Thinking of taking your company public?

We at can't guarantee you a favorable market for your initial public offering and riches beyond your wildest dreams, but we can help you make smart decisions along the IPO trail. This guide is a collection of tips, techniques, how-tos, and advice from the leaders of successful companies who took the IPO plunge and lived to tell about it. Also, because we realize that failure can often be the best teacher, we've assembled some cautionary tales loaded with wisdom gleaned from public offerings that either bombed or never happened. If you're banking on a zero-defect IPO, don't miss them.

IPO Basics

IPO Basics: Stock Exchanges and Securities Laws
Are you in over your head when it comes to securities and the public markets? This article will help you understand exchanges and the rules that govern them.
IPO Basics: A Road Map
Take a quick tour through the IPO process.
IPO Basics: Due Diligence
One of the keys to a smooth IPO is a thorough review of your business. This due diligence process ensures you can back up everything you say in your SEC registration statement.
What Does Sarbanes-Oxley Mean for Companies That Want to Go Public?
Added costs may keep smaller businesses away.

Players and Paperwork

IPO Basics: The Registration Statement
Considering a public offering? This primer on registration statements will get you started.
IPO Basics: Investment Bankers, Underwriters, and Other Key Players
Make sure you understand who the players are and their roles in the IPO process.
IPO Basics: Confidential Filings
Worried about all the confidential information you will have to disclose if you decide to go public? Don't be - the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will treat such information confidentially if you ask.
Quiet Period Rules Revised
Good news! Appearing in Playboy is no longer out of the question.

Big Decisions

The Allure of Going Public
Even now, public markets hold a powerful appeal for entrepreneurs. But as the CEO of any public company will tell you, the IPO is no cakewalk. In fact, it's just the start of the next phase. The question of who's on your team matters more than ever.
Follow the Money
A dollar-by-dollar look at the cost of one company's IPO -- or why $7.2 million raised is $6 million earned.
Making the Most of the IPO Road Show
The CEO of Peet's Coffee, Chris Mottern, shares some advice for pitching potential investors during an IPO road show.
Weighing the Benefits of Hitting the IPO Road
Successful IPOs bring capital and growth, but they also have drawbacks.
IPOs: How Soon and How Much?
When should you take your company public? How do you set your initial share price? How many shares should you sell? Learn the answers here.
Exiting Through an Initial Public Offering
Although this exit strategy is an option for only a select group of entrepreneurial companies, its rewards are well worth the careful planning required.

IPO Cautionary Tales

Paradise Lost
Nearly two years after PRT Group´s celebrated IPO, the company's stock price was under water and CEO Doug Mellinger was out of a job. Here´s a look at how things went so wrong, so fast.
So Near...And Yet So Far
Going public is a big deal. So is almost going public. Three Inc. 500 CEOs discuss the lessons they learned from their aborted IPOs.
Aftermath: Anatomy of a Yanked Public Offering
Learn about the IPO failure that practically killed Young Minds.

IPO Alternatives

Striking Out with VCs?
You're not alone. As venture capitalists become more risk averse, more early-stage companies are utilizing private investments in public equity.
Just a Little Bit Public
As the stock market sputters, private placements are on the rise.
Selling Out
Going public is not the only way a company can raise capital. One alternative is to sell the business to a more established firm.
IPO Alternatives: SEC Registration Exemptions
Need to raise capital but you're not ready to go public? Consider a more limited offering, such as selling securities only in the state in which your company is incorporated.
Forgoing the IPO In Favor of Selling
Mitchell Jones made the decision to sell his five-year-old company on the heels of trying to buy somebody else's. The next logical step would have been an IPO, but he nixed the idea because the process would've taken too long.

Inc. Classics

You Don't Know Me...
The story of one owner who, shunned by Wall Street, took his company public by himself.
Light Up, Go Public, Quit Your Day Job
The accidental IPO: How a man and his cigar found investors who all love a good smoke.
The 100-Day Makeover
A close-up look at the changes a company had to make before it could go public.