“Especially in food, impact is the core of part of the brand. Impact is not a drag on returns. Impact is a driver of return.”
—Ralph Carlton, King Arthur Flour
Part 1: An introduction to liquidity options
- There are ways to avoid a disconnect between the mission and the exit strategy.
- What should you think about now to allow more control of your company and its mission in the future?
Part 2: What distinguishes InvestEco as an impact fund?
- It’s important to reinvest in he most important drivers of the business and sometimes that is the brand itself.
- Investors want ongoing measurements of impact.
Part 3: The benefits of an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP)
- Ownership is captured like a retirement plan.
- If you're a mission driven company, ESOP helps you ensure that the mission is carried on and passed with ownership.
- The real benefit is cultural, everyone behaves like an owner.
- ESOP rewards the company with employee longevity.
Part 4: What are the benefits of permanent capital as an exit choice for companies?
- Permanent capital is not about investing and then flipping, it’s about helping businesses grow.
- How does a small business prepare for permanent capital investment in the future?
- Can your company grow across sectors?
Part 5: Keeping the mission on the front line
- Mission-lock: How to mitigate risk as stakeholders and shareholders evolve and pressure emerges to cut costs and reduce mission.
- At the initial investment, it’s important to have an exit strategy.
- Become a benefit corporation.
Part 6: What should companies think about if they want to consider ESOP?
- ESOP requires a lot of financial planning beyond infant stage.
- The ESOP structure works best in a founder controlled situation.
- There are significant tax advantages.
Part 7: The benefits of long-term thinking for mission-oriented businesses
- Take a long-term approach when investing in research and development and product innovation.
- Investing in people and the supply chain takes years to develop. Find a long-term capital partner to back that vision.
- Be clear about future, including the governance structure and long-term goals.
This session—Impact Capitalism: Exiting Differently + New Ways to Think about Liquidity—was recorded at Natural Products Expo East 2017.