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

Just starting to invest. Am a member of an investor networking group in my area. Have been in government for many years. I am a private investor and lender that also belongs to a group.

$100 to $75,000

India > Sagar

Currently serving as CEO and Managing Director of technology firm and have been part of 2 start-ups. With my own experience, know the difficulty of fund raising during the initial days of a start-up, I would like do a bit for those who are deserving a helping hand in a small way.

$25,000 to $100,000

United States > California

Serving the needs of the investor community since 2007; we focus on bridging the gap between wall street and main street by supporting job growth and sustainability on each project we work on. We have implemented some of the finest technology systems, and matched them with an outstanding TEAM of people. We believe that our focus must remain clear; provide transparency with a competitive model. Clear communication and transparency between our valued clients and partners leads to a competitive advantage, which will define our corporate success and mission.

$100,000,000 to $5,000,000,000

United States > Georgia

I have been investing for approx. 5 years now and have a high success rate. I have started and sold three business and tremendous profit in the past 15 years. I am a private investor

$500,000 to $5,000,000

United States > Georgia

We are group of private investors who invest in all types of oil and gas, natural gas and alternative energy projects. This is debt financing. We never charge an upfront fee.

$250,000 to $50,000,000

United States > California

I am a private investor with over 7 years of experience investing in start ups. I currently own a large consulting company and am an Entrepreneur and have made my personal money through investments in early stage companies.

$50,000 to $500,000

United States > California

Eighteen Years on Lending/Small Business Investor Private contractor for Department Of Justice and FBI Both private and group investor

$15,000 to $30,000

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