Product Introduction and Launch
In this day and age, business intelligence is required for effective operation. It helps you to understand where you can improve, and predict areas that might need extra attention.
Evaluating companies takes experience and diligence. Some companies look great on paper and answer all of the questions the right way. They have been guided by a business advisor or professional mentor to put their best foot forward, see past the makeup, ask the right questions and look into the details. Having a consultant with experience and diligence always uncovers undisclosed tidbits of information that is practical from a deal-valuation or a go-forward-business operating perspective.
Analyzing financials takes business and accounting skills. Understanding how and why financials are being reported in a specific way gives light into the operations of that company. Are they a growth company or are they a dividend company? Do they value research and development? Does a company optimize for profit or for sales? You can usually tell by the amount of capital they put into new projects. In certain industries one aspect is valued more, and during times of change (M&A, Capital Raise, etc), interested parties may favor one type over the other.
Looking at selling a new product or moving an existing product into a new business channel? Let Upfront validate your ideas or do its own independent research to determine the market size and proper product price points.
Upfront partners with energy engineers to provide energy audits and analysis – from single boilers to large complex steam loops. We look at the consumption and the demand to determine if there are opportunities for cost savings and emission reduction at favorable ROIs. Upfront stays on top of the latest energy rebate programs and cutting edge technologies to provide multiple ways of achieving favorable results.
STRATEGIC ANALYSIS AND SETTING EXPECTATIONS
Sometimes an outside perspective is instrumental in defining and developing strategic goals. Upfront can provide that additional perspective and the additional manpower necessary to organize, define, and validate a corporate strategy. Our process begins with listening and supporting your team through researching, conducting brainstorming sessions, defining goals, as well as communicating and implementing these elements of new strategies. We can help define the plan and optimize the business processes and assets to eliminate any and all roadblocks that may hinder your success.
Small to medium size companies do not have the luxury of a business development department; therefore, all tasks required to complete a project fall on the top executives of the company. Executives are very busy running the current operation, and are limited in their external experiences to perform complete Due Diligence. This is where Upfront excels – we have the necessary skills to take on short-term business development projects and turn them into successful events.
SETTING UP A COMPANY FOR SALE OR FINANCING
Many smaller companies operate to optimize tax returns; however, from a financing or acquiring viewpoint, this is counterproductive to obtaining high valuations and better deals on financing or sale prices. Reworking financials and developing the story around them is a skill possessed by Upfront. It’s not about defrauding a bank or customer; it’s about showing the true income potential of the company. For example, if you are using discretionary income to pay for executive perks the acquiring company may choose to include it as an ordinary expense, when it should be viewed as a discretionary expense that the acquirer may not need to pay, thus increasing overall profitability and value. These types of entries must be identified within the financials and at least pointed out to the acquirer.
NEGOTIATIONS – WIN/WIN SCENARIOS
Upfront believes that any contract that is negotiated to be unfavorable to one party will eventually fall apart and potentially lead to costly legal fees. Both parties must leave the table feeling comfortable with the current deal, but must have also discussed and negotiated potential future scenarios for long-term success. Upfront has the experience to point out potential gaming scenarios of each party independently, leaving any regret out of the contract. It is important to think of all of the upsides and downsides to any deal. Upfront will ask the hard questions.
Business plan development includes marketing and sales strategy. Business model development includes corporate structures such as Charter and Bylaws, shareholder agreements, and purchase/sale agreements. Financing strategies are discussed including how they affect negotiations and valuations.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS SERVICES
Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) services include Due Diligence concerning management, operations, and financials. Upfront Analysis has the expertise and knowledge to aid in negotiations, financial analysis, and various valuation models, including comparable analysis, cash flow, EBITDA, and multiples of sales analysis.
Over 50% of M&A fail even before the event occurs. Poor planning is the main culprit for merger or acquisition failure. Companies do not realize the amount of planning it takes to successfully conclude a deal: aligning management, preparing financials, communicating to employees and customers, investigating the assets and liabilities, defining your go-forward strategy and most importantly, formulating a story. Do your reasons for the deal make sense even after all of the due diligence and preparations are complete? Upfront has the skills necessary to prepare your merger or acquisition, to perform superior due diligence, and to help you formulate your story. M&A is more of an art than a calculated analysis and Upfront will provide experienced and financial perspectives for your merger.
Startup companies are each unique in their own right. All are at the beginning of their existence and are missing parts of the equation. Upfront can provide the support necessary to any startup requiring expertise, but not ready to hire a full time employee. Upfront has worked with various startup companies in multiple roles including mentor, interim CFO, consultant, and Board Member. In some situations, Upfront will commit time and resources for a nominal share of equity to avoid high initial costs to the startup.
There are many companies that have been operating the same for decades. Unfortunately, some are too close to the operation to see the opportunities they may be missing to optimize their efforts. Reorganizing a company gives way to potential leaps in operational efficiency, and isn’t always the best solution. An unbiased view from Upfront will provide a successful solution infrastructure development.
How does one go about pricing a product? With competition, it’s simple. It is the price that the competitor is setting as the standard with differentiators that move the price higher or lower; however, identifying the differentiators is not so simple. Communicating them in an effective way is even trickier. False steps will lead to poor brand value.
Many inventors undervalue their product and markup costs without evaluating the value to the consumer. Upfront can help identify that value.
If this is a new product, do you sell it outright or provide a warranty? Do you provide a subscription for recurring revenue or license it to reduce overhead but increase market penetration? Upfront has the experience to guide customers through proper product pricing strategies for the greatest financial return.
PRODUCT AND SERVICE BUNDLING – USE POWERPOINT
Bundling services or products is not new, but bundling properly with purpose takes thought and market diligence. Do your customers want a good deal, more for less, or the highest quality regardless of cost? Are your goals to sell more, to sell higher profit items, or to get a new product into the hands of consumers? Each of these variables might warrant a different approach to bundling and price discounts, and all should be discussed and reviewed.
Innovation is just one driver for growth, and it needs to be the overall strategic process. If innovation is to be part of the primary forces of growth, then a sufficient amount of time needs to be spent on its development. Growth cannot come from pure desire, it must be funded appropriately with capital and dedicated individuals to make it a success.
Upfront transforms information from inventors and businesses into the language of the investor, so that they understand what they are getting out of the opportunity. The first time entrepreneur vastly underestimates the amount of preparation required to obtain capital. Upfront will explain that process and help you navigate the pathway to funding.
Do you feel that your financials are just some cryptic language only your accountant can decipher? Are you including all of your costs when bidding for projects? Let Upfront enhance your bottom line by analyzing your costs and suggesting alternative pricing methods and markets to help you obtain the maximum revenue for your product or service.
BUSINESS PLAN REVIEW
A business plan has multiple purposes. When raising capital, a business plan has only one primary purpose: to get a meeting with potential investors. Many people believe a business plan will get them funding; however, this is not always the case. The management team will get the funding only if their plan is well thought out, more than just an idea, and presented properly. Many plans that appear to be solid on paper have failed due to the inability of management to develop and present their companies properly.