Illinois 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.

Illinois Investors

United States > Illinois

I'm a young business man looking to invest some of my hard earned money, into some profitable business. I'm looking to expand my revenue and business relationships. I have very little investment experience, but I have owned a company of my own for the past year. I own a call center, and we promote heart checks and timeshares

$10,000 to $500,000

United States > Illinois

Private investor with interest in Mexican businesses.

$0 to $5,000

United States > Illinois

Specialized Investment Bank

$500,000 to $50,000,000

United States > Illinois

Appointed US representative for a Chinese green build construction/development group. Group investor.

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

United States > Illinois

We invest in early stage information technology companies, including enterprise software and services, Internet infrastructure software, wireless applications, and digital media.

$1,000,000 to $99,000,000

United States > Illinois

We are an international investment banking firm committed to the highest standards of integrity and service in providing corporate financial advisory services, merger and acquisition expertise, financial opinions, and valuation services to publicly and privately held businesses. We have offices in North America, Asia, and Africa. We have specialized expertise in partnering with middle-market firms in hundreds of industry verticals and niche markets to achieve the best possible outcome through a variety of transactions. We analyze each client’s unique needs to obtain the best match between buyers and sellers, arrange appropriate financing, and create capitalization structures that optimize the client’s potential. We are atrusted partner and leading provider of financial advisory services, M&A assistance, and valuations.

$500,000 to $90,000,000

United States > Illinois

More than 18 years of commercial real estate investment and development experience. Most recently VP at GE Real Estate Purchase single tenant office and industrial properties for my company's own account and commercial and hotel properties for other investors for whom I am an advisor.

$50,000 to $10,000,000

United States > Illinois

I invest as well as work directly with several investment groups. Looking for attractive investment opportuniites.

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