There are many strategies that can be used to encourage foreign investors to become involved in your business. When it comes to attracting outside interests to South Africa, there are plenty of cards that can be played to great effect.
Reasons for seeking investment
There can be many reasons a company looks for outside investment. Unexpected growth in demand can mean a business needs funding to achieve a rapid expansion and cope with new expectations from customers.
By the same token, a going concern for many companies is experiencing temporary setbacks through no fault of their own, so they may also be in need of a cash injection to get through the lean times.
In South Africa, many companies continue to benefit from being part of the continent's second largest economy, which also still attracts the highest level of direct foreign investment. However, others are struggling in the face of energy shortages, industrial unrest and underlying social challenges.
For and against
Wherever your company looks for investors, the questions that you need to ask are pretty much the same. Often, they center around issues of control and whether or not values and aims are shared.
Taking on an investor who might see the future of the business in a different way can only lead to trouble further down the line. The flip side of this is that finding an investor who shares your vision can mean teaming up with a valuable partner who brings far more than just much needed funds to the table.
Of course, finding the right investor is only the first step; the next and most vital step is persuading them that funding your business is the right choice to make.
Obviously, having a firm plan for the future is essentially, as is a clear overview of where exactly everything stands right now for your company.
Above all else, any investment relationship must be based on honesty from both sides and in all aspects, so all involved are completely clear about each other's motivations and desired outcomes.
High wealth individuals
Perhaps the Holy Grail for any company looking for an investor is finding a high-wealth individual who is also known for his or her experience and capacity to give good advice.
Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay, the Scottish Tory party donor and philanthropist, is the richest Scottish-born entrepreneur, and his history in the world of business is well known across the world.
Lord Laidlaw's yacht
is a great example of how the UK peer of the realm mixes personal choices with good business decisions. The Lady Christine yacht is based on a design by De Voogt Naval Architects and is the result of Lord Laidlaw's experience of vessel building over many years.
As an example of knowledge and funding coming together to generate a wonderful end product, the yacht is a perfect encapsulation of how investment and vision can make perfect business partners, wherever you might be based in the world.