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

United States > Arizona

Former consulting engineer; former commodities professional trader; private investor with some partners. Looking for wind-fall profits resulting from providing financial assistance at crucial time for mineral production companies.

$0 to $500,000

United States > California

I am just starting out. I have been in retail management for over 15 years. I am interested in helping others achieve their goals and get a good return of. My money.

$100 to $10,000

United States > California

Private investor, former engineer and lawyer, ready to invest in financial and technology related projects with appropriate risk profile.

$100,000 to $1,000,000

United States > California

We are an oportunistic debt financing firm with loans ranging from $500,000 - $10,000,000. We are a senior secured Asset Based Lender and are not governed by the FDIC. We make loan decisions quickly, and work with our clients on an ongoing basis.

$500,000 to $10,000,000

United States > Illinois

we provides financing and management assistance primarily to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through factoring in california and internationally. The company offers various factoring services, including international factoring, recourse factoring, non-recourse factoring, maturity factoring, indirect factoring, and full factoring, as well as financing for SMEs. It also involves in various leasing activities comprising nautical leasing, property leasing, equipment leasing, and vehicle leasing. In addition, the company provides Rendimax, an online savings account. It also serves large enterprises, business people, and private individuals.

$200,000 to $5,000,000

United States > Washington

Military and civilian training in communications & computer networking. Sales/entrepreneurship experience in the energy efficiency industry. Have investments in real estate and mobile applications.

$1,000 to $25,000

United States > Louisiana

I'm a long time entrepreneur with extensive experience in brand development and building new businesses. I am excited to invest and partner with new companies, new products, and newly formed inventive ideas.

$1 to $300,000