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Getting Ready for the Public Eye?

As IPOs become viable again, what can you do to prepare your company?
November 1, 2007

Not so long ago, IPO was considered a four-letter word. After the IPO bubble burst in 2001, there were so few small businesses that could go public that it seemed as though the opportunity was lost forever. But if the momentum building in 2007 is any indication, the curse may finally be lifted. This year, IPOs are on track to exceed--in both number and value--every year since 2000. According to Renaissance Capital's, 114 companies had raised $26 billion by midyear.

Does that mean boom times are back? Not quite. "The market is good--it's not great, [but] it's not frothy," says attorney Peter Townshend, a partner in the private equity/emerging companies practice group of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. "Good companies that make sense and are meeting their milestones are able to go public and sustain themselves."

Dr. Philipp Lang is betting on the trend. As founder and chairman of ConforMIS, a venture-backed medical device company in Burlington, Massachusetts, Lang is cautiously preparing his company for an IPO run in 2008. There's more opportunity for emerging companies now than in the recent past, says Lang, 45, but to make an IPO work, you need strong fundamentals and a clear path to profits.

If 2008 sounds like a good year for your public offering, review the basics below to be sure you can show investors a solid opportunity.

David Worrell is author of the e-book Finding Funding.