- develop good habits in terms of keeping your statutory books and other records (management accounts, IP ownership, employment contracts etc) up to date
- do the simple things well (for example, hold regular board meetings (and take minutes) even if the board only comprises two people)
- try not to spread your share capital around before your first investment, unless you have absolutely no choice but to do so
- document as much as possible for the sake of clarity.
Raising young company finance always requires determination, but it's easy to be knocked off course by ambiguity and uncertainty - was that cash from 'friends and family' intended to be a loan or a payment for shares? Is that software developer an employee or self-employed? Who owns the copyright in the company's website designed by your old University friend? These are the kinds of ambiguities that need to be resolved before an investment can be made and if there are too many of them in your business, an experienced investor may well go elsewhere and invest in a 'cleaner' opportunity. Being 'investor ready' includes dealing with these kinds of problem by carrying out a spring clean. It's much easier to address these points before the fundraising begins, and certainly before the final push to complete the investment. The founders will be asked to give warranties to their investor about the condition of their company, and as well as being off-putting to a potential investor, having too many skeletons in the closet always risks exposing the founders to a possible warranty claim further down the line.