It’s Friday afternoon and Sophie, a Junior Analyst at a venture capital firm, is sorting through a stack of business plans, dividing them into a keep pile and a toss pile. The keep documents will be passed on to her boss, while the toss pile is made up of proposals that will never see the light of day – at least not with funding from Sophie’s company. The toss pile is growing, as Sophie gets increasingly disappointed with the lack of quality business plans that are being dropped onto her desk. After tossing another shoddy business plan aside, she comes across your business plan. The business plan that you created. The business plan that could make or break your dream of launching your own venture. Sophie inspects the cover, quickly flips through the document, and then settles at page 1 to begin her review. Which pile will your plan end up in?
Venture capitalists and angel investors receive thousands of business plans every year from entrepreneurs all over the country. Only a handful of entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to meet with investors, and from those, only a select few will receive funding. And even though that might be discouraging, receiving a callback from an investor is possible if you’re able to make your business plan stand out among the rest.
With several years of experience in the business plan writing industry, The Plan Writers have gained insight into what lands your document in the Keep pile and what sends it to the Toss pile. Take a look.
Presentation is important
“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” is how the oft-head expression goes. Unfortunately, few of us can honestly say that we’ve never once judged something or someone based on appearances. The same goes for investors who are reviewing business plans. They want to receive documents that are professionally bound, that use an appropriate amount of graphics and have a beautifully designed cover page. To get your plan noticed, make sure your document is aesthetically up to investor standards before sending it off.
It should be comprehensive yet concise
Crafting a document that is comprehensive while at the same time concise might seem like an impossibility. It can be done, however, and providing just enough information without overwhelming the reader is key to building a good business plan. Carefully consider which details are important to your business plan – ones that adequately explain your strategy, expectations, and value-add – and which details distract from your document’s overarching theme. Investors are busy people and they only have time for the necessary information, so don’t overload your document with irrelevant info.
Don’t bore the reader
Aside from wasting your readers’ time by including too many details, you might end up boring them as well. A bored investor is an unimpressed investor so make sure that you include something that will capture his or her attention. The Plan Writers recommend using eye-catching graphics to break up the monotony of text in your business plan or the inclusion of a high-quality YouTube or Vimeo video that lays out your strategic roadmap.
Proofreading is key
Some investors are fussier than others when it comes to typos and minor errors. Many will allow for a few mistakes here and there while others will move on to the next business plan without a second glance at yours once they come across a typo. Consider hiring a proofreader to review your document. The second set of eyes is more likely to catch errors that you might have missed.
Take these tips into consideration when you’re working on your business plan. Even though they seem like minor factors, they’re important to Junior Analyst Sophie. They could just be the difference between her designating your business plan to the keep pile instead of the toss pile.
– Matthew Khalili, CEO, The Plan Writers