How to Use Your Business Plan to Get Investors Excited About Your Startup
Certain business plans stand out more than others for investors. You want yours to be one they get excited about. That excitement can quickly translate into the funding you need to launch your startup.
Real-world use cases
Every investor is looking for some tangible evidence of a return should they make an investment. You can create hypothetical use cases that illustrate how your product or service can solve a specific issue. And, investors might be interested or they could still be unsure.
A real-world example of that same product or service being used by specific audience members to alleviate that pain point noted in your business plan will have a far greater impact. As part of this real-world use case, it also helps to have direct quotes from these users that explain how your product or service has addressed their problems.
The business plan package
Although investors want specific proof that your business idea is relevant, compelling and sustainable, you can also build excitement through your template and format. It’s having a vivid visual presentation that can make it easier for investors to connect the idea of a credible return with your product or service.
Some visual business plan package ideas include creating a video business presentation that features a product demo, customer testimonials and footage of the product or service in use. Another useful visual business plan template is an infographic that lets you present quantitative evidence in an easy-to-read format.
Business plan turnoffs
However, there are also some common mistakes with business plan development that should be avoided. Here are some of the worst ones.
1. Inflating your idea
Don’t make your business idea into something it isn’t just in hopes of drawing in investors. As experienced business leaders, these investors usually know what works and what doesn’t.
Trying to inflate what your product or service can deliver will only turn them off and potentially create a bad name for you in what’s often a tight investment community.
Do this instead: Use practical, real-world numbers to hook investors when you describe the market opportunity you’re tackling.
2. Keeping it vague
Although it might be difficult to gauge quantitative results around timing, customer engagement, target audience, break-even point and profitability, no investor wants to invest in a business with vague goals, timing or financials.
Business plan generalizations might also show investors you haven’t done your homework in terms of in-depth market research. Therefore, there could be unforeseen challenges or untapped opportunities that investors know about but you don’t. This can make them feel wary about your business idea, your ability to lead and grow a company, and, therefore, on the return possible.
Do this instead: Clearly draw timelines laying out specific financial and customer acquisition goals somewhere in the presentation.
3. Having too many priorities and tactics
It’s commendable to be enthusiastic about what you want to accomplish. But you also need to be realistic. Again, if you’re turning to investors who have more experience than you, they will probably be able to gauge your priority list’s feasibility fairly quickly.
Do this instead: Before investors look at a business plan filled with 10+ priorities or 20 tactics you plan to pursue, trim the list. Have a few key items aligned with your overall business idea’s ability to solve a specific problem.
4. Writing in a vacuum
Even if you do all the research possible and revise your business plan after thoughtful reflection, it still only reflects your opinion and vision. In not placing your business plan before a second set of eyes, you can miss some significant information that should be in your business plan.
Do this instead: Go beyond your own tunnel vision and get feedback and outside advice from a mentor, colleagues or business advisor. They often see what you cannot because you are too close to the business idea and plan to spot it. Also, conduct a survey of your target audience to learn more about them, their problems and the market.
5. Boring the investor into disinterest
In your attempt to cover everything you think is vital to touting your business idea, your business plan might start to rival War and Peace in length. The result: anyone reading it could quickly grow bored from information overload.
Do this instead: Undertake a substantial edit to remove superfluous content.
Avoiding business plan mistakes
Through tangible business use examples and carefully crafted business plan formatting, you can avoid the aforementioned business plan mistakes. You’ll also generate greater enthusiasm in your target investor audience. They will be better able to visualize and engage with your business idea and its potential.
Seeing the possibility of a significant return for themselves and an array of ongoing benefits for backing your business idea will keep them excited for potential future investments, too.