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

Married, living in downtown Chicago and in my mid-30s. I have 10+ years of banking experience, with a current position of Vice President in Financial Performance Management. My wife, currently a physician, is supportive in exploring investment opportunities that make sense for all potential partners. I have a personal interest in exploring investment opportunities where I can provide my experience and money to further business development. I am also open to silent investments given strong business proposals. My passion for investing comes from my father, a former business owner, and my personal fixation on building a financial portfolio beyond my day-to-day obligations at work where I can extend my skills and personality to help build a good business. I’d describe myself as approachable, hands-on, motivated and easy to work with.

$0 to $150,000

United States > Illinois

Investing on behalf of both large institutional investors and small private equity firms including debt, mezz and equity investments 18+ years in commercial real estate development and investment Group investor with access to $70Bln in funds

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

United States > Illinois

I am just an entrepreneur looking to invest a little.

$100 to $25,000

United States > Illinois

I am keen on investing in a lucrative, calculated viable business, either by partnership or as a financier, I will welcome any profitable business plan/proposal (Long or short term). I will be willing to invest independently. I am a sincere and straightforward individual when it comes to business. I am ready to increase or reduce the investment sum to meet with the required amount, provided you will guarantee good returns for my investments.

$1,500,000 to $100,000,000

United States > Illinois

Private investor. Background in corporate/securities law. Seeking passive investment opportunities.

$10,000 to $100,000

United States > Illinois

We help businesses and their owners with the day-to-day challenges of making sure the business has adequate funds for operations or expansion. We work with all kinds of financing scenarios such as private equity, venture capital, angel investors, bank loans, lines of credit, working capital, equipment financing, SBA loans, purchase order financing, real estate financing, mezzanine financing, private equity and other combinations of debt or equity financing.

$1,000,000 to $50,000,000

United States > Illinois

I'm an individual investor with my sights on supporting businesses and ideas that advance adoption of new and existing technologies. My investment target has been very specific over the past few years, mostly in stocks and crypto. My current job in a research facility and a graduate thesis in 3D printing has add flavor to my investment portfolio. Real estate is also an avenue I would like to venture into. I would like to support entrepreneurs in a monetary and / or contribution role.

$1,000 to $20,000

United States > Illinois

Born and raised in Chicago. Married with two children and currently living in the northwest suburbs. Bachelors degree in Finance with extensive computer science coursework. Over 18 years in corporate finance. Currently Director of Finance and Accounting. Also founded an ethnic confectionery business that I successfully ran for 5 years. I currently invest in real estate in addition to various equities. My anticipated involvement would be advisory.

$0 to $100,000