IPO Checklist

An IPO (or Initial Public Offering) Listing is the very first time your business is listed on the public markets for investors to buy shares in.

ipo checklist

The journey to IPO Listing can be unfamiliar. This checklist can help you navigate some of the common pitfalls, as well as understanding whether the process is achievable for your business - before you start.


This checklist is not part of an application process for IPO Listing. However, we hope it gives you an idea of what’s involved and what you need to do to prepare. Investors may ask for more or less information about your business and the finance you need than what is set out below. This will change depending on individuals involved

STAGE 1: Your suitability for IPO

  • Have you weighed IPO up against other types of equity finance, like Private Equity?
    Do you understand the pros and cons? Can you safely say that this is the right option for the stage your business is at?

  • Do you understand the different markets and which one your business may be suitable for?
    There are a number of different public markets in the UK, including: The Main Market (home to FTSE 350), the High Growth Segment (for tech businesses) and AIM (for SMEs). AIM was created for scale-up businesses who are ready to take their business to the next level with a listing, but are not big enough for Main Market.

  • Have you spoken to an adviser about your suitability?
    It’s never too early to get some advice and most Nomads or Sponsors back-weight their costs, so you don’t pay a penny until you have successfully listed.

  • Will you suit life as a public company?
    Would you be comfortable releasing information from your annual accounts, half-yearly reports, directors’ share dealings, salary and tax?

  • Can you build a viable equity story that’s going to get institutional investors interested and excited?
    Is your story compelling and comprehensive?

STAGE 2: Getting your house in order

  • Do you have a strong handle on your growth plans?
    Do you know your growth percentage goals and how much money you’ll need to finance them?

  • Is the corporate structure simple?
    Is all Intellectual Property (IP) under ownership of the company?

  • Do you have the right team in place?
    Is your board properly structured? Do they have experience in this kind of transaction?

  • Are you comfortable with the last three years of your financial information being audited?
    Do you have your results and performance data in order?

  • Have you considered your tax structure?
    Are your personal wealth management plans also in order?

  • Are you ready for a law firm to perform rigorous due diligence on all of the above?
    Do you have the documentation in place to prove it all?

STAGE 3: Preparing for an IPO

  • Have you worked out your timescales?
    Do you know how long it will take? Do you have at least six months to spare before you want to start the process?

  • Have you researched your Nomad or Sponsor?
    Have you spoken to multiple firms?

  • Have you asked about your broker’s analyst?
    This is the person who will sell you as a public company, so you need to be comfortable with their abilities.

  • Have you appointed a law firm, accountant, registrar and PR firm?
    All of these players will be crucial throughout the process.

  • Do you understand the right time to come to market?
    When is your ‘window of opportunity’? How important is a ‘window of opportunity’ in your sector?

  • Do you understand your shareholder mix?
    Are you comfortable with it? What is the total amount of your business to be floated?

What's your next step?

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

Making business finance work for you

Our Making business finance work for you guide is designed to help you make an informed choice about accessing the right type of finance for you and your business.

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