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 invested for over 15 years in the stock market. I have invested in electric cars prototypes. I am a mechanical engineer, started-up and sold an environmental engineering company. Also, started a brake pads wholesale company and a web development company. I am a private investor.

$5,000 to $100,000

United States > Illinois

Work for one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the country.

$50,000,000 to $750,000,000

United States > California

Corporate Finance Executive with 15 years of experience in fortune 500 corporations across process manufacturing, distribution, software (SaaS) and services industries. Six Sigma master black belt (process improvement) with expertise in sustained working capital improvement initiatives. Deep short-term and long-term financial planning and analysis across entire P&L. Seeking opportunity to be hands-on and engaged equity partner in a small business. I am a Private Investor.

$50,000 to $500,000

United States > California

HR executive working and living currently in Mexico City, doing business in San Diego, CA. Planning to relocate permanently to San Diego, CA and investing there as active or silent partner. Private investor, entrepreneur, currently investing in different areas such as Internet, TV production, Imports, Packaging, etc. in Mexico, Germany and Spain.

$1,000 to $50,000

United States > New York

I like your idea please contact me at 702.2188811 or 604.637.4426 or by email Ricardoruiz@cox.net

$150,000 to $400,000

United States > Georgia

I am a private investor looking for the right opportunity for passive income outside of my current ventures. I have funded startups in the technology, entertainment, and telecom industries. I also have 10 years of executive experience in telecommunications industry.

$50,000 to $1,000,000

United States > Texas

I am a practicing physician who is looking to transition to angel and startup investments. My particular expertise is in the medical and biotech industry.

$10,000 to $500,000

United States > California

I have been involved with several investment deals ranging from DOTCOM startups to Real Estate. I am an Architect/Planner with 11 years developement experience across all facets of the industry, including large scale resorts, eco-tourism, and mixed-use developement. I have been directly responsible for negotiating public/private partnerships and the setup of TIF projects.

$5,000 to $300,000