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 General Consulting Partner for a legal firm that specializes in obtaining $300K to $5 Million in unsecured corporate lines of credit. My team and I will work with the corporate management staff to improve the corporate profile and financial resources for the company should they qualify for our services

$100,000 to $1,000,000

United States > California

25 YEARS IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS MANAGING AND INVESTING IN ARTIST CAREERS AND NOW LOOKING FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO INVEST IN.

$1,000,000 to $5,000,000

United States > California

Private Investor based in San Diego, CA. I have limited investment experience, as I have just gained the means to be able to invest in others' ideas and projects. I would like to invest in unique inventions in audio, video and technology, farms and distributors of certified organic fruits and vegetables, farms and distributors of grass fed beef, free range farms. Not looking for really early startups. Must be operational or close to operational with solid business plan.

$1,000 to $10,000

United States > Georgia

Private investor just starting out. Looking for opportunities within the film/enterntainment industries.

$0 to $50,000

Mexico > MEXICO CITY

Strong finance and accountig knowledges based in degrees and experience. "A thousand milles travel begins with the first step"

$10,000 to $30,000

United States > Georgia

I have been investing for approx. 5 years now and have a high success rate. I have started and sold three business and tremendous profit in the past 15 years. I am a private investor

$500,000 to $5,000,000

Netherlands > The Hague

In 1999, I co-founded a Dutch small-sized company that I have managed since then. This company is one of the European leaders on a niche market in the telecom sector. I am a private investor.

$5,000 to $50,000

United States > Colorado

I am in the military and am a private investor who is looking for sound investments.

$2,000 to $100,000