Ohio 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.

Ohio Investors

United States > Ohio

I am a 38yr old female residing in Columbus,OH. I have a masters degree in business and marketing with over 10 yrs of experience in the financial industry. I have small personal investments and would like to increase capital wealth by investing with others. I am an independent investor and can provide advisory and silent partnership.

$5,000 to $50,000

United States > Ohio

I am a 43 year old married mother of 2 teenage boys who lives in rural northwest Ohio. I have a bachelors degree in nursing. I started my career as an oncology nurse before transitioning into the home health field. I spent time in case management and quality nursing before working my way up to director of home health at our local hospital. 4 years ago, I started a home care agency from scratch. I recently sold it and am looking for opportunities as a silent investor. I consider myself well rounded, as prior to my career in nursing, I had experience in the investment, engineering, and hospitality industries. I'm not part of an investment group and would be acting as an individual investor.

$10,000 to $50,000

United States > Ohio

Extensive experience in waste industry, vending, and manufacturing.

$50,000 to $500,000

United States > Ohio

44 years in business, grad degrees from NYU, also from State University of New York, MBA, University of Dayton. Working as commercial lender and also operate private Angel Fund. Looking for opportunities to expand in all areas both as an investor and as a commercial loan broker. Will assist with funding documentation and business plan development. Open to investment activity with successful entrepreneurs.

$3,000 to $50,000

United States > Ohio

Entrepreneur that specializes in Real Estate, mostly Self Storage. Looking to venture into other types of businesses. Would love to discuss more to see if goals, personalities and tasks would work well together.

$1,000 to $50,000

United States > Ohio

My objective is to use my liquid funds to invest in a company that needs the help and grow with it.

$0 to $15,000

United States > Ohio

Personal information (29, single, living in Dallas) Professional experience (lived/worked in China, fluent in Mandarin, Engineer). Education (Chinese, M.S. Microelectronic Engineering)

$1 to $50,000

United States > Ohio

* 31-year-old male currently residing in Columbus, OH * Individual investor looking to invest in both start-ups and small businesses seeking growth capital (open to most industries) * Willing to leverage 10-years of Business Development / Corporate Strategy / M&A experience to entrepreneur via advisory-level involvement (open to silent involvement as well) * M.B.A Graduate of The Ohio State Fisher College of Business with concentrations in Finance and Strategy

$10,000 to $250,000