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 > Ohio

Founded an International consulting company which guides entrepreneurs through the process of validation of vision, due diligence & decision support, venture packaging, investment banking advisory services, capital acquisition and various business development services. Previously, Managing Director of Commonwealth Capital Advisors, and was Chief Operating Officer for Investor Life Services and International Entrepreneurs Network (An international financial services company which developed and distributed insurance and asset management products through over 150 New York Stock Exchange member firms, banks, and insurance companies as well as thousands of producers).

$10,000 to $1,000,000

Russian Federation > Izhevsk

Izhevskiy Radiozavod OAO is an engineering & production enterprise with over than 50-year history in space industry, equipment for fuel and energy sector and communication industry. Our company invests in young companies and new technologies in the field of electronics and telecommunications.

$20,000 to $1,200,000

United States > Alaska

Business consultant, investor and trusted adviser. Advancing the career of Tia Norfleet (first African American female to be licensed by NASCAR. Looking to build a multi-cultural race team. Entrepreneur with interests in virtual motor sports, entertainment, film and television. Working also with internet search and eCommerce technologies. Specialties: Expertise in areas of business development and start up. Projects include film, entertainment, sports, radio and television development as well as other high impact industries. Working in several other sectors to include private equity, oil, fuel, bonds and commercial development.

$500,000 to $500,000,000

United States > California

I have been an attorney for more than 30 years representing a full range of business clients in their investment, financing, distribution and other activities. In addition, I have acted as a direct investor on my own behalf in various ventures for more than 20 years.

$0 to $100,000

United States > California

Private Investor who currently is the VP of Mergers and Acquisitions of a successful manufacturing company. Over the past years we have made several acquisitions as add-ons to our company and we are looking to expand our portfolio. Am also an active investor in the stock and bond markets as well as the residential and commercial real estate markets.

$0 to $15,000,000

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 > 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 > California

I am based in California. I am an economics major with an MBA and several years of business management experience. I work in the Financial insurance industry with a reputed private company. I am open to different sort of investments in various sectors. I am mostly an individual investor. My main investments are in commercial real estate and construction.

$70,450 to $3,500,500