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

Italy > fffffffff

I am formally a senior financial manager with experience in multiple industries. I also have had an extensive experience managing an M&A group for the KPMG office locally and looking presently for deal-flow on behalf of a group of investors.

$10,000 to $2,000,000

United States > North Carolina

Career spans over thirty years as a business owner, corporate executive, consultant, and scholar. Spent the first sixteen years of my career as an entrepreneur, creating, building, and managing several successful companies, including a commercial banking firm that catered to vendors and manufacturers using equipment financing as a catalyst for driving incremental sales. This business was acquired in 1996 and went through multiple mergers and acquisitions that ultimately led me to joining Citigroup’s CitiCapital division as Vice President. For the next seven years I managed the business technology sector responsible for Cisco Systems, Oracle, and other major companies, building this group’s sales to over $200 million. As a consultant, coach, and Chairman of Funding, my clients have included well known companies such as Ericsson, Lucent, Corning Optics, Herman Miller, Haworth, Steelcase, as well as many small and midsize businesses.

$250,000 to $4,000,000

United States > California

I am an accountant and attorney with experience in start-ups through IPO. I have taken one company public and have also been the COO of a PEG. I have more than 20 years experience in the healthcare industry. I also have several years experience in real estate and am a licensed real estate broker.

$25,000 to $100,000

United States > California

We are a non-profit international organization dedicated to enhancing business cooperation and cultural communication between China and the United States. For the past six years, we developed into the biggest non-governmental platform with a membership of over 3000 Chinese entrepreneurs and more than 600 American entrepreneurs. We not only host annual summits designed to connect Chinese investors and local professionals to help them find business and real estate projects in the U.S., but also provide business matchmaking services for enterprises in both nations.

$0 to $10,000,000

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

Owned Broker Dealer Network, owned part of bank, and Savings and Loan and have been involved in real estate development and mortgage banking in many States. Have been involved in Venture Capital in multistates, in various stages of development.

$100,000 to $3,000,000

United States > Nevada

I work with a private equity investment group located in Southern California. We are very interested in "green" technologies and have made recent investments in water purification and wind technologies. We prefer companies that have "disruptive" products or services regardless of industry. We are not geographically constrained and have done a number of deals outside the US. We prefer companies that already have revenue, but will consider start up projects with exceptional or unique IP's. Each project is considered on its own merits. After 15 years we have access to numerous resources with investment banks, broker dealers and other related resources. There are no fees or costs for the project company associated with our investment program. If you are seeking investment or expansion capital we would be interested in reviewing your project. I am the person responsible for the initial due diligence and financial analysis of projects for the investment group.

$500,000 to $5,000,000

United States > California

Experienced serial entrepreneur with past personal success with IPO and acquisition exits. 25 years experience with pricing strategy and sales&marketing excellence. Spent the past 10 years helping companies establish monetization / pricing strategies to extract full value for their products. I can help the companies I advise and mentor to increase their initial valuations, increase their cash flow (decrease equity dilution) and accelerate revenue growth and market adoption through effective pricing strategies. Successful and passionate entrepreneur looking to pay forward to other entrepreneurs the help I received in my own past start-ups.

$0 to $100,000