at the same time delivering the sustainable, profitable growth you expect Henri Nestlé had a vision of a better world thanks to nutrition, an idea which is still.
Congratulations on your decision to become a shareholder in the largest wheat storage business in Kansas. You are now a partner in one of the most promising ventures of the decade. We have seen remarkable growth during the past year and we project even more significant profits as wheat prices remain high. I am enclosing the Doe Shareholders' Report dated July 15. The graph on page 25 shows the gains made over the past five years.
We welcome your questions and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to call at 555-5555. Our next stockholders' meeting will be October 1 at 9:00 a.m. in the executive dining room of our corporate building in Springfield. We hope you will attend and participate in the discussions and decisions.
May I convey my warm welcome to you as one of Doe's newest shareholders? I am delighted that you have elected to join us in our expanding global enterprise.
You will surely want to familiarize yourself with our company's operations, goals, and strategies, so I am sending you a folder of materials documenting our history for the last five years and projecting our growth for the next five. Also enclosed is a copy of our latest quarterly report to shareholders. These documents show why we are so optimistic about our future.
In our next shareholders' meeting on February 12, we will explain significant developments in our Asian markets and unveil an unusually effective advertising and public relations campaign. We invite you to join us on that occasion. Until then may this brief introduction serve as a beginning of what we hope will be a long and productive association. Welcome aboard.
I would like to personally welcome you as a shareholder in Doe Corporation. This is an exciting time for our industry. Our design department recently won the editor's choice award in the Springfield Review and is considered a favorite among PC users. Our gross sales doubled in the last year while our earnings per share tripled. You have made a sound investment in Doe Corporation and we look forward to even greater success.
Congratulations on your wise investment in the future of the Doe Corporation. To keep you abreast of the company's progress, we will send you a monthly newsletter documenting production and sales and alerting you to issues to be voted on in our quarterly meetings. We hope you will be able to attend those meetings to have your voice heard. Of course, if you have any questions or suggestions in the meantime, feel free to contact me or John Doe at 555-5555.
Also attached is an automatic reinvestment form. Reinvesting your quarterly dividends is a great way to make your initial investment grow even faster.
Doe Corporation is pleased to welcome you as a new investor in our company. We are sure you will find your investment to be a sound and rewarding financial decision.
I am sending you additional information about Doe Corporation, including the most recent annual and quarterly reports. We will update you regularly on the growth and progress of the company, and notify you in advance of all shareholder meetings. We hope you will be an active, involved investor, exercising your privileges as a stockholder of this expanding company.
We invite you to communicate with us directly with any suggestions, ideas, or questions you may have. You can reach us at 555-5555 during regular business hours, or you may send your comments by mail. We look forward to a long and profitable relationship. We anticipate seeing you at our next shareholders' meeting.
We just received your subscription for 6,000 shares and your check. Thank you for your interest in Doe and your commitment to its future. You will be pleased to know that we just voted to expand into the Pacific Northwest. Your investment will help with that expansion.
We invite you to our next board meeting at 9:00 a.m. on May 5, at the Springfield Hotel. I have enclosed our most recent quarterly report and 10-K for your use. Please give me a call at 555-5555 if you have any questions. Enjoy the ride.
Dear shareholders,. I would like to thank you for your participation in our Annual General. Meeting that adopted all resolutions. I'm pleased to.
On behalf of RH Bophelo, I would like to send my warmest gratitude to everyone who came to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Wednesday the 12th of July, to witness the making of history.
As you well know, RH Bophelo is now listed on the JSE as a fully black-owned healthcare investment company. The listing has allowed us to access the initial capital required and we will continue to work hard in order to create immense value for our shareholders and partners.
We fully trust that this significant event will culminate into a new, reformed South African healthcare, whereby lower to middle-income citizens can finally gain access to quality and affordable healthcare.
We thank you all for your faith and support in making the listing possible.
Health is Wealth.
Chief Executive Officer
So you raised your first round of funding. Good for you! Seriously, it takes a tremendous amount of work to close a round, so you should feel great about that. But regardless of the size of your round or the stage of your company, the hard truth is that you’re probably going to have to fundraise again.
Right off the bat, that’s potentially bad news. Fewer deals are getting done right now than just a few years ago. According to the National Venture Capital Association, “8,000 deals were completed in 2016, representing a 22% year-over-year decline and the lowest count since 2012, a clear indication that venture investors are being much more critical of their investment opportunities.” It’s particularly tough for entrepreneurs trying to make it from seed stage to Series A (the dreaded Series A crunch). So how do you compete for dollars?
The short answer: by email.
The slightly longer one: by figuring out how to engage your existing investors right now–when you’re not actively raising money. This way, when the time comes, they’ll not only invest in you again, but they’ll connect you with other investors and serve as glowing references in the process.
And pulling that off may come down to writing one simple email–continuously.
To be sure, there are multiple strategies you can (and ideally should) use to keep your investors engaged. But one of the most important and low-effort things you can do is send out a standard group update email in a consistent format. This should happen regularly, on a monthly basis. There are startups that send quarterly investor updates, and that’s okay, but monthly is better.
Here’s the thing, though: If you wait until you need to raise again to talk to your investors, they won’t be happy. Investors probably won’t be paying attention to your every move. And they may not respond to your update emails even if you send them regularly. But more likely than not, they are reading them. This information is how they evaluate your performance–and whether you’re worth pouring any more money into.
When it comes to investor communication, put one person in charge, ideally a founder. Founders are busy too, but they should never be too busy to talk with investors. And the information you should be tracking for them should already be at your fingertips.
To marshal it into a quick, effective monthly email update to investors, you just need to follow a few basic rules:
This is a rough template of what this type of email looks like:
[One-paragraph introduction sharing whatever your focus has been over the past month.]
- [Priority #1]
- [Priority #2]
- [Priority #3]
We’ve made [summary of latest product updates]. See them at this link.
Money in bank:
- We have $[_____] in the bank. This gives us a runway of [__] months at our current burn rate.
- [Any other relevant funding updates.]
- Revenue last month: $[_____]
- Revenue this month: $[_____]
- [Other important metric last month]
- [Other important metric this month]
- [Big win #1]
- [Press coverage #2]
- [Other update #3]
[One ask for investors–in bold.]
When things are going poorly, you may be tempted to skip the email updates. Don’t! Investors will know something is amiss if you stop communicating with them, and that may affect how much they trust you. Also, you waste an opportunity to engage them in finding a solution to your problems–for instance, by connecting you with a strategic hire, bridge financing, etc. If things are going badly, now is the time to fix it.
A second caveat: Don’t deviate from your structured email format when things go wrong. You may be tempted to write a long explanation for what’s happening, what corrective actions you’re taking, and why it’s all going to be okay. Don’t! You want to be transparent with your investors, but you don’t want them to think you are becoming unhinged. And a long, rambling email will send that signal.
If you wait until you need something to reach out to your investors, you’ve already screwed up. You’ve just shown them you aren’t capable of maintaining even your basic business network, so they should stop investing any more time and money into you. Here’s how Julian Counihan at Red Sea Ventures put it: “Startups that are not speaking to their investors are throwing away a free call option. You don’t know if you’ll need it, but it costs nothing and is extremely valuable.”
This is particularly true when it comes to bridge financing, short-term funding to tide you over until you can find longer-term investments. Bridge financing only happens on the basis of trust–and often when things are going south. At times like that, you need an investor who will take a risk on you when every sign indicates they shouldn’t. To win that leap of faith, there’s no substitute for regular, forthright communication.
So take the time to build trust with your investors now. It’s never too late to start writing those update emails, and sometimes a clear-cut formula is exactly what you need.
Clara Brenner is cofounder and managing partner of the Urban Innovation Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in transformative urban technology. She is also the cofounder of Tumml, an urban ventures accelerator. Check out this video for more tips and follow Clara on Twitter at @clara_brenner.
Sample letters to welcome a new shareholder. Guide to Write Your Letter Thank you for your interest in Doe and your commitment to its future. You will be.
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Twenty years ago, I wrote a thank-you to a man named Brian from the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority. I was on a recycling field trip with a group of people from my office and he was our tour guide. After the tour, Brian and I exchanged business cards and made small talk. I got the feeling that we both were interested in learning more about each other, on a personal level.
After the tour I sent him the note. A week later, he called and asked me out on a date. We went on many more dates after that and eventually got married. I joke that the thank-you note was the catalyst for our long-lasting love affair. Besides, I never imagined meeting the man of my dreams at the county dump!
In my case, a thank-you note changed my life. It’s a small touch that has the potential to leave a lasting impression. We communicate more quickly than ever before. Instead of a handwritten note, most people opt to send a quick text message or email.
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For the most part, technology is incredibly beneficial. You can do a lot more in less time. It allows you to be more efficient and effective. But there are drawbacks. Faster communication has reduced the level of personal connection in daily interactions — especially when you express gratitude.
In business, most of the gifts you receive aren’t tangible. Whenever someone gives you their time, advice, or a helping hand, it’s more than enough reason to genuinely thank them.
For example, let’s say you’ve been courting a company for a few months and you feel an introduction to the CEO would help you clinch the deal. After some research, you reach out to an alumnus from your university who knows the CEO. You ask this person for an introduction and he happily obliges, which ultimately helps you make the sale.
Everyone’s time is valuable. Whenever a friend, colleague, or client choses to set aside his other responsibilities and help you, the best way to show your appreciation is to personally thank him through a handwritten note.
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A phone call or casual email may feel like enough, but it doesn’t have the same gravity as a mailed letter. Think about it. You receive countless emails per day, but how many handwritten notes do you receive? One of my clients recently told me that he has received only two thank-you notes in 10 years.
Thank-you notes may seem like a habit of an older generation, but at my company, The Protocol School of Palm Beach, I encourage more and more professionals to make it a part of their weekly routine. The benefits are well worth the investment of time and energy. Thank-you notes can help you make new connections, grow relationships, and show your thoughtfulness.
Handwritten notes may be sent for any occasion — after a meeting with an important customer or client, when you receive a gift, or when you’re invited to an event. To ensure a positive response, keep your thank-you notes short, simple, and meaningful. Here are a few more tips to keep in mind.
Invest in branded stationery. Rather than pick up a generic pack of thank-you cards from the store, order stationery custom-made especially for you. The design and style of the card should reflect your personal brand.
Always write by hand. The personal touch conveys that you cared enough to take the time to write it. The time investment is thoughtful and will make the other person feel special and important. Invest in a nice black or blue fountain pen. Thank-you notes are more fun when you use an elegant writing instrument. People will remember a thank-you note long after they have forgotten what they did for you.
Keep it short. Rather than send a long and laborious letter, carefully craft your message in a few sentences. Mention what the person did to help you, how they positively impacted you or your business, and reiterate your appreciation. Be sure to mail the thank-you note right away. Send it within one or two days after someone does something special for you. Your promptness will showcase your sincerity.
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As I am starting to build up my book I would like to show extra appreciation by sending a handwritten thank you note after earning a new client.