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

Lead generation, online marketing, investor

$10,000 to $10,000,000

United States > California

Launched angel investment career in 2000 with idea sold to 4 private professional services companies; took the unified group public on NASDAQ; used stock to acquire & roll-up 28 other companies; moved to NYSE; sold 28/32 companies 36 months later. Joined three start-ups with idea, hired >100 people; raised $10MM from private, high-net worth individuals & small funding groups. Moved into legal & finance field in forensics and led the growth of 5 companies, with target strategy of selling to Private Equity firms; accomplished PE sale and moved back to consulting; private investing in 2013.

$5,000 to $250,000

United States > California

I am interested in exploring various opportunities currently seeking capital.

$500,000 to $9,000,000,000

United States > California

Wharton graduate. Previous Wall St. experience and financial valuations background. Entrepreneur seeking digital media startups for investment, both personally and for family trust.

$100,000 to $250,000

United States > California

Serial Entrepenuer Entrepenuer in Residence UCSD Connect San Diego Last company was sold to VC funded competitor several current investments in private companies including my current company for occupational history please see my linked in profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jimcomeaux private investor & member of a small private group of investors

$25,000 to $100,000

United States > California

I have been an attorney for more than 30 years representing a full range of business clients in their investment, financing, distribution and other activities. In addition, I have acted as a direct investor on my own behalf in various ventures for more than 20 years.

$0 to $100,000

United States > California

Investor background experience is in the enterprise software industry. He has a BS in Computer Engineering from University of Bridgeport and an MBA in Management and Finance from Indiana University. He has over 17 years experienced in Manufacturing and Supply Chain. Chief role is to drive the Corporate Mission - Revenue driven strategies, deliver Shareholder Value, and Share price. Analyze and understand the products in demand or have the potential for high demand, predict customers' buying habits in order to promote relevant products at multiple touch points, and proactively identify and mitigate issues that have the potential to lose customers or reduce their ability to gain new ones. Becoming an angel investor is a new venture with the possibility for future as a fulltime Venture Capital investor.

$100,000 to $5,000,000

United States > California

We have experience investing in and operating manufacturing companies, business service companies, and hospitality companies. We are looking for companies that already have cash flow and our looking for a partner to take their business to the next level.

$50,000 to $2,000,000