to perform. I strongly recommend you arrive at least one day early and make use of the early set-up time for your booth. Sometimes they break or have issues that you will want to solve before the morning of the show. Once the doors open and the investors start to roll in, you need to be on your game. Try to have more than a few hours of sleep; this can be difficult at times. Here are a few tips once the investors start to walk the aisles.

• Don’t get worried if many investors don’t want to speak to you, each investor has different agendas and specific companies and sectors they follow.
• Start with a smile and a nice greeting to those that stop by your booth.
• Define roles of those in the booth. Are you manning the booth alone, or with the company CEO?
• Have a few good opening questions like: Have you heard of our company? Are you interested in copper? If that is your speciality, can I answer any questions for you?
• Don’t act like a used car salesman.
• Engage your audience; find out if they are a current shareholder, what kind of investor they are, how they hear heard about your company?
• Create an opportunity for follow-up.
• Create a spreadsheet and record details of the good meetings you had, and try to collect a business card or contact details.
• Tweet about the conference while it is occurring, inviting people to your booth to meet you.
• Try to attend any Tweet-ups you have been invited to – maybe create your own.
• Add the conference information to your corporate Facebook page and add daily updates and pictures of the events.
• Try to get some video footage of your CEO or management at the conference.
• Try to arrange some media coverage (perhaps an interview for your Sr. management).

Follow up and measurement of success – Was the conference a good return on investment?

Once the tradeshow is over and you have packed up the booth and sent it on its way, it will be time for a cold drink and a quick reflection on the success of the event. You may want to wait until you return home, but don’t procrastinate: do these before you move on to your next task and while your memories are fresh. Here’s what I do:

• Review your spreadsheet and compare it to your original goals – did you meet the number of retail and institutional brokers you had hoped?
• Did you meet your networking goals?
• Did you manage to arrange any business development meetings?
• Did you meet the shareholders that you invited to the booth?
• Were your social media and social network activities a success?
• Review your pre-conference checklist – did all go as planned? What changes would you make?
• Were you happy with the travel arrangements? Was the hotel acceptable?
• What events, activities did you not know about that you want to include for next year?
• Plan your follow-up with all the individuals you met with.
• Update your list of frequently asked questions.
• Create a document that you can share with Sr. management and the board showing them the company’s success at the conference and a plan to improve next year’s event.
• Plan your meeting with your CEO to review your compensation – you are surely due for a raise!

We hope this has been a helpful tool. Please contact us should you have any questions or would like assistance with any of your Corporate Investor Relations needs: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Talk soon, see you at the next Investors Conference!

Jon Bey – Steel Rose Communications

In the world of investor relations, an IRO with a large rolodex of stock brokers can be very successful and in high demand. The trick is attaining that rolodex. Some say it can be bought, but I disagree. I am sure we have all been approached by people trying to sell us a contact list, but the rolodex is only as good as the relationships that the IRO has built with those brokers over time. So how do you build up your rolodex? You have to find a way to connect and build a relationship with each broker, and this is an ongoing exercise. The good news is, with the help of social networks, it is getting easier.

Are rookie brokers worth the time investment?

Not all brokers are the same; one seasoned broker, with a fantastic book of clients, can have more influence than one hundred rookie brokers just starting their careers. Does this mean you should focus your time on getting to know just the senior brokers? No not really. First of all, it’s very difficult to meet the top brokers; they aren’t usually the ones at the networking functions looking for clients and contacts. Secondly, if you want to build your network for future years, get to know those rookies as they will develop into the power brokers of the future.

So how do you meet your local brokers?

This is the hard part, it will require a herculean effort, and a staggering amount of time. You can’t sit in your office and just cold call them unless you are lucky enough to have the hottest company in town. You have to get out and network. Go to the tradeshows, to the coffee shops, the restaurants where they hang out, and the social events they attend and introduce yourself. Always carry a stack of your business cards and be prepared with your pitch of who you are, what you do, and why they would want to connect with you. Hopefully you have a current project worth speaking to them about but if you don’t, let them know you will in the near future.

Use your connections and get introduced.

I have always found that a warm introduction from a friend or contact helps make that initial conversation much easier – so leverage your contacts. This is another reason you should be networking. The more people you get to know, the more potential introductions you can benefit from. And remember, networking is a two way street and you should aim to pay it forward by giving more referrals than you ask for.

Are you plugged in to social networks?

If you are in investor relations and you are not set up on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – then either start immediately or leave the profession, because you are a dinosaur and about to become extinct. In a 2011 survey, ‘Social Media Use by Financial Advisors‘, Socialware found that 84% of brokers across North America are using social networks for business purposes and these numbers are up from 60% in 2010. The financial world is adapting and increasingly plugging in to these networks so it is becoming even easier to get an online introduction. Remember, if your goal is to establish a relationship with brokers then you need to be aware of social media etiquette. If you make a mistake here you may make that bad first impression and never get the face to face introduction you are striving for. Don’t think that just by joining these social media networks that hundreds of brokers are going to try and connect with you. It is still going to take a great deal of time and effort, but at least these online networks make it a bit easier. For example, on LinkedIn, you can scroll through all your friends contacts, and identify people you want to connect with. Then you just need to ask your friend to introduce you either in person or online. Presto – your rolodex is growing, and maybe your value as an IRO as well.

Need some help?

Get out there and network. There is a “mining connect” event coming up in Vancouver next week called Howe Street Gone Mad. http://revolvemarketing.ca/blog/howe-street-gone-mad-miningconnect-launch-party/. Hope to see you there!

If you would like more information on the socialware white paper on financial advisors use of social media, please follow this link:  http://www.socialware.com/resources/overview/ 

And, don’t forget to say ‘Hi’ to Steel Rose Communications via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn

 

 

 

We are pleased to announce that Q4 has partnered with Steel Rose Communications (SRC), a full service Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Consultant Company based in Vancouver, BC.

Together with the features and best practices of our completely customizable and flexible website platform, Steel Rose adds a full service, outsourced investor relations consultant company, specializing in the resource sector, with small to mid-cap public companies trading on the North American and European markets.
 

Darrell Heaps, CEO of Q4, had this to say:

“We are pleased to be working with such a talented group at SRC. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Jon Bey, the company’s President and CEO, who is a high-quality, experienced investor relations professional.  Our best-in-class corporate IR website and social media solutions, coupled with SRC’s comprehensive suite of services and IR solutions tailored to meet each client’s specific needs, ensure a well-managed investor relations program that will drive shareholder value.”

 

Jon Bey, President and CEO of Steel Rose Communications also commented:

“We are excited to be partnering with Darrell and his talented team at Q4. We understand that public companies are increasingly focusing budgets, and attention, towards a more strategic utilization of web channels for investor communications – including both the corporate/investor website, and social media channels. So it was natural for us to partner with Q4, as they have the right suite of products and services designed to address our clients’ strategic IR communications requirements.”