How to Write a Business Plan for an Investor
How to write a business plan for an investor covers goals, company overview, strategies, sales, marketing, funding, and financial forecasts.
Whether you are planning to start a new business, secure a loan, or attract investors, a business plan is an essential document you cannot overlook. However, the benefits of having a well-crafted business plan extend beyond just fundraising. It can serve as a roadmap to guide your business decisions, help you identify potential challenges and opportunities, and ensure that you stay on track toward achieving your goals. So, regardless of your business goals, investing time and effort into developing a sound business plan is a wise decision that can pay off in the long run.
A business planning how-to guide for startups, entrepreneurs, and business owners
A well-crafted and comprehensive business plan is crucial for a business to succeed. This plan should contain in-depth information about the business’s objectives, products, or services. Furthermore, it should include a thorough analysis of the company’s financial aspects, including projections for revenue and costs. A well-written business plan can help ensure the business’s success by providing a clear roadmap for the business’s future.
What is a business plan?
A detailed document known as a business plan profiles a company’s objectives and strategies for achieving them. This plan serves as a written roadmap for the firm, covering marketing, financial, and operational aspects. Both new and established companies use it.
A business plan is a critical document for internal and external purposes. For example, it attracts investors when a company is just starting and lacks a proven track record. It can also be instrumental in securing financing from financial institutions.
In addition, a business plan can help ensure that a company’s executive team is aligned on strategic goals and working towards the same objectives. While they are significant for startups, all companies should have a business plan. Reviewing and updating the plan periodically to reflect changes in goals or circumstances is advisable. Sometimes, an established company may need to create a new business plan when embarking on a new direction.
Why do investors ask for a business plan?
Investors don’t merely rely on the business plan document when evaluating a potential investment opportunity. Instead, they place greater importance on the knowledge and insight that the entrepreneur gains from creating it. By crafting a business plan, one must consider critical aspects of the proposed business, such as the target market, sales and marketing strategy, value proposition, and competitive landscape. This thoughtful examination provides a solid foundation for understanding how the business will operate and what goals it seeks to achieve.
A well-crafted financial model and business plan can also be essential for preparing for investor meetings. Even if investors don’t request to see the plan itself, creating it ensures that the entrepreneur has thought carefully about the key elements of the business. This allows them to answer investor questions with confidence and clarity. Conversely, arriving at a meeting unprepared, without a business plan, can be a significant disadvantage.
In addition to understanding the business strategy, investors will also want to gain insight into the financial aspects of the proposed venture. They will seek to understand the business model, financial forecasts, and the anticipated expenses required to grow and achieve profitability. Developing a complete financial plan as part of the business plan creation process can be crucial in attracting investor interest and support.
If you’re considering starting a business, creating a comprehensive business plan should be at the top of your priority list. This plan will act as your roadmap, helping you fine-tune your product, define your target market, and make informed decisions to set your business up for success. With a well-crafted business plan, you can confidently navigate the many challenges of launching a new venture.
What should a business plan include that would interest investors?
Aspiring business owners may be disheartened to learn that there is no such thing as a flawless business plan, and seasoned investors are well aware of this. After all, they have spent countless years listening to pitches, reading strategies, investing in companies, and observing triumphs and failures.
If this is the case, why bother creating a business plan in the first place? What is the significance of planning, and why do investors request it when they know the project will inevitably become outdated?
The answer lies in the planning process itself rather than the final plan. Investors want to see that you have carefully considered your concept, documented your assumptions, and are on track to validate those assumptions to mitigate risks for your business.
Writing a business plan for an investor to seek funding or starting a new business
Developing a thorough and detailed business plan is essential in launching your business and when seeking investment. A meticulously crafted plan can serve as a roadmap for your company, enabling you to effectively navigate any obstacles that may arise and procure funding, establish robust partnerships, recruit top-tier talent, and boost your confidence as a business owner.
While the specific format of a business plan can differ depending on the unique requirements of your business, it is usually comprised of several key sections.
Typical sections to include when you write a business plan for an investor
So, what exactly do investors want to see in your business plan? In addition to the standard sections, here are the essential elements to include when you write a business plan for an investor.
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview
- Organization and Management
- Business Model Description
- Market Analysis
- Marketing and Sales Strategies
- Operations Plan
- Goals / Plan of Action
- Financial Plan
- Funding Needs Summary
- Exit Strategy
The executive summary is a crucial factor in your business plan, providing a comprehensive company overview with insights on the management team, market opportunity, competition, implementation strategy, operational needs, and financials. It is typically written last and serves as a concise yet detailed summary that investors can use to gain an innate understanding of your business and the funding you are seeking. We suggest checking out our comprehensive guide for more information on crafting a compelling executive summary.
The executive summary holds utmost significance in your business plan as it is the only section your readers will go through. Its primary objective is to present a concise overview of your business and emphasize the crucial aspects of the following areas. Ideally, your executive summary should provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of your business, including its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and explain why it is poised to succeed in the marketplace.
In the company overview section, provide a comprehensive outline of your company’s organizational structure, future recruitment strategies, investment plans, and ultimate objectives. You should include this aspect when you write a business plan for an investor or bank.
As you progress with your investor business plan, it’s crucial to provide a detailed company description that includes significant information, like your business’s registered name, the physical address of your business location, and the names of key individuals who play a vital role in your business. You must emphasize your team members’ unique skills or technical expertise, which would undoubtedly set your business apart.
Organization and Management
Provide an overview of your company’s management and organizational structure when you write a business plan for an investor or seek funding from a bank.
- Share the names and expertise of the individuals that comprise your team.
- Additionally, are there any key positions or roles you still seek to fill within your organization?
When engaging in a discourse about your enterprise, it is imperative to consider ownership, legal framework, and human resources. Introducing your team and accentuating their proficiencies and aptitudes would be advantageous. Incorporating an organizational chart to elucidate everyone’s functions and obligations would be prudent. Moreover, it is recommended to have a contingency plan in place to recruit supplementary personnel in case the need arises.
Business Model Description
Establishing a clear and concise definition of your product or service is paramount when embarking on a new business venture. This should be accompanied by a thorough analysis of your competitors, highlighting the unique features that set your offering apart from the rest. Entrepreneurs often choose to include details regarding their pricing structure and target audience within this section, enabling potential customers to understand your business’s value proposition fully.
Expound on the products or services your establishment currently provides or intends to provide. Please provide ample details and descriptions.
You should include the following:
- Can you describe how your product or service works?
- What is the pricing structure for your product or service?
- Who typically uses your product or service?
- How do you manage your supply chain and fulfill orders?
- Can you describe your sales approach and distribution channels, such as in-person or online?
- What is your strategy for distributing your product or service?
Including any strategic partners, suppliers, existing or upcoming trademarks, and patents related to your offering may be beneficial.
As an entrepreneur seeking investment, providing investors with more than just a concept is crucial. You must demonstrate that your product or service solves a genuine problem for your target audience. To build a prosperous business, your customers must genuinely desire what you’re offering. Your business plan must lay solid proof that you can effectively market and sell your services and products to your target market. This will strengthen your case if you’ve already made headway with early sales and a growing customer base.
Demonstrate the significance and relevance of your business model by including market research and detailed market analysis when you write a business plan for an investor or seek funding from a bank/ partner. This section provides comprehensive insights into the latest industry trends, your target audience, including their demographics, and your competitors’ study in the immediate vicinity. These details will guide you in creating a unique selling proposition for your product, identifying the most suitable market segments, and pinpointing the best locations for your business to flourish.
When seeking funding, it’s important to showcase what makes your product unique compared to competitors. In your market analysis, identify your competition and highlight their strengths while emphasizing areas where your product outperforms theirs. If your product serves an unexplored or overlooked market, also communicate that.
Marketing and Sales Strategies
Provide a marketing and sales plan that targets the customers identified in the Market Analysis. Outline your long-term business growth strategies.
- How do you plan to market your product or services?
- Will you have a website or online store?
- Are there any conferences or events that you will focus on?
- How will you manage your sales plan and activities?
- Do you plan to incorporate client case studies and testimonials in your marketing materials?
When you write a business plan for an investor, the operations plan is a crucial component that provides a detailed account of your business’s work processes, supply chains, and other pertinent aspects. This section encompasses all the essential details of how your company produces goods or services, clearly understanding your physical operations.
The operations plan section of your business plan plays a vital role in outlining the physical requirements for your business’s daily operations. This includes details about your business’s physical location, necessary facilities, and equipment. Depending on the type of business, this section may also provide information about inventory requirements, preferred suppliers, and a comprehensive description of the manufacturing process.
By including these details in your operations plan, you can ensure your business’s smooth and seamless functioning.
Goals / Plan of Action
For your objectives, specify a detailed overview of the milestones plan you aim to accomplish and the specific timelines you plan to achieve them. This section should encompass essential dates for developing your product, creating meaningful partnerships, and any other objectives you intend to accomplish.
It’s essential to keep track of your financial status by regularly reviewing your balance sheets, cash flow statements, and revenue projections. This will allow you to determine your monthly earnings and ensure you have enough funds to cover your cash flow and expenses, such as wages, rent, loans, and equipment.
Suppose you want to secure funding from banks or investors for investment projects. In that case, providing a minimum of one year’s forecasts is essential. However, for extensive growth endeavors, it may be necessary to provide 3-year, 5-year, or even 10-year projections to assess the potential return on investment accurately. By presenting clear and comprehensive financial predictions, you’ll be able to demonstrate your financial viability and attract potential investors.
Request for funding and proposed allocation of funds.
When seeking investment from potential investors, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the amount of funding you require. Your financial projections should serve as a guide in determining this figure. Ideally, it would help if you aimed to acquire enough capital to cover your projected expenses and cash flow needs and some additional buffer to act as a safety net. Additionally, it is essential to provide a detailed breakdown of how the investment will be utilized. This segment is a business plan’s “funding source and uses of investment” section.
Financial Analysis and Metrics
In addition, it may be helpful to incorporate various financial metrics. You may also include metrics such as:
- Net profit margin: What is the revenue you retain as net income?
- Current ratio: Assessing your ability to pay off debts and the level of your financial flexibility.
- Accounts Receivable and Payables Turnover: How often do you collect on receivables within a year? How many days are outstanding with paying suppliers?
Charts and graphs are a great way to present the financial wellness of your business clearly and understandably.
Developing a plan for exiting a business
When you secure funding from investors to launch and expand your business, it’s essential to remember that they are seeking to yield returns on their investment in due course. This may come about through the eventual sale of your company to a larger corporation or via an initial public offering. Whichever the case, it’s essential to communicate your plans for an exit strategy to your investors.
Appendices or Supporting Documents
Supplementing your business plan and assumptions with relevant supporting documents within the appendix section is recommended to enhance the credibility of your business plan and assumptions. These documents can provide valuable insights and evidence to support your claims and projections, ultimately strengthening your case. Therefore, it’s advisable to include relevant reports, research findings, financial statements, or other relevant materials to help validate your business idea and demonstrate its potential for success.
What else will investors want to see in your business plan?
Investors play a significant role in providing the necessary funding for companies to achieve their financial goals and expand their operations in today’s business world. However, before committing to any investment opportunity, investors must ensure they have all the relevant documents. Financial backing alone doesn’t guarantee successful investment outcomes, and careful consideration of investment metrics is crucial.
The thrill of a promising investment opportunity can be captivating, but investors must exercise caution because every penny counts. The golden rule of due diligence comes into play here, requiring investors to carefully scrutinize investment opportunities to protect themselves from the unknown and make informed investment decisions.
What other documents will investors want to see with my business plan?
Due diligence is pivotal to achieving innovative investment outcomes and involves conducting thorough research that demands much effort. Evaluating relevant documents is essential to due diligence, providing valuable insights into an investment’s potential risks, rewards, and viability. DealRoom has a due diligence checklist. You can try Freshminds, Faster Capital, or Fundable, which may help you prepare and prioritize your document creation, as they have lists available.
Investors must review the following documents to make informed investing decisions and avoid costly mistakes. Here is a sample list of potential documents needed:
- Business plans
- Elevator or pitch deck presentations
- Market research reports
- Financial statements and projections (i.e., revenues, operating expenses, cash flow, cap table, break-even analysis)
- Investment terms
- Legal documents (i.e., shareholder agreements, articles of association, trademarks, IP)
- Supporting information (i.e., team bios, marketing brochures, PR/ investor briefing, website)
Investors considering investing in a company typically want to know the overall market size and the number of potential clients. Suppose the projected market size is not large enough. In that case, investors may hesitate to invest since the expected profits may not meet their goals. In addition, it is vital to remember that the company must sustain its operations over the long term.
Investors will likely consider seeking guidance from trustworthy and skilled financial and legal professionals during their investment process. This will guarantee that potential risks are recognized and resolved, reducing negative consequences. This proactive method safeguards investments and enables investors to make informed choices using precise and dependable information.
Pitch Deck Presentation versus a Business Plan
Most people know that the pitch deck and the business plan have numerous similarities. Although the business plan entails more specifics, the pitch deck offers a broad summary of specific parts like the issue, solution, product, market, and team. Essentially, the pitch deck is a condensed visual depiction of the business plan.
The pitch deck serves as a supplement to the business plan and is presented alongside it. Just like an executive summary is essential for a complete business plan, a one- or two-page summary must grab the reader’s interest and persuade them to read it. On the other hand, the pitch deck can be seen as an alternative way of presenting the executive summary, but it has its distinct purpose.
Pitch Deck Document
While the business plan is a lengthy, detailed document typically produced in Word, the pitch deck is shorter, usually between 10 and 20 pages, and is commonly created in PowerPoint or using software (i.e., Canva, Pitch, Slidebean, PitchBook, DealRoom). It is a more visually oriented document to convince potential investors, lenders, and other readers to invest in the business. The pitch deck must immediately capture the reader’s attention and encourage them to delve deeper.
Pitch Deck Format
To convey vital information succinctly and reduce the amount of text required, it is crucial to include pictures, graphs, tables, and other visual aids. The pitch deck should tell a story, and there is an art to crafting a compelling narrative. Think of it as a preview for an upcoming blockbuster film or a synopsis of a book, and you’ll get the idea.
The pitch deck should provide information that enables the reader to understand the company’s product or service, its advantages over competitors, the market size, the amount of equity being raised, and how the funds will be utilized. It should also include projected financials, a pre-money valuation, and a timeline of considerable events in the company’s history.
Should I write a business plan for an investor or a pitch deck first?
Creating the framework for a pitch deck is relatively straightforward once the business plan has been completed. However, since it serves as the company’s elevator pitch and first impressions are critical, it is recommended that businesses invest in creating a polished and professional pitch deck that includes all necessary information.
Business planning software (like Liveplan, Planguru, Enloop, or Bizplan) incorporates pitch deck presentations, business planning, and financial projections. TechRadar provides a list of business planning providers and alternative solutions. Statista also offers market insights and free business plan creation templates.
Should you write a business plan and pitch deck presentation or outsource?
Both the business plan and pitch deck can be created in-house. However, there are also excellent companies that can produce high-quality documents for a reasonable fee. Ultimately, the decision will depend on in-house expertise and available time. However, it is essential not to underestimate the time required to create either document properly. The business plan and pitch deck could be crucial in securing external investment, making investing the resources necessary to develop them worthwhile.
In conclusion, all businesses should have a business plan and keep it updated regularly, regardless of whether they intend to raise funds. Companies that seek external funding must also create an outstanding pitch deck presentation.
Why do investors want to see a business plan?
A business plan is essential for anyone who wants to take their entrepreneurial venture to the next level or secure partnerships or external funding. It offers depth and detail that cannot be achieved through a mere pitch deck. Creating a business plan forces you to think critically about the various aspects of your business, from the big-picture strategy down to the nitty-gritty details. By developing a comprehensive investor business plan, you can establish yourself for long-term success and ensure you’re on the right path to attaining your goals.
Securing the right investors for your business can yield significant advantages beyond financial contributions. These benefits range from access to their expansive professional connections to sound guidance. To maintain the support of such investors, it is crucial to establish a sense of trust and demonstrate your ability to allocate their funds effectively.
Need help to write a business plan for an investor?
Should we schedule an introductory session? If you need funding for your business but are overwhelmed by how to write a business plan for an investor or a bank loan, we are here to help. Let’s schedule a free 30-minute introductory session where we can discuss your specific situation, goals, and business planning needs. We can do this over the phone or MS Teams, depending on your preference. After our session, we’ll be ready to create a plan to help your business succeed.