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

Venezuela > Santa Cruz

I have a small factory in Venezuela which manufactures tranportation equipment and am in the search for new ventures.

$10,000 to $1,000,000

United States > California

I am an investor looking at around $50,000 to start and up to $100,000. This is cash available looking for an interesting, probably upstart company with a good idea who needs money to get going. My preference would be an investment with good return that has the possibility of rolling back over into the company for future development and returns. As further background, I am looking to invest in areas other than stocks, funds, etc. My net worth is approximately 1.4 million of which most is in land in Arkansas.

$0 to $100,000

United States > California

Have previously invested in Furniture, Consumer Goods, Lifestyle Products, Busniess Services and Printing. Seeking to diversify by taking smaller roles in multipe startups. 20+ years business management. Entreprenuerial and creative. Enjoy helping others create solutions. Experience negotiaing with CxO level people at Fortune 500 companies. Private investor.

$1,000 to $100,000

United States > California

I do not have much investment experience, I am more into developement of technology. I have investment advisors to help me make investment decisions should I need them. I am Retired from the U.S. Army, while in the Army I developed and completed U.S. Patent Number # 5,365,808 granted on November 22 1994. I am a private investor trying to build my portfolio.

$500 to $1,000,000

United States > California

An accomplished business executive who has built a successful career progressing through the operations and sales roles in startup and fast-growth companies. Recognized by my peers for my ability to create and implement an organizational vision that produces dramatic, yet controlled, growth in revenue and profitability.

$10,000 to $150,000

United States > Kansas

I run a website and e-commerce development company and have years of experience in website development. I am looking to invest. I invest by providing resources required for building, testing and supporting your website or web services. I am interested in start-up companies. I invested in one company in USA in similar form and want to expand my investment

$10,000 to $100,000

United States > California

I'm have a Bachelor degree in Finance. Throughout my time Undergraduate career, I assisted, lead and participated in various research endeavors that involved: statistical analysis, data regression and budgetary allocation. In addition to my academic work, I've closely studied real estate part- time. In that duration, I've done minor real estate investments but none too lucrative. My experience also includes working part-time as a financial/insurance solicitor. I have several years of experience in the financial arena, and a variety of rewards and licenses to back up my claims. Furthermore, I've participated in a few telecommunicating start ups so I'm not a stranger when it come to business in the IT arena.

$500,000 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