If you are in the process of raising capital for your business from investors, then you unquestionably need a business plan. A business plan is a critical part of starting any business and serves a number of critical functions. Writing a solid business plan can be a real challenge, however, which is likely how you found yourself here:
A good business plan must answer in sufficient details the following 10 questions if it is to meet the expectations of prospective investors and potential business partners.
1. Company Description – What does your company do? What is your mission statement and overall product or service focus?
2. Management Team – Give a brief description of your key employees with respect to leadership, education, background and work experience.
3. Problem Being Solved – What problem is your company solving and how great is the pain or waste?
4. Customers – Who are your potential customers? Does your product or service directly impact your customer’s bottom line?
5. Value Proposition – How much does your customer make or save by using your product or service? What are the benefits to your customer? How long does it take to realize these benefits?
6. Business Opportunity – How does your company make money? Describe the revenue streams, and include a yearly projection of revenue, expenses, EBITDA, net income and funding requirements for the next five years.
7. Uniqueness – How do your customers use your product or service today? Who else does the same thing you are doing today? Who else could be doing it tomorrow?
8. Barriers to Entry – Is your product or service defensible? Are there sufficient barriers to entry? What patents, copyrights, trade secrets, etc. protect your product from duplication?
9. Competitive Differentiation – What is the competitive landscape? Discuss companies that can be viewed as competition in the market segment. Please explain the key points of differentiation between you and your competitors.
10. Scalability – Where might your product grow within your client company (and its supply chain and sales channels) or among client users?
11. Sales and Marketing Strategy – What is the target market size and growth over the next five years? How will you attract customers? What are your distribution channels and how do you plan to achieve market penetration?
12. Strategic Partners – What strategic relationships do you currently have or plan to have in the future? What is the nature of these relationships?
Answering these questions successfully will sufficiently excite a lender or investor about your concept and that will convince them they should fund your business.
Whether you are seeking a bank loan, equity investment from angel investors, venture capital firms or friends and family, you need an Investor Ready business plan. An investor ready business plan is a document that has been professionally prepared to meet the needs of investors.