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

I am a private investor with an education in Finance and currently pursuing an MBA. My most recent career background is involvement of the operations side of distribution and inventory management of medical supplies. I intend to be an active investor, or potentially a partner, heavily involved in the marketing and operations strategy of a warehouse, distribution, and/or 3PL business with a focus on e-commerce clientele. To me, complacency is poison. My intent is to help drive a project home from a marketing and operations perspective. I hope not only to provide financial security to the project but also be hands-on and help motivate and provide experience and direction to the project.

$10,000 to $50,000

United States > California

12 years in corporate finance, have started 3 ventures myself and funded three others. As a Private Investor, I love entrepreneeurship and want to help others starting ventures.

$100,000 to $1,000,000

United States > California

I am in the banking industry, specializing in asset valuation and risk management. I am interested in various areas of investment throughout the Southern California region.

$0 to $1,000,000

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

I am a CFO for a company that may be looking for investors in our business as well as opportunities for the company to invest.

$10,000 to $100,000

United States > California

We are a private equity firm that has been in operation since the early 1990s.

$10,000,000 to $40,000,000

United States > California

An accomplished business executive who has built a successful career progressing through the operations and sales roles in startup and fast-growth companies. Recognized by my peers for my ability to create and implement an organizational vision that produces dramatic, yet controlled, growth in revenue and profitability.

$10,000 to $150,000

United States > California

Holds an equity position in 60+ assets and successful businesses in the real estate, construction, industrial, retail, services and hospitality sectors. Over 25 years experience specializing in real estate acquisitions, development, brokerage and investment for the commercial and residential real estate market. Experienced mentor specializing in accelerating growth for rapidly expanding businesses.

$50,000 to $1,000,000