New York 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.

Local Investors

Canada > Toronto

Founder of a technology company (IT Security space) that was acquired by a Fortune 1000 company, returning over 25x to investors. Actively involved with several early-stage IT security companies as board member, advisory board member, angel investor, etc. Also active in supporting the activities of some venture capital firms.

$10,000 to $2,000,000

United States > New York

Based in Manhattan, New York City, with 25 years’ experience in business and real estate finance, I am a direct investor and I have syndication/participation relationships with banks, pension funds, insurance companies, REITS, hedge funds and private equity firms. Term loan minimums: $4,000,000; Revolving credit facility minimums: $2,000,000. For: Real Estate Owners/Investors/Developers; Manufacturers; Distributors; Wholesalers; Construction Builders & GC Firms; Travel, Leisure & Hospitality Companies; Importers/Exporters (domiciled in North America); Service Industry Firms. I do not charge up-front/application fees for JV/ equity investment opportunities. Some fees necessary,disclosed up front, as work is done if credit facillities are requested/required. Thank you. MC

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

United States > New York

I am the head of a law firm and have invested in many start-ups and later stage companies. Investments have ranged from $50,000 to $500,000.

$50,000 to $100,000

United States > Michigan

I am the founder and Chairman of a venture group. I am a former professional hockey player, venture capitalist and renowned entrepreneur. An early entrant to the cleantech market, our efforts have garnered global recognition his companies awards include Time Magazine's "Best Inventions 2005," and was awarded the Wall Street Journal's "Technology Innovator" and the World Economic Forum's "Technology Pioneer" awards that same year. In early 2007, he was named a "Young Global Leader" by the Forum. Repeated successes has been acknowledged by the global business community. His insight has been sought by such publications as the New York Times, Time Magazine, Inc., Red Herring and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, he is a regular attendee of the World Economic Forum. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Brandon University, in Brandon, Manitoba.

$50,000 to $10,000,000

United States > New York

I work in professional services and am an independent investor seeking to support strategically sound business needs.

$5,000 to $100,000

United States > Florida

Private investor with experience in telecoms, apps, eCommerce and all things web. Loves the buzz of startups or taking co's to the next level. Prefer hands on but willing to sit and comment / advise. Originally from the UK with strong business links both sides of the pond.

$50,000 to $500,000

United States > New York

transitioning from corporate world to working on startups.

$0 to $50,000

United States > Washington

most interested in west coast. simple understandable, established businesses with great managemnt who have a lot of skin in the game

$100,000 to $10,000,000