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 > Michigan

I represent a Venture Capital firm in Southern CA. We have access to many avenues of capital and our strategies are flexible. We look for companies with great growth potential, consider every company's individual situation, and adjust our approach accordingly.

$500,000 to $15,000,000

Canada > Grande Prairie

Private Investor, broadening horizons and looking to invest in the US market.

$100 to $50,000

United States > Arizona

I have been in the financial services industry since 1985. I graduated from the University of North Dakota with a B.S. in Business Administration. I also minored in economics with additional concentration in real estate. I attended the UND Law School with course work in Commercial Law and Taxation. I have been helping business for over two decades, I have always tried to seek additional knowledge wherever possible. As a result, I have studied and has worked with worldwide economic development programs, federal grant programs and government loan guarantee programs.

$10,000 to $150,000

United States > California

I'm an accomplished engineer with a strong background in technology and the automotive industry. I'm looking to begin investing in new & promising products/services. I'm extremely detail oriented and driven.

$1,000 to $50,000

United States > California

Bought and sold multiple businesses. Entrepreneurial and corporate background. Private investor looking open to all industries.

$0 to $100,000

United States > Florida

I have an extensive investment banking and entrepreneurial background looking for companies looking for money with rapid growth potential and interested in a liquidity event within three years.

$15,000 to $100,000

United States > California

I represent Capital Group Communications, a Venture Capitalist firm that accepts equity for services and cash investment.

$500,000 to $25,000,000

United States > Illinois

We are an investment bank out of Scottsdale, Arizona. We work on two types of transactions. We do debt financing and equity funding for privately held, small to middle market companies. We also do mergers and acquuisitions, from an advisory standpoint whether it be from the buy of sell side.

$300,000 to $100,000,000