Do you want to write or submit a business plan to investors for your startup? If YES, here are 7 most important things investors look for in a business plan.

There are salient features of your venture that an investor might need to know before investing in your venture, and so for you to get funding for your startup idea, you should know what investors look for in a business plan. You need to show them how you’re going to make a profit. Or in other words, how are you going to bring in the money.

Investors have business plans coming their way every day, and the fact remains that they cannot invest in all these businesses; after all, they are still running a business and looking for the more lucrative ventures out of the lot. You need to understand that 99% of the business plans that investors receive are declined for one reason or the other.

The question should now be, why were these business plans dumped? What did they do wrong? And the 1 percent that are accepted, what did they do right? Here are 7 things that get the most attention from investors during the business plan evaluation process.

7 Most Important Things Investors Look for in a Business Plan

  1. Executive summary

The executive summary of your business plan is the first thing that the investors look at when they pick up a business plan. Nobody has the time to read a 50 or 60-paged business plan. Investors want to see those 3 to 4 pages at the start.

These pages help them to get a grasp of what are you planning to do with your business. If investors can’t see what they want here and if they can’t understand what your business is all about immediately, your business plan will end up being tossed away.

An investor can’t know your business better than you. That’s why your business plan, and especially the executive summary needs to be clear and concise. It should be clear in a way that even your grandmother can understand it. That’s how investors will recognize the opportunity that you’re offering to them. Investors are only encouraged to read your whole document when they are satisfied with your executive summary.

  1. Your Company Management

The other thing that investors look at in a typical business plan is the team, more specifically, the management team of the organisation. Yes, your idea itself may be huge, but investors regard your corporate team to be even more important.

These money bags get approached by dozens of companies daily that are pitching the same or similar business idea. But the question now remains which is the best team that is going to execute that idea and bring the results? You must have a team of experts that know their job and this has to be showcased in your business plan too. That’s how investors know that your business will go far.

As a start-up, it’s understandable that your team might still not have the experience to add up to their expertise. For that reason, it is recommended to get some help and advice on how to present your management team, if not, you will be seen as not being serious enough.

So when seeking to get funds with your business plan, make sure you pick the right team that will complement your business. If you have credibility and you trust your teammates, you’ll gain credibility with the investors and they will trust you too.

  1. Investors want to see your financial analysis

Your executive summary and management can draw in investors to look more into your business plan, but the real thing that would hold their interest is your financial analysis. They want to see numbers. Not just numbers, but numbers that make sense. After all, they want to see how they’re going to make their money.

This is not a section to start dreaming big and building castles in the air. You’re not going to be the next Amazon in two years so keep those thoughts out of your business plan. You have to be certify whether the amount of funding that you’re asking for can bring them a profit, as well as salary for you and your team.

This is definitely the most important section of your business plan and a lot of entrepreneurs seem to struggle with this section. This may be because of the entrepreneur’s myopia or unrealistic assumptions. The financials must be realistic with a rationale.

Business plans should never be prepared with the presumption of impressing investors. Most entrepreneurs do that and it is a mistake. Business plans should be constructed to mirror your idea and rationalized through research. The data and information in the business plan cannot be based on hunches and belief. It must be prepared to ensure that the business case in itself sounds appealing but not embellished.

  1. competitive advantage

Yet another aspects investors consider before they think or working with you is your competitive advantage. Your business venture does not necessarily need to be an unique innovation. It can be a traditional business but it is imperative to highlight the competitive advantage that you are offering to the market.

It can be a gap in supply and demand, or it can be a product or service with better performance and price or simply your offerings are more convenient. If you have a product or service that can genuinely compete in the market, your chances of getting a yes increases.

5. Business model

The clarity of the business model and the revenue model is the key to a business. This is one of the most important aspects of a business plan. If you do not have a clear business model in mind, let’s face it your planning needs some more homework. Present the business model that you are currently using and prove that it will help your company become more profitable.

6. Market size the company commands

angel investors typically invest in solutions that address major problems for significantly large target markets. On the other hand, venture capitalists look at market characteristics such as significant growth and limited competition when investing.

The larger and more stable customer base that your brand has, the stronger competitive advantage you will have when pitching to investors. A larger and more stable customer base will serve as proof that your company has a great impact to its target market.

Investors look for companies that can grow quickly and manage this high growth scale. Investors must see that the company can generate significant profits beyond the initial product idea with adequate financial projections and a plan to include multiple sources of revenue.

7. Company Scalability

Everybody starts small, however, you are not expected to remain small for any reason. The scalability factor excites investors. It justifies the risk reward mechanism; a typical investor would be interested in this aspect.

Other Less Important Things Investors Look at in a Business Plan

  • Research

You must have extensive research done on your business plan to substantiate your business case. A business plan without proper research has no rationale. Adequate market research and competitor analysis must be a part of your business plan. Doing this would make the investors know that you understand what you are going on about.

  • Product and Services offered

Your business plan must include the exact product or service you plan to offer along with the target market you are aiming at. Everything for everybody is not a very good idea and would not get you a second glance from investors.

Ejike Cynthia