A quick Investment 101 lesson. A prospectus is a legal document that must be provided to a potential investor BEFORE they invest which provides all the important and necessary information for a potential investor to make an intelligent and educated decision as to whether they wish to invest in a particular offering. I spent many years marketing and selling investment products and this one document could never be overlooked from my position. While I could not control what the potential investor actually did with it, my responsibility was to present it EVERYTIME and be able to support and defend it regarding my recommendations. That is a key statement… I’ll address it again.
A prospectus has key components within the pages to help one make an educated decision. Some of these components include: The objectives, the strategies and risks, past performances and the management experience.
After recently reviewing a prospectus, I thought it would be a great idea to apply these components to how we do our work or run our businesses (performance) every day to determine if our approach would provide the necessary information to allow a prospective customer or client to determine if they would choose us. Let’s take a closer look at each of these specific components and answer each question honestly; here we go.
The Objective: The objective is typically what is detailed first in a prospectus. It clearly points out what the investment will purposefully pursue. What is your purpose for what you do? What outcome are you striving for? Is your day filled with opportunities or filled with details just to get you through until closing time? Is your goal to be the best team player and be the “go-to” person or the one that causes turmoil and confusion? Each of these questions are clear objectives. Will your review at the end of each day demonstrate your commitment to your objective both good and bad? The objective is typically the key selling point to the decision. Does what you do match up initially with what prospective customers are looking for?
The Strategies and Risks: How are you going to get where you want to go? Does your performance demonstrate your knowledge of what you are doing and where you are headed? Can your strategy be easily transferred to colleagues and seen by customers? Some investments are designed to protect and preserve while others are for growth and expansion. Regardless of what your strategy is, do you have a thought-out current game plan? Speaking of risks. I believe if you are in business for yourself or are in charge of a team, or organization, you understand risks. We take them every day…BUT do they fit within the confines of the objective we have stated? This is the key question here.
Past Performances: Prospectuses provide an historical account of past performances. While it is stated very clearly that past performances are no indication of future investment outcomes; I believe past performances are a clear indication of what I can expect from you in the future. What is it like to experience your customer service? How quickly do you respond to customer requests and complaints? Do customers mean as much to you after they sign on the dotted line as they did before? Past experiences highly influence customer decisions when moving forward with or without you.
Management Experience: One of the key components to validating the worth of an investment was to determine the tenure of the management experience. How long have they been doing what they are doing? How did they handle situations, etc. When you coupled a long-term management team with long-term favorable results, you simply had a winner.
How about you? How long have you been doing what you are doing; BUT more importantly how do you handle things. Are you quick to judge and impatient, do you pass blame or take responsibility? Do you share glory and honor commitment. Would you want to work for you! What is your style and approach to the daily things, this is the experience customers and co-workers are looking for. Do you take lessons from past experiences and learn from others to make you better? These are the elements of the management experience that are critical to determining choosing you. I don’t believe youth or limited years in business are a negative here, especially if approached correctly.
Several years when I was very young, a prospective client asked me “what makes you think you can help me with my business when I have ran it longer than you have been alive!” OUCH. It honestly left me a little perplexed. Then I stated how I appreciated his success but if he would give me the opportunity to show how I had helped others with my services, and offer me the same chance, I would hopefully gain credibility through my actions and not my youth. (I thought that was great!). By the way, it worked.
So there are just a few important components to a prospectus. I personally see real application for me and my performance. Am I worth the investment and the risk? Take a close look at your performance and seriously ask yourself, would I invest in me? Remember my opening underlined statement…my responsibility was to present the prospectus every time and be able to support and defend it regarding my recommendations. If you are not sure, now would be a great time to review your performance prospectus!