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.

Registered Investors

United States > California

After relocating Tucson 20 years ago I have made equity investments in several technology-based early-stage companies. I relocated to San Diego two years ago where I am CEO of two biotech companies (Oncology and Dermatology)

$25,000 to $100,000

United States > Illinois

We are an investment bank out of Scottsdale, Arizona. We work on two types of transactions. We do debt financing and equity funding for privately held, small to middle market companies. We also do mergers and acquuisitions, from an advisory standpoint whether it be from the buy of sell side.

$300,000 to $100,000,000

United States > Hawaii

Private investor interested in investing in start-ups or SMEs.

$0 to $200,000

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'm an accomplished engineer with a strong background in technology and the automotive industry. I'm looking to begin investing in new & promising products/services. I'm extremely detail oriented and driven.

$1,000 to $50,000

United States > California

I am a 25-year business and real estate attorney. A business would benefit in numerous ways with me in a co-management position, as an advisor, or as a board member. I have extensive experience in numerous areas: contract preparation, negotiation, risk assessment, management, partnership, incorporation, fiduciary obligations, trusts, etc. I have ample, successful trial experience and would offer a business a high level of protection and security, regardless of the stage of development.

$10,000 to $100,000

United States > California

Thus far I have invested only in my own ventures. In the past 10 years, I have started three organizations. The first was sold to a public company, the second was shut down and I am currently running the third. I am interested in hearing about new opportunities for investment from aspiring entrepreneurs.

$50,000 to $500,000

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