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

Currently an entertainment professional at a major animation studio. Prior management experience in finance & marketing in the hi-tech, ecommerce, retail, and airline industries. Previously worked with an Angel Network and VC in Chicago before moving to Southern California. Current early investor in a $300M mens fashion ecommerce company.

$1 to $10,000

United States > Florida

Operating Partner with P****** Group Ventures Corporation with over 35 years of experience in manufacturing companies and private equity investment groups as a member and/or owner, who has created, directed and executed the strategic planning, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, financial structuring and restructuring, of numerous companies. Planned and executed “Greenfield” startups of a manufacturing facility in Europe and established a trading company in China. Performed due diligence, planned, directed, negotiated and executed the purchase/acquisition of strategic target companies and/or target asset(s) of a number of companies with a total value of $200,000,000. Previously CEO of a $60 million dollar machining firm serving Fortune 50 companies. Owner, Managing Partner and CEO of a $20 million machining company. Along with another partner started a small boutique private equity group making investments in small start-ups.

$50,000 to $2,000,000,000

United States > Georgia

I serve as Managing Partner of a private equity business catalyst focused on financing existing ventures in the High Technology, Commercial Real Estate, Manufacturing, and Consumer Goods industries. Clients include: Apple, Inc, Applied Economics, Marcus & Millichap, Dillon Read Venture Capital, Transamerica Corporation, First Ag, Accelerated Marketing Partners, New Media Magazine, United Parcel Service, AT&T, FIFA/World Cup Soccer, Panoz Auto Development Corporation, Frost Motorsports, JRG Capital, Smash Media, East West Resort Development Corporation, Opinicon, Inc., Spirit Creek Development, Alemax Corporation, Pete's Brewing Company, and New World Beverages Corporation.

$20,000,000 to $1,000,000,000

United States > California

I am the owner of a small business and looking for other small business investments.

$100 to $50,000

United States > Washington

My main goal is to invest in companies that are struggling through that intermediate phase of development. I lived through several high growth companies that I owned and recognize the need for capital without losing control. I am a CEO of a high tech firm and sit on the board of a few small companies. I am a private investor.

$5,000 to $50,000

United States > Pennsylvania

I have access to multiple funds for investors who are interested in film and television projects. I deal with all types of investors on each project.

$0 to $20,000,000

United States > California

1) I run a US based Angel Investor group with two chapters in Palo Alto and Reno. We make investments under $1 Million. 2) I am a partner at an investment bank focusing in helping CEOs raise financing rounds between $1 M and $30 M. We have partners worldwide and have access to a worldwide network of investors. We also make direct investments 3) I also invest personally, either though US Angel Investors, or with other partners

$50,000 to $10,000,000

United States > California

Former Electrical Engineer. Worked as product marketing engineer. Entrepreneur. Business owner. Would like a solid return on investment.

$1 to $300,000