This post was contributed by Frank Serebrin, president and founder of InCapital Marketing.
If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.
That’s the takeaway from…well, I can’t cite a study, but it’s my opinion.
Less than a generation ago, few businesses would consider not having their phone number published in the yellow pages. (Remember them?) Today, search engines have replaced phone books as the place most go for research and information. How can your potential new clients search you if you don’t have a website or social media presence?
Yet fifty-five percent of small businesses don't have a website, according to a 2013 survey of more than 3,800 small businesses conducted by Google. That's a slight improvement from the year before, when 58 percent said they didn't have a website.
You may think of yourself as a start-up hedge fund manager, or a Registered Investment Advisor, or a real estate private equity manager. And you’re still also a small business, too, at least as defined by the SBA.
Here are ten reasons why you may not have a site yet, and what you may do to correct the oversight:
1. I Don't Have the Time
Is this you? "I'm too busy trading…I’m on the road making sales calls…my partners and I have full time corporate jobs, too.” With all the demands on your time, a website can help sell your story while you build relationships and multi-task.
2. There’s No Money in the Budget
Is it that you don't have the money, or you haven’t figured out what your marketing budget should be? As a start up, your focus might understandably be on the legal costs of a private placement memorandum, and administrative, accounting, technology, trading, office space, and sales expenses.
How much capital are you looking to raise, and it what period of time? Is it $25 million? $50 million? $250 million or more? And you want to raise that from professional and sophisticated investors without the credibility of a website?
This article is contributed by Richard Wilson of Hedge Fund Blogger and provides unique hedge fund marketing tactics that managers should investigate further while attempting to raise capital for their funds. The topics covered include public relations management and educational marketing.
Public relations has to be one of the most ignored marketing tools of hedge fund managers today. I have worked with over three dozen hedge funds on their marketing plans and capital raising efforts. So far, the most intense public relations effort I have seen set forth was a single press release over a four-year period. This is not to say that any hedge fund that is not publishing at least four press releases per year is doing something wrong. However, many could benefit by simply making themselves more available to the press.
The media is hungry for real time opinions of hedge fund managers, traders and marketers. They need comments on current market conditions, trends in hiring and firing of traders and portfolio managers and what prospects lay ahead for the industry as a whole. Many hedge fund managers shy away from contributing to stories in the press. I would strongly encourage you to speak with your legal counsel and see if they would approve of your discussions with the media if you stick to industry trends, general market trends and long-term movements you are seeing within the industry.
Effective hedge fund marketing strategies and materials allow firms to capitalize on new opportunities and stand-out from the crowd. However, crafting a unique story that reaches and motivates investors is challenging.
Today I moderated a webinar with speakers from Ovis Creative and Ledgex Systems looking at the current marketing landscape, marketing pitchbook best practices and the role of a hedge fund CRM platform.
Below you can watch the whole webinar or download the slides HERE.
To pique your interest, here is expert advice from Ovis Creative’s Creative Director, Lauren Colonna, about hedge fund pitch book best practices:
Don’t go overboard on the content. Create a cohesive but succinct story (total of 20 to 30 pages)
Focus on key pages with greatest opportunity for impact
Avoid overused terms; remember if a concept or phrase sounds generic to you... they are even more so to an investor who has heard the same theme over 1000 times
Maintain a consistent style, voice and tone (reflective of your pitch); Employ perfect grammar, succinctness, clarity and a consistent message
Use bulleted form rather than full text paragraphs; Consider a call out/side bar to enforce a key takeawayShe also covers what’s in a pitchbook, the role of a website and much more.
Understanding the lingo of disaster recovery and business continuity planning is essential to ensuring a firm is fully knowledgeable during the planning process and prepared should an incident occur. Here at Eze Castle Integration we are regularly defining key DR terms for our hedge fund clients. Since we fancy ourselves experts on all things hedge fund DR related, we have have developed this handy list of common DR definitions.
A component of Disaster Recovery that deals with the restoration of business system software and data, after the operating system environment has been restored or replaced.
A system of planning for, recovering and maintaining both the IT and business environments within an organization regardless of the type of interruption. In addition to the IT infrastructure, it covers people, facilities, workplaces, equipment, business processes, and more.
To quote our latest Tech Tips video, "when things are good, they’re good. But when things turn bad, it could be downright scary," so here is our latest video that covers four signs you may be outgrowing your IT service provider.
An often overlooked, but critical component of disaster recovery (DR) solutions is testing. In an interview with HFMWeek, Bob Guilbert touched upon the topic of DR testing. In the discussion, Bob noted that “the best approach that funds can take to ensure an effective disaster recovery system is to test them periodically.” Lisa Smith, a Certified Business Continuity Planner here at Eze Castle, also echoes this advice in her conversations regarding inclement weather business continuity planning.
If regular testing is a critical component of an effective DR solution, why do many firms fail to do so? In working on the Eze Disaster Recovery team for several years, I have heard a variety of reasons from clients as to why this is the case. The most common reasons include:
a lack of time to commit to DR testing;
a lack of understanding as to how to go about testing their solutions;
and a belief that testing could hinder normal business operations, and is therefore too risky for the firm.
Our Eze Voice (think financial services grade VoIP) is now available to firms across the United States and United Kingdom. In honor of this global availability, we want to debunk some common myths associated with VoIP for financial services forms.
Voice over IP has come a long way especially in the business world, but many financial services firms still have hesitations about making the switch. Check out these five common myths about Voice over IP.
MYTH 1: Poor Call Quality – Everyone will know I’m on VoIP
Call quality is a key concern and can be impacted by a number of items including the network, available bandwidth and even the type of phones being used. However, a well-designed business-caliber VoIP system can deliver quality of service comparable to an in-house phone system. In business settings, where calls are made over private IP connections, Quality of Service (QoS) can be monitored and guaranteed because the entire IP connection is controlled by the party making the call.
When evaluating VoIP services, it is important to inquire about the underlying network and how voice traffic is prioritized and routed. You want a provider that has full control over network traffic and can ensure high quality of service. For added confidence, ask to speak with existing VoIP customers (over the phone!) to hear about their experiences first-hand.
MYTH 2: VoIP is Unreliable – I’ll Experience Downtime
A natural extension of the call quality concern is the reliability concern. While consumer-grade VoIP services work over the Internet to deliver low cost services, Business-grade VoIP services often use the Internet as a backup and have private IP point-to-point lines for primary connections. If Internet is the primary transit, be sure you are working with a VoIP provider who manages the entire network and has control over traffic prioritization. In most cases you want to ensure voice traffic takes precedent over data or travels on a different network.
In the fast-paced, volatile world of financial services, constantly maintaining normal business operations is crucial – even in the event of an unexpected disaster. Even just a few moments of downtime could be extremely costly, so it is essential that firms implement sound business continuity procedures.
Since we frequently work with our hedge fund and alternative investment clients on developing comprehensive business continuity plans (BCPs), we feel it is important to review and test our own BCP procedures on a regular basis to ensure they will meet our most current business needs in the event of a disaster. To this end, Lisa Smith - one of our certified business continuity professionals - and her team recently conducted a BCP table top exercise with our management team here at Eze Castle. After this successful meeting, we thought it would be valuable to share some insights on the BCP table top exercise process with our readers to spotlight the importance of this activity.
Today's investment firms are extremely focused on cyber security preparedness, as they should be. With regulators and investors demanding more transparency than ever, it's critical for hedge funds to spend time making their own employees aware of cybersecurity threats and how to mitigate risk. With that, let's discuss a topic that we’re passionate about – education and security awareness.
We’ve told you about the types of threats that can harm a business, the steps you should take in the event of a security incident, and the policies you should create to keep your organization safe. But now it’s time to talk about training your employees to understand each of these.
A firm’s security strategy will only work if employees are properly trained on it. Therefore, the importance of providing information security awareness training cannot be understated. The goal of an awareness program is not merely to educate employees on potential security threats and what they can do to prevent them. A larger goal should be to change the culture of your organization to focus on the importance of security and get buy-in from end users to serve as an added layer of defense against security threats.
Once you have buy-in from employees, your focus can turn to ensuring they get the necessary information they need to secure your business.
An effective disaster recovery strategy cannot be acheived by checking a box. As you evaluate DR service providers, it is critical to ensure they have taken a variety of possible disaster scenarios into account and are utilizing best-of-breed infrastructure to power DR operations. Below is a quick DR infrastructure checklist to help you along in your planning (or click here to read our complete Essential Tech Guide for Hedge Funds).
Ensure your DR provider has redundant network equipment
Consider using multiple network providers; Some colocation facilities have over 30 network providers for maximum redundancy
There should be multiple sources, ideally sourced from different power grids
Are there backup power generators?
Is there onsite fuel to run those generators? You’ll want onsite fuel that can last a few weeks.