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 co-founded Micro Center Computer Inc in 1990 and was a board member of Supermicro Computer which went to a successful IPO in 2007. Now Sam is focused on start-up company and investment. Sam has over 30 years of extensive background in development, engineering and business management and has been a successful engineer/manager/consultant/executive in several well- respected companies such as Sony, Fairchild, Telesensory, and Snap-on Diagnostics.

$20,000 to $300,000

United States > Utah

-Manager of family business involved in ranching / oil and gas -Occupational background includes real estate development and brokerage, technology, banking. -Have invested as an individual and as part of a group

$500,000 to $2,500,000

United States > California

I spent over 25 years in investment banking doing mergers and acquisitions and also complex financing transactions. A few years ago I began buying small companies for my own portfolio and recently set up my own fund to make non-control investments in small companies. I am keenly aware of the issues small business owners deal with when growing their businesses and I would be comfortable in a passive role or one in which I could also serve in an advisory capacity. Because of my background I am very comfortable with developing creative structures. I would be interested in deals with equity, debt or hybrid securities. I have a preference for investing in companies with strong growth potential. These could be start ups with growth concepts or existing companies leveraging a new concept. I would be very interested in helping existing companies with the structuring and financing of business acquisitions. I believe my background would be a value add in any deal

$50,000 to $1,000,000

United States > California

As an experienced Venture Capitalist, Entrepreneur & "Turnaround CEO", I have founded an innovative, "Entrepreneur-Friendly" financial services company that will directly provide growth capital to revenue-stage companies. I understand the importance of capital needs for SMBs. Firstly, We have a revolutionary concept in providing funding for SMBs who sell to mid/large companies and are "not-quite-bankable". NO collateral is required. NO qualification. NO long term contracts. NO DILUTION. NO personal guarantees. Nothing like traditional financial services, We provide capital fast, reasonably priced, without traditional due diligence/underwriting. Secondly, We have a program ("Partner Income Program") which greatly enhances a company's opportunities to raise capital, while providing the initial 50% investment.

$100,000 to $1,000,000

United States > Ohio

We are a television and film financing vehicle for full length feature films. We also invest in ancillary products and companies that produce those products. I prefer television and film related investments. Companies that have assets are of interest, as well as pink sheet - OTC BB companies with stock. Advertising, Apparel, Arts, Entertainment, Finance, Investing, Media, Venture Capital

$500,000 to $10,000,000

United States > California

I am a private investor. My professional background includes equity research (large and mid-cap stocks) at a private investment boutique, a position at the debt rating agency Moody's Investors Service, and most recently project finance with a focus on the renewable energy industry. I am a CFA charterholder. My career skills development has been oriented towards buy-side investing and I wish to employ these skills to put some of my own money to work.

$1,000 to $50,000

United States > California

Bought and sold multiple businesses. Entrepreneurial and corporate background. Private investor looking open to all industries.

$0 to $100,000

United States > California

Intern at The Angels Forum and The Halo Fund.

$0 to $1,000,000