A Business Plan, as all good entrepreneurs starting out in life should know is the foundation, or rather a springboard, towards the establishment and growth of a new business. A business plan is an essential tool for companies raising capital and your business plan needs to be Investor Ready.
What is an Investor Ready business plan?
An investor ready business plan is a document that has been professionally prepared to meet the needs of both Venture Capitalists and Angel investors. In your business plan, you should be able to see your own project through the investors eye. Your plan must be able to answer the concerns of an investor.
Both Venture Capitalists and Angel investors are risking their hard earned capital by investing in your venture in the hope of long term returns that are worth many times their original investment. An Investor Ready Business Plan demonstrates to investors that you are an expert in your industry and that you have a clear mission. An entrepreneur addresses these needs by preparing a comprehensive and detailed view of their business objectives and goals. Some important business plan sections that address different concerns of the investors are below:
Investors invest in management - not just ideas. It is very important that you express your knowledge, passion and dedication to your business as best as you can. The competence of your team along with their experience levels and their commitment levels are also factors that investors look into before making their investment decisions.
It is important to communicate to the investors that you understand the needs and requirements of your customers and to articulate your marketing strategy within your business plan.
A complete description of the product or the services offered by you should be outlined in detail. A description of the overall market for your product or service, along with the details of your customer base is essential. The investors need to know the reach and the kind of customers your product or service is catering to.
One of the most important sections of your business plan is your marketing plan. This section will outline your sustainable competitive advantage to your investors. In a way it assures them why you will succeed where others have failed. This section is where you include a definitive description of your customers, market size, demographics, characteristics, growth prospects, trends and sales potential per product or service category.
The marketing plan is where the pricing strategies are outlined and how they can directly influence the growth potential of each product or service. It is also important to include the future growth, market share and trend influences.
Barriers to Entry
Along with giving the details of what your product or service is and who your customers are, you also have to inform your investors how you will you prevent your competitors from taking away your customers. The barriers to entry section outlines your business strategy to keep your competitors at bay and grow in the market. Investors need to feel comfortable about the soundness of your strategy before they invest in your venture.
Howard Schwartz is a business plan consultant and a partner in investorbusinessplan.com. He is based in Stanford, Connecticut, and has helped many young entrepreneurs start out on their business careers by working on business plans with them. Contact us to learn more about writing an investor ready business plan.