California Investment Network

Business Plan Tips

What Investors Are Looking For In A Plan

Investors, whether angels or VC's, are looking for the same things when reading a business plan. They want to know how big the opportunity is, whether this is the right team to exploit the opportunity, who the competition is, what the risks are, and why they can expect this team to implement successfully. Your job in writing the business plan is to address these questions convincingly and clearly.

Emphasize Your Real Strengths

Highlight what your team brings to the table. If your business hinges on a particular competency (for example, understanding the procurement process), your plan will be more persuasive if one of your team members knows something about it and that is brought out in your plan. Rather than including generic resumes of team members, tailor the resumes to draw out the experience each member has that will make him or her a valuable contributor.

Get To The Point And Make It Clear And Comprehensive

Investors see many business plans. A 20-page plan which clearly lays out your business is far more likely to be read than a 100 page plan. Today, some entrepreneurs are using a 15 slide Powerpoint presentation. If your text is short and punchy, you won't need to repeat yourself, because the reader won't be bogged down keeping ten chapters in their head. Reading the same thing over and over, even if it's in different words, can get really tiring. The more you use brevity and give each concept a single home in your document, the more people will want to read it.

Write In Plain English

If you can't explain your idea in English, either you don't understand what you're talking about (What is a transaction enabled atomic journaling database server, anyway?) or you haven't simplified the idea enough. Think, revise, and try again.

Get Rid Of The Hype

Yes, we know you will be the "premier insert product category here of the Internet, achieving 99% market penetration with 60% customer retention in 3 months". Your product will reach "new heights in customer experience through the use of personalization and one-to-one profiling and customization". It will be "user friendly" because you will be creating a truly "ecstatic customer experience". It is a "quantum leap forward" in the marketplace for product category here. Um, yeah. Believe me, we've read it before. About a dozen times today, in fact. (And by the way, the phrase "quantum leap" really doesn't mean anything.) Stick to a tight, simple explanation of your idea. Convince your reader you'll be the best because your idea is the best, not because you can string a dozen buzzwords together.

Use Quantifiable Information

In each section, back up your assertions with solid facts. Even if you are a new venture and cannot give specific figures on the performance of your business, quote figures for the industry or your competitors. These real figures carry more weight than your assumed projections and give more reality to your plan.

Choose A Huge Market

Especially in the internet world, investors are looking more at the market than at the detailed specifics of your financials. Choose a market that is big enough to be an obvious good opportunity. A business which targets teenage girls who listen to music and has a reasonable chance of capturing 90% of the girls that are online is a huge opportunity. A business which targets net-savvy SAAB mechanics who need prosthetic limbs is not.

Local Investors

United Kingdom > London

I'm a venture capital deal person that invest directly and also raises capital through a group of high net worth investors Ive formed. My primary role is structuring and procuring private equity investments, either directly or through participations in Private Placement transactions. Prior to becoming independent in 2005, I worked in the Canadian private equity markets raising capital for companies in the mineral resource space. I was a managing partner in a private equity firm, and have also worked for a investor relations firm Canada. I have over 10 years of experience in areas of finance, going public consulting, recruitment and management consulting.

$100,000 to $7,000,000

United States > California

I work for a family-owned business in the medical industry and have helped it grow into a multi-million dollar profit company. Looking to transfer my success into other companies through financial support and new investments.

$0 to $30,000

United States > California

I have worked in finance for over 10 years and have 2 securities licensees which are a Series 6 and Series 63. I have worked in marketing of financial products/services as well as worked for start up firms. I have also started my own company 5 years ago in which most of my work is based online. I have worked with my fathers company and have access to some of the wealthiest families in the US (average net worth over $500 million) who are always looking for new, creative, alternative investments everyday. I have invested in my own business but would like to get in after the start up stage for a new investment opportunity after doing my own due diligence. I also dont just want to make money, I want to help the world be a better place at the same time. That is my mission.

$1,000 to $50,000

United States > California

I am an Independent/Individual Investor, looking to invest in viable projects in the range of US$100,000 to US$10,000,000. Will require Executive Summary for review.

$100,000 to $10,000,000

United States > California

Owned Broker Dealer Network, owned part of bank, and Savings and Loan and have been involved in real estate development and mortgage banking in many States. Have been involved in Venture Capital in multistates, in various stages of development.

$100,000 to $3,000,000

United States > California

I started out in advertising in NYC, then moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting where I landed a job on Star Trek: Enterprise, then started flipping houses in los Angeles. Took that money and invested with a trader in the stock market and he lost a million dollars. Now, am interested in rebuilding up to the million again with $100,000 initially as a private investor.

$5,000 to $100,000

United States > Washington

Small consulting and venture club working with 'eco-friendly' small businesses. The 'Consulting' team works with business owners to implement and improve branding, marketing, sales and financial results including training & owner coaching. The 'Club' members include a lawyer, banker, financial analyst, hydroligist.

$10,000 to $250,000

United States > Utah

-Manager of family business involved in ranching / oil and gas -Occupational background includes real estate development and brokerage, technology, banking. -Have invested as an individual and as part of a group

$500,000 to $2,500,000