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 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 > Illinois

I have owned several companies from construction to manufacturing. I have a large amount of property and a large net worth. I have invested a total of 100 million + over the past 10 years in all sorts of companies using private money sources. I have in-house investment funds and also several groups to fund deals.

$50,000 to $25,000,000

United States > Georgia

A trust with assets in excess of $5 million, income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years or joint income with a spouse exceeding $300,000 for those years. Looking for investment opportunities.

$50,000 to $100,000

United States > California

I am a private investor with little investment history. I am an entertainer who wants to branch out and seek new opportunities.

$30,000 to $100,000

United States > California

I am just starting out. I have been in retail management for over 15 years. I am interested in helping others achieve their goals and get a good return of. My money.

$100 to $10,000

United States > California

I am an successful entrepreneur and senior executive in the information technology area. I recently sold a company I helped build to a publicly traded company and I'm looking to support other organizations on a fast growth track. I am interested in high potential start-ups or early stage companies that need capital and, possibly, direct personal support.

$10,000 to $100,000

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 > Maryland

I'm an attorney with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considering retiring and moving to California where my daughter is. She is a recent college graduate with marketing and music management experience. We are looking to be associated with an existing nightclub seeking expansion (by "we" I mean "her" with my money). I will have about $300K to invest upon moving, about $50K right now.

$10,000 to $50,000