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Five things investors want to see in a business plan

You’ve got the idea. You’ve got the product. You’ve even got the business cards. The only missing piece is the money to make it all happen, so you reach out to investors – but how can you win them over?
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The competition for securing funding from investors has never been fiercer, with thousands of entrepreneurs seeking investment each month, so a solid business plan is the way to get the ball rolling.

At InvestorConnected, we offer a platform that acts as the bridge between entrepreneurs and investors, so here are my top tips for the five things investors look for in a winning business plan.

(1) Vision  

There are very few ideas that are unique. If it’s a genuinely good idea, the chances are someone else has had the same thought already. What investors look for in a business plan is a vision that sets you apart.

How does your ability to look into the future impact your business in a positive way? Think of the success Apple enjoyed under Steve Jobs.

Apple wasn’t the first company to come up with an MP3 player or smartphone, but the company’s vision for how they could be used in conjunction propelled it to unprecedented success over the years.

(2) Commitment

There’s nothing worse than a “part-time entrepreneur” with an idea but no commitment, and investors will spot them from a mile off! Your business plan should illustrate your commitment to the cause. This can be done through several ways.

Have you quit your full-time job to dedicate your time to the business? Have you ploughed your own cash into getting a prototype off the ground? Make this clear in your business plan.

(3) Specifics  

Investors are busy people. They want cold, hard facts. I speak to many investors who are fed up with “finger in the air” predictions. Don’t mention that the market you’re entering is worth around £Xm. Do your research and find out exactly how much it’s worth.

Not only does this show that you’ve done proper research and due diligence, but it’s also a sign of respect to the investor that you are not trying to pull the wool over their eyes with spin and hyperbole.

(4) Realism

Avoid words like revolutionise and transform. You’re not Mark Zuckerberg. This isn’t 2007. Be realistic in your expectations for the business.

In a world where unicorns are the zeitgeist, it can be refreshing to see a business that is slow, steady and going to win the race.

Likewise, if you have pitfalls in your business, make that clear from the beginning and offer practical solutions for how your business plan will overcome them. It will help in the long-term.

(5) Valuation

The valuation of a business is crucial when it comes to securing investment. Too high and you risk looking foolish, too low and you risk signing over a significant amount of equity that could otherwise have been in your pocket.

For too long, entrepreneurs have relied on “guestimate” valuations which offer little value to investors reading their business plan.

Use a business tool to secure an accurate valuation for your business that might just help seal the deal when it comes to raising capital.

The key thing to remember is that investors see an abundance of business plans each week and it’s your job to make them think that, for whatever reason, your business plan is worth a second glance. 

Thierry Clarke is the CEO and co-founder of InvestorConnected

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Real Business

As the champion of UK enterprise for 20 years, Real Business is the most-read SME website dedicated to high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs. Through daily news, unique insight and invaluable guides we are an essential resource for thriving businesses.

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