It’s always a good idea to back away every so often and evaluate your progress when you’re working on your company’s business plan.
Once your draft business plan is completed, examine it to determine whether it has the following characteristics:
Your Executive Summary delivers a quick knockout punch;
Your company and management team fit together like a soft leather glove; and
Your business plan would appeal to any typical, seasoned investor.
1. Capture Their Attention Immediately
You only get one minute to capture the attention of your business plan’s readers. That’s how long potential investors typically spend reading the first page of any company’s business plan. After that minute, your potential investors will either keep reading or start looking around for the next possible investment.
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The first page of your Executive Summary must use that initial minute to great advantage. The Executive Summary might be the last part of your business plan you write, but it represents your only chance of hooking your readers and getting them to swallow the bait. It’s imperative that your Executive Summary contains the most compelling aspects of your business plan. It should also describe your company’s product or service, the precise market you’re targeting and pertinent details about your management team’s background.
To ensure that your Executive Summary delivers a quick knockout punch, you’ll need to simplify some of the points you make in the main body of your business plan. That’s fine, because the purpose of the Executive Summary is just to sink the hook into investors. They can read through the details in the main body of your business plan.
2. Make it Clear You’ve Assembled the Perfect Management Team
Naturally, experience is important, but your management team’s experience must be relevant, too. Its members should all be superbly qualified to supervise your company’s daily and long-range operations. Your business plan’s Company Analysis, Operations Plan and Management Team sections will address these issues.
Potential investors will view your management team as being qualified if its members are experienced at starting up and managing young companies successfully. Each team member must be experienced in his or her designated position within your company. Your management team will also be viewed more favorably if they have worked with well-known brands. If you haven’t yet assembled your complete team, clearly describe how and when you’ll select and hire the appropriate people.
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3. Understand How Your Potential Investors Think
Seasoned investors are able to evaluate a potential investment opportunity by using a mental checklist they’ve developed throughout the years.
Your business plan needs to help them do the following things:
Understand your company’s product or service almost immediately;
See the significant, expanding need for what your company offers;
Understand what sets your company apart from its competition;
Realize your management team is a perfect fit for the task;
Know that your financial projections are realistic; and
See one or more exit strategies that investors can take.