Differentiation is the result of efforts to stand out as a provider of unique value to customers versus the competition. In the private capital markets, this often translates into a firm’s “secret sauce” in how they source deals and communicate to their investors. But differentiation is highly dynamic. It changes as the market, business environment, technology, and preferences change. Differentiation, in the case of today’s private equity firms, involves the ability to discover new insights from your data and act faster than ever before capitalizing on where you invest to be perceived as a leader by your peers, investors, and competitors. Additionally, the level of trust and transparency a firm needs to demonstrate to their potential investors or current LPs has changed drastically in the past few years. Many private equity firms embrace technology to differentiate from others in their space. If you’re looking for ways to differentiate your firm, here are four steps you can take to differentiate your private equity firm using technology for processes, communications, and decision making:
STEP 1: Clearly Define Processes
Clearly defining processes in your firm is important for a number of reasons. First, it provides consistency in timing and quality of decision making. It also creates alignment with your staff and transparency to other stakeholders. Defining processes also highlights what
can be automated and/or optimized to improve both the efficiency and the efficacy of each process. All of these outcomes increase firm productivity, transparency, and agility as you continue to build the foundation of your firm’s differentiation.
Critical processes for your firm to define include:
- Raising capital
- Identifying new deals or investment opportunities
- Reporting performance to investors
- Managing and understanding your portfolio of investments
It is not enough to simply define processes. You must build alignment and excitement around them across the organization. This alignment must start from the leadership level and permeate through the rest of the
organizations. Because if people aren’t being managed to the processes that are defined, they end up being words in a document that never gets opened again.