Most businesses will need funding at some point, whether just getting started or several years after things are up and running. Regardless of where you are in the process, if your business is seeking venture capital funding, it is vital to have a solid, detailed business plan to present to potential investors. In addition to crafting a comprehensive plan, you must present it in a professional, organized manner.
Rather than waste time and money on color printing and putting together a bunch of binders and packages, your business may benefit from housing this important plan in a virtual data room (VDR). A VDR, essentially an online vault for secure document storage and sharing, will safeguard your information and likely impress prospective investors who you can invite to access your virtual repository where they can easily review your business proposal. Of course, there are many ways to present a business plan, but you should include, at a minimum, the following items.
In general, the executive summary will be the last thing you write for your business proposal. You can’t really summarize your business plan until it is fully developed and outlined. However, even though this is the last item you create, it is usually the first thing that investors review. Because of this, it is crucial that the executive summary is organized and well written, and it should captivate the reader so that he or she wants to learn more about your company and proposal. The summary must be clear and concise, but it must also give a solid synopsis of the plan.
This section can be as detailed as you like. For example, you may want to provide the company’s distinct mission and long-term goals or the company founders’ unique vision. On the other hand, you can just provide the basics and a bit of history, such as the type of entity it is, where it was created, who created it, and any notable achievements, among other fundamental tidbits. The key is to convey the essence of the company.
This part of the plan requires a great deal of research because you need to explain many facets of your particular market, such as the size, scope, and economic landscape. The market analysis must contain an explanation of the industry, including information about other companies in the relevant sector, past and present trends and patterns, and anticipated growth, as well as the target audience and consumer demands. In addition to these economic indicators, you can also highlight your company’s competitive advantage in this section. In general, investors are interested in companies that can fill a current gap or need in the industry or at least improve the current market, so you want to ensure that you stand out in this regard.
Investors don’t just want to know what you plan to do, but how you actually plan to do it. You may have a ton of great ideas, but if you don’t know how to implement them, then they may never come to fruition or won’t reach their full potential. For example, a strategic plan can include operational processes, daily functions, concrete goals, anticipated dates of completion for specific tasks, and management roles and responsibilities. You want to demonstrate to investors that the company has clearly delineated objectives and established performance metrics.
The success of any venture rests on the quality and commitment of its management team. Investors want to know who will be running the show, so you should definitely include detailed biographies and comprehensive resumes for each member of the management team, as well as any other individuals crucial to the company’s evolution.
If you are seeking funding, you will obviously need to explain how much money you are requesting, as well as your plans for using that money. In addition, investors want to know how your company will generate revenue and expected operations expenses, so be sure to include a projected profit and loss statement, projected cash flow, balance sheet, and capitalization table, if applicable. The more detailed the financial projection, the better.
Supporting Materials: Tables, Statements, and so forth
This is where you can be really creative. Don’t be afraid to include tables, charts, and statements that expound on any of the above items or highlight different but relevant information about the company or market. There are plenty of people who prefer, or even need, visual aids in order to better understand what’s being presented. And, it’s better to provide ample information at the beginning. You don’t want investors having to make repeated requests for additional facts or figures, so pack this section with as much data as possible. If you did market validation, include it here.
There is a multitude of ways to craft and deliver a business plan to potential investors, and many banks and firms receive an overwhelming number of proposals. As a result, you should spend as much time as feasible preparing your business plan and consider unique ways of sharing it with potential investors. Anything you can do to set your plan apart will help you to get noticed, and hopefully, funded.